Pink cloud is an expression used primarily within the scientific field of addictology, referring to the set of elevating, often euphoric feelings that addicts experience during the early stages of recovery. It is a state of mind that reaches the subject after having a mental clarity, upon realizing the positive effects of living a healthy, addiction-free lifestyle.
After pink clouding, patients often fall back to depression, and eventually into relapsing, since these positive feelings can be distracting on the long-term goals of recovery.
The invention of the term tracks back to 1992, when authors Bob and Deborah Wright introduced the phenomenon’s definition to scientific literature in their self-help book titled “Dare to confront!”.
The term’s etymology is explained as “pink” being the element which signals that everything is rosy, and “cloud” referring to the elevating feeling that comes with it.
The pink cloud phenomenon broke into the mainstream as an expression first, when the term was featured in one of the episodes of American TV series Law & Order: SVU.
Since then, pink clouding has become a frequently used phrase, surfacing on various corners on the internet. It is used both informally and scientifically, serving as an educational tool to help freshly recovering addicts understand their own behavior.