The Fluffy Pink Cloud – What To Do When It Lets You Down?
There may come a time in your recovery when you feel simply incredible. You are on your way to freedom from addiction; you’ve let go of your baggage from the past – you’re simply high on life! This feeling is what some people call the fluffy pink cloud of recovery, and it feels brilliant. However, nothing lasts forever, and it can be difficult when it leaves.
The term was first used by an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) group to describe a commonly felt feeling that arises during the recovery process. While AA is an organization that tackles addiction to alcohol, this behavioral phenomenon has been observed in a range of addiction recovery processes, and experts understand it to be a widespread phenomenon.
The early stages of recovery can bring days, weeks, or even months of intense joy. People describe themselves as “in love with life” or “on top of the world”. However, all good things come to an end at some point, so it’s important to know about the fluffy pink cloud and how to manage its arrival and departure.
Addiction can suppress our feelings and numb our sensitivity to joy and pleasure. Therefore unchaining yourself from the substance or behavior you are addicted to can heighten your sensitivity to the happy chemicals in your body and more general feelings of joy. Until your body readjusts to sober life, you may experience highs more intensely than people who have been sober long term or have never taken substances.
Similarly, beginning the road to recovery can give us an enormous sense of self-empowerment. You may think to yourself, “if I can do this, then I can do anything!” and this may even be bolstered by the joy of your loved ones around you, who your addiction may have hurt.
Sadly, the fluffy pink cloud will not stick around forever, and its departure can bring hurdles in your recovery journey. That is why AA gave it a name in the first place, so people had a way to describe how they felt and share their experiences with one another.
As your body and mind adjust to sobriety and your new life, the intense highs the recovering person feels usually taper out to a new stable medium, and this shift into a non-euphoric normal can trigger difficult feelings. It can make the temptation to use drugs or engage in problematic behaviors all the more challenging.
This is compounded by how the fluffy pink cloud may cause you to act towards your recovery support system. The joy and empowerment you feel in the fluffy pink cloud can lead you to cut yourself off from the people that you need. You may feel that you don’t require help since you feel so good. But every recovery journey has its ups and its downs, and it is risky to cut yourself off in the early stages of recovery before you have had a chance to weather some of these undulations.
If you feel that you might be riding the fluffy pink cloud, here are some ways to enjoy yourself while safeguarding against the downs you might need to weather when it departs:
- Accept the rush of euphoria as a pleasant but short-lived part of your recovery journey.
- Keep going to your support group meetings or treatment sessions even when you feel great.
- If you start to feel down, keep reminding yourself of why you started your recovery journey in the first place.
- Remember that everyone experiences setbacks – relapsing or feeling low does not mean your recovery has failed or ended.
- Make a setback prevention plan with a loved one or healthcare professional to manage hiccups and off days when they arise.
Feeling the joyful effects of the fluffy pink cloud is not in itself a bad thing. With the support of those around you, once it leaves, you can continue your recovery journey and live the life you deserve to the fullest.