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Pink Cloud - gone but not forgotten.

Old 03-06-2019, 06:18 AM
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SoberSkirt
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Pink Cloud - gone but not forgotten.

Ok. If youíve been sober a couple years and asking yourself whatís next? Where do I go from here? Iíve done the stepwork, I put the time in and got a few sponsees, Iíve read, prayed, been to a retreat or two and got a homegroup but still have this sting that somethingís missing - youíre not alone.

Church seems so unappealing but maybe thatís my disease. AA is awesome but lately I hear the same **** every meeting, from the same people and itís old news and boring. Donít get me wrong - Iíll never stop going but for now, Iím just kinda stagnant.

I want to delve into relapse prevention ideas and keep the ďwhat it was likeĒ fresh and still somehow foster that newcomer passion through whatever means possible.

What are some helpful thoughts on:
1. Relapse prevention
2. Staying ďin the boatĒ - i.e. in the middle of recovery centered lifestyle.
3. Maintaining that drive and newcomer passion to work on my recovery like I used to during my pink cloud.
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Old 03-06-2019, 07:01 AM
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I think at some point I just decided to start working on "life". This works for me. Drinking is not an issue and it will remain a non-issue. I just do other things.
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Old 03-06-2019, 07:15 AM
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At some point, probably about two years, I started to move beyond recovery into just living.

I won't let myself forget that I'm alcoholic and I'm committed to lifelong sobriety, but drinking is a thing of the past. The main reason I stay in recovery circles is to try to help people who are still struggling. And I'm sure it keeps me honest about who I am.

But, really, for me, I would hate to try to recapture my early recovery. I remember being so thrilled with each passing day that I remained sober, and that was a wonderful feeling, but I've got other goals now.

For me, recovery is no longer about not drinking or worrying about not drinking, but how to make the most out of the life that I have left.

I hope you find something that works for you.
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Old 03-06-2019, 07:51 AM
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There's this thing called life....

My pink cloud was a euphoric high, followed by a crash into depression. Which is totally normal. At least initially, I found that the pink cloud itself was a type of high. I was so glad I didn't have that monster in my life anymore, and that the solution to ALL of my problems was a simple as not drinking.

Well, that's absurd, of course. Abstinence is only step one to a fulfilled life. It was after the pink cloud had dissolved that I was able to really work on sobriety.

At this point I'm nearly two years sober, and it's taken that long to get my life into a place where it feels comfortable. When I was drinking, I was 60 pounds heavier, out of shape, single, nearly celibate, in a dead-end job that I loathed with really toxic people, drinking my way through life. Now I'm in great shape, dating and a sexual being again, completely remade my career, and working on some of the demons in my soul that were buried by years of off-and-on drinking and drugging in therapy. Working on my life, and living a sober and fulfilled life. Fresh, vibrant, wide awake, working on living fully in the moment.

I don't do much sobriety practice other than therapy and hanging out with some sober friends I met in my journey, and of course hanging out at our wonderful corner of the internet. This is due to a commitment to never drinking or using addictive drugs again, under any circumstances. I know, with 100% certainty, that I will not ever take a sip of a drink. It's a given, it's solid.

Because life is such an exciting journey that I will never go back to the fuzzy haze of alcohol, the false brittle brightness of cocaine, the paralyzing lethargic euphoria of opiates, or any other state of dulled consciousness.

That's how I roll.
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Old 03-06-2019, 09:46 AM
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Everyone rolls in different ways, but my own personal experience, relevant to at least just me, after 8+ years sober is, I was happier once I moved out of early recovery mode and started spending more time and energy on living life now, rather than staying stuck in the past. I was pretty much recovered, past-tense, after 2-3 years, so maintaining that newcomer passion for recovery seemed misplaced and increasingly irrelevant to what my right-now life was like. I still keep a foot in recovery world, go to a couple meetings a year, maintain a website, post here, etc., but it's a little foot to keep me from forgetting where I was, and to hopefully give a little back to the community. The rest of the time, I'm just another guy who happens to not drink alcohol, and doesn't spend any energy on it.
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Old 03-06-2019, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by willetskillet01 View Post

