Chasing the “Pink Cloud.”

Pink Cloud, Bad Storm. . .

All too often we hear the term “Pink Cloud” around the rooms of recovery. What does it really mean? The Pink Cloud is usually the first time we feel exceptionally good in early recovery, however, we must be careful not to fall into a “zeal” that the basic text talks about.

The pick cloud period is between the 30-90 day mark. We are committed to the program, staying clean and our new associations. We are met with success in our lives, maybe for the first time. The judge is off our back, we have a job and the home life is improving. Our bodies and minds, not under the influence of poison, are able to process and function as they were intended. For once, we are beaming beacons, radiating hope and gratitude. Virtually glowing in the program, it’s known as “riding the pink cloud.” (Unofficially)

Floating on this pink cloud can be a trap for a few reasons, here’s two we might consider: 1) It’s easy to forget that the program works a day at a time, 2) Just because we feel good and are met with success is not a reason to let up in recovery. We should feel good about recovery, ourselves, and the program. Our bodies and minds are healing and we feel better about things in general each new day. The pink cloud can last for awhile, but when storms come, or we think we have “kicked” addiction, we are only fooling ourselves. There is no shelter in the pink cloud, we can be taken out or take ourselves out of recovery just as quickly as we came in, then, we are there with white key tag in hand, wondering “what happened?”

Denial and rationalization during this period in recovery is usually what happens. We think, sometimes logically, that because the obsession to use has been lifted that: A) we are free from addiction, and B) maybe we were never an addict to begin with. These two myths come crashing into the pink cloud and we’re in a place we can’t get out of clean if we persist with this “logic.”

So, in parting, remember to stay clean just for today, work your program, and feel good!

-Terminal Hip

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Part II: The Power of Autonomy.

Tradition 4:  Each group should be autonomous, except in matter affecting other groups as NA as a whole.

Step 4:  We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

In Part I of this topic, we explored the 7th tradition and the seventh step as it relates self governing of the addict and various groups.  Today, we’ll look at tradition 4 and step 4 pertaining to autonomy.

First, on an individual level, the program, through step 4, asks us to examine our “inventory,” the process of going through our assets and liabilities.  The inventory process may be hard on us, emotionally and psychologically but it is necessary for us to do an honest self appraisal if we are to grow and change in the program of NA.  Why?  If we do not understand ourselves, we will be unable to clear the wreckage of our past, and to make strides in achieving our goals in recovery.  We need to get out all that shame, guilt, and remorse we have been carrying with us all of these year.  We need also to celebrate the good qualities we have too.  It’s important to carry with us a positive framework when working this step because as the Basic Text cautions, we are neither all “good” or all “bad.”

Next, tradition 4 asks the groups to remain autonomous, except in matters affecting other groups or NA as a whole.  In this fashion, each group has a voice in the process of recovery in Narcotics Anonymous.  Through their autonomy, they are a self governing entity that is able to decide and vote on new policies that affect their group, their area, their region, or the NA body as a whole.  We ask the HP of our understanding to guide us in this process- much like the addict asking their HP to help them through the inventory process.  Additionally, both the step and the tradition can be very liberating for the addict as well as the group.

Autonomy, is part of ourselves we recover through the 4th step process, and is a refreshing change from being tied to the wreckage of our past and a chronic, perpetual, disease that we fall prey to time and again.  As to the group, autonomy grants leverage and power to the fellowship and NA.  This empowerment of trusted servants, allows the group and NA to carry out their primary purpose in a better modicum- “. . .To carry the message.”

Autonomy in the sense of the group, allows the group to deal with problems with the infrastructure of NA, as a whole, without outside issues and personalities blockading progress of motions and policy.  In a similar fashion, the individual gets perspective on their life and challenges through a thorough 4th  step.  Thus, autonomy can be achieved for both the group and the addict.

 

The Power of Autonomy.

Tradition VII:  “Every NA group ought be fully self-supporting, declining outside contribution.”

Step VII: “We humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings.”

