Pink Cloud

Recently, I was asked about my thoughts on the “Pink Cloud,” that feeling of euphoria some people feel after they quit drinking.

When I first quit drinking I felt like I had discovered this great big secret to happiness. I wanted to tell everyone I met, “I quit drinking and it’s amazing! You should try it!” But I quickly learned that other people do NOT want you to tell them how awesome it is to quit drinking. They are SO uncomfortable with your new found sober glow. People are either uncomfortable on your behalf, like you’ve just admitted to having a problem and that’s embarrassing for you and them. Or, they feel like you are holding up a mirror to them and judging their own drinking habits and they become quite defensive. So, I learned, probably by alienating a great many people, to mostly keep quiet about it, and instead I write about it here.

So, yes I did feel the Pink Cloud and I loved it! I think it peaked for me around 3 months, alcohol free. I’m almost 11 months now. I was just SO happy to be sober (still am). I think of the Pink Cloud as the honeymoon phase of sobriety. It just felt so good, not feeling bad. Now, thankfully, feeling good is my new normal.

Some people feel really let down when the Pink Cloud passes, like it was a fake. But I would hope that being alcohol free and all the benefits, become normal. It’s like the first rush of being in love. In the beginning it’s all butterflies and sunshine, and then that love grows into a normal everyday feeling. It’s not new and exciting anymore but it’s just as good, or even better, in a different, more stable way, if you can appreciate it.

My Pink Cloud dissipated when my Dad’s cancer quickly worsened and he passed away. I had to deal with all my grief without an easy out. There was no way for me to numb my pain. I had to move through each raw feeling as it hit me, process it and let it go. That was around 7 months sober for me. Now, 4 months later, I am so glad that I was present and able to go through each moment, awake, and also so grateful for my sister, who has handled everything beautifully, as she’s done my whole life.

So, don’t fear the passing of the Pink Cloud. Maybe it means that you are settling into your sobriety and you can start to feel more confident in your new relationship with yourself, being alcohol free. Maybe it means you’re getting a little bored and you need to seek out some new tools to help you refocus on gratitude. Who knows, what goes up must come down. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Did you experience any version of the Pink Cloud? I’d love to hear about it.