“Pink clouds syndrome” is a phenomenon common among individuals in early recovery that is hallmarked by feelings of euphoria and confidence. After the successful completion of a rehab program, people are then able to return to their normal lives. However, they often find that they view the world through a new lens or “rose-colored glasses,” so to speak, now that they are sober and free from the active influence of drugs or alcohol.
Pink clouds syndrome is fleeting, however, and presumptuousness and arrogance can result in relapse. When an individual enters recovery, he or she will set new goals to attain. But setting one’s sights too high can ultimately lead to dissatisfaction and disappointment. When this happens, the urge to use substances can abruptly reemerge.
Dangers of Pink Clouds Syndrome
In recovery, pink clouds syndrome is quite common, and unfortunately, is associated with having unrealistic expectations. Although these joyful feelings can plant seeds of hope, they can also have a significant downside. Indeed, they often end up being devices that prevent people from recognizing they still have problems present. This delusion can lead to feelings of unwavering confidence, followed by disillusionment when things don’t turn out as grand as predicted.
Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with feeling particularly hopeful about the future, but this optimism has to be founded in reality. Having a cocky attitude will only keep a person’s head up for so long. Eventually, those high on life will experience challenges and stress. If emotionally unguarded, a breakdown in determination can occur, leading to relapse.
Remaining positive during recovery is a pleasant feeling and can yield positive outcomes. But pink clouds syndrome is mostly used as a negative term. Many who are attempting to remain sober are still must deal with life’s extreme moments, which may contain as many lows as there are highs.
Pink clouds syndrome can sometimes consist of a sort of detachment from reality. People become emersed in enjoyable feelings and neglect to plan for the long journey yet to come. The pink cloud may be thought of as a natural high as well as a psycho-emotional defense mechanism. People may rely too heavily on the rewarding feeling of achievement and forget about pressing family, legal, and financial concerns that require the use of well-honed coping skills and perseverance.
A person in early recovery often encounters a roller coaster of emotions. As a matter of fact, these feelings are often very similar to those that led to substance abuse and addiction in the first place. The ride can be rough, and it’s usually just not possible to remain perfectly content all the time. Eventually, the lows that follow the highs can produce too much disappointment and distress to manage adequately.
Many addiction professionals believe that the experience of pink clouds syndrome is risky because being a formidable obstacle to addiction recovery.
Getting Back to Reality
Pink clouds syndrome is a unique experience for each individual, and the length of time it lasts can vary accordingly. Some people who have lost almost everything may ride on the pink cloud for months or years during recovery. Others will return to reality soon after completing detox and treatment.
The issue, however, is not the duration of these feelings, but the outcomes to which they can lead. For many, the unrealistic euphoria is a state of mind characterized by a loss of memory concerning past pain and the devastating consequences of their addiction.
Many people in new to recovery erroneously believe that they can avoid the reexperience of pain because they are “cured.” They can feel overconfident and start to think that they now hold the key to recovery. They will forget that recovery is a life-long endeavor and that addiction is a chronic illness. It is not merely a passing condition that can be switched on and off like a light.
Many popular peer support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, will educate new members about the pink cloud concept. A significant drawback to this, however, is that this could make a person feel guilty and overly concerned about their newfound joy in recovery.
The best way an individual can avoid this problem is to be proactive and hold realistic expectations. They should apply the new skills they’ve learned in treatment and frequently attend peer support group meetings. In some instances, they also benefit from consulting a therapist or counselor.
Seeking the company of a recovery coach or a sponsor can also be an effective means to avoid pink clouds syndrome. A partner in recovery can help promote accountability and share their wealth of experience and knowledge in these matters, as well as offer support and sound advice.
Treatment for Addiction
Even before a person seeks treatment, it’s an excellent idea to begin thinking in terms of realistic goals. It’s okay to be optimistic about things to come. But, it is vital to remember that becoming clean and sober isn’t going to fix all the problems in one’s life. Recovery will prevent more negative consequences related to addiction from happening, but it is not, by any means, an instant cure. It will not make all the issues that led to addiction in the first place disappear.
Just Believe Recovery offers comprehensive programs that include services essential for the process, such as psychotherapy, counseling, peer group support, experiential activities, health and wellness programs, aftercare planning, and more.
If you are ready to make a permanent change for the better, contact us today! We are committed to helping people achieve their recovery goals and break the cycle of addiction for life!