Sobriety can be a wild ride, complete with roadblocks, delays and detours. But it is also a trip in a figurative sense.
One moment everything is easy and you’re certain you’ve made the right choice. The next, you find yourself totally confused, unsure of the future.
While this may be standard with most major life changes, there is a component to sobriety that has a compounding effect – the pink cloud.
What Is The Pink Cloud?
If you are unaware of the term, the “pink cloud” refers to feelings of euphoria, extreme well-being, and pleasantness that come when you first get sober. Though this sounds like a good thing, the term usually has a negative connotation.
A quick google search on “pink cloud early sobriety” will yield multiple results suggesting it is a big, scary monster that you need to battle. This is largely due to how it works.
First, it tricks you into thinking things are unrealistically amazing. Then when it inevitably ends, you wind up frustrated and more susceptible to relapse.
Yet, the pink cloud can be a good thing – if you get in front of it.
In that light, here are four ways to exploit the pink cloud and use it to your advantage.
1- Tie Up Loose Ends
Everybody is different, but one thing most problem drinkers can agree on is that alcohol makes things sloppy. Whether it’s from missed opportunities, financial irresponsibility, falling behind in productivity or neglecting our physical health, when people drink too much, things get messy.
During the pink cloud days, you have tons of energy, mental clarity and a renewed sense of hope. Exploit this intense rush of positivity and use it to get things done.
In your first weeks and month, you may feel like you’re floating high above the clouds. The energy you experience is unreal and the perception of having more time in your day is incredible. Use this time to schedule doctor/dentist appointments, deep-cleaning your home and closet, and even working on rebuilding relationships.
Review your credit card and bank statements and check your credit report for errors. Maybe you can get a few things removed?
These things may not be super pressing as it is, but it will feel really good to get them under control. That way, when things don’t feel so good, at least your life will be in solid order.
2- Establish Healthy Habits
One thing about habits, whether good or bad, is that once they stick, you’re stuck. One of the best pieces of advice for exploiting the pink cloud is to use that time to make good habits.
One really good habit that will serve you well long after the pink cloud phase has ended is starting a gratitude journal. Creating a handwritten one exclusively for highlighting things that you’re genuinely happy and grateful for will boost your morale and help you coast through the bad times.
The best thing about this habit is that once you get into it, it flows naturally. It sets an excellent tone for the day if you make a habit of doing it first thing in the morning.
Your first daily thoughts will pleasant ones and that’s just great, right? What gets even better than writing is reading it, though. When you feel a little down, you can start from the beginning and work your way through. Instant mood booster!
There are other little habits you can start during the peak of your pink cloud. Can you think of little ways to improve your life?
3- Develop Strategies For Coping With Stress
A big issue when new to sobriety is coping with stressful or bad times, sans alcohol. So many people run to drinking to take their minds off unpleasant situations. Removing alcohol as a go-to means automatically finding other ways to deal.
During the pink cloud phase, you can more easily shrug off stressful situations. You’ll have this crazy sense of positivity that feels as though it’ll last forever. It gets harder, though, once the pink cloud ends. You’ll need to be prepared.
The best way to cope with stress when you’re new to sobriety is to first, make you’re your base needs are met. Healthy diet, enough rest, staying hydrated.
Continuing a journaling habit will help you clear your mind and process your negative emotions and making sure you have a destructive outlet is helpful as well. Like an aggressive sport or hobby. Even screaming into or punching a pillow helps relieve steam in a healthy way.
Additionally, you must acknowledge your feelings because you can’t just drown them out with liquor the way you used to. That approach no longer works. So, acknowledge it, accept it as something that’s fleeing (just like the overwhelming happiness) and then it passes.
The Pink Cloud Can Be An Asset
When dealing with the pink cloud in early sobriety, the best you can do to exploit it is to be aware and be prepared. For some people it never comes at all, for others, it never leaves.
If you don’t get in front of it, it can be this devastating beast many people say it is, but that doesn’t have to be the case!
If you are aware, you can totally use that initial euphoric burst to your advantage.
Getting things done, establishing healthy habits that will serve you well long into the future, and creating coping strategies for tough times are three actions to take immediately to set you up for sobriety success once those fluffy pink bubbles burst.