You Deserve Freedom

The Jargon Can Be Jarring – A Guide to the Language of Recovery (Part One of Two)

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You need to understand the language of recovery. Have you ever found yourself in a conversation with two people who work in the same field—a field different than your own? At some point, the conversation turns to work and what each of you like, hate, and tolerate about your gigs. Maybe your two companions start talking earnestly to one another about their jobs and you suddenly discover that you are having trouble following the conversation. They are using words you recognize, but the combinations and context elude you. 

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Odds are good that they are using jargon that is specific to their field—jargon that to an outsider like yourself sounds like a code you just can’t quite crack.

The same thing can happen in the recovery community, especially when someone who is just setting out on their recovery journey is talking with people who have been doing the work of staying sober for a long time. It can be confusing and frustrating.

We can help. In this blog and a forthcoming entry, we will look at some of the words and phrases that make up some of the recovery jargon you might hear. 

Understanding Urge Surfing with Recovery

When you first hear the phrase “urge surfing” there is a good chance that the first thing you picture is someone catching a wave. But urge surfing has nothing to do with beaches, boards, or the bright sunshine over the ocean. Instead, it is a form of mindfulness meditation that can help you deal with cravings for drugs or alcohol.

Everyone in recovery from a substance use disorder is going to experience cravings, so it is helpful to have a plan for addressing them. Urge surging can be a quite effective part of that plan. The practice is fairly straightforward: when you experience cravings you bring your full attention to them and then describe to yourself how those cravings make your body feel.

Completing this process can give you a sense of control over the cravings, thus making them easier to withstand than they otherwise might seem. This, of course, protects your sobriety.

You can get a sense of how it works via any of a number of online resources.

Defining Dry Drunk with Recovery

The phrase “dry drunk” not only seems like an oxymoron, but it is also both unkind and inaccurate. Nevertheless, the term is fairly prevalent, and it can be clarifying to have a sense of what it means.

A dry drunk is a person who has given up alcohol (though the concept applies to other substances in addition to alcohol) but who still behaves in ways that would normally be associated with drinking. For example, they may be angry or impatient. They may have poor impulse control. They may wallow in unhealthy kinds of nostalgia (like longing for the “good old days” when they had drinking buddies). And they feel as though they don’t need any help to maintain their sobriety—just as they used to believe they didn’t need any help to regain their sobriety.

If you recognize those symptoms in yourself (or in others in your recovery community), it is important to face the facts with honesty and courage so you can set those behaviors aside before they undermine your sobriety.

Peering Into the Pink Cloud

This might be the oddest bit of recovery jargon out there. The “pink cloud” refers to a feeling of euphoria some people feel in the early days of recovery. 

Why is it called the pink cloud? We have no idea!

Nevertheless, the phenomenon can be dangerous because a person experiencing the pink cloud may believe they are invincible and will never be tempted by drugs or alcohol again. After all, they feel great—better than great!—right now. Why would they need drugs or alcohol?

But the thing about the pink cloud is that it is similar to an actual cloud in the sky. It will almost certainly dissipate or blow away—probably sooner rather than later. And the feeling of invincibility will dissipate with it, leaving you to face cravings and other challenges just like everyone else in recovery. (The good news is that now you know about urge surfing!)

Let Us Speak Plainly: We Can Help

At Bel Aire Recovery Center in Kansas, we can describe our work clearly and simply: We improve the lives we touch by helping people regain and maintain their sobriety.

We are prepared to personalize a treatment plan that will help you get your life back on track. And we are committed to providing ongoing support and resources as your recovery journey gets underway.

Looking for opioid treatment near Wichita? For more information about programs offered at Bel Aire Recovery Center, contact us today. We are ready to help you transform your life.