A common experience among new recovering addicts is the feeling that you’re ready to change your entire life now. Many men and women who are new to sobriety feel the possibility of a whole new life and start to take charge in a new way. Although this is a great feeling, it can lead to some risks. The danger is that some people might try to take on too much too fast, and in the end, they might relapse or experience another type of setback.
Finding the Balance in Your Recovery
If you are feeling a joy for life that you haven’t felt before, that can be very healing and rewarding. However, it is important to find a balance that excitement for life and your needs to recover. Taking on more than you can handle can create overwhelm, stress, tension, and anxiety. Plus, you’re not sure what physical or mental health symptoms you might encounter as your body gets used to being without drugs or alcohol. It’s important to pace yourself so that you have the stamina to make it through the first year of recovery.
In fact, in recovery, there will likely be some natural highs as well as some deep lows. The detoxification period and the few months afterward can feel like a thawing out, where the emotions that you became numb to start to wake up. Of course, this can feel good. There might be some joy and happiness to feel. At the same time, there will likely be some challenging emotions. And this can make the first few months and even year of recovery full of ups and downs.
Pink Cloud Syndrome
So, sure, it’s great to have a positive outlook on recovery when you begin. But sometimes, people exhibit a Pollyanna-type of happiness in early sobriety that is known in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) as the Pink Cloud Syndrome.
The Pink Cloud Syndrome is the experience of unusual happiness and even grandiosity, while real and difficult life challenges continue to exist.
Experiencing a range of emotions is very natural in recovery. But the Pink Cloud Syndrome is a common experience for AA newcomers. In fact, the Pink Syndrome can be common because early AA participants might at first feel like they’ve found something that is going to rescue them from their problems. However, the danger here is that newly recovering addicts with this experience don’t recognize that they will need to do significant work in order change their lives. In order for the circumstances in their life to transform, they will still need to do plenty of soul-searching.
The Pink Cloud Syndrome is often another version of still escaping problems. Just like alcohol and drugs were used as an escape, finding sobriety and recovery might also be used as an escape. Although it’s true that recovery is about finding a joy and excitement to life that drugs and alcohol cannot give you, the Pink Cloud syndrome is escaping life’s problems by believing and telling yourself that everything is fine, when for a recovering addict, it’s likely not.
The point is that it’s important to be realistic in your recovery. Make a plan for accessing support, taking good care of yourself, and attending your recovery meetings. Take it nice and slow. In fact, as they say in AA, it’s okay to take it one day at a time.