Grapevine Online Exclusive

Published October 2011.

Web Exclusive: Drinking Dreams

An old timer talks about the phenomenon of drunk dreams in sobriety

"After almost twenty-five years of continued sobriety, one of those dreams entered my sleeping mind."

I recently had a "drinking dream." After almost twenty-five years of continued sobriety, one of those dreams entered my sleeping mind. A "drinking dream," to those who are recovering from alcoholism, is having a drinking experience in a dream. The frequency of such dreams varies with each individual. For me, it has been sporadic—sometimes years apart and sometimes close to each other. My last one, a few days ago, was after a break of more than a year.

People vary in their responses to their drinking dreams. Some become alarmed and others just accept the fact they had such dreams. For me, I view a drinking dream as a message that my brain is still processing past alcohol exposures to the drug. It is a message of how deeply imprinted are the memories of alcohol experiences which had both stimulated and depressed my body. Yet, I am not alarmed at this phenomena. I interpret my drinking dreams to be my unconscious mind letting me know of my disease and that I must take personal action to thwart the recurrence of drinking. The message is to go to a recovery meeting and, if need be, increase the frequency of my attendance so that I will be able to absorb the experiences of others and be vividly reminded that I am still an alcoholic. Hence, action follows the dream.

-- Tom L.

New Orleans, Louisiana

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