Pink clouds with hearts

Floating on a Pink Cloud

The pink cloud or pink cloud syndrome generally refers to a return of emotions after an addict or alcoholic stops using or feeling as though they are high on life. Typically, the pink cloud refers to feelings of joy and elation after a person begins a 12-step program. The newly sober person begins to feel a level of hope they haven’t experienced for years. The sun starts to shine again, and the world seems suddenly much brighter and much more positive. A person floating on a pink cloud often feels above it all. We may imagine that we are suddenly untouchable. The feelings associated with the pink cloud can often lead to unmanageability in recovery.

Experiencing the Addiction Recovery Pink Cloud

Often when an addict or alcoholic makes the initial surrender to a program of recovery, we may at first find ourselves dealing with numerous difficulties. The desire to use is at its strongest. Every day is a battle to stick and stay with our program. However, after the initial surrender, many addicts and alcoholics find themselves suddenly experiencing happiness in abundance, we begin getting things back in our lives such as cars, jobs, and apartments. Addicts and alcoholics often do not have many material possessions and have lost the trust of their friends and families. It’s perfectly normal that like all the things we have lost, or have never had, come into our lives in early recovery, addicts and alcoholics feel overjoyed by everything we are gaining.

Those successes are the first gifts of recovery, but we can also be perceived as the tools that feed into the disease that alcoholics and addicts suffer from. There is an idea that rides on the tide of newfound success, people in early recovery often begin to imagine that we have a handle on our disease. This is the danger of the pink cloud. Many alcoholics and addicts in long-term recovery warn newcomers about the pink cloud because it is dangerous to imagine that getting and staying clean and sober is easy, or that a person early in recovery doesn’t need help.

The Dangers of the Pink Cloud

Many addicts and alcoholics experiencing the pink cloud imagine that we have a handle on our disease. Many alcoholics and addicts imagine that we are in a place where we can step away from our program of recovery. This is an especially dangerous belief for addicts and alcoholics because we are now following only our own guidance. The disease is insidious. It plays on the desires of addicts and alcoholics, who want to lead normal, happy, and productive lives, it convinces us that going to meetings and putting in the work that programs of recovery require, is in fact hindering us from living our lives to the best of our ability.

Addicts and alcoholics, who have just gained a small measure of social acceptability feel as though our recovery is invulnerable. We think the worst is now over. Influenced by the pink cloud people in early recovery begin to wonder if we even really had an issue with alcohol and/or drugs. This becomes increasingly dangerous for our recovery. Because now the person in early recovery is high on life and under the influence of the pink cloud. We may begin to think that maybe we can use another substance successfully. Or perhaps we think we can just have a few drinks after work. Relapse is often an inevitable event for the addict and alcoholic, who stops working a program of recovery.

Does the Pink Cloud Always Lead to Relapse

Not everyone in recovery finds themselves floating on a pink cloud. It is not necessary to experience the pink cloud to find long-term sobriety. It is also not necessary for addicts and alcoholics to relapse because of the pink cloud. Many individuals experience that elation. We take on the positive outlook that recovery has offered us. Rather than slipping into unmanageability and eventual relapse, we dig deeper into our recovery. Some addicts and alcoholics feel that elation as we begin to receive our first gifts recovery. And we don’t float off on a pink cloud. We continue to work our program of recovery to the best of our ability. Because we know more gifts will follow.

Experiencing the pink cloud in recovery does not mean that relapse is inevitable. It simply means that because emotions have returned to the addict or alcoholic, we feel happiness more intensely. After having been numb for an extended period, we are now able to genuinely smile again. Addicts and alcoholics do have to be wary of the pink cloud because we have an incurable disease. As long as we continue down our path of recovery, we will continue to experience everything this process has to offer. The key to surviving the pink cloud is to be aware that the happiness that you are experiencing has only come because of being in recovery. And we have to remember that the only way to find continued happiness is to continue working toward long-term recovery. We can also try to practice gratitude and be thankful for our recovery.

    I have so much to be grateful for because of SOBA.

    “I have been to other treatment centers and was never successful in maintaining sobriety. Thank you so much to Soba for helping me get my life back on track. I look forward to my future!”

    - Meghan P.
    SOBA answered my call on the first ring and saved my life.

    “The entire staff of SOBA is there for you...and give you the resources and strength to stay well. They showed me that there's nothing wrong with asking for help and carried me when I didn't have the strength or will to stand on my own.”

    - Mike
    I'm forever grateful to you all.

    “Entering recovery was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. It was also one of the smartest, and one I wish that I had made 20 years ago. Last week I reached my 10-month clean date. I’d like to express my gratitude.”

    - Amanda S.
    Because of them, I'm clear-minded & I have the most important thing back in my life, my family.

    “If you want top-quality care then SOBA is the place to be. The staff from top to bottom are caring, understanding & well educated on addiction. If you want your life back then put your trust in SOBA.”

    - Scott K.
    They SAVED MY LIFE. They can save yours.

    “I want to say thank you to everyone at SOBA. I came to them totally broken. The staff there helped me get my mental health straightened out all while getting me off any and all drugs for the 1st time in 24 years.”

    - Mike P.

Recover Your Life

Work With SOBA New Jersey Today

Struggling with addiction can seem scary and like there is no way out. Our team helps you take the first step towards the rest of your life.

  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.