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mikeupnorth
November 25th, 2006, 10:25 AM
This morning I awoke in horror after having my second drinking dream in less than a week. I've only had 3 drinking dreams in over two months' sobriety this time around.

I know drinking dreams are common when people quit, and they don't necessarily mean that you want to drink again. I talked to my hypnotherapist about the first one (he's a recovered alcoholic of 31 years) and his take on it was that it was a warning from my subconscious to "tread lightly." Not that I am necessarily in danger, but to be aware of what's going on. Am I under more stress than normal? Am I paying attention to my program? Am I letting any part of my routine slip? Is my safety net secure? Especially now that the holiday season is upon us, I need to be doubly aware of these things. Another thing he pointed out to me is that people tend to relapse (if they are going to) at certain, predictable times: 30, 60, 90 days, 6 months, 1 year, 5 years. He didn't know why, but these seem to be times when the monster comes back and starts working overtime and can catch people off guard. I just passed my 60 day mark, and I have to say I've felt a bit squirrely. Not that I've consciously wanted a drink -- just that I've felt a bit off kilter. So I'm trying to relax and take it easy and make sure that I don't forget the basics of my program.

For whatever it's worth, I'll briefly describe my drinking dreams. I know there was a previous discussion out there about them and someone was curious about the nature of others' drinking dreams. Mine are not very detailed... kind of nebulous, but the feelings associated with them are very strong, especially the regret at having drunk alcohol.

Dream #1 -- I was shopping and I passed by the liquor department of the grocery store. I debated whether or not to buy a bottle of scotch. (I have never even liked scotch.) I put the bottle in my cart and got in line to pay. Before I got to the register, I put the bottle back on the shelf.

Dream #2 -- This was just a few days ago. I don't remember actually drinking in the dream; I just remember the fact that I had been drinking. I felt a tremendous sadness at having given in yet again. I was very sad to have to start over again at Day 1 after getting up to 63 days. I debated in my head whether I could just subtract one day from my total, but that kind of math wouldn't work for me. I was just very, very sad.

Dream #3 (this morning) -- The first thing I am aware of is that I was drinking beer, and I had maybe 5 or 6 empty bottles in front of me. Someone said to me, "Don't you think you should switch to something besides beer, Mike?" "Yes," I replied. But I kept drinking beer. Again, I was very very sad at having come so far and found that I had relapsed without knowing how. I felt hopeless.

You know, I've been rolling along here, doing quite well for the last several weeks, feeling very strong. In fact I have felt my physical and emotional strength increasing every day. I feel as if I've tapped into a vast pool of internal strength -- call it my higher power in AA terms, my connection to the divine within me -- and it's been wonderful. I hope to find a way to keep that power flowing. Topamax, diet, supplements, exercise -- yeah it is all wonderful, and the immediate physical cravings for alcohol are gone. But guess what else? The monster is still alive inside me. That's what I get from these dreams. I'm not "cured." I don't think I ever will be. I don't think there is any such thing as a cure. It's like being diabetic -- I can manage this thing and live a normal life but I have to do things to keep it at bay. If I don't do those things, what I experienced in the dreams just might come true -- AGAIN. It has happened dozens, hundreds, of times before.

Not this time, God willing. I want a life that is better than that. I deserve a life that is better than that. And it is not out of my reach. It is right here, right now, in my grasp. I'm not going to let it go.

Thanks for "listening." :)

Mike

Newyear
November 25th, 2006, 01:50 PM
Hi Mike-

Just dropped by here and saw your post. I am coming up to 30 days in a couple of days and I had my first drinking dream last night. I really don't remember the dream much I just remember waking up and thinking 'wow, I was drinking in my dream'. I felt some relief when I woke up and was more surprised by the dream than anything else.

