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Pink Cloud Syndrome

by | Stop Drinking Alcohol | 2 comments

Pink Cloud syndrome is “recovery” jargon which refers to somebody who speaks about how great it is to be free of alcohol, how great life is, and how the reality has improved so much. In the twisted vernacular of the recovery industry, this means that the person is out of touch with reality.
Hahaha is all I have to say! It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous that the recovery industry has a name for if you’re still feeling crap after you have quit drinking…Post Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) and then Pink Cloud Syndrome, for when you’re too happy.
This means that there is no real middleground…As AA likes to say, once an alcoholic always an alcoholic… Anything outside of that is out of touch with reality…

How are you doing? I’m Kevin O’Hara for alcoholmastery.com.

Today, I want to talk about Pink Cloud syndrome.

This is something I think is for people who have quit any drug including alcohol.

It’s basically when people get an emotional high once they have stopped drinking for along time.

They get a buzz.

One of the things about drinking alcohol or taking any drug is that the longer you take the drug, the more you become emotionally anesthetized.

A lot of your emotions are suppressed because of your drinking.

A lot of people drink because they want to suppress their emotions.

And, many emotions are suppressed, not deliberately, but because of the drug.

You drink when you feel happy, when you feel like you want to celebrate, in different areas of your life.

One of the problems is that your emotions start to become intertwined with the alcohol.

Especially those happiness emotions.

You find that a lot of your emotions become suppressed because as soon as you feel your emotions coming up, you drink to suppress it.

Eventually those emotions do become suppressed.

You stop being able to feel these things.

I only realised this when I stopped drinking.

I’ve drunk at certain times in my life when I tried to suppress emotions, and it just doesn’t work.

For instance, when my wife died, there was no way of suppressing it, it was too raw and deep.

It was such a big emotion, grief.

It is impossible to suppress it.

It does dampen it a bit, but I think a lot of my grief was to do with the fact that I was a drinker anyway.

The pain that I felt, I couldn’t deal with it any other way.

I didn’t know how to deal with it any other way.

So I drank a lot and that suppressed a lot of it, but also made a lot of it worse.

It made the process of grieving last a lot longer than it should have.

Sometimes your emotions take a long time before they start to reappear after you’ve quit.

Not too much time, though.

I think once you get over the fact that you don’t need alcohol to have fun, and that you can get out there and take the actions to push yourself out and have fun, then you start to realise that you can have more fun without alcohol, more happiness without having to drug yourself up.

Although it has an appearance of giving you fun, the alcohol gives you a type of fun that you lose all the time.

The fun diminishes so slowly.

That’s why they say alcohol is so insipid.

It takes over very slowly, not overnight.

It’s not like some of the other drugs out there where you feel you’re going downhill very quickly once you’re taking these drugs.

With alcohol it’s a slow process.

That’s part of the insipid nature of alcohol.

It takes a long time before you realise that certain things are happening.

It takes a long time.

It’s a slow burning thing. The happiness you feel before you start drinking, that doesn’t disappear straight away.

It happens slowly.

When we start drinking in the beginning, we use alcohol as a tool in order to help us to overcome certain things that we haven’t learned the skills of, socialising for instance.

We use alcohol as a way of dampening down those in order to lift up the other parts of ourselves.

Over time, the happiness diminishes, so you don’t realise how much your happiness levels have been affected.

It’s only when you stop and get away from it and start having real fun outside of alcohol that you start to understand how much alcohol was actually suppressing your fun.

I think this is part of the pink cloud syndrome.

Now, I don’t like this word.

It’s happiness for me is going back to my previous levels of happiness, of finding different levels of happiness and understanding myself and how alcohol has been suppressing me.

That’s just a natural happiness that you have in you.

To give it a name, a syndrome…it just makes me laugh.

It’s one of those things that people love to do.

They love to say ‘I’ve been sober for so long’.

In recovery, all these alcohol terms, I think they’re more damaging than anything else. Move yourself as far away and as quickly as you can from the alcohol, and move yourself into your new life as quickly as you can.

That means going away from these terms like pink cloud syndrome or post alcohol withdrawal syndrome.

You want to try and move yourself as fast as you can away from those things.

Don’t create more obstacles than you have in the first place.

I understand where this is coming from.

It’s for people who get on to this cloud 9 and think they are so happy now and have overcome all the problems that they think they can go back to drinking and they’ve got control over it. For me, it’s like saying ‘he’s a dry drunk’.

Someone is still attaching you to the alcohol, probably someone who is taking alcohol is saying that about you.

I’ve heard that said about me a few times, that my happiness is because I’m a dry drunk.

How bad is that?

If you’ve got your reason why you’re doing this firmly in your brain, you know what you’re aiming towards, then you shouldn’t need any of these things.

Any happiness you’ve got is because you’re moving forward.

You know that alcohol is a part of your past.

This is why I say, try and move yourself into a position where you cannot go backwards, that you know that if you take a drink again, that you are going to be ruined at everything that you’ve worked for.

All your hard work is going to be in vain.

Once you understand that, that alcohol has been suppressing your emotions, your life and all the good things you want to do in your life, and that all the hard work you’ve put into achieving something good in your life, then if you go back to that behaviour, all that suppression is going to start all over again.

It may be even worse.

So, remember that what you focus on is what you get.

Focus on your future.

Focus on what you want to get a hold of, the person you want to be, the life you want to live.

Focus on the goals you want to achieve in life.

Focus on your big reason why.

Once you have that big reason why in your head firmly placed in front of everything you do, then you’ll never go back.

I don’t get the pink cloud syndrome.

It’s happiness for me. I don’t feel over the moon most of the time, but I feel over the moon much of the time, which is a lot to be said for the way I was before I stopped drinking.

If you have any questions, leave them down below.

If you have any topics you’d like to hear about, leave a comment.

Come on over to our website if you want to sign up for our quit drinking starter pack.

It’s full of different bits and pieces to help you.

It has a couple of video courses and books.

Give us your name and email address and I’ll send it out to you.

Until next time, stay safe and keep the alcohol out of your mouth.


Until next time…
Onwards and Upwards!

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  1. Alan

    Another awesome video, Suppressed emotions via numbing w alcohol…you hit the nail on the head. AND, how alcohol “slowly” takes the fun out of life…I got to the point where alcohol brought me no joy; only pain and struggle. Day 18 for me w no booze. I went 7 months sober last year; my goal this time is 7 years! In 7 years, I should be able to look back and say “no way I’m going back to that bullshit lifestyle”…and then go another 7 years!
    Thank you for all that you do; you are truly important to the world!

  2. Janie McQueen

    I hate the “pink cloud” term too. It’s like dissing someone because they’re “over the moon”, feeling good, proud, of themselves after ditching alcohol. I hate the smugness in the term. It’s so condescending. Thanks for this post! I get the “overconfidence” issue — but to say everyone who’s happy after quitting alcohol is merely on a pink cloud, and that once you quit alcohol you’re still an alcoholic and always will be, well, to me just guarantees membership in the misery of associating oneself with alcohol, for life. Which might be the point. I don’t know. 😉


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