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How I Stayed Strong in Recovery by Avoiding the Pink Cloud

When I attended my first few Narcotics Anonymous meetings, I heard the term “pink cloud” used quite a lot, but I didn’t really know what it meant.

I attended a lot of meetings in early recovery, and I found they really helped me get through every day. Early recovery was a mixture of highs and lows—emotions and feelings that were dormant were suddenly very much alive and present.  

I stayed clean and sober for several months, and accomplished every goal I set for myself effortlessly. I started to wonder why it was so hard for everyone else to stay clean, while it all just seemed so easy to me.


After about a year of successful sobriety, I started to slack on going to meetings and working my program. I had accomplished so many things it seemed unimportant to put recovery first any longer.


I just excused my behavior because I was really “busy”. At first I didn’t really notice myself doing this—I took on way too many tasks at once, and just wasn’t able to complete them. My school grades suffered at first, then I began to isolate. Relapse wasn’t exactly in the equation, but I was certainly exhibiting past behaviors that may have eventually led there.


Gradually, the things I regained from being clean and sober quickly became all that mattered, while meetings and recovery took a backseat.


My sponsor, girlfriend, and some people in my support network confronted me about my nonchalant behavior. At 15 months of sobriety, I finally understood what everyone was talking about—I was on the pink cloud, aka the “honeymoon phase” of recovery.


Don’t get me wrong—being clean and sober is absolutely still something to celebrate, and I don’t think it’s wrong to enjoy the successes recovery brings. But that overconfidence put me at risk of losing everything I had lost before: family, school, and good relationships.


Fortunately, I was able to catch myself in time, and get back on track. I didn’t have to lose all the gifts recovery has brought me. But I learned a very important lesson: recovery has to come first, especially when you’re clean.


Read More About Mike’s Journey

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