Being able to break your addiction of alcohol or drugs is an accomplishment that you should take pride in. Addiction is known for destroying lives and having a very negative affect on people. Enjoying the freedom in the early stages of your recovery is always encouraged. It is a time for you to consider all of the possibilities available in your life and allow you to benefit from the improved relationships that you can now have with your friends and family. However, sometimes the newly sober individual can put themselves in danger if they are too happy about the situation.
Some people are able to feel good for a number of weeks or months when they first become sober. This is known as the “pink cloud” period. It’s enjoyable but very risky. Some people come back to reality with a shock and it can be a very painful experience. It can lead to being too overconfident and run the risk of relapse when things don’t go as planned. Sometimes the person affected by pink cloud syndrome feels so happy or proud of themselves, they fail to do everything they need to in order to stay on track with their priorities.
The term ‘pink cloud’ is used negatively in this connotation because those that it affects are essentially high on life to an extreme. They have lost touch with reality and are living in a form of a fantasy land. The emotions that they experience do not reflect their situation. This syndrome was first described by the Alcoholics Anonymous group. Early recovery is usually referred to as a rollercoaster ride because it is a mixture of highs and lows. Emotions that have been muted with drugs and alcohol are awakened again; these feelings can be intense. As the body adjusts to this, there can be a lot of changes in mood swings. However, there’s almost always a time when the individual hits a smooth period of their recovery. This is when they start feeling wonderful and as if nothing can affect them negatively. Staying free of their addiction may feel like it’s effortless, so they don’t feel like they have to worry about staying sober.
Relapse is more likely to occur during the first years of recovery. It is likely to happen during the first few months after you have finished your rehab program. The usual reason why it happens is because the individual stops putting together the effort to stay sober. They might start ignoring their problems and their emotions. They might not ask for help when they need it because they don’t want to be viewed as a failure or weak. They start working on getting on back to the road towards their addiction because they hit a point in their recovery where they don’t know how to get beyond it on their own. This is when there is the greatest risk for pink cloud syndrome because the individual may feel too confident in themselves or their ability to ignore these elements to the extent that it works against their recovery.