Drinking Dreams

sleepy woman

It's very hard to explain the intensity of a drinking dream to someone who isn't sober. It's one of those experiences we sober people have that are hard to convey in words to non-sober people.

It doesn't sound that bad to say: "Last night I dreamt I was drinking. It really upset me and I woke up feeling unsettled." You might get a sympathetic nod when you say that, but most of the time I don't think non-sober people really understand how full on these dreams can be.

But trust me - all of us here at Living Sober can relate. We know how incredibly intense and unsettling drinking dreams can be. And so do others in the wider recovery community. There's a great  Bubble Hour podcast on Drinking Dreams here.

I've had drinking dreams when I've woken up in tears almost. And that edgy feeling has lingered with me all day.

Was I upset just because the dream occurred? Yes.

I didn't like that my brain had taken me back to that boozy place. I felt like I'd moved on from that way of life and had done such big work inside my brain to shift my thinking - how dare my subconscious take me back there.

Was I upset because I thought it meant I wanted to drink again? Yes. 

I didn't like that the dark recesses of my brain were sending me these messages while I was sleeping. Did I secretly want to be back drinking? Say it ain't so!!

Was I upset because the feeling was so real? Yes.

Every single drinking dream I've ever had has felt incredibly real. I can taste the alcohol. I can feel the feeling of inebriation. I can sense the deeper mood inside of me as I numb myself with booze. This is what I hate most of all.

I had an incredibly intense drinking dream years ago that I cried about for days after it had occurred! You can read my post about it here on my original blog (it's worth reading just for the wonderful comments that I received after publishing it).

Four years after I quit drinking I experienced a very vivid drinking dream. In the dream I was with a group of friends and I was drinking wine. I was the only one drinking and everyone else wanted to go but I didn't.. and I was resisting leaving and just drinking my wine. It was horrid. I felt drunk. I felt annoyed at having to leave. I felt rebellious and useless. And I felt dysfunctional.

It wasn't nice at all.

But you know what was so great? It served as a very strong reminder to me of how awful it felt to be a boozy boozer. My overwhelming feeling on awaking was 'Thank goodness I don't do that any more'. Any time I have a drinking dream nowadays (not very often) I wake up feeling that way.

"Thank goodness I don't do that any more."

And that is a very good thing.

Love, Mrs D xxx

  1. Dav 5 months ago

    I’m glad it has become a positive affirmation for sober you now rather than maybe feeling mugged by your unconscious. After decades of regular drinking I’m just seven months sober and have had three very vivid drinking dreams in the last two months. I didn’t find them upsetting or be worrying that my decision to stop was under threat although with very occasional conscious cravings it does make me think I might not be quite clear of my old drinking mindset. I did think it was odd as much as anything and they were pretty mundane if realistic for dreams. One was just me sat in a room chatting with a friend going through a fair bit of whiskey together. It was pleasant and in the dream I could smell and taste it and feel the drunk sensations. There is a part of me that saw it as a safe way of remembering the past without any costs or hangover and that maybe it scratched any itch I was having. The dreams all ended with me remembering within the dream that I had given up and then stopping being a bit embarrassed and angry at myself like I had just forgotten I had given up. That was a positive I guess. Upon awakening I did not fancy a drink at all and was a bit revulsed and quizzical simultaneously. I am getting all of the benefits of not drinking any more and my blood pressure has gone from hypertensive to bang in the middle of the green zone healthy now.

  2. RJ2020 1 year ago

    The dreams are so vivid. Mine are in colour and it is like I can physically taste the wine. The worst part is that in my dream I speed up to finish the drink but the glass never empties so I just keep on drinking.

    Definitely not a nice feeling but love the phrase you’ve given me to use: ‘thank goodness I don’t do that any more’. Does that count when I am so new to this? I’m going to say that it does so I can remain optimistic.

    Thanks very much for your thoughtful blog.

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