by Brooke L. (Munro 2014)
As a newcomer in the AA program, my progress and demeanour often seem subject to the opinions of many. While I enjoy and value learning from others who have more experience in the program, sometimes the commentary is a bit patronizing.
I’m happy to be free of the slavery that constituted my drinking career and it shows. After meetings and in the company of my fellows I am always smiling; in fact, it seems I’m smiling a lot lately because I am filled with the joy that sober living can bring.
Apparently, according to some of my more seasoned peers, I am on a pink cloud. The first time I heard this I thought it was cute, the notion that because I am grateful to be sober and am enthusiastic about the program, I am somehow misguided to the actual realities of my new life.
After hearing it repeatedly, though, I wasn’t quite so amused. The implication is that I’m wearing rose-coloured glasses and can’t yet see the forest for the trees. It’s true that I’m early enough in and I have no crystal ball to tell me what’s coming down the road, but is there some issue with being consistently cheerful and optimistic?
The journey thus far has had its peaks and valleys. I’m working my way back into life after being a space cadet on and off for years. There is a sharp learning curve for my mind and sprit as I begin to live life on real terms. I can no longer hide behind the bottle when faced with feelings, decisions or simply being an actual human, which are all things I used to do as inebriated as possible.
I do get that my life, or my personality for that matter, isn’t going to suddenly be shaped into perfection because of my getting sober. I do however know that I have a tool kit for going forward that includes my higher power, my sponsor and my fellows, so that I will thrive and live abundantly. This makes me smile, it makes me pleasant, it relieves the fear and worry I have been harbouring inside since I was a child. I am joyous, so I’m not sure why I occasionally feel that I need to apologize for not being an emotional mess! If being on a pink cloud means that I am learning to live contentedly in sobriety, then I’ll take it.
One puzzling encounter that left me somewhat annoyed came at the ORC (Ontario Regional Conference), my first big AA convention. The whole weekend was dominated by a sense of gregarious elation, mixing in and out of the giant crowds all gathered together for the same purpose. The keynote speaker and the dinner-dance that followed stands out as one of my best evenings this year.
The next day I was literally bounding around, bolstered by the jubilant energy of the whole event. Granted, I was extra smiley that day, but it was diminished by a slight from a person who said, “Aha. You’re on a pink cloud. Just wait for what comes next,” followed by a knowing smirk. He had the same patronizing tenor I had heard before from others, with just a dash of bitter pessimism added in as though he were waiting for my bubble to burst. I think he was just an unhappy person in spite of his program, but I walked away from our interaction feeling a bit more guarded in letting the joy out. This guy, like a few others, labours under the illusion that newcomers know nothing. I’m well aware that every weekend can’t be like my first ORC, but there’s no harm in enjoying the fruits of sobriety when I can.
Listening to those who have many years in the program is very enlightening. They are a wonderful resource for a newcomer learning to live with physical, mental, emotional and spiritual sobriety. In turn, happy newcomers like myself can help remind everyone about the benefits of being enthusiastic about their programs.
I hope the guy who had the irksome pink cloud comment finds joy, contentment and peace in his sobriety and that is one of the beauties of the program. In the past, I would have slammed him and put him on my virtual dislike list. Now, I simply hope that he finds a path toward peace and serenity.
I feel just as strongly about AA as I did on my first day of discovering that there was a solution and I hope I carry that throughout my journey. Because pink clouds have silver linings worth holding on to.