Recovery Jargon & Your Recovery Journey
Most every organization you can think of has its own jargon—phrases and acronyms and unusual words that are unique to a particular industry, group, or what have you. For outsiders (or for new insiders), that jargon can be confusing and incomprehensible.
The same can be true for those who are new to the recovery community. Once you have regained your sobriety and begun your recovery journey, you might start to hear some phrases or ideas that are hard to figure out.
We are here to help with explanations of four bits of recovery jargon.
What Is the Pink Cloud?
Some people experience strong feelings of euphoria and confidence in the early days of their recovery. That experience is sometimes called the “pink cloud,” and there are two things to keep in mind about it.
First, it can feel truly amazing.
Second, it is unlikely to last very long.
So, if you hear someone say, “Boy, that guy is really wrapped up in the pink cloud,” you can understand them to mean that a newly sober person is feeling great right now. The comment is also a reminder that the pink cloud—like all clouds—is likely to move out of the sky soon enough. When it does, the person in question will likely need an extra boost of support from others in the recovery community.
What Is a Dry Drunk?
As a rule, we don’t condone using the word “drunk” to describe a person who is struggling with a substance use disorder. It is both inaccurate and unkind.
But “dry drunk” is a bit of jargon you may hear from time to time. It refers to a person in recovery who is not drinking alcohol (or using other substances), but is still behaving in ways that are often associated with a substance use disorder. This happens because getting sober does not immediately resolve all of the issues that might have led to substance abuse in the first place. Addressing those issues—which is often best done via ongoing therapy—is how a person moves from being a so-called dry drunk to becoming a person who embraces true, ongoing sobriety.
What Is a High-Functioning Alcoholic?
You might think of a high-functioning alcoholic as the opposite of a dry drunk. Whereas a dry drunk is sober but still exhibiting signs of addiction, a high-functioning alcoholic is still drinking but is managing to hold things together enough that most other people don’t realize they have a problem. In fact, some high-functioning alcoholics are adept at fooling themselves and are convinced they can’t possibly have a problem if they are still able to move through the world in ways that seem normal to others.
This idea is related to another bit of jargon you might encounter: the idea of “rock bottom”—a constantly shifting, hard-to-define condition that a person (like a high-functioning alcoholic) believes they would have to arrive at in order to truly need help. The notion of rock bottom tends to be mythical at best, and it often causes people to delay getting the help they need.
What Is Urge Surfing?
It is possible that as your recovery journey gets underway, you will mention to someone that you are struggling with cravings. That person might ask you if you have tried urge surfing. Despite its name, that isn’t a new way to catch a wave. The mindfulness meditation technique known as urge surfing is all about bringing your full attention to how cravings for drugs or alcohol make your body feel.
Describing to yourself the sensations you are experiencing in the midst of craving drugs or alcohol can help you gain a sense of control over those cravings. In turn, that can make it easier to withstand the temptation to give into the cravings and give up your sobriety. The technique is simple but effective, and there are plenty of online resources to get you started.
A Jargon-Free Explanation of What We Do at Wooded Glen
At Wooded Glen Recovery Center, we don’t need jargon to describe our work. Instead, we can state what we do clearly and concisely: We help people who are struggling with a substance use disorder regain and maintain their sobriety.
If you are ready to reclaim your sobriety and your life, we are ready to help with a personalized treatment plan, expertise in addressing co-occurring mental health disorders that may be contributing to your substance use disorder, and a commitment to compassionate care.