The Pink Cloud: An Emotional High

In early sobriety, you may find yourself experiencing emotional highs that feel like you’re on cloud nine. After rehab, your recovery program may include going to lots of meetings and making a list of recovery goals. When you achieve those goals, intense feelings of elation and happiness are common. This feeling of being high on life and excited about your sobriety is what’s known as the “pink cloud”. Your body and your life are changing and this can mean big things. Not to mention, the brain is a habit making machine. When you settle into new healthy patterns, your body and your brain will give you rewards of dopamine and adequate stress hormones to problem solve and enjoy relationships.


Coming down from the pink cloud

As would be expected, breaking free from addiction is a huge accomplishment. Being elated over your newfound sobriety should be cause for joy and gratitude. Joy is one of those foreboding emotions. However, fear is somewhere close by. The imagination can run wild – if we allow it – of what can go wrong or what is not perfect. So what happens when unwelcome feelings crop up, as the pink cloud fades away and normal relational, work or financial problems require more attention? We use the ABC’s. Get back to basics: prayer, meetings, meditation, human connection, eat a meal, be of service. Therefore, pick just three basics (A, B, C) that will rebalance you today.


Dangers of the pink cloud on your sobriety

While feeling empowered is good, being perfect in recovery or overly confident in sobriety (at any point) is cause for alarm. It’s impossible to achieve any kind of perfection when it comes to recovery. In fact, it’s the opposite that works: stay honest, stay right-sized and link arms with others who you admire and trust. D’Amore Healthcare’s definition of right-sized is simple: human being, adequate, accepted, acknowledged, humanness welcome, real required, fake prohibited.


Don’t let excuses make your decisions

Two dangers in the pink cloud are half-mast connection and complacency. Making excuses not to go to meetings because you had a bad day or you don’t think you need it – red hot alarm. Also, hanging your hat on your early accomplishments may put the ABC’s of recovery to the end of the line. Catch this fast to minimize the suffering and danger!  


It may start out subtly: missing meetings, working too much, missing key deadlines at school, exhibiting past behaviors, acting on impulsive thoughts. Gradually, not working your program can lead to relapse.

Don’t let sobriety take a backseat

The things you regain from being clean and sober can also be the things that put recovery in the backseat. Sobriety is absolutely something to celebrate and it’s not wrong to enjoy your successes. But don’t let overconfidence put you at risk of losing everything you lost before. Stay on track. Also, be aware of your emotions. Put recovery first. Work your program. Protect your sobriety.

D’Amore Healthcare is a dual diagnosis and substance abuse addiction treatment center in Orange County, CA.

We provide information and treatment for people dealing with the life-shattering cycle of mental illness, substance abuse and addiction. 

If someone needs immediate help, call 24-hours a day at 714.375.1110 or contact us online.