Drinking Dreams..

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 from a friend or family member when you say that, but most of the time I don’t think they 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 over a year and a half ago that I cried about four 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).

And just two nights ago I experienced a very vivid drinking dream. I’m over four years sober now but still it came. In the dream I was at a museum with a group of friends (not sure why we were at the museum) 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’.

And that is a very good thing.

Love, Mrs D xxx

17 Comments
  1. Richn 1 month ago

    Hi, I came across this site on a web search (glad it’s out there). I’m coming up to 21 months sober and have had a drinking dream two nights on the bounce, the 1st one I was glugging on a bottle of Bells whiskey (which I hate) and woke up rapidly, as I have from all of my drinking dreams, but In last nights dream I visited my old local pub in London and before I knew it I was sitting at my old spot outside the pub and looking at a nearly empty pint of lager (that was my drink, before I turned to vodka) the thing is I didn’t recoil in horror, I just thought “f##k it I’ve gone this far” and finished it, but I did then feel disappointed that I was gonna go back to day 1 of sobriety and was trying to think of who I should phone in the fellowship to tell them, when I woke up. This has scared me, never had two dreams on the trot. Richard

  2. NihilusRex 3 months ago

    I know I’m replying to a very old post, and I apologize. Just had my first drunk dream last night, and I actually feel encouraged by it. I feel like it means I’m moving in the right direction, that the part of me that’s screaming for that drink now has to do it through dreams. I haven’t, as some of you have mentioned, had it nightly, or even repeatedly, so take what I say with a grain of salt, of course. Maybe my attitude will change after my 10th, 20th, 50th drunk dream, I don’t know… But at least for now I’m optimistic.

    • Sam 3 months ago

      I get encouraged too. Just had a super real one. I had 3 beers. I felt drunk. I had to shake the dream off. Ill never drink again and I know that. The brain is fighting with itself and can only win in your dreams but even that is temporary

  3. V63000 6 months ago

    I drink in my dreams every night same dream too. Haven’t had a drink in six years. I have excepted that I will continue to have these dreams for the for seeable future.

  4. Rebecca Thompson 8 months ago

    Drinking being such a big part of everyday life as an alcoholic its natural to dream about it. Don’t think it means your subconscious is out to get you to drink! Just move on and don’t let it control your thoughts! Pray to our best friend who will listen and comfort you, Jesus Christ

  5. Dani 1 year ago

    I have had full on drinking dreams for the past week as I come up on my 90 days. I wake up really shaken and upset. The dreams are not fun times but are about the crises of my life.

    • Shawn 7 months ago

      I’m coming up on my 90 days and have started having these dreams as well. They feel terrible. They are very defeating as I don’t have wants to drink when I’m awake so why am I dreaming about drinking in my sleep. #ugh I just give it all to God.

  6. unknown 2 years ago

    I had a drinking dream yesterday and I did drink once, and I’m 14. The dream felt real. I took a shot, and the taste was unexplainable. It made me want to drink more. I felt drunk, and then my vision blurred and my dream ended. The drink was vodka because the time I did drink it was vodka. And, these are comments from 3 years ago. haha… 2019?

  7. E.nough 5 years ago

    I’ve had a couple of drinking dreams. You’re right it is hard to explain to another person the anxiety that comes with these dreams.The first one was not that intense, I just remember having to drive and I was like oh shit I’m too drunk, oh well, guess I have to go for it. The one the other day came after a few weeks of just wanting to but a big bottle of vodka and suck it down. The night after I confessed that to my husband I had a really scary dream. I had only drank a small amount of wine and was feeling really drunk, (wow my tolerance must really be down!) it felt awful, I knew what I was giving up but I didn’t care,. The anxiety was huge that others would realize how drunk i was. I was watching someone else’s children, and couldn’t look the adults In the eye. Again had to drive, there was a party-I could’t not drive, that would admit to bring too drunk…I could go on… I basically woke up sweating and scared. My sub conscious really had a message not to fuck it all up now.

  8. Rosie1 5 years ago

    My latest drinking dream was so real that for days after I had to think it through to make sure it was a dream and that I hadn’t had that glass of wine in real life.
    Whew! Don’t have to reset to day 1!

  9. loraj 5 years ago

    I can totally relate to this post now. I had my first drinking dream as I am approaching my 30 day mark. Maybe because I am about to surpass by longest period of sobriety. I remember the smell of the red wine and just feeling horrible about myself that I couldn’t stick with not drinking. Definitely a reminder why I don’t want to go back to drinking again.

  10. Furtheron 5 years ago

    I’ve had them throughout my 11 years of sobriety. Over time some have been recurring – or at least very similar for some periods.

    First often I’d be somewhere like a big 60s UK city centre redevelopment, all concrete and grey. They’d be a pub but I couldn’t get in because the door was locked or a bouncer stopped me. There were no windows and I so desperately wanted to get in. Then they moved on – I’d suddenly realise I had a half pint in my hand (should have told me it was a dream… when did I ever not order a pint … or a large anything!). I’d realise I’d started drinking and think – well too late to stop now and would raise it to my lips or order another one.

    I had one recently – in the last month – that really left me feeling very unsteady when I woke up. This time I was just on it. I knew I was drinking, wanted to drink, sobriety could go to hell I was going to get drunk… and naked for some reason too. That one was a frightening one it seemed so real when I woke for a split second I wasn’t sure if it was a dream or reality. But the room wasn’t spinning, I wasn’t soaked in sweat or piss or both – no vomit – no horrible taste in my mouth. But honestly I was going through that kind of checklist. I hope that was a one off and not the start of my disease finding that level of uncomfortableness funny on a regular basis.

  11. Jasminasper 5 years ago

    I take my alcohol fuelled dreams as a reminder to self … that it’s a scary place to be in . I’ve woken with my heart pounding and my mind making sense of something so awful that I feel physically sick. They come seldom , and they arrive out of the blue . So even thought they appear awful I still accept them as a message to remind me why I prefer to live sober .

  12. KAM 5 years ago

    Thanks @Mrs D I’ve had drinking dreams before but never that intense. Definitely going to read your post about your dream….

    • elhall 5 years ago

      Uuugh, I’ve had many drinking dreams and I so loathe them. That “what the f*&k have I done” feeling and the relief waking up is sometimes not enough to make me feel better. I’ve had all kinds. Ones where I forgot I didn’t drink anymore, ones where I knew damn well I shouldn’t drink and did it anyway, ones where I was drinking but trying to hide it, ones where I found out sober friends were drinking again. I will probably have one tonight from just thinking and writing about it. I agree it is a good reminder, though. Plus, all my dreams are messed up. I just had a dream that someone broke into my house and parked their car in my basement, and there was a tiny miniature Ving Rhames there as well, so I don’t put too much stock in my dreams.

      • Emj0101 5 years ago

        It was dreams that helped me see how necessary sobriety was for me. I had 2 dreams in which I could not keep my daughter safe. She looked at me in the dream with this look that said, “you have had a bunch of beer, you can’t help me.” They were the kind of dreams that you have get our of bed, walk around, and try to calm yourself down. I quit drinking for a stretch after that, but didn’t stay with sobriety for more than a couple months. I tried drinking again, despite what I feel was a very stern warning from my subconscious. I found your blog after a few weeks of being back to my old patterns, and related to so many things in it. I am done for good, I think. Your blog reminded me that you never regret staying sober. Since then, I had a vivid dream where I drank and wook up so disappointed in myself. It took me a while to realize it hadn’t happened.

      • Emj0101 5 years ago

        Thanks for the laugh. Tiny Ving Rhames? Haha!

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