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Incomplete knitting project with wooden needles

Knitting Becomes New Recovery Tool

There are countless outlets that people can channel their energies into while overcoming an addiction. And one of the more interesting ones to emerge as of late, concerns fabric and needles. CNN recently highlighted a viral knitting trend that has become very popular in recovery treatment centers across Canada. Just like Art Therapy or Music Therapy (which we happen to offer at Valley Recovery Center), this type of creativity has led to some great success stories and is expected to gain traction here in the United States.


The Phoenix Society is one of the most prominent facilities to incorporate Knitting Therapy into its recovery regimen and they happen to be a focal point of the CNN piece. Several participants in the Phoenix program spoke anonymously, praising the practice of crafting hats, socks and sweaters.


Nelson M. is one such participant. He discussed his devastating drug habits with CNN and how knitting has taught him to calm himself down.


“After almost four years of addiction, it was time to turn my life around,” he explained. “Our knitting group has helped me by keeping my mind busy and giving me a sense of community. I’ve connected with everybody in our looming group and have learned some quality life lessons from sharing with the group during my time here.”


Interestingly, knitting requires a bit of repetition to get the final product right. Not only is it soothing, but it is precise and requires focus. Many involved in the Phoenix program believe that is a key factor in its recovery success. As one other anonymous participant put it, you cannot cheat at knitting. To get a perfect hat or sweater, you need to slowly crochet each and every component.


It is also interesting to point out that the Phoenix program consists solely of younger men (similar to our structure at Valley Recovery Center). That, of course, smashes the stereotypes behind knitting and proves that it can appeal to any gender and people of any age.


Another anonymous participant, Michael P., shared his thoughts about the process and how it is helping him to think differently about his life.


“If you follow the routine, you are gratified with a great sweater or hat at the end,” he added. “It sounds like a small thing, but to start a garment and finish it and then give it to someone, it’s sparked joy in me that I have never felt before in my life.”