If you are reading this, chances are you are newly clean and sober. Let me start by giving you all of my congratulations and well wishes. You have been given the gift of desperation and have become willing to take a huge step in the betterment of your life, getting sober. If you have found that you are now feeling all of the emotions that you haven't felt for all the years you were running, Don't worry, it gets better! SO good in fact, that it feels like you are riding a crazy high on life.
Now let me be the bearer of… bad and good news. Many people in early recovery find themselves in this position, and so it has been dubbed the “Pink Cloud” as it feels like we are floating up, up, up through life. However, what goes up on the pink cloud, must always come down.
What is the Pink Cloud?
The pink cloud is a term for the first few days, weeks, even months of sobriety after the initial highs and lows of getting sober begin to even out. It is a pretty common time for people who have 60 days to share in a meeting that their lives have changed and they are so grateful and they will never get high again!! It's really a beautiful gift, for these people to feel so elated, however, it can come with a price. Some people begin to experience so much freedom and joy that they start to think “getting sober is easy!
Maybe I never even had a problem in the first place!”
I myself have fallen victim to this thinking through 4 relapses.
Getting sober brings with it so many wonderful gifts that we have never really been able to enjoy or fully be a part of. For example, getting an enjoyable job, finding a boat load of new friends and feeling like we are on top of the world. After a while, we can start to wonder if we really need our fellowship.
There is a Difference Between the Pink Cloud and Reality
Getting sober can be easy at times, and is definitely more enjoyable than the way we were living. However, if you find that your mind is repeatedly telling you that you may not need to do it anymore because it's so easy, you might be moving down a slippery slope. But don't worry, there is still time to fix it. As part of our program, it is vital for us to voice these thoughts to a trusted member of your fellowship who has successfully completed their steps.
This will help us identify if what we are feeling is... Well, rational.
After the years of chaos and turmoil that we have put ourselves through, I'm not saying we don't deserve a little ease and fun in our lives. What I'm saying is, there is a line between reality and delusion that, when newly sober, can be hard for us to differentiate.
In the first few months of our sobriety, it is really common to experience the pink cloud. People often find themselves thinking things like “Okay I'm getting my life back, my family talks to me again, I have a job, and I feel happy, thank you AA/NA, but I don't think I ever actually had a problem, I just got a little out hand.”
This is what happened to me, but in reality, I was working part time, not paying any of my own bills, I was living in a halfway house, I still struggled with loving myself, and to be honest, I still romanticized using all of the time. But for the first time in a long time, I was happy. However, I hadn't started working any steps, I was still too afraid to ask someone to sponsor me, and I was more focused on getting a relationship than staying sober. Believe it or not, I relapsed soon after.
Coming Down from the Pink Cloud
The scary part of the Pink Cloud is its subtle and quiet deception. It's very confusing for many of us, and we are baffled when we start to come down. It can be sudden, we can have one bad day, and before we know it, all of the giddiness and fun we've been having are wiped away. We fall so hard that many people resort back to the only method of feeling better that has worked for us, drinking and getting high.
But wait! Before you ruin all of the time and hard work, there are ways to prevent a relapse before it's too late. I'm sure that by this point, the value of a sponsor has been drilled into your head at every meeting you've been to, and this is one of the reasons why. Whether you got a sponsor by choice or because your halfway requires it, a sponsor will be the one to take you through your steps. Our steps are the initial groundwork that will pave the way for long-term sobriety. We will never be able to continue with our program until we become willing to work the 12 steps in the fellowship of our choosing.
Why Do We Need the Steps?
The 12 Steps were not made to control us through rules and force. In fact, the steps are actually tools that will help us learn how to deal with our lives in a healthy and responsible manner. They show us how to find a spiritual, not religious (unless you want it to be) approach to living life that will help us navigate through the ups and downs, through good times and bad.
They are absolutely crucial in maintaining any healthy, long term sobriety. And when they are completed with a sponsor who has been through the steps themselves, they can be an eye-opening experience that will give you an understanding of why you think and act the way you do, and how you can be a better person.
The pink cloud is common for everyone who is newly sober, and there is no reason not to enjoy the blessings that come along with it. There is nothing wrong with feeling good, being happy, having fun, and enjoying life. However, it is of absolute importance that you safeguard yourself from the inevitable crash that will come once the pink cloud wears off.
Safeguarding our "Comedown"
What can we do to make sure that our fall from our Pink Cloud is gentle?
The answer is simple and you have probably heard it repeatedly at meetings by this point. The only protection we have from that drink or drug is a solid foundation of our fellowship.
Get a Sponsor! They say to pick someone who has what you want. Not physically or materially, but spiritually. Someone who loves their program as well as their life.
Work your Steps with your sponsor. This is not a suggestion, your steps will set you free.
Find a home group. This one gets overlooked sometimes. Having a homegroup ensures that there is a group of people who we will stay accountable to. When we are absent, they will notice. When we are feeling crappy, we can open up about it.
Practice calling sober supports. It's probably hard for us to call people and admit we need help, or just to chat about our day, but having frequent contact with our supports will probably save our lives and theirs at some point.
Find a constructive hobby to help reduce stress. It's proven that people who have a healthy way to relieve stress tend to be better at managing emotions. This can be sports, cooking, writing, playing an instrument, hiking, etc. Anything that gets you out of your own head!
And lastly but definitely not least,
Begin to discover your higher power! This will be easier said than done for some people, but keep at it! The best way to strengthen this relationship is simply by talking. Pray often and make sure to listen for the answers. If you still aren't sure, check with your sober supports.
If you are floating high on a pink cloud of recovery, enjoy it! You have earned it through the willingness to get sober. However, don't let yourself be taken off guard. Prepare yourself! Get involved in your program, talk to your sponsor and sober supports. Work your butt off in your program, just as hard as you worked towards getting drunk and high. Come down from that pink cloud gracefully, rather than head first.
Finding the Right Treatment Center For You
If you believe you have a problem with drugs or alcohol and want to seek help, then call the professionals at Evolutions Treatment Center today at 1-800-795-8527. We can help you find the right treatment you need in order to finally overcome your addiction and get you on the path to recovery. Our trained staff knows exactly what you are going through and can give you the tools you need in order to finally overcome your addiction. So don’t delay, call us today.