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The Pink Cloud

Here’s a funky sounding topic that I would like to discuss with you guys today regarding recovery. This is the concept known as “The Pink Cloud”. Essentially, the Pink Cloud is this blissful state an addict can have immediately after being released from treatment, or at some point during their recovery, where they may think they are doing quite good (exceptionally good. They may even be feeling an almost euphoric state, while they are experiencing this new release from their addictions) ~ and yes, while they /are/ doing great to be entering these phases in their recoveries, they are generally forgetting the fact that they are typically at one of the very first phases of recovery. One does not simply walk out of treatment, feel better because of it, and get to walk away a changed person; as if nothing ever happened in the blink of an eye. Sure, we’d all love for it to be like that (maybe. Then again, I could see it completely removing many people’s sense of need for even a semblance of responsibility in substance usage), but unfortunately, the fact-of-the-matter is that there is a process to recovery. There is at least, I feel, a process that applies to all forms of recovery at the most basic of levels, and it is critical that the steps of this process are followed, so as to ensure the final success of a life celibate from whatever chemicals or destructive habits have needed fixing. This Pink Cloud effect is very real. I was first taught about it in a PHP session back in March of 2020, right before COVID lockdowns started (literally, probably the week before, we had to cancel the PHP sessions from at-site to virtual after the first two weeks or so), and at the time we were being taught about the Pink Cloud, I was definitely riding one pretty heavily *my mind drifts to Joji’s music video for “Head In The Clouds”*. I was participating in the PHP course, shyly, as usual, but still trying to contribute, I was cooking a little bit at home for my family, and conversation with my family was going quite smoothly just in-general. But I definitely wasn’t doing well in recovery. And I definitely still was craving GABAergics, and I wound up ordering some etizolam, and wound up screwing up dosages on it one evening, which carried over into about a 48hr blackout, much to the counselor’s anger with me. I’m lucky she didn’t just immediately call the inpatient facility back that I had been at before the PHP sessions I had started (and you want to know something? I’m pretty sure I wound up dosing a little more etizolam during a PHP session a week or two later. Not to that extent, but I was still very noticeably impaired. Oh, to finally be putting that garbage behind me). So yeah, you can think you are doing real well, and be doing absolutely terrible. The moment our counselor gave us our lesson on it, I was able to gently float back down to earth, or, as gently as my mind could at the time, as I had been suffering pretty severe depersonalization/derealization, along with very severe anhedonia (something unbeknownst to me back then however, and that I *definitely* need to discuss on here sometime). I think that I have been doing better with the whole “Pink Cloud” thing this time around, mainly I believe because I already knew to look out for it. I’ve been feeling very very good about how my recovery has been doing this past week or so, and today that got me thinking about the whole Pink Cloud-thing. It made me want to analyze my situation, and determine how much of it is in the Cloud, and how much of it is recovery-based. While I am sure that I am in somewhat of a Pink Cloud right now, I truly do believe that I am actually progressing in my recovery. My brain feels like it is functioning more like it did when I was 18, so, more like it did before my benzodiazepine abuse started picking up in a heavier fashion. I am getting exercise daily, completing my calorie rings on my watch by up to 400%, if not even 500% sometimes. I am interacting with family, with friends. I’m cooking, I’m drawing, I’m dancing, I’m doing photography again, I’m listening to music (so, my hobbies are back), and I have a much more renewed interest in learning new things. I even started this blog. And then most of all (and this is truly what is speaking to me), people are giving me actual feedback that they feel that I am doing better in my life. So while all of this feels very new, and very strange (thus some of my confusion as to Pink Could vs genuinely just actual recovery), I do think that I am on a general upward trend. I just need to make an appointment with my LPC, and talk to him about these new feelings that I have been starting to get over the past week or so, essentially ~ I am well overdue for a visit as it is, and anyone in recovery should be keeping tip-top shape of their mental hygiene. We all should be doing that, to be completely honest. My last note, before I close, is about reintegration ~ just a comment that I was making to my dad on the way home from the local market today. If you are in recovery, and are like me, and finally feel like you’re life is starting to trickle back in, consider starting to integrate part of your normal ( non-depressed, non-using) life routine back into it. Recovery is a great thing, but your life is even better, and unfortunately, recovery can be this thing that people can get caught in after addiction. I’ve seen it happen plenty of times ~ an addict will enters into recovery, super vulnerable after addiction, and goes into the recovery community, which obviously, is going to welcome them with open arms. And while I encourage anyone to get all of the help that they need in recovery, as an addict, it can be easy to get stuck in this comfortable lifestyle. It is important to push yourself to keep moving forward in life, and everything that you do!

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