Pink Cloud Syndrome – When Feeling Good Becomes Dangerous

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Pink Cloud Syndrome – When Feeling Good Becomes Dangerous

The topic at a glance

  • Learning to enjoy ourselves without the assistance of drugs is a key part of recovery.

  • ‘Pink cloud syndrome’ refers to the possiblity that we could become so ‘high’ on recovery that it begins to have a negative impact.

  • We can eliminate the dangers of the ‘pink cloud’ by staying honest and open to feedback.

Image by M.Minderhoud

What Pink Cloud Isn’t

One of the risks with discussing pink cloud syndrome is it could give the impression that enjoying your recovery is somehow a bad thing. This is simply not the case. It is not the actual feeling good that is the problem here, but the way we interpret this improvement in our life.

Those of us who have struggled with an addiction will often have suffered for years (possibly decades), and we deserve to fully enjoy the freedom we discover in early recovery. In fact, enjoying ourselves is vital because this gives us the motivation to remain committed so we can continue making the necessary changes to create our new life.

What is Pink Cloud Syndrome?

Pink cloud syndrome is a subjective description rather than a precise diagnosis. It is a pattern of behavior that is sometimes observed in people prior to relapse. The term ‘pink cloud’ is meant to conjure up an image of someone who doesn’t have their feet fully on the ground – i.e. they have started to lose touch with reality.

For most of us, the symptoms of pink cloud syndrome can be relatively harmless but it could include:

  • Euphoria.

  • Arrogance.

  • Overconfidence.

  • Committing to overambitious plans.

  • Recklessness.

  • Impulsive behavior.

The Three Main Dangers of Pink Cloud Syndrome

The most common risk with pink cloud syndrome is that we stop doing the things we need to do to remain sober. This happens because we assume that the fact that we feel so good means we don’t need to do any more work (e.g. we leave rehab on a high believing all our problems are behind us). The reality is that breaking free of an addiction is a huge undertaking, and there is a high risk of relapse unless we continue to work on our recovery.

There is also a risk with pink cloud syndrome that we interpret the fact that we feel so good to mean we are cured. It can seem logical that our improved mindset means that we would now be in a much better position to use alcohol or other drugs ‘occasionally’. This is a dangerous way of thinking as it leads it right back into the hands of addiction.

The other potential problem with being in a pink cloud is that it will almost certainly end at some point. The subsequent fall back to a less intense experience can be tough, and we may feel so disappointed with the loss of our high that we use it as an excuse to relapse.

How to Avoid the Dangers of the Pink Cloud

We suggest you fully enjoy your new life in recovery – don’t be afraid to be happy because you deserve it. Just be aware of the potential pitfalls of losing touch with reality. Here are a few tips to help you avoid the dangers of the pink cloud:

  • Be open to feedback from friends in recovery.

  • Don’t use feeling good as an excuse to do less.

  • Don’t indulge those thoughts telling you it would be safe to drink or use.

  • Understand that life involves ups and downs, and ‘this too shall pass’ (the secret to lasting happiness is for us to be able to handle both).

Learning to navigate experiences such as the ‘pink cloud’ in early recovery is vital if we wish to enjoy a lasting transformation. Help us get the word out there by sharing this post.

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