A lot of people that first come in to twelve step programs such as Alcoholic’s Anonymous, refer to a state known as “The Pink Cloud”. This can mean several things. In my experience, when I first came in I saw people in meetings smiling, laughing, hugging each other. This confused me. I thought, “Why are these people so damn happy? They are in an A.A. meeting, what could they possibly be so happy about? They have got to still be drunk or high!” That was probably because I was so beaten up physically, mentally and spiritually. I had really nothing to be happy about. My life had gotten to the point where I entered the hospital two days away from death. I had lost everything. I had no place to live. I was on leave from my job, which I did not know if I would be able to go back to.
I later learned that this pink cloud they spoke of was a feeling the newcomer would get, sort of a delusion of grandeur. The newcomer comes in with a slew of wreckage of the past. We come in and we are finally clean and sober. Finally we are able to function in our everyday affairs with out the aid of a drink or drug. The future finally looks bright for the first time. We are experiencing a new found hope. We are flying high on life now and tend to forget about the problems of the past. We are flying on a “pink cloud”.
Escaping the chains of addiction, we are feeling a new found freedom. Early recovery can be sort of a roller coaster of emotions. Many old timers in Alcoholic’s Anonymous will warn the newcomer to be careful of this pink cloud. That sometimes what they are experiencing may not be a real reflection of the truth. To not get caught up in all of the highs that they are feeling, and completely ignore the lows. This may be confusing to them. How could there be any disadvantages to feeling good? I am happy and I am not drinking. How can this be bad? Well, often times this can set the alcoholic and addict up for relapse. This euphoric feeling may all of the sudden come down and crash and burn. As we progress in recovery, our minds get clearer. All of the damage that we have caused can no longer be ignored. We must address these and make amends. If we have just been riding this cloud with this sometimes inaccurate feeling of happiness, we may not be ready when it all hits the fan.. We may start to think ” I got this!” “I have been doing so good, what could possibly go wrong?” “Maybe I don’t even need this program to stay clean and sober. Maybe I am ok to drink now.”
This is not to say that we cannot be happy in recovery. That is absolutely possible. It is up to us how happy we can and want to be. Like they say, pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. What we need to do is be aware of balance. Not everything is going to be great all of the time, but not everything is bad. If we stay on our path of recovery, just stay the course, peace and happiness in our lives is more than possible. It can be our new reality.