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
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.