The Pink Cloud of Early Sobriety
Rainbows and puppies, sunshine and kittens, rainbows and unicorns... we know life isn't always (actually is very rarely) any of these. But, we still want to reach for the pretty picture. It's around the next corner, right? After that promotion? After that closet is finally organized? After I come up with the perfect reward system for the kids? Once we go on that vacation?
After I stop drinking?
I learned last week that the optimism and "high on life" feeling I've been experiencing since Day 14 or so of being alcohol-free is called "the pink cloud." I would be lying if I said I wasn't a bit deflated to hear that this newfound positive outlook I am so excited about is just considered a phase. I sure hope not. It makes me feel like others out there are just waiting for me to join them in their misery.
I think the real intention of the "pink cloud" warnings are to help us understand that life goes on, good and bad. While not drinking is a great step in the right direction for anyone (at definitely for me, right now), it isn't going to be a giant EASY button. I am still going to have misunderstandings with my husband, still going to get my feelings hurt, still get frustrated when my kids whine or leave dirty socks on the floor or interrupt every. time. I. speak.
All of these familiar frustrations will continue in varying degrees, and there will likely be new, unfamiliar, and unwelcome changes as well. They may be even harder to face since I won't be numbing my feelings with a glass of Chardonnay at dinnertime.
But, I will actually be present. I will see what is happening to me and feel the emotions that rise up... those warning flares my mind and body are sending, telling me to pay attention and make a change. Stop. Breathe. I will be able to sit with the discomfort for at least a few breaths in order to be aware of the present moment, and not get carried away by anxious thoughts. And, hopefully, by holding it close, to in turn be able let go of some pain.
I am on day 39 of my alcohol-free journey. I am shooting for 1 year sober, and will go from there. I don't consider myself an alcoholic, but a seeker who is looking for a whole-hearted life. Deciding to not drink is a major step in discovering who I really am and pursuing my Soul's journey.
Maybe I am in a pink cloud. I actually think my bright pink cloud has started to scatter already, what with bickering kids, a stressed husband, and a miserable cold. That's ok. Let the the cynics have their laugh. I hope the cloud comes back stronger tomorrow. Either way, I'll just keep going, not in pursuit of sunshine and kittens, but heading toward the light.