What do the above quotes have in common one may ask?  In active addiction, we are very self-centered and self-seeking.  We care only about our next high, or fix.  The disease of addiction rules our hearts, minds, body and spirit.  The only form of government we understand is “more” of the DOC (Drug of Choice.)  We never consider being self-supporting, or governing ourselves. . .this seems to be beyond the comprehension of the using addict.  Control is an illusion- that’s one of the first things we learn in recovery, so how do we become acceptable, responsible members of society if we are  hindered with such a defective shortcoming?  Only our HP (Higher Power) can remove a shortcoming in their own time.  Lets examine for a moment, the difference between a shortcoming and a character defect (Step VI&VII.)  A shortcoming is often ingrained into our persona, something we have limited or no control of, a character defect is something that we act upon to generate or achieve a desired result, from ourselves or others.  A shortcoming could be manifested by a character defect if we act on the defect so often that it becomes ritual, instinctive, and almost automatic.  So for our purpose here, let us think of a shortcoming as a personal handicap, and a character defect as something we are able to regulate, but choose not to.  In relation to our Tradition 7, about groups being fully self supporting- let apply this to Step 7, and to the individual, in regards to the removal of shortcomings.

The various NA groups need to be self-supporting in order to safe guard their autonomy, or the ability to govern themselves.  The addict, in recovery,  needs their personal shortcomings removed by a power greater than themselves so they do not have to be encumbered, or burdened by consistently irrational thoughts and gross action.  In this fashion, the addict and the group is able to establish “freedom.”

At first, self governing for the addict in early recovery can be very daunting.  This is the nature of the disease.  We are taught that every action and thought may be rooted in a sub-conscious, or latent desire to return to active addiction and using.  That is why these steps and processes are saved for later in the program.  Personally, I was afraid to make decisions early on in recovery.  That is why we network, and have a sponsor to feedback to and work the steps with.  But I remember the first “autonomous” decision I made for myself- it was to give recovery, and in turn the NA culture an earnest, and diligent attempt.  So far- it’s been the best policy for me.

The ability to govern self in an autonomous fashion calls on Step III for much acceptance, and the ability to rely on a HP.  If we are ever to have a good understanding of ourselves, it lay in understanding when we face a shortcoming, and when we act on a character defect.  These items, of themselves can prove very harmful in our lives, almost as much as the using.  In the terms of self support, an addict in recovery, is responsible for their well-being, one day at a time.  Everyday- the recovering addict must make the decision NOT to pick up their DOC.  Everyday, the addict must surrender to their disease, and turn their will/life over to a loving, caring HP. Everyday, the addict will continue an inventory process, and make amends pursuant to Step X.  Autonomy doesn’t grant power, in fact quite the opposite, it fosters humility.  When life becomes far to overwhelming we are able to remain free, and humble in the face of adversity.

These are the gifts of Step 7, and Tradition 7.

 

 

Concord (rough draft)

Greetings!  Please find below a rough draft of Concord, the newly revamped Shark Coast Area Newsletter.  Please feel free to comment or make a submission to the upcoming paper release of this publication.  Please submit recovery related content to: sharkcoastareanewsletter@gmail.com.  Thanks for taking the time to read it and we look forward to hearing from you.  Best, SCANL, and the trusted servants at Concord.

 

Concord:
The Shark Coast Area NA, Newsletter.
Sharing the Southwest Florida Area message of recovery.
02-24-2016
Spring Edition

Introduction: Concord: Agreement or Harmony among people. Our first tradition is rooted in NA unity, and the Concord Newsletter aims to a) spread the message of recovery and b) bring others together to share their experience strength and hope. Please send submissions to: sharkcoastareanewsletter@gmail.com.

Steps to Freedom:

Step 1:

“We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction and our lives had become unmanageable.”

This article examines the first step, in following publications of this newsletter, we will examine the other steps in detail, in the order presented. The first step is an admission that we are defeated by using, and no power of will, nothing from within will “cure” us of our addiction. This can be a frightening moment for us. The ability to make a decision may be clouded chemically, or by fear. Yet, we must move forward in recovery.
For the powerless, the questions that proceed step one, in the Basic Text, might be of value, often referred to “Step 0.” As we admit our powerlessness and the unmanageable aspects of our life and using, we surrender to that fact that if nothing changes, nothing changes. This may be our first glimpse of an honest self appraisal. We are able to see that the drugs and the using lifestyle is slowing killing us, separating us from others, causing problems, and in general a negative force both within and outside.
The fact that we have the disease of addiction doesn’t make us bad or evil, it means we need to take better care of ourselves and get treatment. The program of NA, our meetings, our steps and traditions are part of the cure that we need to make recovery from, and treatment of our disease.
In step one, we surrender ourselves to the notion that we are addicts (maybe this admission comes for the first time.) Also, that addiction has caused our lives to become unmanageable. The tendencies of an unmanageable life: frequent and persistent trouble at home, or with law enforcement, inability to manifest the basic necessities needed to survive (food, shelter, clothing), trouble maintaining relationships that are not narcotic-centric. These are just a few examples of unmanageable circumstances in our life.
Whether or not you are an addict is an admission you must make for yourself, by yourself, however, should you find that you are powerless over your addiction, we suggest you seek out NA in your region. After all, what do you have to lose?

