What Is Pink Clouds Syndrome? – “Pink clouds syndrome” is an event common among those in early recovery that is characterized by feelings of euphoria. After the successful completion of a recovery program, people are then able to return to their former lives. However, they often see the world through a new lens, so to speak, now that they are no longer under the influence of substances.
The pink clouds period is temporary, however, and overconfidence and complacency can lead to relapse. When a person enters recovery, they establish new goals to achieve. But setting one’s sights too high can lead to disappointment. When this occurs, the desire to use drugs and alcohol suddenly reemerges.
Dangers of Pink Clouds Syndrome
In recovery, pink clouds syndrome is common, and it can result in unrealistic expectations. Although these feelings of joy can foster hope, they do have a dark side. Indeed, they often end up being mechanisms that prevent people from seeing their existing problems. This illusion can lead to overconfidence and dissatisfaction when things don’t turn out as rosy as predicted.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with feeling optimistic about the future, but this optimism has to be realistic. Having a cocksure attitude will only work for so long. Eventually, those high on life will encounter setbacks and stress. If emotionally unprepared, a breakdown in fortitude can occur, resulting in relapse.
Remaining hopeful during recovery is a good feeling and can have positive outcomes. But pink clouds syndrome is used primarily as a negative term. Many who are trying to stay sober are still exposed to life’s extreme moments—up and downs, highs and lows, peace and drama.
Pink clouds syndrome can sometimes involve a sort of detachment from reality. People become immersed in good feelings and forget about the long journey to come. The pink cloud can be thought of as a kind of natural high as well as a psychological defense mechanism. People may rely too heavily on the positive feelings of accomplishment and ignore all the pressing family, legal, and financial issues that require coping skills and patience.
An individual in recovery often experiences a roller coaster of emotions. Indeed, these are the same exact emotions that lead to addiction in the first place. The ride is turbulent, and it’s not possible to stay perfectly happy all the time. Eventually, the downs that follow the ups can cause too much disappointment and stress to manage.
Many experts believe that experiencing pink clouds syndrome is risky because being unrealistic is a significant obstacle to addiction recovery.
Getting Back to Reality
Pink clouds syndrome is a unique process for each person, and the length of time it persists varies between individuals. Some who have lost everything may ride the pink cloud for months or even years during recovery. Others will return to reality shortly following detox and treatment.
The problem, however, is not the duration of these feelings, but the consequences that these feelings can cause. For many, the unrealistic euphoria is a condition that can be described as a loss of memory regarding their past pain and the devastating results their addiction has had on their lives and the lives of others.
Many people in early recovery think that they can avoid reencountering pain because they are “cured.” They can feel too confident and start to believe that they hold the key to recovery. They forget that recovery is a life-long process and that addiction is a chronic disease. It is not merely a temporary problem that can be switched off like a light.
Many popular 12-step support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, will teach new members about the concept of the pink cloud. The major shortcoming to this, however, is that it could make an individual feel guilty and overly wary about their newfound happiness in recovery.
The best way a person can avoid this dilemma is to be proactive and set realistic expectations. They should continue to apply the new skills they’ve learned in treatment and regularly attend support group meetings. In some cases, they also benefit from seeing a counselor or therapist.
Seeking the companionship of a recovery coach or a sponsor can also be an effective measure to avoid pink clouds syndrome. A companion in recovery can help foster accountability and share their wealth of experience in these matters, providing support and sound advice.
Treatment for Addiction
Even before you seek treatment, it’s a good idea to begin thinking in realistic terms. You can be hopeful and positive; just remember that becoming sober won’t fix all your problems. Recovery will prevent more issues related to addiction from occurring, but it is not an instant cure. It will not make all the things that led to addiction in the first place vanish.
Harmony Treatment and Wellness offers comprehensive programs that include services vital to the process of recovery, such as psychotherapy, counseling, group support, medication-assisted treatment, and aftercare planning. If you are ready to make a change, contact us today! We are committed to helping people achieve their recovery goals and break the cycle of addiction for life!