Sher: Art Therapy Helped Me Defeat Cocaine Demon

The Evening Standard (London, England), November 27, 2009 | Go to article overview

Sher: Art Therapy Helped Me Defeat Cocaine Demon


Byline: Sophie Goodchild Health Editor

SIR ANTONY SHER told today how treatment at a London clinic helped him beat his addiction to cocaine.

The award-winning actor revealed he still has therapy once a week at Capio Nightingale hospital in Marylebone.

He has gone public about his struggle in the hope that more people will seek professional help. The treatment is a form of psychotherapy that helps patients "unlock" problems through painting and drawing.

This week the first exhibition of work by Capio Nightingale patients who have completed the treatment was unveiled at the hospital in Lisson Grove, which has treated Amy Winehouse and Pete Doherty. They include a picture by Sir Antony -- an accomplished artist -- at the height of his cocaine habit. The sketch is of a naked man hunched over a broken pane of glass snorting up the shards.

"Anyone who has checked into one of these [clinics] will know you feel very scared," he said. "The group I was in was sent to the art room for something I'd not heard about, which was art therapy. For the first time, I felt a sense of security -- at school the art room was a place of comfort and safety. The picture I did on the very first morning was of a naked man leaning on a broken mirror.

"I didn't know where this had come from, but it could be read that it showed how dangerous cocaine is. …

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