Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Get Offa My Pink Cloud

Tonight's topic at the meeting was basically the non-Big-Book concept of the Pink Cloud. Jonathan Huttner describes this as "a period of time where the addict or alcoholic experiences a reprieve from the struggles associated with early recovery. These struggles are generally associated with the feelings of depression, anger, resentment, self pity and the realization of where their drug addiction or alcoholism has taken them.Upon experiencing this phenomenon for the first time, the addict or alcoholic is understandably excited. They begin to believe they now "hold the key" to their recovery."

I'll admit that I'm becoming a Big Book thumper, but I don't really have a problem with the concept of the Pink Cloud, as long as those of us with some time share with newcomers that it's temporary. In fact, I say float away on your little cloud, strumming your little Big Book harp as long as you keep some things in the back of your clearing mind ...

1) Women can't remember accurately the pain of childbirth. This allows us to want to continue to reproduce (if we did remember the human race would have died out years ago). In the same way, getting sober is work. The Pink Cloud helps us plow through it. This is a time to get some good habits. Harness the energy you have to go to at least one meeting a day, read the Big Book, get a sponsor, and actually call the sponsor.

2) The feelings you are experiencing are the result of your right action of putting down the booze. Once we do that, many bad things cease (I no longer wreck cars, drunk-dial people, go to work hungover, wonder what I said/did, etc.) and good things invariably happen (my family is pleased, job is going great, health is improved, etc.). It's easy to overgeneralize and assume I feel so good because of the good things that are happening to me and forget that the good things come from sobriety.

3) The bible says that "a friend reveals while an enemy multiplies kisses". When an oldtimer tells you that you don't know shit, s/he is telling you that because it's true, and you stand a better chance of staying sober once you accept it. I don't run around telling people that I'm going "to love you until you can love yourself" because I loved myself a little too much when I came in. I want to press the instant gratification button as often as possible. Therefore, when something hurts, I assume it's bad - a good rule of thumb for anything with blades, not so good for getting sober. One day the Pink Cloud ends, and you will have to decide whether you're going to keep doing this thing. The truth may piss you off, but it will also set you free.

4) The outside world isn't going to give you a tickertape parade for staying sober. This is not good news, but it's the truth. Therefore, I need to anchor my sobriety to a Higher Power that can't be removed from my life. The Big Book says "job or no job, wife or no wife" for a reason. Life still happens, whether I'm sober or not. If my HP is a man, a job, a car, or any other external thing, I'm in major trouble one day.

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