Recovery from addiction is not an easy journey. Perhaps that goes without saying. It will include highs and lows, peaks and valleys, long straight-aways and sharp turns. It can be a journey that is difficult at times, but also very rewarding. And, if you know that there may be challenging times ahead, then you can plan for having the right support when the going gets rough.
However, some recovering addicts who are just beginning their journey of sobriety exhibit a Pollyanna-type of happiness in early sobriety that is known in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) as the Pink Cloud Syndrome. This is the experience of feeling as though everything is wonderful. It’s like being on Cloud 9 at the start of your sobriety because life suddenly feels freer than it did before. The Pink Cloud Syndrome can be common because those who are in their early recovery might at first feel like they’ve found something that is going to rescue them from their problems. The Pink Cloud experience is characterized by unusual happiness and even grandiosity, while real and difficult life challenges continue to exist. However, the danger here is that newly recovering addicts with this experience don’t recognize that they will need to do significant work in order change their lives. In order for the circumstances in their life to transform, they will still need to do plenty of soul-searching.
Emotions to Prepare for in Recovery
Being realistic about what lies ahead can help you plan for the future. While at the start of your addiction recovery you can gather together your friends and family. You might let them know that you’re in recovery now and that you may need their help from time to time. You might also seek the support of a mental health professional, sober living home, drug counselor, or a rehab treatment facility. Here’s what you might run into on the road to recovery that you might need help with:
- feelings of loss
- feeling lost
Although you might have these emotional experiences, they are not insurmountable. There is help out there to support you through challenging times. And keep in mind that addiction recovery can also bring you:
- feelings of accomplishment
- healthier relationships
- discovery of skills and abilities
- desire to work or volunteer
- desire to go back to school
- feeling on track in life
- new way of looking at the world
- feeling connected to others, yourself, and the world
Recovery for drug and alcohol abuse has many ups and downs. And the downs can be hard, especially if you go through a relapse or experience an event that jeopardizes your sobriety. However, with the right support, planning, and commitment to sobriety, you can make it through the challenges. If you’re at the start of your recovery, do your best to be realistic about your journey ahead. Plan for challenges by gathering support around you ahead of time through family, friends, and support groups.