There is a mysterious, fleeting, and seemingly unrealistic phase in sobriety where people feel a euphoria, of sorts, and they say it is not only temporary, but it is also dangerous. If you have followed me for any amount of time, you already know where this blog is going. Am I going to agree with the "pink cloud" fallacy and offer a rigid warning? Or, am I going to say, "Why the fuck would we tell people it is temporary?" Seriously! Why? I am going to be extremely open and honest with you about my experience in sobriety and more specifically, my experience with the "pink cloud." Are you ready? I jumped on that "pink cloud" early on in my sobriety and I have never gotten off. I am riding that mystical unicorn with both hands in the air while the wind blows through my receding hairline and I scream like a child on a 360-degree roller coaster. Temporary, my ass. There is only one thing responsible for a temporary ride on the "pink cloud." It is our perception of three things: Why we are here. How we got here. And, whether or not we deserve to be here. If we change our perception of those three things, the euphoric ride on the "pink cloud" roller coaster will never end.
You may be wondering why I felt the need to put the "pink cloud" in quotes. Well, we often put words or phrases in quotes when they are one; previously stated by someone else, and two; when the author does not agree with their intended use or meaning. I certainly do not agree with the intended use or meaning of the phrase, "pink cloud" and here is why. Like many other aspects of the commonly accepted colloquial language surrounding sobriety, I vehemently disagree with telling people how to experience their journey. If I begin my sober journey believing I will, at some point, experience a magical yet fleeting phase of euphoria, when it arrives I will already be on guard and ready to discredit its validity. Instead of reveling in and taking steps to perpetuate the potential and glorious reality, I will instead patiently wait out life's malicious attempt to make me feel happy because I know it is only "temporary." And, when my disregard for any potential feeling of true and lasting happiness finally dissipates I can say, "Yep, they were right." So, in answer to the above question about my motivation behind this blog, the answer is, "Why the fuck would we tell people it is temporary?"
Why am I here?
Perception: the way in which we choose to see ourselves, our actions, other people, and the world around us. Yes, we can choose our perceptions. The first perception, in regard to the "pink cloud," we need to change is why we are here. By here I mean, currently on the pink cloud. If you are not yet riding the "pink cloud," take some notes and decide for yourself what view you choose to adopt. For the rest of you, ask yourself why are you or why have you been on a pink carpet ride of sobriety. If you subscribe to the widely believed view of the "pink cloud," your answer to this question will be it is just a temporary phase and life will return to normal by slapping me hard in the face. You may not place any real importance on or take any responsibility for the euphoria because that is what you have been told. What if... there was more to it? What if the reason we are on the pink cloud is simply that we have eradicated a toxic substance from our lives and our mind and body are jumping for joy with the newfound freedom of feeling good again? Of course, it feels like euphoria, we haven't felt anything for a long time. The common belief is the euphoric feeling will wear off and we are left dealing with life again. Why? What if instead we view this new feeling as the new norm and we approach every day with a new sense of the world and ourselves? What if the "pink cloud" is simply the new normal?
How did I get here?
Another question we need to reframe our thinking around is, how? How did we get on the "
"pink cloud?" Obviously, we quit drinking. That was certainly the catalyst. A common belief is a higher power got us here. Something else stepped in, corrected our faults, took control of our lives, and placed us on the "pink cloud." I'll pause here for a moment and refer to what I always say at this point when talking about other people's journeys; if this is your path and it works for you, congratulations and more power to you. However, my concern with this belief is that by placing the ownership of our position on the "cloud" with someone or something else, we do not accept responsibility for our success. I believe one of our strongest motivators is pride. If I believe I made it to the "cloud" as a result of my hard work and dedication, I will stake my position on the "cloud" and vow to never let it go. If I believe someone or something else got me to the cloud, I may view myself as simply an imposter. This makes believing the "pink cloud" is only temporary much easier and even more realistic. Here is the truth, as I see it. We got ourselves there, and it is up to us to keep ourselves there. How we do that may come down to our perception of how we got there in the first place.
Do I deserve to be here?
Lastly, self-worth has been the bain of my existence for as long as I can remember. I never felt worthy of good things. When they happened, I viewed them as a fluke. When they disappeared, I simply moved on because I did not deserve to have them in the first place. I believe one of the reasons for the temporary stay on the "pink cloud" can be very similar. If we believe we do not deserve to feel good, to feel happy, or to feel euphoric, then we don't, in our own minds. The truth is, we all deserve to feel good, to feel happy, and to feel euphoric. We simply have to change our perceptions of ourselves and our worth. Fortunately, we can convince ourselves of our own self-worth as easily as we can convince ourselves of our lack of self-worth, but it takes practice. Once we begin to travel down the road of self-deprecating behavior, it can feel impossible to ever find our way back to self-love. Instead of discrediting our worthiness on the "cloud," we need to start telling ourselves how much we deserve to be there. We need to give ourselves credit for finding our way. Do not view it as a vacation, view it as a permanent change of address. Stake your claim on the "pink cloud" and vow to never leave your newfound home. Believe you deserve to feel good, to feel happy, and to feel euphoric. I promise you, you do. And, so do I.
But, life doesn't always work that way!
Of course, the obvious rebuttal to my desire to promote the gentrification of the "pink cloud" is life doesn't always feel good, we are not always happy, and we can't always feel worthy. Well, to this rebuttal I present the following counterargument. If you believe this to be true, you are correct. I will concede there is some truth in the rebuttal, however, it is not important whether or not we feel good, feel happy, or feel worthy all the time. What is important, is that we believe the positive to be more a part of our lives than the negative. What is important, is to know beyond all shadow of a doubt, when times feel difficult those are the times in our lives that are truly temporary, fleeting, or mysterious. But, we have to allow ourselves the ability to adopt such a perception. When we do, we not only afford ourselves the opportunity to hold a permanent position on the "pink cloud" but we also afford ourselves the opportunity to feel worthy of holding that position for as long as we desire.
The choice really is ours, and I choose a permanent residence. How about you?