Seven Days Without a Prayer Makes One Weak

I have never been a religious person. I used to consider myself an atheist but now I consider myself more of an agnostic. Religion still boggles my mind and makes me feel uneasy. I think it’s mostly because when I was a child no one actually explained it to me and what was its purpose. Therefore most of my life I did not have any beliefs, or spirituality, or a version of a Higher Power, but I always knew that there was a spirit looking over me – how else was I still alive after so many alcohol induced disasters.

Do not let any prejudice you may have against spiritual terms deter you from honestly asking yourself what they mean to you. Who are you to say there is no God?–AA, Big Book, pg 47

When I started my recovery journey, I couldn’t stay sober for more than a few months at a time. I kept thinking that I was missing something very important. Being part of a 12-step program I was often reminded that I needed a Higher Power, a God of my understanding, or a belief in something greater. I needed a spiritual path, and a faith of some kind. This was quite a tall order for my skeptical mind, and was not having any part of it.

But after many relapses I changed my mind and I was ready to try anything. I knew I was missing some kind of spirituality and I decided that if I couldn’t just believe, I would try accept it. I decided to let go of all my old beliefs and bought a little necklace with a cross pendant. It felt really uncomfortable wearing it at first because it symbolized all that I didn’t believe in, but then again, what could it hurt I assumed, it’s just a necklace, like a rabbits foot, a favorite shirt, or a crystal with special powers! 

We had to fearlessly face the proposition that either God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is, or He isn’t. What was our choice to be?–AA, Big Book, page 77

Then I started praying. First it was just a simple “Please help me stay sober.” and “Thank you for keeping me sober.” Then during the night when I could not sleep, I repeated the serenity prayer until I fell asleep.

I found myself praying in times of hardship, and asking for patience, acceptance and forgiveness. When I was faced with difficult people, I asked to be compassionate and caring. When I had financial troubles, I asked to have my worries taken away. I often used lines out of the Lord’s Prayer when dealing with my own wrongs and forgiveness; “and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

God grant me the serenity , to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.–Reinhold Niebuhr

This simple act of praying had became something much bigger than I would have ever imagined. It became my hope and faith! I even noticed that my urge to drink was lifted and life started to bloom around me. My heart got softer and kinder. I was smiling more often and I began to feel happy!

My spirituality has grown to something quite amazing since then, and today I truly believe that there is a Higher Power that cares for all of us. I still don’t believe in socialized religion but that’s OK. I have admired many Christian prayers and I have been able to rely on many Buddhist teachings.

For all of you who are still not quite sure, and are still looking for some scientific proof, I found this interesting article on WebMd, about a scientist who has spent many years studying the power of prayer.

For the past 30 years, Harvard scientist Herbert Benson, MD, has conducted his own studies on prayer. He focuses specifically on meditation, the Buddhist form of prayer, to understand how the mind affects the body. All forms of prayer, he says, evoke a relaxation response that quells stress, quiets the body, and promotes healing.

As an individual goes deeper and deeper into concentration, intense activity begins taking place in the brain’s parietal lobe circuits — those that control a person’s orientation in space and establish distinctions between self and the world. Benson has documented a “quietude” that then envelops the entire brain. The mind-body connection dissolves, Benson says.

Full article: Can Prayer Heal?

What is the Pink Cloud & How It Affects Your Recovery

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Photo by Ithalu Dominguez on Pexels.com

Many people suffering from addictions are known to live in high extremes when they are using. This tendency often remains in progression after they become clean or sober. Thus, many people in early recovery go through a phase of extra-heightened happiness and excitement that often even creates euphoria about their newfound life in recovery. This phase in recovery is often referred to as the Pink Cloud.

The Pink Cloud often affects new people in recovery who are experiencing excessively optimistic outlook on their life and recovery itself. It almost seems like they are untouchable by anything negative and they seem to be wearing a pair of “rose-colored” glasses. Yet we all know that early recovery is quite difficult and it often throws many challenges our way as well as a rollercoaster of emotions that at times may be hard to manage.

There is much to learn about yourself once you decide to stop drinking and the good news is that most of it is positive. However, for many of us, a life spent in addiction means that we may not have a place to live, or a job, or any real means to provide for ourselves once we enter recovery. Therefore, this dramatic contrast of feeling that everything is just “perfect” may be dangerous at this time. These feelings may manifest themselves as a coping mechanism to protect the newcomer from the often-harsh reality of early recovery.

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Photo by Jeff Nissen on Pexels.com

The Pink Cloud feeling is not an undesirable experience itself; on the contrary, it is quite pleasurable. For many in recovery, it is such a great relief to be finally free of the destructive cycle of addiction, that nothing seems better at this time. In addition, after years of numbness, the emotions become alive once again, and life can feel wonderful. These are all emotions that the individual in recovery deserves to feel and experience for as long as possible. However, the concern is that it can become out of hand – people can become too high, and lose sight of what is important. The person can feel so confident that they become complacent about their recovery. There is also the risk that once the emotions stabilize, feelings of disappointment may be overpowering.

While being clean and sober is an exceptional accomplishment, it is important to stay on track with the recovery plan. People who experience the Pink Cloud period, feel temporarily great, but there are dangers to this overwhelming euphoria so it may be especially important to stay connected with your support network, continue working through the recovery process, and be aware of these three points:

  • Pink Cloud feelings will not last forever and a sudden return to the reality might be quite devastating.
  • Overconfidence may cause complacency about recovery, which then can lead to the risk of relapse.
  • Ignoring life’s problems during this time will not make them go away, they will only surface later and seem bigger than before.

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Photo by Mantas Hesthaven on Pexels.com

For those of us who have experienced recovery from addiction and have not experienced the Pink Cloud, it does not mean that we are doing recovery wrong, or that we are not exceptionally excited about our new life. It just means that our journey is a bit different. Therefore, when we see a newcomer in the Pink Cloud stage, we can be supportive and encouraging of their progress and offer hope and inspiration. At the same time, we may be in a good place to help the newcomer to beware of the Pink Cloud euphoria, which may be short-lived and painful once it ends. It is important to encourage the newly sober person to stay on track and work the program of recovery.

The ultimate problem with Pink Cloud is not the exceptional high that can be experienced early in the process, but it is the risk and fallout of not staying on track with the process to maintain sobriety. The great delights in early recovery are there to be enjoyed and cherished as much as possible when we stop drinking, as long as we also keep our focus on the recovery process itself.

Have you experienced the Pink Cloud phase in recovery? We would love to hear about it!