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What is the 'Pink Cloud' and How Can I Get It (or get it back)?

In the recovery community you may have heard the expression ‘Pink Cloud’. If so you have probably heard how some people new to recovery will be fortunate enough to be placed on this ‘Pink Cloud’ once they get some time away from abusing alcohol or drugs… before reality hits and yanks them down from their all-time-natural-high. One might ask what is the ‘Pink Cloud’ and how do you get it? Or maybe get it back? Some people feel they had been placed on the ‘Pink Cloud’ and lost it to some unforeseen circumstance, and now they want to experience that feeling again. There are so many opinions on this concept, and I have my own, but first I will address what the concept is.

The ‘Pink Cloud’ Concept  

I’m not sure who came up with this abstract idea of the ‘Pink Cloud’ or how it gained its popularity as a common expression in the community of recovery, especially in 12 Step fellowships. The ‘Pink Cloud’ is often described as the feeling of happiness, excitement, and freedom experienced in very early sobriety. The newcomer who has been using alcohol or drugs for so long finally has a little bit of clarity, and are healthy thanks to the detox process, and now they feel on top of the world, refreshed and motivated to move forward in recovery and in life.

Ignorance is bliss to those who believe in the ‘Pink Cloud’ concept. Some who have experienced the feeling of happiness, joy, and getting their second wind at life in early recovery remember the euphoria and positive outlook that felt unstoppable. Then, without warning something happened that hurt them in some way. Most of us know that sometimes life just shows up, and for those who believe in the ‘Pink Cloud’ concept it shows up just in time to snap the delirious newcomer out of his frenzy and makes him buckle down for the roll-coaster of life.

Some say that it’s a rewarding thing to experience the ‘Pink Cloud’ and you must lose it at some point to be reminded that not every day can be a good day, and that there will be sadness, anger, fear and struggles in sobriety and you cannot remain that care-free and blissfully ignorant for too long. Some of these people believe the true test of your sobriety will come when that ‘Pink Cloud’ is gone.

If you believe in the ‘Pink Cloud’ you may also believe you can get it back by re-applying yourself to the things that made you feel refreshed in the first place, and/or being patient with the period of discontent and disaster while staying the course. All in all this whole idea of a ‘Pink Cloud’ is not really that impractical or may even be helpful. So many alcoholics and addicts say to have enjoyed it in early recovery, but that they can once and awhile again experience the bliss, innocence and joy they may have felt at the time by doing the right thing in their program.

My ‘Silver Lining’ Opinion

Now if you were to ask my opinion (which no one did, but I’m giving it to you anyway, so shhhh) then I would tell you I do NOT believe in this ‘Pink Cloud’ stuff. Instead I believe in a Higher Power, and I believe that it is by the grace and love of that Divine Influence that I am able to experience joy, freedom, happiness and excitement in my life, my spiritual fitness permitting. I do NOT believe that these are feelings created in ignorant bliss or false euphoria that I only have for a brief time and lose when life shows up, because in my experience life ALWAYS shows up!

My daily reprieve is directly enlightened by my perception of the purpose behind the things that happen to me. I know that I NEVER have to lose the happiness and the wholeness I felt in my earliest days of sobriety, when I was first rescued from the depths of desperation and positioned on a path to helping others and finding myself and my connection to a Spiritual Consciousness, despite the darker days in life. I have to seek the ‘Silver Lining’.

It is absolutely true, life shows up and things happen that take us to the depressing or infuriating extents of our emotions. Sometimes jobs get terminated, relationships get ugly or end, or people inevitably pass away. These are parts of the life experience, not specifically designed to make us feel happy or empowered… or are they?

Perhaps these things are part of life because they are a sad but necessary part of our evolution as individuals. Perhaps losing a relationship or a loved one is just a piece of the so-called ‘Pink Cloud’ by giving us more opportunities to grow; to learn and to love better. Maybe, just maybe these emotional obstacles or stresses are situated in our transition to show us the true extent of the gift that is grace, what freedom we have from our obsessions through a Higher Energy or awareness. In my opinion the perception of ‘life showing up’ deeply impacts our definition of a life worth living.

To some the ‘Pink Cloud’ is a brief period of happiness that is followed always by a short fall into the harsh reality of life. To me, THAT sounds like some sort of metaphorical ‘Boogie Man’ that wants to scare people into thinking they will lose their happiness if they don’t behave and prepare for the worst. It’s not a bad idea to be prepared, but not out of fear. Faith is a much more powerful catalyst for change and continued sobriety. Faith that no matter what happens you can be happy, joyous and free from your obsessions- if your perception is not focused on a ‘Pink Cloud’ and more focused on appreciating every ‘Silver Lining’ of this incredible life!

Sobriety and becoming part of a recovery community is an amazing opportunity that never has to go away, and can save the life of an addict or alcoholic in countless ways. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

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