What are some helpful thoughts on:
1. Relapse prevention
2. Staying “in the boat” - i.e. in the middle of recovery centered lifestyle.
3. Maintaining that drive and newcomer passion to work on my recovery like I used to during my pink cloud.[/left]
1: relapse ends with a drink. a couple things i do to prevent that:
-take accountablity for my life.
-maintain my spiritual condition( steps 10-12)
-practice the principles.
2:having a recovery centered lifestyle had me living in fear- i had to make everything about recovery or id drink. not so. the program was designed for me to have a spiritual awakening and have a spiritually centered life. i do all sorts of things that arent related to recovery now and the program wasnt designed for us to make our lives revolve around recovery:
None of us makes a sole vocation of this work, nor do we think its effectiveness would be increased if we did. We feel that elimination of our drinking is but a beginning. A much more important demonstration of our principles lies before us in our respective homes, occupations and affairs. All of us spend much of our spare time in the sort of effort which we are going to describe.

3: there came a point where i became OK with what i was doing,how i was living, and how i was thinking- i didnt have to work on recovery but had to work on my spiritual condition. i got there my practicing the principles.

its good youre lookin at this willet but be careful about over complicating it. youre right where you are supposed to be and its quite common for this to occur- its another phase of development/spiritual growth
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Old 03-06-2019, 01:39 PM
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I liked Tomsteve's response above. A lot of wisdom there, and experience that I can relate to.

I remember reaching the same spot. I often say the first two years were the most exciting because that was when all the big changes happened. Then, as I was looking around after climbing out of the hole, the question came "So now what?"

The way I was led by my sponsor to practice the program is that when I am working with a newcomer on taking the steps, I am deepening my own experience at the same time. Every newcomer adds something and always brings a new perspective. I work the steps again. alongside him and with him, just as my sponsor did with me and his with him.

One thing that I have had reaffirmed many times is there is no such thing as "relapse prevention" for an alcoholic of my type. The very term is an oxymoron. I can't keep myself sober, neither can any human power. No matter what, I lack the power to make the right, sane decision when the obsession is upon me. Thus remebering what it was like won't save me when I reach that point because the memory never comes with sufficient force. The section of the Big Book dealing with step one is quite emphatic about this experience.

Another point the book makes a lot is that working with others is vital to permanent recovery so how to do that is the question. Maybe it is a matter of perspective.

Maybe my own meeting practice will give you some ideas. I attend one meeting a week, a big book study, where veryone is focussed on the message, recovery, and carrying the message. It is a great environment, never dull or boring, no drama, and safe for all. Hiding in that meeting would be unlikely to keep me sober.

I support three other meetings that are much more like the ones you describe. I don't go to take. I go to give. These groups all have their intractable characters, mental health patients, folks that are there for other reasons than alcoholism. I support them for two main reasons. Firstly to contribute my experience strength and hope about the AA message, and secondly and probably most importantly, to keep an eye out for the real alcoholic newcomer who wanders in the door bewildered and frightened, looking for a solution to his problem.

I guess it is a mindset thing. Do I go to get, or give. I have found long ago that when I go to get, I am always disappointed in the outcome.
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Old 03-06-2019, 02:21 PM
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Maybe try different meetings in your area or stretch beyond your "area." Take a meeting into a rehab......
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Old 03-06-2019, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by willetskillet01 View Post
Ok. If you’ve been sober a couple years and asking yourself what’s next? Where do I go from here? I’ve done the stepwork, I put the time in and got a few sponsees, I’ve read, prayed, been to a retreat or two and got a homegroup but still have this sting that something’s missing - you’re not alone.

Church seems so unappealing but maybe that’s my disease. AA is awesome but lately I hear the same **** every meeting, from the same people and it’s old news and boring. Don’t get me wrong - I’ll never stop going but for now, I’m just kinda stagnant.

I want to delve into relapse prevention ideas and keep the “what it was like” fresh and still somehow foster that newcomer passion through whatever means possible.

What are some helpful thoughts on:
1. Relapse prevention
2. Staying “in the boat” - i.e. in the middle of recovery centered lifestyle.
3. Maintaining that drive and newcomer passion to work on my recovery like I used to during my pink cloud.

