It’s Okay If You Never Experienced A Pink Cloud
n Alcoholics Anonymous there seems to be constant talk about a pink cloud. A cloud that you experience during early sobriety that results in total elation of the spirit and a joy flung down from the heavens that is unrivaled by anything else on this earth. Now that you are free from not only the emotional and psychological toll but also the physical toll that alcohol takes on your body. It has been said that some people experience as a direct result of the relief of no longer being in active addiction.
There is anthropomorphic talk of this cloud as if it is a living, breathing thing that envelopes every person who works the Steps, and people with time talk down to the newcomer who may be experiencing it. They tell them to be careful when the cloud finally dissipates and life shows up. They tell them that they shouldn’t get ahead of themselves or chase feeling good all of the time and they tell them that it is only a fleeting part of the development so do not become attached.
All of this sounded well and good when I was getting sober, but to be honest I never experienced a pink cloud in the way that people described it in meetings. Yes, I felt great about the fact that I was no longer attempting to destroy myself, but when I looked at others and how they had gone from being self-proclaimed wretched humans to now happy, go lucky free spirits, I just couldn’t relate.
This was a great sense of discomfort for me in early sobriety and I would look around the rooms and judge myself harshly because I didn’t internally feel the same way that these people appeared externally. I would think that I was doing something wrong, which would lead to a great deal of anxiety and fear on my part. I would find myself trying to fit in and relate where I couldn’t and because of this I spent many sleepless nights thinking something was wrong with me.
Now that I have been sober for a little while and I have been able to reflect on this, I have come to the conclusion that each person experiences sobriety in their own way and in their own time. No one set of emotions or experiences can sum up what getting sober is like and so each person will experience recovery differently. Some will experience the pink cloud. Others will not and neither is right or wrong.
Just because a person doesn’t have an overall sense of joy and happiness in their first few months does not mean that they will not find happiness later on down the road and what’s more, chasing the feeling of happiness is in a sense a fool’s errand.
I believe that we sometimes give people the wrong impression about what being sober is like. We throw around the term happy, joyous and free quite a bit and we can condemn people for “being downers” if they share about struggles in meetings. Doing this, and I don’t believe it is intentional, we give off the false idea that to be sober is to be happy all of the time and anything less is a failure of the individual’s spiritual life.
We also are human beings and so when we raise our hands, or are asked to speak at a meeting, we will ultimately put our best foot forward. This is not to say that we are being dishonest, but that the part of us kicks in where we want to be accepted and looked at it high esteem and so we may shade the truth with rose tinted glasses.
I know that I am making generalizations here, and I know that not everyone experiences life that same way that I do, but I just wanted to make the point that if you are sober and not experiencing a pink cloud, that is okay. To this same regard, if you are sober, experienced the pink cloud in the past and now find that you are struggling, that is okay as well.
Sobriety for me is not about perfection. It is not about feeling good all of the time, although do I ever wish it was, because feeling good all of the time was something that I sought during my addiction. I never wanted to feel bad, so I would numb myself with substances to avoid any feeling that I regarded as negative. Attempting to do the same thing in sobriety, through falsely believing that I should feel good all of the time is insanity, and doing so has caused me a lot of pain throughout my recovery. And so I write this as much for myself to remember as I do to help someone else.
I believe that we sometimes forget that God is in the struggles as well . His presence doesn’t mean that we experience peace all of the time, but rather it means that we have the strength to carry through the hard times without having to self-destruct. I didn’t understand this coming in and so I spent a couple of years chasing after the false notion that to not feel peace was to be devoid of God. Now that I know this is not the case I have become more comfortable with experiencing my own experience and not having to judge myself based on how I feel other people would deal.
This has been a tremendous truth for me to come to and so my hope is that by sharing it with you, it may help as well. Remember that if you don’t feel good all of the time that is okay. If you don’t think that you are experiencing the same pink cloud that your peers are, that is fine as well. Happiness will come and go, and that is okay. So try the best you can and just put one foot in front of the other.
By Rose Lockinger
Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.