Well, woke up this morning with a wine glass in my hand.
Whose wine? What wine? Where the hell did I dine?
Peter Frampton “Do You Feel Like We Do?”
DREAMS VS. NIGHTMARES
Our dreams can represent a host of emotions, fears, and memories. Some of those memories can entail old friends, family members, spouses and the experiences you’ve had with them.
If you have recently become sober, dreams can also conjure experiences and recollections from when you used alcohol and/or drugs.
As you have these dreams, you may ask yourself if you are experiencing a trigger: What happens if you dream of your drug of choice – will you head straight toward a relapse?
In the rehab world they call this type of dream a Drug Dream and it should not be regarded frivolously in one’s recovery.
These dreams can subconsciously represent the status of your recovery, and potentially affect your recovery in as much a positive way as they can negatively.
WHAT CAN SUBSTANCE DREAMS MEAN?
Drug dreams1 or DDs as the National Center of Biotechnology Information (NCBI) calls them, can have a negative effect on a person’s substance dependence, especially if they’re newly recovered.
In a study of 86 participants, NCBI officials found that it didn’t matter if the dream was active or passive. The DDs still reminded participants of the power of addictive substances and how they are far-reaching enough to enter a person’s subconscious.
Los Angeles psychiatrist, Larissa Mooney, MD who directs UCLA’s Addiction Medicine Clinic suggests that drug dreams can be beneficial, particularly for bolstering one’s trigger prevention skills.
Specializing in addiction psychiatry, Mooney recommends those who have gone through rehab and recovery, as well as those still in the process of rehab and recovery, discuss with each other what happened in the dream.
Mooney maintains that even if the dream itself triggers a craving, that too can be discussed in a supportive group setting or therapy.
“Stress management skills for reducing anxiety can really help,” says Mooney.
In short, DDs help define how a person’s mind reacts to the rehabilitation process by reminding them on the deepest subconscious level that triggers and cravings still exist.
The likelihood is you’re going to go through them: That’s the main negative of drug dreams. It’s part of the process of abstinence.
Experts suggest that in the end, even with the discomfort of drug dreams, you’re still working through the rehab road. A simple dream about a drink or a drug doesn’t in the least suggest you’re about to relapse and fall from the wagon.
HOW YOU CAN HANDLE A DRUG AND ALCOHOL DREAM
So much depends upon how you dream. Sure, that statement may sound poetic, but with drug dreams the meaning has much credibility.
Some people dream lightly, while others dream in a deep and profound manner.
Drug dreamers who find themselves in the latter might easily have dreams so intense, they actually feel as if they may have damaged their sobriety or will soon do so.
At this point, consult your therapist or support group concerning your dreams, as well as your fear of relapse.
You haven’t yet fallen from the wagon, and by having a dream about taking a drink or a drug by choice doesn’t necessarily mean you will do exactly that.
But, discussing it up in a group or one-on-one session will help stabilize your sobriety and bring some reassurance to you and your efforts to be substance free.
If you or a loved one feels a need to overcome an addiction, contact BLVD Treatment Centers. At BLVD Treatment Centers we custom tailor our recovery programs within the safe and nurturing confines of our rehab treatment centers. Located throughout Southern California, in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and in Portland, OR, our mission is to assess the severity of your addiction to help you achieve true recovery. Call us now at 1-866.582.9844.
- Relationship between drug dreams, affect, and craving during treatment for substance dependence.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. Retrieved 2016.