How tie-dye helped this artist with substance abuse recovery

Austin Mackereth found a hobby that not only led him through recovery but also jumpstarted his new business.
2:46 | 01/24/23

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Transcript for How tie-dye helped this artist with substance abuse recovery
- When tie-dye came into my life and it clicked with me so well, it really helped me get out of addiction. It gave me something to do in my free time. And I was really blessed to be living in a halfway house with other people who also wanted to get sober. [MUSIC PLAYING] When I was 15 years old, I got into narcotics and stuff like that. And I struggled for about four years with substance abuse problems. When I was 19, it was the second time I went to rehab. When I got out, I didn't really have any hobbies or anything. And I really feel like that's important for people in recovery. I was living in a halfway house at the time with about seven dudes. And one guy came home with a tie-dye kit from Walmart. I was like, yo, can I please try that? I haven't tie-dyed in years. And he was like, hmm, yeah, sure, whatever. The next day, when we washed them out, I just remember feeling so excited about it. I don't know what it was about it, but I was immediately obsessed with it. Eventually, I found that there's tie-dye groups on Facebook. And those are slightly more advanced. From there, I met some of my tie-dye heroes, one being Paul Kenney. This is his style that he created. This is inspired by Japanese Shibori. And my goal was kind of always to combine all of these styles and then make something that was unique to me with it. I probably didn't start doing unique things until about three years into tie-dye. The image designs I do-- it's a scrunched pattern. So I draw it all out on the shirt, and then I scrunch it with micro pleats. And then I tie it all together with kite string and then carefully apply the dye. And then, typically, I do multiple sessions. [MUSIC PLAYING] Without people supporting my art, I obviously wouldn't be able to put in the time that I do. When I first started the shirts that I was making, typically, it took about six to eight hours. As the years have gone on, obviously, I'm doing more and more intricate things that takes more and more time. Some shirts now that I make that can take me up to, like, 24 hours of hands-on work. I just get obsessed with things. And I think a lot of people who struggle with, like, substance abuse problems and stuff like that also have that same obsession. You just have to learn how to, like, channel it into something positive. [MUSIC PLAYING]

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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