About the malaise phase, or as it can be more succinctly described , “Meh.”
When I first got sober with AA, I took an air balloon ride above EVERYTHING. I was suddenly FREE of daily drinking, over-drinking, hating myself, waking every morning staring into the Face of Regret, breaking daily promises to myself, degrading absolutely every aspect of my health and my precious life (I could go on but you get the idea). ALL of that was a lightning-fast trip to the Pink Cloud.
I had an entire entourage of new sober friends, fabulous interesting lively talented sensitive intelligent people, by the way, men and women. I was getting high on the shared honesty, the raw truth-telling, the sense of a community based on a level of intimacy and a showing our authentic selves in a way and to a depth that I had ever in my life experienced. It was a LOVE affair and I am a romantic by nature. Meetings were nothing less than a bath in grace, not to mention the sisterhood with other sponsees of my charismatic sponsor, the coffees/lunches/holiday and celebration parties. This was my new heaven.
Gradually all that “new” faded into a norm, the Pink Cloud dopamine state dissolved (this is how our brain works) and I (without warning) sunk into a state that I could only describe to my sober soulmates as spiritual roadkill. That’s how it felt, like a feeling of soul-deep total DEADNESS (hence the term “spiritual roadkill.)”
It wasn’t grief. It wasn’t sadness. It was nothingness like all the life had been sucked out me. Some core part of me had gone plumb numb. As I said to a healer, spiritual teacher, intuitive, sensitive: “It feels like my heart has taken a hit of novocaine.” Fortunately, I still had my community to anchor and nurture me.
Looking back, I’m convinced that the Pink Cloud crashed when I got used to that new high. (This perspective is only through hindsight, believe me, until now it has been a mystery.) Meetings were my only lift, the energy, the connection, the truth. I don’t know how long the deadness lasted, maybe two months, maybe more like six, but I see it now as a realignment of a brain deprived of instant and HUGE dopamine hits. At some time, somehow along the way, the whole thing just lifted. Nothing special seemed to be the cause of that. It was just an organic evolution. So bottom line my sober badass warriors, do not think for one MOMENT that whatever emotional/mental state you are struggling with along this Hero’s Journey is how you will feel for the rest of your effing life.
THIS IS A PROCESS!!! And best of all, we have each other to hold hands, laugh, dance, share, spill our guts, encourage, inspire, and most of all….LOVE!!!
Community is the cure!
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