I never did a program. I think that’s why I don’t have these thoughts. I started AA but then I thought what if I don’t go to AA? What if I stop? What if I don’t like it? I wanted to quit of my volition, my own decision, because I knew at the end of the day, there was really no one between me and a drink. There was only me.

I quit forever on my day one. I said “no matter what I will never drink again.”

In the meantime I gained weight (and I’m a very active and vain person), I became quite depressed, I lost some friends, then my dad died suddenly and I had an enormous amount of guilt and sadness, I questioned my marriage, I questioned my life choices, I questioned my job....

I’m still sober though. I removed drinking from the equation. For any question, any situation, any heartbreak, any tragedy, any celebration, any holiday, any party: the answer is sobriety. The answer for me is, “I do not drink.”

It is part of who I am. It is now woven into my identity. I am extremely proud of and protective of my sobriety. Sobriety is my number one priority: and it has been, since day one.

But I am not in a program.

What’s next for you? Living. Passions. New projects. New friends. New hobbies. Vacations. New ways of looking at the people you love. New appreciation for nature, for animals, for all of the world’s beauty and gifts.

There is no stop start or finishing sobriety, even though you have completed steps. There is living sobriety, living, breathing, being sobriety. It is a living state of being, where drinking was only about death. Death not only of the physical (eventually), but relationships, jobs, reputation, mental health, spiritual health....drinking embodies death.

Appreciate how you are fully alive, and make it a daily task. We renew ourselves every day, not just when we complete a set of steps.
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Old 03-06-2019, 06:40 PM
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I would like to thank the OP and the rest that contributed to this thread. I've learned a tremendous amount from you all. Gave me some great perspective.
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Old 03-06-2019, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by JeffreyAK View Post
Everyone rolls in different ways, but my own personal experience, relevant to at least just me, after 8+ years sober is, I was happier once I moved out of early recovery mode and started spending more time and energy on living life now, rather than staying stuck in the past. I was pretty much recovered, past-tense, after 2-3 years, so maintaining that newcomer passion for recovery seemed misplaced and increasingly irrelevant to what my right-now life was like. I still keep a foot in recovery world, go to a couple meetings a year, maintain a website, post here, etc., but it's a little foot to keep me from forgetting where I was, and to hopefully give a little back to the community. The rest of the time, I'm just another guy who happens to not drink alcohol, and doesn't spend any energy on it.
What he said (as well as what I said above).
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Old 03-12-2019, 01:56 PM
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I find my emotional sobriety is contingent on my program and doing service. Over the 27 years of recovery there have been periods where my focus shifted and I wasn't as involved as much. During these periods I was more prone to emotional upsets and making mistakes. Now I maintain three meetings per week, have a tough sponsor and life is basically good. It's a program of action ... the more I put into my program the happier I am.
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Old 03-12-2019, 02:18 PM
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I just passed 3 yr sober Feb 21. Each year has been different- I was fighting for my life when I quit. I considered myself a newcomer til probably close to my second year.

In a sense, I do the same stuff I did at the beginning....which essentially means I live with recovery as the backdrop of my life. I had to choose between living and dying (in pretty short order, 1-1.5 yr and I was 39) so I knew I was done physically, I just had to figure out how in the world I was going to get a real life.

Now, I still go to meetings- I just work them around different things than I did last year or at the beginning. I have different responsibilities in life- but all the same ones to myself and sobriety FIRST.

AA was my path and it is my path - I too focus on emotional sobriety and that key word we all know: acceptance. Of everything. Traffic, my husband's ex wife, my back injury healing...getting to this point in my recovery where year 4 feels so different and right now so good that it's made every day and year prior, with its own good, seem like it was all preparing me for now.

Living in 1, 10, 11 and 12 are my focus. 12 to me means the big thing of leading a restaurant industry recovery group and growing it across the nation...and little stuff like making lunch for my husband because I know it makes him feel special. Keeping up with 10/11 is part of why I read the same pp in the BB every, like my first sponsor taught me. Repeat, every day, and while each day is different, my thoughts and decisions are grounded in that backdrop of recovery I described.

