The Pink Cloud, & When it Disappears

The Pink CloudWhen it Disappears

If you’ve done any Googling about quitting alcohol, you may have stumbled across folks talking about the “pink cloud.” Celebrating it, lamenting the loss of it, frustrated that they never experienced it. But what exactly is the pink cloud, and what can we expect from it?

The “pink cloud” refers to a phase of early sobriety where you suddenly feel amazing. You feel refreshed, energetic, and your body feels light. You’re sleeping great, you wake up excited to tackle the day, and not-drinking feels pretty easy. The whole world looks a little rosier than it did before.

And the pink cloud is great, so long as we understand its impact. If we aren’t prepared for the pink cloud, and what it will feel like when the pink cloud goes away, then we may be at higher risk for returning to alcohol use.

There’s no real scientific consensus about what causes the pink cloud, and why some people experience it while others don’t. Similarly, we don’t really know why it eventually goes away. But we have enough anecdotal evidence to confirm that this phenomenon really does happen for many people when they remove alcohol from their lives.

Possible causes of the pink cloud:

  • A sudden shift in how we’re caring for our bodies - nutrition, sleep, no longer ingesting alcohol

  • A sudden shift in brain chemistry when we stop altering it with alcohol

  • A sudden shift in our outlook and motivation

So why does the pink cloud disappear? Simply because it isn’t sustainable. While we would love to ride the high of the pink cloud forever, when we’re more realistic about the natural peaks and valleys of life, we’re better equipped to handle the things that are thrown at us. If we believe that everything will be perfect and rosy the second we quit drinking alcohol, and that it will stay that way forever, we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment.

The important takeaway of the pink cloud is to enjoy it if you experience it, and be prepared for it to eventually wear off. Spend this time building up your toolbox, journaling and documenting how you feel, and compiling a list of your favorite coping mechanisms. Use the energy and motivation of the pink cloud to do work, so that you’re better prepared for the everyday realities of living life.