What is the Pink Cloud and How It Affects Your Recovery

Many addicts and alcoholics are known to live in high extremes when they are using. This tendency often remains in progression after they become clean or sober. Thus, many people in early recovery go through a phase of extra-heightened happiness and excitement that often even creates euphoria about their newfound life in recovery. This phase in recovery is often referred to as the Pink Cloud.

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The Pink Cloud often affects new people in recovery who are experiencing excessively optimistic outlook on their life and recovery itself. It almost seems like they are untouchable by anything negative and they seem to be wearing a pair of “rose colored” glasses. Yet we all know that early recovery is quite difficult and it often throws many challenges our way as well as a rollercoaster of emotions that at times may be hard to manage.

There is much to learn about yourself once you decide to stop drinking and the good news is that most of it is positive. However, for most of us life spent in addiction means that we may not have a place to live, or a job, or any real means to provide for ourselves once we enter recovery. Therefore, this dramatic contrast of feeling that everything is just “perfect” may be dangerous at this time. These feelings may manifest themselves as coping mechanism to protect the newcomer from the often-harsh reality of early recovery.

The Pink Cloud feeling is not an undesirable experience itself; on the contrary, it is quite pleasurable. For many addicts/alcoholics, it is such a great relief to be finally free of the destructive cycle of addiction, that nothing seems better at this time. In addition, after years of numbness, the emotions become alive once again, and life can feel wonderful. These are all emotions that the individual in recovery deserves to feel and experience for as long as possible. However, the concern is that it can become out of hand – people can become too high, and lose sight of what is important. The person can feel so confident that they become complacent about their recovery. There is also the risk that once the emotions stabilize, feelings of disappointment may be overpowering.

While being clean and sober is an exceptional accomplishment, it is important to stay on track with the recovery plan. People who experience the Pink Cloud period feel temporarily great, but there are dangers to this overwhelming euphoria, so it may be especially important to stay connected with your support network, continue working through the recovery process, and be aware of these three points:

  • Pink Cloud feelings will not last forever and a sudden return to the reality might be quite devastating.
  • Overconfidence may cause complacency about recovery, which then can lead to the risk of relapse.
  • Ignoring life’s problems during this time will not make them go away, they will only surface later and seem bigger than before.

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For those of us who have experienced the recovery from addiction and have not experience the Pink Cloud it does not mean that we are doing recovery wrong, or that we are not exceptionally excited about our new life. It just means that our journey is a bit different. Therefore, when we see a newcomer in the Pink Cloud stage, we can be supportive and encouraging of their progress and offer hope and inspiration. At the same time, we may be in a good place to help the newcomer to beware of the Pink Cloud euphoria, which may be short-lived and painful once it ends. It is important to encourage the newly sober person to stay on track and work the program of recovery.

The ultimate problem with Pink Cloud is not the exceptional high that a recovering addicts or alcoholics experiences early in the process, but it is the risk and fallout of not staying on track with the process to maintain sobriety. The great delights in early recovery are there to be enjoyed and cherished as much as possible, as long as we also keep our focus on the recovery process itself.

Have you experienced the Pink Cloud phase in recovery? We would love to hear about it!


If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with alcohol addiction, please click the Find Support link for an extensive list of support groups. Also please check out the links to many useful resources in the sidebar, and always feel free to contact me anytime at sobercourage@gmail.com.

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20 Comments Add yours

  1. 8 Months sober, still on my cloud when it comes to not really realising what is important in life, like money and work. But then again, I have never done that and always gotten by so when I think of it in that way it is ‘just’ (?) karma; things I don’t fix that get bigger and bigger until I NEED to fix them. We shall see. Working on it. 🙂 / :-/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, than enjoy it! Seems like you are aware of what’s going on. 🙂 it’s nice to be happy and enjoy sobriety, that’s important too. And congrats on 8 months. Woot woot. Sending hugs and 🎂!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ainsobriety says:

    Friday will be 17 months. I am still on my pink cloud.

    Actually, I had a pink cloud in the beginning followed by a black period of deep depression.

    Once I was able to get out of that hole the pick cloud returned and I have decided to keep it. It is not a euphoric, la dee da cloud. It is a constant awareness that life is better than ever and full of opportunities. If I stay sober, don’t starve myself and continue to deal with life in an upbeat and positive way.

    And with that I must continue to take care of myself and nurture my spirit.

    Anne

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds awesome. Nothing wrong with being happy and positive. I think mine was in phases too. And now I try to just keep it leveled. Congrats on 17 months! That’s awesome! Sending hugs and 🎂!

      Like

  3. soberfire says:

    Great post–I guess the main thing is the balance is enjoying newfound happiness without resting on one’s laurels, as they say.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. DryBarfly says:

    Day 14 today! I am absolutely floating on this pink cloud. I’m trying to keep a healthy balance and a self-awareness that there are rough patches ahead, most likely. I’m building up my reserves! Until then, I am truly enjoying getting to know myself and the parts of my personality I was numbing for so long.

