Day 186: The term ‘pink cloud’ is often used in the sobriety world. In the last 24 hours alone I’ve read about it in a book called “The unexpected joy of being sober” by Catherine Grey and listened to a discussion about it on the “Soberful” podcast by Veronica Valli and Chip Somers.
So what is it and what does it mean?
When we choose a life of sobriety it can be so refreshing as we break the negative cycle we’ve been living for so long. The initial adrenaline and buzz which can result in natural highs during the early days and weeks of sobriety is known by many as the “pink cloud.”
The pink cloud is a term that originated in AA and is something most recovering alcoholics and addicts who have accessed AA are aware of. My journey has not involved Alcoholics Anonymous so I was keen to learn more about this fluffy meaning. Pink Cloud is used to describe feelings of elation and euphoria in early sobriety and I can certainly relate to that. After I left hospital with my detox complete and community care in place I took a few days to adjust but from around Day 15-20 I started to feel a lot happier and confident of my future. A spring in my step even.
The pink cloud is sometimes referred to as the “honeymoon phase” of sobriety and for many it is often short-lived. During this time, a person may feel happy, confident and in top of the World. Essentially, they feel like they’re floating in the clouds (hence the name). The pink cloud is said to be the result of the fog finally lifting after years of substance abuse. The person can finally see clearly and enjoy a life that is free of drug and alcohol abuse. Their body is free of the chemicals and their mind is free of the demons. Or is it as simple as that?!
Although it would be nice to always be happy, positive, and excited while living a sober life, it’s not realistic to remain that way constantly. Life is a rollercoaster after all! The pink cloud can last for days or even weeks in one go but its duration entirely depends on the person and their own personal experience in recovery. Some people even say the pink cloud comes and goes at various points throughout their life in recovery. Personally speaking I can relate to that. I went through an early phase of ‘pink cloud’ which started two weeks in but disappeared around Day 30 until maybe Day 80. That was the hardest period of sobriety for me to date. The time I struggled the most and was at my most vulnerable to relapse. I wouldn’t say I was experiencing pink cloud again until maybe after Day 150 and even then the duration was shorter and more fleeting.
Although ‘pink cloud’ sounds very positive (and it can be), the term can be used in a negative way. Typically, people in long-term recovery are more aware of the potential dangers of the pink cloud As I’ve already mentioned, the fall from the highs can be tough and difficult to bounce back from. To newcomers, the pink cloud is a magical thing that makes them feel happy, accomplished, and like they can do just about anything. However, to those that have experienced it before, the pink cloud is viewed as a short-lived and dangerous phase that can negatively affect a person’s long-term recovery in more ways than one.
I guess it is something which each of us will interpret in our own way. I’ve had highs followed by lows in my 186 days sober. The way I look at is that I can foresee and appreciate this will always happen. Some days, weeks or months will be great as I ride the pink clouds but when I fall back into the depths of <insert a pink cloud equivalent> I work through that period in the best way I can with the confidence it will pass.
So Pink Cloud. That’s your Soberful learning for today!