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Coping with Dreams About Drugs and Alcohol

It is not uncommon for men and women in recovery to have dreams about using drugs or alcohol. They can be disconcerting, and we often wake up filled with anxiety about the fact that we had relapsed in our dreams. However, there is no reason to let these sorts of dreams negatively affect us. In early sobriety, in particular, they will almost inevitably occur. We must remember that they are only dreams and have no bearing on our recovery or mental state.

Using dreams can be frightening, but may actually serve as good reminders of our recovery. Jeremy Taylor, in a 2012 Psychology Today article entitled Dreams and Recovery from Addiction, explains, “My experience with this kind of dream, (and only the original dreamer can say for sure what the meanings and implications of his or her dreams may be), is that it comes precisely because the recovery is so solid. Usually it indicates that dreamer’s the recovery is so integrated into waking life that he/she is in danger of forgetting just how bad it actually was! It makes sense — who wants to remember the terrible times? But if I forget, then I am also losing conscious touch with just how bad the deepest addiction was, and I am also forgetting just what an amazing, wonderful feat it is to have broken free of the grip of the addictive behavior.” Perhaps these dreams are simply a way for us to remember the pain and suffering of addiction, and to feel the relief of waking up and realizing that we no longer have to live that way anymore.

Having dreams about relapse can keep us from forgetting that we are always vulnerable to drugs if we let up on our recovery program. In this manner, using dreams can reinforce our commitment to a sober lifestyle by having us experience what it would be like to lose everything that we have worked so hard for. Taylor further explains, “There is always the implication that the vulnerability to relapse is still with me, even years and decades later, but the primary service to health and wholeness that this type of nightmare provides is to keep the conscious emotional and intellectual awareness vividly alive of the wholeness of my life. There is an unbroken continuity of breaths and heartbeats that links my recovery to the worst moments of my addictive behavior. I will always be someone who was once an addict, and I need to keep aware of just how much effort it took to overcome it. It is a crucially important passage of my life that I cannot afford to forget.” We cannot allow our dreams, of which we have no control over, to negatively affect our sobriety. Instead, we should take them as reminders of why we have chosen a sober lifestyle and how grateful we are for our recovery.

Your life doesn’t have to be controlled by addiction and alcoholism. You can make the decision to seek help today and begin building a brighter future in sobriety. Resilient House, located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, understands the tolls addiction takes on the mind, body, and spirit, and are determined to address all aspects of substance dependency to bring you into a state of wholeness that supports long-term sobriety. For information about treatment options, please call today: (833) 242-6431