    Like

  5. robertlfs says:

    Thanks for sharing on this very important subject – I have come to not believe in much of the logic behind the “pink cloud” argument. My biggest issue is the idea that – you get sober, life is great, but then reality hits and life is hard and the pink cloud or mountain top goes away. I dislike this notion because the pink cloud experience is always there and cannot be taken away. If I am rigorous in my recovery work, the pink cloud can actually get pinker and the mountain top higher. In this way, I see that first pink cloud experience as just a taste of what is to come. A bunch of years ago I was sitting in a detox unit playing Euchre with my fellow inmates and thinking “I am sober, playing cards, in a safe place, no one is breathing down my neck or after me – it cannot get any better than this.” Fact is, over the years, it has gotten a whole lot better. Here are some of my other thoughts on this: http://wp.me/p3CPQv-1p

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Robert! Thanks for the great comment! I agree with you on many points! Recovery should be celebrated and there is no reason that we cannot be happy about our new life! And I hope this post didn’t sound like it was a complete downer… that was not my intention at all. I was just mere trying to bring some awareness to this phenomenon. This is of course mostly based on my own experience of falling off the cloud and having a real hard time staying sober.

      So thank you very much for your comment really, I do not want anyone to get the wrong idea about the Pink Cloud, just keep some caution in mind.

      Like

  6. janah49 says:

    I am on Day 20 only and have mostly been very tired so far…so I have to say that I am looking forward to the Pink Cloud stage. Great advice, though, on what I can watch out for when it comes my way, and I am sure it will! Thank you SoberCourage!

    Like

  7. poesjunk says:

    Reblogged this on poesjunk.

    Like

  8. Lisa Wallace says:

    I never had the Pink Cloud stage in regards to recovery, which is odd, since I also have bipolar disorder. Maybe I couldn’t really distinguish what was what! I know now, that feeling a period of great peace is a gift, and hooray for it! But not so much peace will inevitably follow. I strive for balance, and 12 years into sobriety, I’ve become much better at achieving it. I weave fun, time to myself, time out of myself, along with working, and responsibilities throughout each week. This strategy works well for me.

    Like

  9. Jeanne says:

    Good read. Interesting perspective. I never considered that , for some people, there may be a bit of denial on the cloud. That it might be a way of avoiding responsibilities. Important to take not of that.
    For me, it was pure joy. Like a dog with the gate open. I was finally free and so very much aware of how lucky I was!!
    Eight years later, with an attitude of gratitude, I can get back on that cloud any time I choose.
    Yeah, I’m one of those. lol
    Happy, joyous and free.
    It’s annoying , I know.
    Trust me, I’ve got life problems. I deal with them responsibly. No matter the problems though, I continue to be amazed by the gifts of sobriety. A life beyond my wildest dreams. Happy , joyous and finally free!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love it! Great comment. Thank you! There is nothing wrong with getting happy about sobriety and feeling joyous and free! I think that just as long as our focus is still on recovery all is good. And this is just from my experience, when I got overconfident and ended up relapsing. So just something to keep in mind.

      Thanks for stopping by! Sending many hugs!

      Like

  10. nlcarr2015 says:

    YES I had the Pink Cloud experience, it didn’t last more than 6 months or so – but I was able to lean on others in the program and focus on my step work. I know I was lucky and I’m so grateful that was my experience. Life gets lifey and thank god “This too shall pass” reminds me that just because you get sober, doesn’t mean that you don’t have normal ups and downs, I just know how to manage them better now!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Anonymous says:

    day 4 and Im floating after 30 years of pot smoking. I know it wont last, hope the crash isnt too bad, but glad I looked it up. Thanks for your sage advice, I will heed it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Congrats on 4+ days! That’s awesome. Enjoys the pink cloud for what it is. It sure beats feeling like crap all the time. Just be couscous, that’s all. 😀

      Like

  12. Cirila Chu says:

    I was soooo miserable…
    I did not know what to do…
    I’ve tried everything….
    I feel hopeless, worthless…
    One day…i felt the worse thing in my life…
    I needed god to hit me in the head..
    Went to AA meeting…crying like a baby..
    Ever since i kept on going…i was finally able to open the 👄 & share my thoughts & hurts…I’ve been going often…All of a sudden something changed me…A BIG THICK PINK CLOUDS…now i am panicking that it might not stay with me for a lifetime…i feel great & alive!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow. So glad you found recovery! And that you got to experience the pink cloud! And I hope it continues to bring you happiness.
      This post was mainly written to help people be aware that it may be a tricky place to be and to be sure to continue taking care of the #recovery part too.

      Thanks for the comment. Sending big hugs!

      Like

  13. Eric says:

    This a great read, and something I can share with my wife so she understands what I’m going through. Sober nine months now (fist bump), and I didn’t even know I was on the pink cloud. I experienced a perfect state of euphoria up until now. While still attending meetings, I got into the mindset that sobriety is easy now, life is great, I’ve gone through the steps, and I don’t really need to read the big book. These are dangerous assumptions to make. God blessed me with a person from my past contacting me whom I needed to make amends to. She forgave me but with her life in shambles, I took it upon myself to help her. My ego popped up out of nowhere and I started feeding off her emotions. My own emotions came back quickly and I dealt with an overwhelming sense of guilt and remorse for all my actions in the past. I started to combat this with boosting my ego even more. Scary right? Needless to say, I slipped back into my alcoholic mindset. While I didn’t drink, I can see how toxic this is and how if continued could lead to a relapse. The good news is that my sponsor kicked the crap out of me (we need tough love sometimes), and combatted all of the “buts” I was giving him.
    So here I am, a wave of emotions, but I know what to do. Read the book, go to God, attend even more meetings. I’ll get back on that cloud and I’m doing what I need to do. BUT, falling off the cloud certainly is traumatic, and it’s incredible how fast our character defects can creep back up if left unchecked. Sobriety is a life long process and I’m doing what I need to. God bless you all and happy recovery!

    Like

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