And the first thing you know I was lifted right out of the A.A. group, and I floated higher, and higher, and even higher, until I was way up on a pink cloud which is known as Pink Seven, and I felt miserable again. So I thought to myself, I might just as well be drunk as feel like this. (Alcoholics Anonymous pg. 304 – “Physician Heal Thyself)
A “pink cloud” that is called the “Pink Seven,” what does that mean? If you have never really experienced these terms in the recovery sense, they may be a little strange and alien to you. But, many of us know or may even be experiencing the emotion that these terms describe.
I have stumbled across these terms periodically in older 12 Step literature and in my travels inn recovery circles (mostly used by “Old Timers”). The usage suggests that the term describes a feeling of being better since starting recovery that comes soon after starting recovery. It isn’t just a normal feeling good that is a result of being sober, the usage describes a euphoric feeling that convinces a person that he or she is better than cured. It is often described as an “emotionally high” that often convinces a person new to recovery that he or she is so strong n his or her recovery that relapse seems impossible and that he or she is now some kind of expert in recovery.
Part of the idea conveyed in this term is the idea that this “pink cloud” is just the build up to a big letdown. The point is that it is an overly emotional feeling that makes a person think he or she already has what he or she desperately needs and thus that person will not work his or her recovery.
I have periodically (mostly with younger 12 Steppers trying to use the term) heard this term used for anyone that is felling better at all in early recovery. I don’t know that I would use a term like this for everyone that feels a little better due to sobriety, but it is something that all of us should watch for in early recovery.
The author above is describing the worst cases of “pink clouds” as the “Pink Seven” (like the term “Seventh Heaven” = extreme happiness or bliss) and gives us a brief description of the feeling. A feeling like he was lifted out of the group and such joy that it could only be described as floating. Then suddenly, he felt miserable and some of know that crazy idea that comes next: “If I’m gonna be miserable anyway, why not be high or drunk?”
Then someone who had more “clean time” and had seen all of this a few times helped him understand:
“Why, there’s nothing wrong with you. You’ve been sober for three months, been working hard. You’ve been doing all right.” But then he said, “Let me say something to you. We have here
in this community an organization which helps people, and this organization is known as Alcoholics Anonymous. Why don’t you join it?” I said, “What do you think I’ve been doing?” “Well,” he said, “you’ve been sober, but you’ve been floating way up on a cloud somewhere. Why don’t you go home and get the Big Book and open it at page seventy and see what it says?”
So I did. I got the Big Book and I read it, and this is what it said:
“Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.” The word “thoroughly” rang a bell. And then it went on to say: “Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point.” And the last sentence was “We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.”
“Complete abandon”; “Half measures availed us nothing”; “Thoroughly follow our path”; “Completely give oneself to this simple program”—rang in my swelled head. (Alcoholics Anonymous pgs. 304-305 – “Physician Heal Thyself)
This person was giving him a hard time, but he definitely made his point. The guy in the story had been working on recovery and started feeling great until he “felt miserable.” He was feeling kinda better but he was having a “Pink Seven” experience and the whole feeling was more of a fake experience that can only lead to bigger problem. The guy who pulled him to the side lets him know that he had been doing good stuff and had a few months of sobriety but, that he was not yet down to earth
The man in the story had been working through recovery stuff but had gotten so excited in recovery he had separated himself from what the program actually was. He had been feeling so good that in his feeling good he had missed the point.
The guy who redirected him in his recovery referred him to page 70 in the Alcoholics Anonymous book. If you go to page 70 in the Alcoholics Anonymous book you will not find any of these terms there. That is because in the first printings of the Alcoholics Anonymous book “The Doctor’s Opinion” which is currently not on normally numbered pages was the beginning of the book at page 1. In the current editions of the Alcoholics Anonymous book, the page that is referred to is page 59:
At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.
Remember that we deal with alcohol-cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power-that One is God. May you find Him now!
Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.
Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:
(Alcoholics Anonymous pgs 58-59)
So, what is the solution to this “pink cloud” and the worst cases of this “pink cloud” called “the Pink Seven?” So far this is just food for thought, In my next post, we will look at this a bit deeper to get a better understanding.