A couple of months ago, I was at an event for the non-profit prisoner rehabilitation I worked for, when a guy from our program caught my attention. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched him go on and on to one of our donors – with wide eyes and exaggerated hand motions – about how great life was and how wonderful it felt to be clean and sober. The guy radiated enthusiasm about his life, to an extent I’d never seen before.
A little taken aback, I turned to my co-worker – a friend who’s an ardent AA attendee with a decade of sobriety under his belt – and asked, “What’s up with that guy?”
My friend looked at me and rolled his eyes. “Oh, him? He’s on the pink cloud.”
Up, Up and Away!!
Little did I know, “pink cloud” is a negative term used by 12-steppers to describe people who are too high on life. These individuals have recently gotten sober and are experiencing emotions for the first time. In the beginning, it’s smooth sailing, life feels wonderful and the future seems bright.
Staying on the recovery path seems effortless. In this state of mind, they feel invincible – there’s no need to work their recovery and they don’t need to ask others for help. In essence, they’re on a pink cloud – they’ve become detached from reality and they’re living in a fantasy land.
Coming Back Down to Earth
The pink cloud period can temporarily feel great…but there are dangers. Here’s a look at what can happen if you get lost in this slight wave of euphoria:
- First, when everything’s feeling so good, it lessens a person’s motivation to stay on the recovery path. Overconfidence and complacency often results, so when the period of bliss inevitably ends, “pink-clouders” are left with a rude and painful awakening.
- Second, this sudden return to reality can be depressing after feeling so high on life during the early recovery stages. These individuals aren’t equipped with the tools to overcome a setback like this.
Either way, one thing is for certain: Being on the pink cloud can most definitely send you spiraling back to relapse. If you or someone you know is new to sobriety, learn all you need to know about this condition, so that you won’t become another statistic to the pink cloud.
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