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01 Aug All About Pink Cloud Syndrome

Pink cloud syndrome—what is it, and what does it mean for those recovering from addiction? Read on to learn about pink cloud syndrome, the dangers associated with it, and how to avoid it during recovery from addiction.

Pink cloud syndrome defined

The term “pink cloud” is used to refer to an individual who is harboring an extremely optimistic view on life during recovery—usually a view that is too optimistic given the circumstances. It often affects those in the early stages of recovery and appears as self-delusion. An individual with “pink cloud syndrome” has typically lost touch with reality and is harboring an unrealistic view towards life in recovery.

Dangers of pink cloud syndrome

While it’s always good to remain optimistic as you navigate addiction recovery, there lies a danger in feeling too optimistic. When optimism begins to veer from the realm of reality, the individual in recovery runs the risk of becoming overconfident and complacent. This leads to unrealistic expectations about recovery and makes the individual feel as though there is little that he or she needs to do in order to remain sober. This, of course, makes a person more susceptible to relapse. And when the period of pink cloud syndrome ends, the individual runs the further risk of facing extreme disappointment as reality hits—another potential trigger for relapse.

Where pink cloud syndrome comes from

It can be difficult to define where exactly the “pink cloud” comes from for certain individuals in recovery. For many, pink cloud syndrome might just come as a result of unrealistic expectations about recovery. For others, it might be a defense mechanism that grew out of an inability to accept life’s present circumstances.

Avoiding pink cloud syndrome

Since it’s difficult to talk a recovering addict off of the pink cloud during that period of extreme optimism, it’s best for someone in recovery to avoid experiencing the pink cloud altogether. When a recovering addict avoids the cloud successfully, he or she can approach recovery with realistic expectations and find true sources of optimism.

To avoid pink cloud syndrome, an individual in recovery should be sure to openly discuss the struggles of recovery with their peers and with their counselors. It can also help to discuss recovery with those who have been living sober for a period of years. Keeping a journal can help you to write down your honest emotions and to set realistic goals while in recovery.

Betsy Firth is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist. She graduated from Purdue University. She began her career in residential treatment in 1984. Betsy’s professional passion is in assisting others to heal from trauma or disruptions in attachment. She is certified in DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) for increasing ability in emotion regulation and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) for resolution of traumatic memories. She has found great satisfaction utilizing these skills and abilities in helping those who suffer from the disease of addiction.

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