Is the “Pink Cloud” a Real Thing?

“Pink cloud” is a term that is commonly used to describe the state of being heavily invested in a program of recovery in early sobriety, and is generally the result of being propelled forward by the sting of a horrible first step experience. A pink cloud is prolonged and intensified by a spiritual experience due to a person in early recovery being abnormally susceptible to a life changing experience as a result of coming from a place of profound darkness and travesty.

People in early recovery use the horror of their first step experience to charge forward and seize the principles of a 12 Step program with the desperation of a drowning man, and once they experience a bit of relief from working the fundamentals of a program of recovery, they are prone to having a spiritual experience that inspires them to continue on the path of recovery.

A pink cloud generally does not last however, and as the sting of a first step experience fades into memory, so does the fire that comes with relying on a first step experience. Then the reality of the challenges of recovery become apparent, and the real work begins. People try to prolong and maintain a pink cloud as long as possible by continuously finding new ways to explore how their life in unmanageable without a program of recovery, and the practice of doing that, though sometimes challenging, is a fundamental tool in having a solid program. That is part of the reason why it is so important to constantly revisit the realities of step one, whether that is helping someone else with their first step, attending a first step meeting, or examining how unmanageability manifests in your life on a daily basis.

There is a feeling of profound peace and serenity to be found in a pink cloud, and that is the sensation that people in recovery chase with the same desperation that they used to chase drugs and alcohol, but it is naive to think that it will always be sunshine and roses. 

Even in sobriety, life happens. The truth of it is that sometimes you will fail, people will die, sadness will overcome you, and mistakes will be made. Bad days will happen, and it will occasionally even feel like God has hung you out to dry. This is where faith comes in. Even in the dark times we must have faith. It is easy to have faith when you are riding the high of a pink cloud, but the real test of the quality of your program comes when the unsavory events of life happen, and it is in those times when it is critical to have faith. Real growth happens as we learn to respond to situations in ways that are in line with a program of recovery, and part of that means doing what we don’t want to do on a bad day, even though we know it is the right thing to do. 

It is easy to work a program when things are going well, and it is crucial to practice working a program all of the time, so that when the rubber meets the road, and the pink cloud fades behind the shadow of real life challenges, you can rise and overcome obstacles in a way that makes you grow as a person, and makes the world a better place.     

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