Here at Maryland Addiction Recovery Center we value the relationships we have with our colleagues in the field and understand the need for individuals, families and
communities to be educated about mental health and addiction, treatment and recovery. We believe the more education takes place, the more stigma is lessened and the more people will look and find the help they need. We have started a “Guest Blog” segment that will allow experts in field to offer their insight on a number of different topics that will educate, enlighten and begin conversation. We hope you enjoy.
GUEST BLOG SERIES:
“Pink Cloud with a Chance of Recovery” by Jennifer Bridge McGraw, ACC
Before I got clean and sober, I literally thought a dark cloud was following me. I believed I was a victim and had been cursed to a life of misery and emotional pain. In 2004, I hit a spiritual bottom and was swallowed by the dark clouds. It felt like I had fallen into a hole of darkness. I wanted to disappear. What was the point of being alive when I was killing myself on a daily basis with drugs and alcohol?
It felt like I was standing at the corner of “Death Avenue” and “New Way of Life Street.” My internal GPS was telling me not to continue heading down Death Avenue. It was the wrong way. It was time to make a sharp turn onto New Way of Life Street. It wasn’t a smooth drive. Along the way, I’ve hit potholes, got lost, went up and down huge hills and spun out of control, but I kept moving forward. Something shifted inside of me. I had reached a point where the pain became great enough and I was ready to change. I lost the desire for a drink or drug. I wanted to live!
I started going to Narcotics Anonymous meetings. I felt hope start to awaken inside of me. I got honest with my family and friends about what was going on with me. It was so freeing to tell the truth. I had been lying and scheming for so many years, I wasn’t sure if I knew how to tell the truth. I went to more meetings and started reaching out to women. With 8 days clean, I raised my hand to introduce myself as a newcomer. I remember saying “I’m an addict named Jenn” and having everyone welcome me and telling me to keep coming back. I felt a part of the group instead of feeling like I was falling apart. I wasn’t sure how NA worked, but I was sure that my way did not work.
Before I knew it the dark clouds had turned into a pink cloud. I was free from the grip of addiction! Everything seemed so shiny and new. I felt happy, excited and energized. I started to notice and appreciate the little things. I reconnected with Mother Nature. It was like a spiritual experience to be present during a sunrise or sunset. To look around and see the trees and flowers blooming and to smell the fresh cut grass brought tears to my eyes. I was part of the land of the living again. Hearing the birds in the morning warmed my heart because it meant a new day was starting. What a change. It was only a short time ago, the sound of the birds in the morning brought feelings of shame and guilt because it meant I had stayed up all night getting high, again.
Being on a pink cloud in early recovery is an amazing feeling. After so many years of darkness, I needed the light of my pink cloud to lift me up. I needed to see the beauty of nature. I needed to believe there were still good people in the world. I needed to know that kindness, compassion and love still existed. I needed to laugh. I needed the hugs from other recovering addicts one day at a time.
I also needed to take action and put in the work to build a solid foundation. I was told that life would show up and the pink cloud only lasts so long. Then what? I’m grateful I listened when I was told to keep coming back, reach out, get a network of people that are working a program of recovery, pray to a power greater than myself, get a sponsor and work the steps. When we first get clean and sober, most of us experience the pink cloud. A chance of recovery is the ultimate silver lining.
Jennifer Bridge McGraw, ACC is an ICF certified coach and founder of “Ready to Change Life Coaching” in Timonium, Maryland. Jennifer specializes in working with clients on Life in Recovery, Transition, Personal Development, Stress Reduction, Relationships, Balance, Career, Finances and Letting Go. She offers individual and group coaching. For more information, please visit www.readytochangelifecoaching.com or call 410-616-9500.
If you or someone you know is in need of an intervention or help because of drug and/or alcohol abuse, please give us a call. Maryland Addiction Recovery Center offers the most comprehensive addiction treatment in the Baltimore City, Baltimore County and entire Maryland and Washington, D.C. area. If we aren’t the best fit for you or your loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at (410) 773-0500 or email our team at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on all of our drug addiction and alcohol addiction services and recovery resources, please visit our web site at www.marylandaddictionrecovery.com.