After detoxing or in early sobriety, some people experience euphoria for a few days or weeks. This is referred to as the “pink cloud.” Sometimes people worry that after this wears off, real life in recovery will be a harsh reality check. As someone who experienced the pink cloud when I was just over two months sober, I can say that it’s a really great time—but you don’t have to worry about what comes after.
For one, because the high isn’t from drugs or alcohol—the kind of high we’re used to when we’re entering recovery—the come-down isn’t as drastic. In my experience, it was more of a gradual shift to a new sober baseline. And by the time it comes, you’ve spent at least a little time sober, even if only a week or two; you’re not trying to cope with this shift on day one.
For me, after the pink cloud wore off is when the real work started—but it was also when the most exciting changes happened. Your brain and body need time to heal from active addiction, and each phase is new and wonderful in its own way. Even in long-term recovery, you can always be working on the deeper issues that led you to use substances in the first place, because this is a life-long process. At over six and a half years sober, I’ve found that the issues I’m addressing keep getting deeper; the healing that comes from them is deeper as well.
That’s all to say: the end of the pink cloud is only the end of the pink cloud. In every other way, it’s the beginning. It starts the powerful and fulfilling healing process.
It’s really nice to feel euphoric, but it’s not possible to feel that way all the time. We might have tried to do so with drugs or alcohol, only to make ourselves miserable. Still, we may mourn the ability to use substances, and we may mourn the pink cloud. That’s okay. But all feelings pass, and that’s a hopeful thing; while it means euphoria can’t last forever, neither can our most painful emotions.
Sobriety will be full of ups and downs. You will feel really happy again. Being in recovery gives you the ability to truly feel these emotions. During recovery, when I feel joy, it’s much stronger and realer than anything I felt during active addiction. It might not be the artificially-induced highs of drugs, alcohol or the pink cloud—it’s better, and worth all the work.
If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, there is help and hope. TruHealing Centers offers high-quality treatment for addiction and mental health disorders in facilities across the country. Our staff—many of whom are in recovery themselves—will help you find joy in recovery. Call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.