There is a phenomenon within the community of newly sober alcoholics and drug addicts, called the pink cloud, that does not have a medical definition. However, the pink cloud is just as well known as many other conditions experienced in early recovery. The pink cloud effect involves sensations of heightened optimism and feelings of happiness that contradict the despair felt by many whose life has recently been devastated by active addiction.
If you are fortunate enough to have chosen to admit yourself to an inpatient alcohol and drug rehab facility, you may have heard the term “pink cloud” before and be wondering whether you might experience this liberating mental reprieve while in treatment. Below are some reasons behind this fortuitous surge in happiness and what you should expect if you experience it while in treatment.
Changes in Brain Chemistry.
Early recovery is an emotional roller coaster ride. One minute you might feel hopeful and the next filled with despair. The pink cloud is something different, though. A pink cloud is lasting, and you may notice the effect for days or even weeks. Neurochemicals, such as dopamine, serotonin, acetylcholine, and GABA produce an emotional response, and neurotransmitters regulate the production of these chemicals. Active addiction causes havoc with neurotransmitters, stimulating some and restricting others, depending on your drug of choice. When you are in early recovery in a treatment center, your brain is healing, and part of this healing process entails a re-adjustment of neurotransmitters and neuropathways to compensate for the lack of whatever chemical that you have been ingesting.
When anyone feels pleasure about anything, that feeling is the result of dopamine. Whenever you are enjoying an excellent meal, falling in love with someone or engaging in any activity that provides elation, your brain has elevated dopamine levels. Serotonin is another neurochemical that is responsible for happiness, but it is subtler than dopamine. Although there is no strict scientific neurochemical explanation of the pink cloud phenomenon, it is reasonable to assume that there is some heightened production of these two neurochemicals, because it is pretty much impossible to be happy without them.
Active addiction is a frightening existence. Everything that you hold dear is jeopardized, including your health, your family, your employment, and, in some cases, your freedom. Living as a virtual slave to your drug of choice is exhausting and depressing. Most alcoholics and drug addicts reach the point where they are using in large part to medicate the fearful emotions that they are sure to feel when the effect of their drug of choice wears off. The euphoric state that you enjoyed in the early stages of your addiction becomes increasingly challenging to achieve and has instead been replaced by a numb emptiness that has value only in the manner that it serves to suppress your growing feelings of darkness and despair.
When you seek treatment in an alcohol and drug rehabilitation center, your nightmare is over and the feeling of being on the wrong track heading toward disaster changes to a belief that you are safe and in good hands. This change in the direction of your life may well account for a pink cloud experience. Treatment in an alcohol and drug rehab represents a new beginning and a chance to enjoy life as never before, so why wouldn’t you feel joyful and excited about your present circumstances and future?
Another reason that you might experience a pink cloud in an alcohol and drug rehab is that you find yourself in the company of like-minded individuals who are in the same boat as you are. There is relief in this commonality, and you may be laughing and enjoying the company of others in no time at all. If you feel happy, confident and optimistic about the future, you may very well be in the dimension of the pink cloud and, if this is the case, enjoy the ride.
There is something about sharing your story with others who will not judge you that leads to relaxation and contentment. Fellow alcoholics and drug addicts can understand you like no one else can, so the ability to spend time with others who are newly sober is liberating because you can finally let all the feelings loose that you have been holding on to for so long.
In summation, there is no way to tell whether you will be one of the lucky ones to feel the reprieve of the pink cloud while in treatment. If you do find yourself in a pink cloud, there is a caveat attached. Sometimes, newly sober alcoholics and addicts discover to their dismay that the pink cloud ends, and this can be unpleasant. Remember, though, regardless of how you feel in treatment, it is the catalyst for a lifetime of serenity and peace. Call us today at 844-639-8371 to begin your journey.