I had another drunk dream last night.

This is hardly concerning because I still have waitressing dreams and haven’t waitressed in 18 years. In those dreams, my old boss Shannon calls to tell me I’m on the schedule and asks where the hell I am and I try explaining “but Shannon, I moved. I have a job. I have kids. I’m old.” Instead I find myself moving in slow motion across the dining room of the upscale retirement community where I used to work. I’m slinging glasses of tomato juice and bowls of beef consommé to old folks who couldn’t possibly still be alive. I’m checking Shannon’s impeccably neat schedule on the wall for the rest of the week.

So no, I’m not surprised or alarmed that I still have drinking dreams.

I think what alarms me is why I never turn a drink down in my dreams. In last night’s dream, this guy who doesn’t exist in real life told me we’d gone out on the icy roof the night before and, when I didn’t remember doing this, asked me “wait, are you still drunk?”

“But I don’t drink anymore,” I answered and only then realized what I’d done and thrown away.

In my dreams, I only realize I’ve relapsed after the fact. I think this is because I can’t imagine giving sobriety away so easily.  I haven’t been challenged with tragedy or true hardship. Yet. It’s the only way I can imagine feeling tempted to drink again. These dreams are probably anxiety about how I will handle that thing which I fear I will not be able to handle. Maybe I just ate too many onions too close to bedtime.

A close family member who had more than 6 months sober recently told me he’d had drinks while out with coworkers one night. He said he quickly remembered why he stopped drinking in the first place. He doesn’t understand why he can’t just have a glass of beer or wine with dinner, but he can’t and that has to be enough to go on for now. He has a lot on his plate and it gives me great hope that he brushed himself off and climbed back on the wagon. I hope he stays on.

At the end of my drunk dream last night, I was trying to get ready for a 5K I had signed up to run. I was woefully hungover and couldn’t focus long enough to use the bathroom or get dressed or eat a bowl of cheerios. I thought to myself, “I have to run this race, but I feel like I’m going to die.”

How to explain the relief upon waking that it was just a dream! I got dressed for a 5 mile run and fended off a playful kitten while tying shoe laces and then headed out the door to struggle up the big hills and in the light rain, beyond grateful it had just been a dream.

25 thoughts on “One of those dreams again

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  1. Drunk dreams are so weird, and so tied up in feelings of guilt and remorse. And yet, mine are sometimes so real seeming I think, “Well, at least I can drink in my dreams.” Mostly, though, it’s what Guapo says above.


  2. I hope the 5k you remember signing up for was the one in September! I have not had one of those in a while now (and I’m sure I just jinxed myself), but, when I do, I still have the guilt and anxiety upon awakening, not relief. Thanks for sharing this story, because it gives me something to hope for!


    1. Oh I’ve got it in my calendar and already looking forward to it! I have those dreams fairly regularly (every other month or so?) but it seems like the guilt and anxiety stays in the dream, where it belongs.


  3. I still have drinking dreams and like you it is a moment of looking at the glass in front of me and a thought of “Hell how did that happen” then I dream of stopping again. Very confusing but only in a dream so far so therefore I’m ok with it.


  4. I have those dreams too. The waitressing kind. I took a job at a Mexican restaurant in college, worked one day, and never came back. I have dreams where I go out to eat Mexican, at that same place of course, and they always yell and curse me in Spanish for not showing back up.

    Drinking dreams, occasionally, and usually in them someone hands me a drink I don’t expect to be hard. I take a sip, realize it, then wake up. Sometimes I wish I could stay asleep to enjoy it, lol, but I’m sure waking up is a good sign.


    1. I lasted a few days at a “real” restaurant in the mall in college. The owner made me sift through slimy used silverware barehanded on my first day. I wish I’d thrown my apron down on the floor and told him to “take this job and shove it” like I’m imagining you did (in spanish).


  5. Dreams all too often confront you with things you don’t want to see. I have had so many freaky, scary, disgusting dreams that sometimes, I just don’t want to go to sleep. And I quite often dream people around me are smoking…
    You sound like you won’t easily return to drinking again. And dreams, well, they’re just the effect of weird brain stuff :).


  6. Thanks for the two in one week blog surprise. You’re going to spoil us you know.

    Every once in a while I’ll have a semi-intimate dream about some unknown woman. These are generally enjoyable dreams that abruptly end in an unresolved outcome. I wake up and remember only vague details but am for the most part pleased and not bothered or worried by them. I never feel the need to seek out the woman so that our dream can become a reality. Don’t know where the dreams come from but the dream is enough, I don’t need more. At this point I should say I do not share these rare dreams with my wife of almost 34 years because she knows me pretty well and would be disappointed that the dream did not disgust me in every way.

