Recovering Addict Uses Art to Stay Sober
Tallahassee resident Kollet Probst uses art therapy to help her remain drug free after suffering from years of addiction.
As reported by the Tallahassee Democrat, the 36-year-old artist has grappled with addiction for two decades. Growing up with a father who struggled with alcoholism himself, she remembers her dad’s DUIs, his drunken nights. Beer was like water in their troubled home — her first taste was in the seventh grade. As a teen at Lincoln High, she dabbled in ecstasy, then cocaine.
Being a drug addict means being vulnerable to whatever narcotic is in vogue. In the last decade, Probst became addicted to opioid pills after major surgery, becoming one of the thousands of Floridians hooked on prescription medications.
On March 19, Gov. Rick Scott signed HB 21, a bill which aims to prevent patients from becoming addicted to prescribed opioids, placing limits on the amount of opioids doctors can prescribe for some patients. It limits prescriptions for acute pain to a three-day supply, or up to a seven-day supply if deemed necessary.
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Instead of buying heroin on the streets, Probst turned on her craving for drugs. While in rehab, she was desperate to fill the void that drugs had filled.
“In recovery,” she said, “we have to redefine ourselves, stripping down who we are to our childhood dreams.”
For Probst, that dream was art. “Art is the healthiest option that I have,” she said. “This was the healthiest obsession I could choose.”
She’s been clean for three and a half years — and is now making a career out of her skill. She started out by creating posthumous portraits for people who had lost loved ones. She has moved on to commissions, original works, murals, art shows, art lectures and private art classes by request.
“If I don’t create,” she said, “something happens inside of me close to an anxiety attack and then depression.”
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To learn more about how one artist is battling her addiction through artwork, please visit the Tallahassee Democrat.