Pink Cloud Syndrome: The Dangerous Euphoria Following Recovery

Pink Cloud Syndrome

The pink cloud is a phenomenon that’s common among people in their early recovery (observed for the first time in AA members), which has helped many continue through the skies of sobriety.

The pink cloud can carry an addict on the wings of joy. Many users admit that this feeling of excitement has given them hope after the pain and the struggles their addiction has brought into their lives. But it can also cause dangerous overconfidence that can lead to a relapse.

What is the Pink Cloud Syndrome?

In addiction recovery, the “pink cloud” is a term used to describe a high-on-life feeling in one’s journey to recovery. The Pink Cloud Syndrome is a curious but often short-lived phenomenon. Many people, after detoxing, feel too good about their recovery, as they’re finally able to see the real world behind a curtain of pills, drinks, and needles.

How dangerous is the Pink Cloud Syndrome for addiction recovery?

In recovery, pink clouds are common phenomena, but can provide unrealistic expectations. While the feelings of happiness may bring hope to people, they have a dark side, in that the feelings can be self-effected mechanisms that stop people from seeing their real problems. Those delusions can bring over-confidence and disappointment, which can lead back to relapse.

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The Pink Cloud Of Happiness

The pink cloud in addiction is a term used to describe a curious but short-lived phenomenon in one’s recovery odyssey. It means to be high on life. Many people after detox feel too good about their recovery as they’re finally able to see the real world.

While there’s nothing wrong with feeling optimistic about your future, let’s explore the pros and cons that the pink cloud can pour on us.

The Dark Side Of The Pink Clouds

Although being positive is a good feeling during recovery, the Pink Cloud Syndrome in addiction is used mainly as a negative term. Many people who are trying to stay clean are exposed to various extremes. Life is never fine for an addicted individual: it fluctuates between drama and euphoria. Being on a pink cloud can sometimes mean a detachment from reality: people become preoccupied with the good feelings and forget about the journey in front of them. The pink cloud can also be seen as a kind of natural high and defense mechanism, which helps people ignore all the familial, financial and legal issues that they have to deal with.

An addict’s life is a rollercoaster of emotions, and emotions are what trigger an addiction in the first place. Like any roller coaster, it’s not possible to stay joyful and delusional all the time: eventually, you’ll come closer to the ground, and that can bring too much disappointment to handle.

The real world and all the problems that you are still facing can hit you, and that can be the first step to relapse.

Many specialists, such as Professor Andrea King, director of the Clinical Addictions Research Laboratory at the University of Chicago, believe that the Pink Cloud Syndrome is risky because being irrational is a major obstacle to the addiction recovery.

Getting Off Of The Pink Clouds

The pink cloud phenomenon is an individual process, and its duration can vary between individuals. Some people that have lost everything can be happy for years during recovery; others can come back to reality soon after detox.

The real problem is not how long people will be flying on their pink clouds, but what this syndrome can cause. For many people, the unrealistic feeling of happiness holds a state that can be defined as a loss of memory regarding their pain and the devastating results their addiction has had.

Many people in early recovery think that they’ll never face any pain and that they are cured. Addicts can feel too confident and may start to believe that the key to recovery is only in their hands: they forget that recovery is a long process, and not an on-off switch.

As health specialists and users say, the key to sobriety is true surrender. You should admit that you’ve reached the bottom, reduce your ego, and recognize that you need help on a daily basis.

Pink Cloud Syndrome: The Dangerous Euphoria Following Recovery

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Comments 5

  • This is why AA is failing

    • On the contrary, AA is doing great. I do understand that some meetings have gotten away from the big book but there is a serious effort happening in AA to return primarily to the big book way of teaching. In Connecticut, AA is very strong and has helped hundreds of thousands get and stay sober.

  • AA is not failing by any stretch. Just because it didn’t work for some, doesn’t make it a failure. It has by far the highest success rate of any program out there. AA is truly a miracle. I’ve tried many therapists and programs and AA is the only one that worked for me and millions of others.

  • I’m struggling with someone else’s Pink Cloud. He’s just out of detox and after having destroyed (I accept my half of the blame) our relationship, he’s saying all the right things and wants me to get back on his merry go round and woo me and win me back. I still love him but I don’t want to get screwed over for the third time. Does anyone have insight regarding how long it will take for a realistic view of the damage to our relationship? I told him I don’t want to try again but he is determined to win me back. I want to cut off all contact even though I still am in love with him, I want to heal myself and leave this behind. Any advice?

    • if he is truly in AA and has admitts and believes he is an an alcoholic, then he needs to not be in this toxic destructive relationship. He would step away so as not to cause you any more pain and take care of his sobriety. This is the Third time??? You know the answer just by your question. If I was a gambler I’d bet that family and friends have told you to stay away from this, what sounds to be a very co-dependent and destructive relationship. Good luck. I really hope you make the right voice.

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