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Art helping those in recovery reveal true passions

Darin Valdez, founder of Colorado Artists in Recovery.png
Posted at 4:30 PM, May 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-06 20:51:01-04

DENVER – When he was young, Darin Valdez was passionate about art and music. But somewhere down the line, that changed.

“I let go of that. Drugs and alcohol became that thing that filled up piece of me,” he explains.

Now Darin says he is in long-term recovery. It hasn’t always been easy. A couple years into his sobriety, he was struggling. He was going to school, he had a job at a treatment center. He says everything should have been fine. But something was missing and he wanted to fill that void.

“So, I figured, you know, what do I enjoy? I enjoy art. I enjoy music. I enjoy meditation. I enjoy yoga. These are all things that make me feel whole. So what if these were free services?” he recalls.

That’s how Colorado Artists in Recovery was born. It’s for anyone in recovery, whether they’re just staring out or have been sober for 30 years.

“The beautiful thing about Colorado Artists in Recovery is I get to not only help people, but I get to create space for other people in recovery, to share their gifts with the community,” Darin smiles while saying.

Colorado Artists in Recovery offers multiple workshops during the year, everything from one night of instruction to six weeks long. While some artists choose to keep their art private, some choose to display it at occasional CAiR art shows.

Darin says putting art on display is a hard thing for people in addiction to do because they often are dealing with a lot of shame.

“So this is the opposite end of the spectrum when they get to shine,” he says. “You know, they have big bright smiles. There's hugs, there's laughter and there's joy. And that's what we need more of in this world.”

Colorado Artists in Recovery is hosting an art show featuring the work of 15 artists on Friday, May 6 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Chrysalis Continuing Care, 3254 Larimer St. To learn how you can take part in CAiR's many workshops or donate to help others, visit their website.