When beginning your recovery journey, you discover new and exciting things about yourself and remember things you used to love. This euphoria might feel like it will never end, and while it is good to try and maintain this euphoric state, it is not practical. Understand that this energy and optimism are known as the “pink cloud,” which occurs when you have just come through from the other side of detox and withdrawal.
Over time, more real-life challenges begin to return to contend with your recovery and your new-found perspective. When this occurs, it diminishes your state of euphoria and could have you doubting your recovery. It might even try to pull you back to old ways, always focusing on the negative and feeling ashamed that you thought you could get better. Remember, this is not occurring because you did anything wrong; this is typical of how the “pink cloud” works. The essence of recovery is developing ways to navigate life’s ups and downs.
Why is This Process Necessary?
First, understand that the “pink cloud” is not a random phenomenon to be dismissed. The “pink cloud” is helpful to early recovery. Addiction can create stress for yourself and others and can also distort or numb your emotional experiences to getting, stopping you from enjoying life. The “pink cloud” occurs upon your perspective, shifting when you go through treatment. Since your emotions become muted after years of use, feeling joy and optimism again may feel extremely powerful. Recovery allows you to see what life can become. It also supports you in getting back in touch with a range of emotions within. It can create an exhilarating experience.
How Is It Harmful?
The “pink cloud” can create a false sense of well-being and lead you to believe you have the capabilities of handling any situation or challenge. When this occurs, you overlook the responsibilities that await you in the world outside of treatment: work, children, bills, travel, and currently a pandemic. It is essential to remind yourself of the challenges that lie ahead and how you want to approach them from a new perspective.
Statistics show that most people return to substance abuse within the first 90 days of abstinence. Short periods of abstinence may occur because people are not prepared for the emotional rollercoaster that is recovery. Remember that early recovery needs to swing from a low emotional state to a high emotional state before slowing down and balancing out. Remind yourself that your feelings balance your emotional state and you are not experiencing a downward spiral.
Focus on Manageable Goals
One of the ways to stay motivated after transitioning back to life is to focus on manageable goals. You might try finding a new exercise routine, staying consistent with sleep and dietary schedules, and practicing meditation or mindfulness to explore your emotions further. Remember that balance is critical. You might have been eager to take on all challenges, but recovery is about pacing, patience, and planning. Overloading yourself with goals can backfire and leave you feeling burnt out and unmotivated.
Additionally, you can assess your goals and focus on one or two things at a time and let go of goals centered around what you think you should do. For example, practices that involve strengthening your mental and physical states are a valid priority early on. However, returning to friends and social settings where substances are present to prove you can resist the urge might not be the best goal to go after. Early recovery should focus on rebuilding yourself to allow yourself the ability to handle the outside world.
One of the best tools you will attain in recovery is developing a healthy support system. You might build a support system through 12-Step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous. However, there are other ways to look for recovery support. If you haven’t already, consider a therapist. A therapist and different forms of therapy, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy, not only help you initially to learn about your emotions and goals, but they also provide a great way to manage your feelings and plans at any point in your recovery. You can also seek support from your local or online recovery communities.
You can never have enough support in recovery, so finding ways to reach out to those that will put your recovery needs first is a great way to get out from under the “pink cloud.”
The “pink cloud” can fill you with feelings of confidence and hope. While these feelings are not bad, you have to recognize that sustaining these feelings long-term takes work. Let the emotions you feel early on motivate and inspire your decisions moving forward. Outside of feeling good, having a plan is just as essential to navigating life and recovery. Once you leave treatment, your responsibilities will be waiting for you. These may cause you to fall off the “pink cloud” but do not have to deter you from the healing process. At True Recovery, we believe that healing does not end after initial treatment; it is a lifelong process that, at times, can be challenging. Whether you are just beginning or have been managing sobriety for years, we have treatment to meet your needs. We offer both conventional and alternative treatments because we don’t believe that recovery is one-size-fits-all. With 24/7 admission, there is never a wrong time to reach out to us. To learn more, call us today at (866) 399-6528.