Many times, two words can evoke meaningful moments and ideas.
When it comes to two-word phrases related to the recovery journey, however, the meaning might not always be immediately clear. Take, for example, “pink cloud,” “rock bottom,” and “dry drunk.” All three of these phrases have a specific and important meaning for a person who is struggling with drugs or alcohol or who is in recovery from a substance use disorder.
Let’s take a look at each of these recovery-related phrases.
What is the Pink Cloud?
“Pink cloud” refers to a feeling of euphoria some people experience in the early days after they have regained their sobriety. When the pink cloud is in your personal sky, it can feel like all is right in the world and nothing could possibly go wrong or upset your new sober life.
That sounds pretty wonderful, right? And truthfully, it is entirely understandable. When you have been through treatment for a substance use disorder and come out the other side with your sobriety, you have plenty of reason to celebrate.
Still, the idea of a pink cloud gives a hint as to why this post-treatment swell of positive feelings is something to keep an eye on. Clouds, by their very nature, don’t stick around forever. And a pink cloud? Well, if the light hits the clouds just right, it might give those clouds a pink tinge, but that would be even more fleeting than the clouds themselves.
So, “pink cloud” refers to a fleeting set of powerful positive feelings. The danger is that you might loosen up on your recovery strategies during the time the pink cloud hovers above you. You might decide you don’t need to go to recovery meetings. You might decide you can handle a night out with your old friends—even those ones who are still drinking or using drugs. You might decide you don’t need to pursue ongoing mental health therapy because you just feel so good.
But then, when the pink cloud dissipates, you might find yourself ill equipped to face some real challenges—like cravings or boredom or what have you. And that means you could go from pink cloud to relapse in a hurry.
The key, then, is to keep the pink cloud in perspective. Do the hard work of recovery even when recovery does not feel like hard work.
What is a Dry Drunk?
As a rule, you won’t find us referring to anyone as a drunk in this blog. It is a negative term that fails to accurately describe a person who is struggling with a substance use disorder. But the term “dry drunk” has a specific meaning, and so we are making an exception.
A “dry drunk” is someone who has regained their sobriety but has not addressed the parts of their life that may have contributed to the development of a substance use disorder. Those can include untreated trauma-centered mental health disorders, ongoing life stressors, and more.
When a person meets the definition of a dry drunk, they are at increased risk of relapse, and so it is important to address the full range of issues that might be entangled with your substance use disorder.
You can learn more about the characteristics and challenges of a “dry drunk” in this blog entry.
What is Rock Bottom?
Our first two phrases refer to conditions that might pop up after treatment for a substance use disorder. Our third two-word phrase refers to something that might keep you from getting the help you need as soon as you should.
“Rock bottom” is a slippery concept that a person who is struggling with drugs or alcohol might employ to put off going to treatment.
Sure, I’m drinking a little too much, but I’ll go to treatment if I ever hit rock bottom.
At first, hitting rock bottom might mean waking up someplace you don’t remember going. Then that happens, and you decide that rock bottom means getting into a fight because you were drinking and out of control. And then that happens, and you decide rock bottom means getting picked up for drunk driving. And then that happens.
You can see how this constant redefining of “rock bottom” can cause problems—often extremely serious problems. That is why our advice is to forget about the idea of rock bottom. The time to get help for a substance use disorder is always immediately—not some ill-defined time down the road. The sooner you get help, the sooner you can reclaim your sobriety and your life.
You can read more about the dangers of “rock bottom” thinking in this blog entry.
Two More Words for You: Get Treatment
At French Creek Recovery Center in Meadville, PA, we provide personalized treatment for substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders that may be entangled with them. You can count on our combination of expertise and empathy—as well as on our continuum of care, which ensures you start your recovery journey with ongoing support and resources.
Don’t wait. Get treatment. Right now.