Most addicts spend their lives chasing the next high. Always in a quest to feel like they did that very first time they got drunk or high. Most never attain that same initial feeling. So they keep using. They keep digging that hole deeper and deeper. Recovery can be the same way. Chasing that initial feeling you had when you first went sober.
Pink Cloud is what it is commonly referred to in the recovery community. The initial euphoric feeling of new sobriety. That awesome feeling of thinking you can take over the world in your new found lifestyle. Nothing can stop your sobriety! You’ve found a way to get sober, and think you have found a way to stay sober the rest of your life. The Pink Cloud can be very dangerous to your recovery if not handled right after you come down from this sense of euphoria.
For me I took a long time thinking about going sober and living a life in recovery before I actually stopped drinking. But, when I did I felt amazing. I had this sense of clarity and understanding of my life and the situations I was in when I went sober. I also had this new found feeling about my faith and spirituality. I had never felt so close to God in my entire life. I was reading my Big Book and my Bible all the time. Using this strength I had come upon to learn more about my new life in recovery and also learn how to be a better Christian.
I experienced this Pink Cloud with both of those things. I was unstoppable. I had laid out plans to learn to mentor other recovering alcoholics and also to be a reflection of Christ. I learned so much during this time. But then I came down. I became complacent. My Big Book was being used as a stand for my computer monitor and my Bible lay tucked away in a bookshelf untouched for nearly a year.
I had relapsed.
Not in my sobriety, but my faith. I fell away from God. He was always in the back of my mind, but never at the forefront anymore. For many, this Pink Cloud does result in relapse from their sobriety.
After that initial high wore off, I was trying to find ways to get back in touch with that part of my life. I made really bad decisions on purpose so I would feel like there was something I needed to repent for to bring me closer to God again. I would buy new Bibles in an effort to boost interest again. I would also have thoughts of drinking again so I would relapse and then go sober again to see if I could get that same feeling. I’ve heard a lot of peoples testimonies sharing this same thought, with some actually going through with that thought and relapsing.
The best advice I can give for not picking up another drink just so you can fail and then go sober again, is to not get complacent or over-confident. Understand that we are still weak to our disease and it can rear it’s ugly head up at any moment. Being to confident in sobriety can make you disregard your temptations and triggers. Be humble and know that we are all human and can trip up. Always be aware of your triggers.
The faith relapse is a little harder for me to understand because I am still at a point in my life where I really wish I could feel as spiritual as I did when I first went sober. I don’t feel like that great of a Christian because of this disconnect.
“How I long for the months gone by, for the days when God watched over me, when his lamp shone on my head and by his light I walked through darkness! Oh, for the days when I was in my prime, when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house, when the Almighty was still with me and my children were around me, when my path was drenched with cream and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil.
Job 29:2-6 (NIV)
When I was reading Job, I came across 26:2-6. It reflected a very similar feeling to mine in my faith at this time in my life. I have been desperately longing for that feeling of closeness to God again.
It feels like God has stopped talking to me. It feels as though he has stopped guiding me through this difficult part of my sobriety. Through this feeling of being lost in my faith and if it is actually working. I have been getting very angry because of this. I didn’t know where to go. That was until I was watching the movie “God’s Not Dead 2.” There was an amazing quote that put this entire thing into perspective for me. It helped me become more adamant than ever to get through this low point in my faith.
“The teacher is always quiet during the test.”
God’s Not Dead 2
I take this in one way. God set me up for a reason. I felt so great during that initial sobriety and learned so much about me and my faith. After that the flame started to fizzle out. Until now. I choose to believe God gave me every tool necessary to bring myself out of a slump. He directed me to the information I would need for right now. He wants to see if I can actually use what I was taught, or if I was paying attention.
I was paying attention. I just didn’t realize it at the time.
The best advice I can give, given my current situations in faith and sobriety, is that you need to stick with it. Nothing will be accomplished by giving up. Be steadfast in your ways and trust that God has your best interest at heart and he has a plan for you. He will speak to you when he is ready and when you actually need it the most, not just when you think it’s time.
But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”
2 Chronicles 15:7 (NIV)