I think you are going to be fine - you have changed inside. I know the underlying draw to alcohol is still there but I bet it has changed for you. When you think of it now, does drinking hold an appeal for you or does it feel more like it is just drawing you in? I feel that I have changed my feelings toward alcohol in the last 4-5 months since I've been here. Now when I want to drink my second thought is not about how lovely it would be, but how I would feel the next day.
This senario has happened several times to me almost to the point of making me angry - not sure how to explain that- it's like my friend alcohol has been taken away from me and now even if I want to see my friend it just won't be the same. Guess I have 'missed my friend', but at the same time, we don't have all that much in common anymore.
I have been discouraged in the last 30 days but have told myself that there is nothing I can do but go forward. Sometimes I think we believe that all would be perfect if we could just quit drinking. And then when we do quit, and our lives are not perfect, we think, well I may as well drink. That has happened to me anyway.

Mike, you have gone thru some huge changes in the last 60+ days. I feel like I just want to give you a hug and tell you to relax and be calm and know that you will be ok.
I wish you the very best.
Take care-
Lisa

xtexan
November 25th, 2006, 09:08 PM
I have had a few drinking (and smoking) dreams at various times over the last few months.

I think the thing to remember, is exactly how you feel when you wake up. I mean if it's horror, disgust, and a intense feeling of self-deprecation, it may be a good sign.

I mean, if upon waking, your first feeling was of, "Wow that sure was nice, it felt so good, and I sure am missing out on a lot!", then I would definitely be worried.

It is the battle between our subconcious and the concious. It is my belief that dreams are that subconcious discharging repressed mental energies, and perhaps attempting a resolve.

After all, I've had some really intense dreams that involved a lot of violence. It does not mean I would actually do anything like that in real life, because my conscious mind has a real lock on the consquences. It seems as if our subconcious dreaming mind never cares about consequences.

I did have one very vivid intense dream, that took me to a bar not far from my house, out in the boonies. It's nestled deep in the woods, and it used to be a favorite place of mine to hang out. In the dream, I was putting them away, and smoking like a steam engine at full throttle. When I awoke from that one, I was just completely beside myself with anger, shame, and resentment. I was pulling every curse word I knew out of the hat, just to deride myself. It was because I was enjoying myself immensely in the dream, and then all of a sudden, I remembered, HEY!!!! DUMMY!!! WHAT ARE YOU THINKING!!, and it jolted me awake with a leap out of the bed, and I was trembling from head to toe. I went over to my punching bag, and just starting wailing away on it. After about 5 minutes of wearing that bag out, I felt a bit better.

So, if you reacted with horror, instead of smiling and having fond thoughts of the dream, then you are probably OK. Just my take on it. Those dreams are upsetting for sure.

Be well.

Neil

Guest
November 26th, 2006, 12:31 AM
drinking dreams

I've had these before and they used to really shake me up. I started looking more into dreams as I would occassionally have this dream about an ex (big time loser) and in the dream I was always trying to get back with him and even sometimes I would succeed. I was shook up because I was scared to death that my subconsicous was telling me that deep down I wanted to get back with him...and this literally would horrify me.

Then in doing some research I found out that these dreams are most likely triggered by an emotional state I am in that unconsicously reminds me of how I felt at that time in my life. You have had a lot on plate to think about lately...which all seems good...but the stress of sorting out what you want may be triggering the dream. I know in the past all big decisions meant having a few drinks to relax and to think the decsion through--except I would drink myself silly, never make a decision or realize the solution I had in mind while I was blitzed was ridiculous.

Since realizing that...I have not had one single nightmare about him. My most recent dream about alcohol the scene was I was really, really thirsty and someone offered me a what looked like a glass of grape juice. I guzzled it down because I was so thirsty--and then realized it was actually red wine (which I never drank in the past). I was so upset in the dream...I was ranting that I really thought it was grape juice, but did this mean I had to start back at day one.

Like Neil said, if I was thrilled in the dream that I had drank-that would scare me. Rather now the negative emotions that can feel so real--just add conviction to the fact that this is the right decision for me.

Kim

dilayne
November 27th, 2006, 12:57 PM
Hi Mike, Kim has some good obervations about the dreams...I agree that it most likely is about the feelings that once were handled by alcohol..the first thought I had also, was that if it were my dream, I would think that some of the sadness may be grieving the loss of the old Mike, who would turn to alcohol..or the need to grieve him, to say good-bye to him..not to judge him, be afraid of him..you know, just to say good-bye..it can be a sad thing to do..he was your drinking buddy and he handled it the best he could then..