Sobriety Remains Intact, But Still The Dreams Come

Aside from people telling me what they see in the clouds beyond shapeless blobs, I find listening to them prattle on about their dreams to not only be annoying, but borderline painful. So you if you don’t want to read this, I get it, but I think it speaks to how addiction is always going to own a piece of my brain.

I was told by many addicts at my first rehab who were hooked on heroin that almost every night, they had dreams of using. Some of their dreams would stop before the needle went in, while others got the drugs in their system and then felt horrible guilt.

I’ve never had a pornography dream since I’ve entered recovery, and it took nearly a year for me to have a drinking dream, but recently, they’ve taken a weird turn.

For 3-4 years my drinking dreams have all followed along the same path. I’m usually at a bar or restaurant and there’s a pint of beer in front of me. Then, through the magic of the subconscious, the dream jumps forward in time and there’s an empty glass in front of me and I know I’ve drank it. I usually get somewhat upset at myself, but then I have the ability to tell myself it’s just a dream. I’ve had that ability since I’ve been a kid. I think it’s why I can’t recall ever having a nightmare. So, I wake up and I’m relieved I didn’t actually drink. The dreams probably only happen once a month at most.

In the last couple of weeks though, I’ve had two dreams and they’ve taken an interesting turn. Instead of that jump in time, I’m actually drinking the alcohol in the dream, except it’s always hard stuff, like a shot, not a beer. I think this may be because it only takes a second to down a shot where a beer takes longer.

The reason for drinking is always the same – there is none. I just have a momentary lapse, like I forgot I’m not supposed to drink. It’s totally an ignorance, not a craving, thing.

In the new dreams, I have a much stronger reaction after recognizing I’ve just tasted alcohol, too. I don’t have the ability to wake myself up because I’m convinced it’s real. I get very, very upset with myself and tell people around me about the old drinking dreams, but now it’s become a reality and how I’m a stupid idiot for letting it happen. The dream dissolves into whatever at that point, but I can’t wake myself up from it.

I’ve tried to figure out why the dreams have just changed. The only thing I can think of is that while I was on probation, drinking was illegal. Now I’m off, there is no actual punishment if I drink. But, I’ve been off probation like three months at this point. No idea why they just started and why I can’t get them to stop mid-dream. It’s got to mean something to my subconscious.

Anybody else with addiction issues ever have dreams like this?

12 thoughts on “Sobriety Remains Intact, But Still The Dreams Come

  1. I haven’t remembered a dream since the last time I said that. Lol…but, really. No punishment? Come on Joshua Shea, there will most definitely be punishment. From you to you for starters. I believe it is because you are more at will to chose, yes. My addiction dreams are getting caught selling drugs. I run out back and hide behind a skinny tree and wake with my heart pounding. Not allow yourself to think for one second there would be no punishment because that right there is addiction at its finest. Email me if you need to talk; any time.

    1. I probably should have been more clear. I understand the personal toll heading back to drinking would be. By no punishment, I meant there was no legal punishment. For the last five years, if I had drank, then been given a blood or urine test and come up positive, I could have been sent to jail. That was a big deterrent. It being gone now means it’s only on my shoulders.

      Your dream sounds like a true nightmare! Thank you for sharing.

      1. I didn’t mean to sound like your mother. 😂😂😂 I just know you would be full of regret and it’s hard to come back from that. Indeed a nightmare. In fact, nightmares are all I have, therefore, I do my best to not dream…as much as I can control that.

      2. You probably know more, and I know you understand more, about my addiction than she does. She’d never read my blog.

        I’ve heard of people who all they have is nightmares and night terrors. I have such strong control over my dreams that when the smallest negative thing happens, I force myself to stop dreaming. Probably speaks to my control issues.

      3. Makes sense. I too have been able to control my dreams for the majority of my life and the nightmares have been all of my life. So bad that I saw a child psychologist because of them. They suck.

  2. My porn addiction is gone but I sometimes have dreams where I’m trying to find a time and place where I can indulge in porn without being caught. It’s disturbing, for sure, but when I wake I’m always thankful that I don’t live like that anymore. The chains have been broken.

  3. My dreams are vivid, when I have them. It’s not often, but when I do, I can feel the details – the temperature, the smell, the glass touching my lips. It’s very potent and I always wake up very relieved and grateful that it isn’t my reality any longer. Those dreams scare me, but help me to realize that I value my sobriety greatly.

    1. Exactly. It’s like they are little messages from our subconscious that no matter how much we think we have things under control, there’s a little piece of inside that could cave-in and relapse. It’s probably a good thing to get those messages now and then.

  4. After a while you will no longer have these dreams. I used to dream about giving in and driving to the liquor store only to find it closed. Now I dream of Jeannie.

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