    Sobriety, what is the objective? In my case I do not want to live like I did when I finally stopped drinking. It was the drink that screwed me up but it was me that sought out the drink. Not sure a couple of drinks would dutch that back to daily drunks now but I’m not scared of it. Just don’t need it anymore. My dreams and reality have changed. Been to the circus, seen behind the curtain. Oz it ain’t. The witch is dead. Long live truth. Have a good weekend.


  7. I get these now and then. I panicked the first time I had one, a few weeks into sobriety. Called all sorts of sober folks and asked them what it all meant. They chuckled and said it’s all fine. It’s not the beginnings of a relapse, etc. Since then, I have “enjoyed” many drinking dreams. Like you, I never remember that first one to refuse or not, but just feel like crap and sorrowful, regretting it all and wondering how I am going to tell my sponsor, others, etc. I usually wake up wondering for a split second if it really happened or not. It’s like a relapse without consequences, as I like to think of it 😉



  8. Hmm I wonder what the waitressing dream means? I haven’t had a drinking dream for a while now but when I do have them they’re much like you describe. In the dream I nearly always start drinking without thinking about it or I ‘forget’ that I’ve quit. The panic I wake up with is a good reminder of the grief I’d feel if I had a drink for real. I think we dream for a reason, it’s a way of sorting out stuff in our head. I do sometimes worry about having a fuck it moment and downing a drink – so maybe that’s why I dream about it?


  9. I never thought of it – why do we always use in our dreams? That’s an interesting phenomena. I’m going to ask my group (treatment center) tomorrow if they’ve ever had a dream where they said “no” – funny too, we were just talking about this. These kids are in early recovery and using dreams are regular.
    Thankfully, they spread out as we log on years, but they’ll likely never go away. forever. But, ohh, that fabulous “relief” feeling, sigh . . .


  10. My drunk dreams almost always take the form of WANTING to drink, but never actually doing so. I dream about all the preparations, going to the bar, ordering a drink, and then just…. sitting there. Contemplating. Having it stare me in the face, and me staring back, simultaneously wanting it and not wanting it.

    However, my dreams are not “a wish [my] heart makes,” to co-opt the Disney song. I don’t have happy dreams — I have terrifying, getting through the woods by biker gangs, ghosts, armies, sharks that float in the air, Nazis, bears, and (one time) Nazi bears. Yes, honest to God cartoon bears in SS uniforms. So I don’t see the dream as a sign that I am in danger of throwing my sobriety away, nor even that I want to be normal — it’s just another demon chasing me through the woods.


  11. Well I still get Gambling dreams all the time! I just don’t get it??? I have not Gambled in over 6+yrs, and I still get the dreams. My DOC says it could be from my Bi-polar meds I take?? WHO knows. But they are a times SO VIVID that I wake up and it has Seeped into my FEELINGS…..And Can not shake them. I think it’s just a REMINDER to us to Never Get COMFY in Recovery! Since you out did yourself on another GREAT BLOG POST…..I have NOMINATED you & your Blog for *THE INNER PEACE BLOG AWARD*!! CONGRATS!
    IF you chose to pass the love on, the Simple details are on my Blog, http://catherinelyonaddictedtodimes.wordpress.com Your blo is listed on my post: *Another Fabulous Blog Award*….. Hugs & Blessings! Catherine 🙂 🙂


  12. A great post. Must admit I haven’t ever dreamed of being drunk, but I can absolutely feel your relief on that run the next day. Just imagine how alcohol would have messed with that. Good on you 🙂


  13. I have not yet had a drinking dream, but I have only been sober for a few days. I know that when I first quit smoking I had many dreams where I was actively smoking, only to wake up feeling horrified. Thank God they are only dreams! Peace.


  14. I have drinking dreams too, usually I don’t recall drinking in the dream, but I dream that when I write my journal at the end of the day, where I always note the SoberDay number at the top of the page, I feel this enormous sense of despair and break down at not being able to write that number down and this journey has crashed to an end, the despair is so great I wake and it takes a moment to come round and realise it’s just a dream, but so vivid. I’m not sure why I have them but they have been regular of late, but now I’m back and walking in the morning and getting some balance back, I hope there’s an end to them.


    1. I’m quite sure they’re due to increased stress and, in my case, lack of coping skills. I’ve been having them wicked often of late. I too am running and trying to get a little balance back, but it’s a crazy time of year and I know I need to hang in for a bit more and keep doing what I can. Thank you for your comment. It helps.


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