What is the Pink Cloud?

The pink cloud is a feeling people sometimes experience early in recovery. It usually lasts a few weeks or months, sometimes as long as a year. It’s a sort of euphoria that comes from turning one’s life around–or at least feeling like one’s life has turned around. It’s often described as a sort of mystical experience. It’s as if turning one’s will over to to his Higher Power has suddenly cleared the path to all good things.

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It certainly feels good to take a big positive step in life, to make a switch from self-destruction to healing. Life is easier when you don’t sabotage yourself. It especially feels good to wake up without a hangover or fear of withdrawal kicking in. You get to enjoy the wary pride of your loved ones who are happy to see you taking recovery seriously. Even with the cravings and other difficulties of early recovery, there’s plenty to feel good about when you’re newly sober and plenty to look forward to as well.

People with some time in AA often smirk when they see someone is experiencing the pink cloud. They aren’t cynical; they just know it doesn’t last forever. Eventually, something will get to you. It could be a particularly challenging setback, or it could be the feeling just goes away. No feeling lasts forever.

There are really two dangers in the pink cloud. The first is complacency. You might feel like you’ve flipped a switch and that you’ve beat your addiction. That might make you reckless when it comes to avoiding triggers or you might put off doing the necessary work of recovery.

The other danger of the pink cloud is that when it does go away, you might feel like you’ve failed, or that recovery isn’t going as well as it should. In reality, everything might be going fine, but you take the absence of the pink cloud as a negative sign and you begin to get anxious. You might feel a bit hopeless. If you haven’t experienced many challenging emotions since getting sober, you might not have much practice dealing with them when they pop up. You might feel a bit blindsided. It’s important to be aware that it’s normal for the pink cloud to go away and that you just have to keep working on sobriety.

The pink cloud is just a feeling. Like other feelings, you can’t take it too seriously or expect it to last forever.

Smarmore Castle Private Clinic in County Louth, near Dublin was founded in 1988 as a residential rehabilitation hospital treating people suffering from drug and alcohol purposes. Smarmore Castle believes in helping patients lead a life of abstinence through 12 Step programs, detox and medical treatment, psychotherapy, and complementary therapies. For more information, please call 041-214-5111. For those who live out of the country, the international number is 00353-41-214-5111.

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