Traditionally Speaking:

Tradition 1:

“Our common welfare should come first, personal recovery depends on NA unity.”

Traditionally speaking is an ongoing segment in the Concord Newsletter, much like “Steps to Freedom” Traditionally Speaking offers insight to the 12 Traditions of NA, starting with Tradition 1 and chronologically expanding outwards.

Unity is the benchmark by which we are able to found our recovery. We surrender our addiction in step one, and we unify in tradition one correspondingly. Unity is the magic of the program, without it, we cannot assume to be much of a fellowship or culture. As we have problems, we reach out to our fellow members and usually get the support and help we need, and ask.
NA unity is compromised of our willingness, experience, strength and hope. It transcends meetings and literature, it is the life-force that guides our recovery, program and NA as a whole.
Unity makes all things possible, and we stand “never alone” with it. Perhaps this is the first you have thought of unity, perhaps not. However, for those of us in recovery it is difficult to imagine a world without it. Unity gives us the foothold we need to feel safe again, to trust again, to believe in self and others. These are feelings that we have “recovered” from active addiction and from the unifying principle behind NA. We begin to show and accept love from others, we become willing to be of service, we are active in our fellowship, program and communities, we become united with ourselves and others as we practice this tradition.
Unity can change the way we think and feel about ourselves, unity makes a difference.
Our Primary Purpose? By: Anonymous.

The primary purpose of the NA fellowship is to help it grow by going to meetings and getting our lives back together. We put a dollar or two in the basket, and get involved in service, In doing this, we are able to help ourselves and others who are similar. We suffer from the disease of addiction. We are self centered and full of ourselves. In the program of NA we have the opportunity to give back what we are receiving. The addict is so full of themselves that they can barely function in society. Once we quit using and start to assimilate to the program, we are able to “get out of our own way” and be of service in the fellowship. We share this in the company of others just like us.
The NA World Service office holds a conference every year, and they compile a report called the Conference Agenda Report. This gives groups and individuals an idea about what is going on in the world of NA from the headquarters. I feel, they make the CAR (Conference Agenda Report) and the CAT (Conference Agenda Track) far too confusing. They seem to make it difficult to understand. It makes me wonder how NA is still around. We come out with proposals to make NA grow, yet we put it in language that we can’t understand! I contend that NA world is so full of themselves they fail to reach us. I have tried to read it 3-4 times and I have tried to explain it to other addicts, to no avail.
The CAT and the CAR report to me, means that we are growing too slowly and need to change the way we do business. If the documents were more accessible we might grow faster.
My suggestion is to get involved in service to get out of yourself. In this way your contribution will make a difference, not only in your life but in the lives of addicts everywhere!

Dual Duel: By: Anonymous.

Often there are two diseases at work. One is that of addiction, and the other is a component Mental Illness. These two forces can be “dueling” each other at various times, and it’s important as recovering addicts that we take care of ourselves. We have played “doctor” to ourselves and others many times over our course of using. However, now that we are clean we have a duty to ourselves to care for ourselves.
If you suspect, or have a clinical diagnosis of a mental illness, it’s important to have that treated by a licensed Doctor or therapist. It’s as important as your recovery. Should you decide not to treat your mental illness, you are only seeing half of the picture. Also, you put yourself in the cross hairs of relapse or hospitalization.
There are many non-profit, free clinics that will see and treat you. Our disease of addiction will take hold of any weakness that we offer it and it will use it against us. Personally, I didn’t get into treatment until I had a manic episode, and had to be hospitalized. During my stay they were able to able to make a diagnosis, and form a treatment plan to my dual problem. I need to stay on a prescribed medicine regime for me to function properly in my recovery and life. I went 18 years not knowing that I was a bi-polar addict, treating the symptoms of my disease with drugs and reckless behavior. During that time I caused irreparable harm to any that fell in my path, as well as myself.
My suggestion is to get all the help you can, this way having an accurate portrayal of your mind will benefit you in your recovery. It’s also about being personally responsible and active in your recovery process.

 

 

Contributions

Currently, we are seeking contributions for the upcoming edition of the Shark Coast Area Newsletter.  Please E-mail your article (recovery related please) to: sharkcoastareanewsletter@gmail.com .  Thanks for the support, and we look forward to your submissions!  Best SCANL