I think I’d heard it mentioned but never quite knew what it was or what it meant. This mysterious, mythical thing? Place? State of mind? I didn’t know but I sensed undertones of warning and danger. THE PINK CLOUD. No, not where all the fun gay people go when they die, but a sinister destination where us sober drunks sometimes end up if we’re not careful. Well, what do you know, I’m fucking on it. Of course I am. If it spells trouble in big neon (or pink) letters you can be sure that Sophie’s hobbit feet will trudge right to it. Oh yes, I am on the pink cloud.
Willow, after patiently listening to my latest theory on living in the moment (spending time with me right now is like being locked in a padded cell with Santa on Prozac), mused “that sounds like the pink cloud”. It didn’t sound like a bad thing when she said it though. Because I am a big fan of Willow I’m by default a fan of stuff that comes out of her mouth. Unless she vomited, I wouldn’t like her vomit even if it IS Willow vomit. I’d possibly dislike it less than the vomit of people I don’t like but why the fuck am I talking about different types of vomit and its merit based on whose stomach contents it happens to be? Do I need to go and talk to someone? Anyway, so Willow mentioned the pink cloud and made it sound a little less sinister but we had to run off to a meeting so the thought was parked momentarily.
As if on cue, however, a lady in the meeting shared how she’s terrified she’ll drink during her upcoming weekend in Paris and said she’s hearing about this pink cloud but it’s not happening to her. Willow glanced at me and smiled knowingly. Me, I wanted to do my Prozac Santa thing and go and be all jingles and bells BOOYAH right in this poor woman’s face and save her from those thoughts. I wanted to help her because I knew she was feeling things I once felt, and I wanted to help her see how it’s her mind playing tricks on her and her Paris trip is only going to be short of amazing if she DRINKS, and the absolute, glorious, wonderful fucking AWESOOOOOOME opposite if she stays sober. I didn’t. I felt it might be patronising to be jingly in someone’s face when they’re having a hard time, or be all evangelical about how I’m now – since I quit drinking – so freaking excited about everything that I can’t fucking keep still! I wanted to tell her I have things booked in too – a city break late April for hubby’s birthday, Foo Fighters concert and four days in Gothenburg in June and an island off the coast of Sicily in July.
I made a promise to, aside for real names or other details that would identify the people including myself that I write about, always be honest on this blog and I see no reason not to be, so I’m not going to deny that the thoughts did come. The thoughts of all those things sans le booze, like this lady clearly dreaded and I do know exactly what that’s like. I visualised cosy bars during our city break, some little side street in this super romantic location and sharing a bottle watching the world go by. I visualised drinking beer at some cool place along ‘Avenyn’ (the Avenue) in Gothenburg with hubby and all my friends (20 of us congregating to worship at the church of Dave Grohl). And the imagery my mind produced of Lipari was of our seaview balcony and what would be with us in that image if not an ice bucket with a bottle of wine? Those thoughts did pop in to my head. City break and Foo Fighters were all booked when I was still drinking, but Lipari wasn’t. Made no difference though. I’ve spent life with the belief that booze will put additional shimmer on to stuff, so I’m not surprised it’s a little strange to shift my thinking to imagine our seaview balcony and excitedly exclaim woohooooooo sparkling water, YEAH!
But I am. I think I have. I’m on the pink cloud, see? They don’t serve wine here.
I feel so excited about EVERYTHING! I swear, this morning (I swear I am also fucking mad) when I was driving to work after a huge loop that took me around Chiswick only so I’d be able to listen to the latest audiobook I’ve downloaded, I drove up through Richmond and suddenly this happy giggle just bubbled out of me. What the fuck is that about? I’m listening to a sickeningly dark Nordic Noir thriller and to make it all even scarier it’s in Swedish and for some reason everything is scarier in Swedish. Anyway, that sort of faded out anyway and my thoughts drifted but I don’t think I was thinking of anything in particular – it was just a feeling of utter joy so intense I couldn’t stop it from bubbling up like that in a weird little giggle. Come on – the weather’s shit, my car sucks horse balls, I was tired this morning and also we have this neighbours’ meeting tonight that I just don’t fancy One Little Bit. But oh yes, mad case here (fuck, what if that got caught on some CCTV tape!) is tootling through Richmond and giggling to herself like a nutter because life is just too goddamn awesome.
Told Sparks about the pink cloud and sheepishly confessed I think I may have ended up on it but I honestly didn’t mean to.
“I’m on it too!” she exclaimed and gave off her beautiful, mad cackle of a laugh.
“Is is a good place to be?” I asked a little relieved.
“Yeah!” Sparks reassured me and gave my arm a squeeze, “you’re doing great!”
Good ol’ Sparks. She’s still displaying the patience of a saint when I consistently don’t agree with bits here and there and I am amazed at how she manages to resist what must be an overwhelming urge to staple my trap shut. She’s currently taking me through the first of the 12 steps and I’d dutifully done my homework. I need to be more specific though. I’d listed stuff in a very general way – it seemed like a good idea to put things into categories rather than specific individual events because there are so many – but now need to describe actual examples of when life has been unmanageable. Does peeing on the floor count? I fucking hope so. I also woke up once and discovered I had the vacuum cleaner in bed with me, which first amused me even though I have to say I was initially worried I’d done, you know, Something Very Bad to it. But no, thank God. I was relieved to discover I’d only got it out to vaccum up the vomit that was now partly in the vacuum cleaner, partly in the bed, partly on the floor and partly in my hair. I remember that well actually, what a bizarre morning that was and not in the fun way. I’d had Tarka Dahl and pilau rice the night before, something I only knew because the delivery boxes were in the bin and the Tarka Dahl all over me, my apartment and in my bag free vaccum cleaner. I wonder if stuff like that will do. Get down to the real nitty gritty, grrr..
But anyway, I should have said something in the meeting I think. It might not have helped that lady one bit, perhaps she’d only decided she’ll drink in Paris and that will only ever be her choice, but I think Sparks is right.
“You know, there could be someone there who’s new in, who is worried about what holidays will be like without alcohol,” Sparks said softly, “and it might just really fill them with hope to hear you say how excited you are now because life is better without it. Someone might need to hear that, you might really help someone.”
She’s right. I didn’t think of that. I still believe there’s a time and a place, but that just means I’ll just think a bit about how I put things. I can talk about my perspective without being BOOYAH jinglebells in someone’s face, just be a little sensitive so I don’t make others feel rubbish even if I talk about feeling the opposite of what they seem to do.
Well. Liking the pink cloud a lot and hope I can stay here. For that reason, it is with a heart full of love and joy that I say: today I won’t drink.