The “pink cloud” is best described as a period of time where the addict or alcoholic experiences a reprieve from the struggles associated with early recovery. These struggles are generally associated with the feelings of depression, anger, resentment, self pity and the realization of where their drug addiction or alcoholism has taken them.
Upon experiencing this phenomenon for the first time, the addict or alcoholic is understandably excited. They begin to believe they now “hold the key” to their recovery. This is where the seed for relapse is planted. They begin to believe more in themselves than in the process they have been following. Without the pain as a daily reminder, they tend to forget about what it took for them to embrace recovery. Denial rears its ugly head and they minimize how devastating their drug addiction and alcoholism really was and that they have a disease of drug addiction and alcoholism that requires attention on a daily basis. Relapse prevention becomes an afterthought as the person becomes defiant and rebellious regarding suggestions contrary to their desires. Without resorting to drugs or alcohol, the individual in recovery is one step away from relapse. Remember, relapse is not an event, it is a process.
Relapse Prevention versus the “Pink Cloud”
The relapse prevention plan that is designed while in addiction treatment or drug rehab is a plan for recovery when a person is feeling elated, depressed or anywhere in between… The relapse prevention plan is comprised of recognizing one’s triggers, unhealthy thought patterns and behaviors with recommendations on how to best address them. The addict and alcoholic are not used to feeling good about themselves. While most individuals would cherish high self esteem, the addict / alcoholic relishes self pity and low self worth. When there is no shame, they create it. So, when a recovering person starts feeling good about themselves, they need to work harder and practice what has been working for them. This will provide them the opportunity to break an old pattern of self sabotage and establish a new pattern of developing self worth. No matter how one is feeling, rely on the relapse prevention plan that has been developed for you.