Bottom line? My emotional sobriety comes before anything else, as maintaining that well precedes the loss of the physical kind, but what it really means day to day is that it brings me every single good thing I have in this life. And it's a whole lot of pink.
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Old 03-14-2019, 04:23 PM
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Great thread. Thanks everyone.
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Old 03-14-2019, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by NYCDoglvr View Post
I find my emotional sobriety is contingent on my program and doing service. Over the 27 years of recovery there have been periods where my focus shifted and I wasn't as involved as much. During these periods I was more prone to emotional upsets and making mistakes. Now I maintain three meetings per week, have a tough sponsor and life is basically good. It's a program of action ... the more I put into my program the happier I am.
I need to find a way to help other addicts, but AA ain't my jam.

Any ideas?
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Old 03-15-2019, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by MindfulMan View Post
I need to find a way to help other addicts, but AA ain't my jam.

Any ideas?
You are already helping other addicts simply by being here as a participant on SR even if you didn't realize it. If you put the program of AA itself aside, or any recovery group for that matter, every recovery community is basically a group of individuals with a similar goal who support each other. AKA - there's a lot more that's the same between the overall goals of recovery programs/groups than there are differences.

Think of all the newcomers that sign up on SR that are in desperate need of help, or the countless others who never sign up and just come here to read. Sharing what we know and engaging in conversation in itself can be tremendously helpful. Also sharing compassion/hope, even virtually can be huge. Many who come here to SR may not have a single person in their life who cares or even knows about their problem - and a simple "I get it...you are welcome here." goes a long way.
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Old 03-24-2019, 10:30 PM
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I need to find a way to help other addicts, but AA ain't my jam.
Sharing on this and other forums, where alcoholics are looking for help, is a great way to do service. Writing about early recovery, what tips you have for staying sober can be a big help.
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Old 03-24-2019, 11:40 PM
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Originally Posted by ScottFromWI View Post
You are already helping other addicts simply by being here as a participant on SR even if you didn't realize it. If you put the program of AA itself aside, or any recovery group for that matter, every recovery community is basically a group of individuals with a similar goal who support each other. AKA - there's a lot more that's the same between the overall goals of recovery programs/groups than there are differences.

Think of all the newcomers that sign up on SR that are in desperate need of help, or the countless others who never sign up and just come here to read. Sharing what we know and engaging in conversation in itself can be tremendously helpful. Also sharing compassion/hope, even virtually can be huge. Many who come here to SR may not have a single person in their life who cares or even knows about their problem - and a simple "I get it...you are welcome here." goes a long way.
Originally Posted by NYCDoglvr View Post
Sharing on this and other forums, where alcoholics are looking for help, is a great way to do service. Writing about early recovery, what tips you have for staying sober can be a big help.
Thanks for that.

I'm sticking close to SR largely for this reason, even though it's been almost 2 years and my sobriety is pretty rock solid. Although I don't formally AA, it really is my 12th step.

But I want to do more. Like share things one-on-one. I think my sober journey is different because I used so many methods and was cross-addicted to several things over the years. Thinking more like substance use counselor or organizations that help addict/alcoholics.

Anyone know of any organizations that would benefit from volunteers and would allow some actual talking face-to-face with people in recovery?
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Old 03-25-2019, 05:39 AM
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The pink cloud was a great experience, and mine lasted a year. I think maybe I just got used to it and now consider it the new normal, or maybe it was just a temporary reaction to success. While it was a fun ride, I don't miss it. Sure I'd enjoy it again if it showed up out of the blue, but I don't need it, just like I don't need alcohol. I seldom think about either. They are just parts of my past, one which was an ugly nightmare, and the other which was a delightful trip. Now, I'm just here, pretty much content, not wanting things I will never have, confident in my sobriety, and no desire to chase after some kind of high or another. It seems odd in a way. I didn't work to get to some metaphorical plane of higher existence, but I did work on learning how to live without resentments and chaos. It's not like I rose or achieved something out of reach. It's more like I just recognized that where I am right now is something worth having. I left the struggle behind.
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Old 03-25-2019, 07:19 PM
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ďAnyone know of any organizations that would benefit from volunteers and would allow some actual talking face-to-face with people in recovery?Ē
you could check out Lifering, though i donít know how many meetings they might have in SoCal.
you could start one, actually.
www.lifering.org
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