We’ve often heard every dark cloud has a silver lining. But in recovery, we’re often warned about the pink cloud of new sobriety. The pink cloud can be as dangerous as a dark thundering cloud.
It’s a fantastic feeling to come off of an addiction and have life return to normal. It’s nice to feel physically better, have a clear conscience and mind, and to get out of bed in the morning with the feeling that things are turning toward a more positive route.
When the brain is no longer under the rule of addiction, it begins to return to its natural state. The body starts to heal as well, more energy, less fatigue. The torture of fighting an invisible force is over and gives way to peace of mind. Relationships improve at home and work, minus the guilt, remorse, and tensions.
A Temporary Reprieve
It’s important to remember that the pink cloud is a temporary gift. It is there to carry us through the early periods of sobriety by protecting a person from the reality of what addiction has done to our lives. There’s nothing wrong with it all; it’s a natural high resulting from doing the right thing for yourself.
Sooner or later, life gets real again, and the parade gets rained on. It can be unnerving to feel so good and then get hit with an unexpected misfortune. Sometimes newly recovering people find themselves served with divorce papers or fired from a job. It’s difficult to fathom that now, when you’ve stopped the addiction and turned your life around, something bad happens.
Traumatic events can trigger the feeling that no one cares. The current Coronavirus tragedy has closed the doors to meetings and treatment, leaving the newly-sober person out in the cold.
These unexpected bolts of lightning can cause a recovering person to feel that somehow, they are being punished for doing the right thing. Others may not feel strong enough to withstand all the pain that unexpectedly erupts. Consumed by their emotions and at the effect of their thinking, many of these people relapse.
The Cleansing of the Storm
If you’re in the middle of a storm, you need to take shelter. Relapsing will not ensure your safety and will only cause more strife.
Just as mother nature has its ways of cleansing the planet, new recovery calls for the removal of things that are no longer alive and clears the way for new growth. We recently had a hurricane brush against the Florida coastline. After the storm moved on, debris was scattered everywhere. But after a day or two, the sun shone brightly upon the shiny green trees minus the dead limbs, and the trash was swept away.
Marshall told me, “I felt like drinking when my wife said she didn’t want to be married anymore. I was only a couple of months sober, and she didn’t like the new me. I managed to stay sober by doubling down on meetings and helping a new guy. Now, a year later, I wonder why we ever stayed married at all. I suppose I was in love with a memory, and I’d become dependent on her to manage my life. Now that I’ve learned to be single, I can see the divorce was the best thing that could have happened; we just weren’t right for each other.”
A Safe Port
Staying sober is about taking care of ourselves, no matter what is going on around us. If a storm hits, you must hunker down and find safety. You can dance in the rain, but in your right mind, you would not venture out into the middle of a thunder storm and expect good things to happen.
Staying safe when the unexpected happens means using every resource at your disposal to stay sober. Calling people, reading recovery materials, meditating, attending online meetings, and remaining connected no matter what is the only guarantee for safety.
Most important, we can learn to trust that everything is happening for a reason and a purpose. Even though rejection and unwanted change can be the biggest triggers to relapse, we have a choice about how to perceive those events. If we could view those losses as clearing the way for better things to come, wouldn’t it be worth the temporary discomfort?
Addiction always searches for a reason to take us back into the addiction maze. But we have the choice to move backward or forward. We all know what backward means; regret, remorse, and more loss of love. Moving forward means you let go, get shed of baggage, and let new life come to you.
No one will ever take care of you better than you care for yourself. Recovery friends and meetings are your port, but you must grab on for dear life and never let go.
Then and only then will you reach the silver lining that will give way to a new and shining life — a life you were born to live, waiting for you to claim it.
Without addiction, you are in command of your life. Never give up on yourself, no matter what, no matter what.
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If you want to connect with Dr. Donna Marks, and find out about her tools and programs on how to Reclaim Your Power Over Addiction, visit her website https://drdonnamarks.com/
About the Author — Dr. Donna Marks is a licensed psychotherapist and an addictions counselor in Palm Beach, Florida. She has worked with over 6,000 clients. Donna’s struggle with addiction brought her to a worldwide search for healing. Eventually, she learned that rather than the root of every addiction was a lack of self-love. This realization completely turned her life around. In 1989, as part of her award-winning doctoral degree, Donna developed a chemical dependency training program at Palm Beach Community College, which has grown into a four-year degree. She is a certified Gestalt Therapist, Psychoanalyst, Hypnotist, and Sex Therapist. For 30 years, she has also taught A Course in Miracles.
Donna is the author of two books: Learn, Grow, Forgive: A Path to Spiritual Success, and the award-winning: Exit the Maze: One Addiction, One Cause, One Cure.
Donna is a public speaker and has shared her methods with hundreds of thousands of listeners on podcasts and radio shows.
www.drdonnamarks.com 561–436–9360 firstname.lastname@example.org
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