Every person affected by substance use and mental health has access to an inclusive, creative recovery community where they can safely express themselves.
Why Art, Why Recovery.
Colorado Artists in Recovery was born from the basic idea that people recovering from substance misuse have amazing talents within them that can heal themselves and others, if nurtured and encouraged. We create a safe space for that healing to occur.
What We Do
We have created a series of creative self expression workshops to encourage personal growth and community, and are offered free of charge to those with at least 24 hours of sobriety. Art, Music, Creative Writing, and other forms of creative expression workshops are developed by local artists, musicians, and writers who are members of the Denver recovery community and have a desire to share their gifts with others.
These workshops not only teach skills in creative expression, but also encourage participants to share their work and reach out to one another to build a network of supportive peers to rely on for emotional support. We believe that this peer to peer network is essential in sustaining a happy life in recovery. We explore how creativity can be a wonderful tool in your recovery took-kit. It leads to mindfulness and a state of flow...which is essential in dealing with the emotional rollercoaster of sobriety.
At the end of these workshops we hold fellowship events to celebrate our creations and progress. There is so much fear about putting your creations out into the world, but we meet that courage with loving celebration. Participants feel a new sense of freedom when they find they no longer need to nurture fear or shame about being in recovery. It becomes a source of personal pride.
Denver has a bounty of talented artists and musicians in recovery. Art, music, writing, dance, yoga, and meditation are natural remedies to engage struggling souls. They break through emotional barriers and offer a cathartic path to recovery that works when partnered with traditional methods of treatment.
By The Numbers
Participants to date
Reported significant progress in their confidence to maintain sobriety, creativity, and feeling of community support
Workshops and Events
Have maintained sobriety while participating in our workshops
*Percentages are based on 2023 6-week workshops.
Report positive impact in their overall sense of wellbeing
About The Founder
Our founder, Darin Valdez is a native of Colorado. His sobriety date is Jan 2, 2014. After spending over 7 years of his life homeless on the streets of Denver addicted to meth, he was blessed with the gift of sobriety. After graduating treatment at Sobriety House here in Denver, he became a house manager and Certified Addictions Counselor at the same treatment center that helped him get sober. During his six years at that organization he noticed a heartbreaking trend. So many creative souls would find new hope at the treatment center, but relapse just weeks after leaving treatment. Many just could not find the community and support necessary to continue their sobriety. Some of them would pass away from overdose. Consoling family members after the death of their loved ones was an experience that was heartbreaking, and inspired him to create Colorado Artists in Recovery.
With the support of a local non-profit, CrossPurpose, he was able to develop his dream of creating a community of supportive artists in recovery. With the help of some local musicians and artists who are in recovery themselves, he began to create workshops that focused on tying creativity to recovery. He has since received support from The Caring for Denver Foundation and partnered with many recovery programs throughout the city to continue offering hope through the creative process. He is an inspirational advocate for finding alternative pathways to freedom from homelessness and addiction in our community. Colorado Artists in Recovery is his legacy of gratitude for the incredible journey of his own recovery.