The Pink Cloud is a concept often discussed in recovery. The idea is that when you first get sober, you are on a pink cloud where everything is wonderful, but then life intervenes and it is back to valley of reality. I always rebel at the inevitability of “falling off” of the pink cloud or the mountain top experience of early recovery. From my perspective, the longer I live into recovery, the closer I live to the mountain top and the fewer and less prolonged are my descents into the valleys. In recovery, simply knowing that the mountain top is there, that I can choose to go back there is often enough. The mountain top is not contingent on issues of health, finances, what my spouse is doing, the weather, who is in government office, how loud the dog next door is barking ad nauseam. The mountain top is contingent on the choices I make. For example, in identical situations, whether a crying baby in a check out line elicits my empathy or irritation is contingent upon me, not the crying baby.
So much seems contingent on my orientation or perspective. Am I looking toward the mountain top or looking toward the valley? I take tremendous inspiration from simple actions like driving sober, the transitioning in my thinking from not being able to drink today to not having to drink today, to being open to possibilities as opposed to being obsessed with the bottle, of celebrating relationships as opposed to fearing them.
The mountain top/pink cloud is critical to my recovery because it cannot be taken away. The experience is mine forever. This truth is integral to my recovery that I proclaim loudly. For too many years I waited for the other foot to drop. I have decided to discontinue the wait. In recovery, I have experienced the health issues, the deaths, the familial crises, the economic problems, the loss of job, and so forth. But the mountain top of recovery is still there and looms large.