Drinking dreams are common, especially in early recovery. This is because your brain is still used to alcohol being a large part of your life, and chemically dependent so is reacting to having to live without it. following a drinking or hungover dream is to tell someone. Usually I will share it with one of my sobriety friends, even a text. As I have found the more you sit with it the worse, I feel; and sitting with negative feelings and emotions is not a good thing.
As my recovery has lengthened, I don’t often have drinking dreams, but I do occasionally experience rough drunk hangover dreams. These have decreased overtime and usually reappear during times of heightened stress or situations that I have no control over. I consider them as a healthy reminder to look after my mental health and the ever-faithful Serenity Prayer comes into play!
They are still a shock and a jolt when they happen; a gentle reminder to take better care of myself. A ‘healthy reminder’ warning me to make sure that my recovery doesn’t get lost is the stresses of life, and that no matter what my sobriety comes before everything and anything else.
Unfortunately, you cannot prevent them, they happen to all of us; fortunately, they lessen in frequency with your length of sobriety.
Nonetheless, they stir up extreme feelings of discomfort, when you wake up in a panic, and a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. After a few seconds and the fog of sleep dissipates you realise that it is just a dream; you didn’t actually drink. Somehow though, that sense of guilt and despair remains, leaving you feeling unsettled all day. In early recovery it is about breaking the addiction cycle; not letting alcohol play a dirty game in trying to win, and understanding that this is part of alcohol trying to get you to drink again on the negative emotions the dream conjures up.
The positive news is that these dreams are usually a good sign, and that your recovery is valuable to you and something that you do not want to lose. They don’t mean that you are going to go out and drink. (I would be worried though if you woke up from such a dream not feeling upset and would consider it as a red alert to up your recovery programme).
For me to get rid of the terrible feelings and emotions is to share. If you need someone to share to, you can always message me.