Thursday, 25 February 2016

Drinking Dreams

Thank you SO much for all your messages yesterday, and apologies for not replying to them individually.

I have recovered from my attack of the blues. I suspect that, since my late thirties at least, I've always felt a bit down and reflective on my birthday, I just didn't notice it because..... you guessed it: I always got drunk!

Drinking didn't make that 'sadness about time passing' feeling go away permanently, it just postponed it for 24 hours when it would hit me doubly hard, and be combined with a hangover.

I'd then feel miserable for three days, not just one.

Now I've realised that when you feel a bit blue, the best thing to do is to indulge that feeling for a bit. Let yourself wallow. Like a teenager playing soppy songs in their bedroom after a relationship break up.

So, I had a quiet day. I did some de-cluttering. I thought a lot about the last year. And I read all your comments. Several times! They made me weep buckets (in a therapeutic way).

I can't thank you enough for the huge great virtual hug you gave me. You're awesome.

Then, last night, I had a conversation with Mr SM. I said "it's my birthday, so I'm going to get totally trashed. Just the once. Because I deserve it."

He totally agreed. I don't remember much about the drinking itself - except that I drank buckets of vino - but I do remember how we laughed about how awful I was going to feel in the morning.

Sure enough, I woke up this morning and I felt terrible. Totally toxic. Filled with self hatred.

And I realised that it was just a dream.

I've read a lot about drinking dreams. They are, apparently, terribly common, especially around 'significant dates'.

But, in the last very-nearly-twelve-months I had not had one. Until last night. Maybe because I've slept so soundly since I quit (having been a raging insomniac for years).

(For more on alcohol and sleep, see my post: Sleep, Glorious Sleep).

I do, however, still dream, from time to time, that I've started smoking again, and I quit nearly fifteen years ago!

Like my smoking dreams, this one was really vivid, and it took me a few hours to properly recover from it. I swear I felt hungover for ages, which just goes to show how powerful the subconscious is.

Dreams are the way the subconscious sorts itself out, as - like an iceberg - only ten percent of the work of getting sober is above the surface, the majority of the work is your subconscious (where the wine witch lurks) catching up.

The dreams you have to watch out for are the ones that you wake from with a feeling of longing. If you wake up wishing it were true then you've still got a lot of work to do......

The other common, slightly worrying, dream is when in your dream you try and work out how not to get caught. That's an indication, apparently, that you're quitting the booze for other people, not for yourself.

But, a drinking dream that you wake up from in a cold sweat, horrified at what you've 'done', then are hugely relieved to find out that it wasn't real, is actually just a great reminder that you have no wish at all to make that dream your reality again.

Thank you so much again,

Wishing you all sweet, and sober, dreams,

SM x


  1. Dear SM, First of all a huge belated Happy Birthday!! I am in the States and get your emails a bit later. But, it sounds like all in all you had a very introspective and self-affirming day! I have struggled a bit this week, actually drank some wine a few days ago. It has taken care of the detox headache I was getting every morning ( I know a temporary fix), but has left me feeling let down, almost like I don't deserve to be on blog sites, sober sites etc.....I am trying to look at the BIG picture, that I only drank twice in almost a month...a very big feat for me. You really had me going when I read "drank buckets of vino." I was like, "WHAT??? So glad it was just a dream for you. I
    have been reading "This Naked Mind", just amazing how the subconscinece effects us. Tomorrow is my oldest daughter's birthday...we have lots of fun plans. Dinner, play (with lots of cute actors for my three girls to ogle) and shopping the next day. They know I have been drinking a lot should be a very happy weekend! Take care and don't think for one minute you aren't doing a great job making up for lost time with your life!

  2. I couldn't believe the title of today's post. Last night I had a dream that I went on a drinking rampage. I was so scared when I woke up that I had messed up! Omg it was just a dream. Then I read your post. How relevant !! Have a great day, thank you for the post :-D

  3. I almost fell off my chair when I read you got trashed! I wasn't disappointed in you, just temporarily stunned...but it was only a quick twist and turn with your story telling; how you always make me wanting to read more.  I’ve had all kinds of odd dreams, but no drinking ones, yet. If I do have them, I hope they are ones of distaste and regret. I’m still at that stage of thinking one day I can drink again. But I know I can’t.

  4. You think the purpose of such dreams, as realistic as your, is to bring back vivid reminders of why NOT to drink....?? In which case, I guess, it's a good thing.

    Sleep - I had cyclical insomnia all the years I was consuming. Since stopping, almost from the very first night, I've been wallowing in deep, restorative slumber. To the point where I think it's harder to get up than when I was drinking. (Greater REM sleep and all that?? ) whatever, I'll take it. And if/when a 'drinking dream' (nightmare) appears, I'm now your chroncle has helped prepare us for so many other steps along the way.

    Glad you were able to give in and get past your bout of the downs....I know H B'day is supposed to be a song of celebration, but I've never much enjoyed my bd's either (which I often put down to occuring in January, in the Northern part of the US - yuck).

  5. I've had a number of those dreams. It's always a relief to know it didn't really happen. So I guess I'm making steps in the right direction. Although with my 1 year soberversity looming, I have been reassessing the situation. I don't NEED a drink, I am toying with the 'surely I can control this beast now.' But I know deep down I can't. :-( x

  6. I still have the odd drinking dream. I am usually drinking, pretending I'm not, and absolutely denying it.
    Bad things always happen.
    I always wake up distressed, and it takes a while to let these dreams go.
    They reinforce my belief in honesty. I just don't bother lying anymore. Not even little lies. Life is easier for me that way. I guess I'm no longer a woman of if I ever was.


  7. Ha ha! You had me there! I dreamt the other night I was drinking champagne at a family wedding. It was going down well until someone asked why my car was here. It made be remember that I'd driven because I wasn't drinking. I felt so guilty and panicked. This was my first alcohol bad dream so it is great to hear this is a common thing for others too.

  8. Morning SM!
    My buttocks clenched and my jaw dropped when I read you got trashed with Mr SM's approval! What a relief when it turned out to be a dream!
    I haven't had any dreams but my youngest text me last week to say she dreamt she found me passed out surrounded by vodka bottles. That would never happen, it would have been wine bottles if we are sticking to script!
    Delighted you are out of the blues. Have a great day!

  9. Me too..... I was totally consumed in your blog / story that I forgot about the tittle and an anxiety rush hit my stomach. Then it disappeared as soon as I read it was only a dream!! Ive had a few and agree, they are pretty awful and play on your mind. Ha, you had me angry at Mr SM for saying sure, go ahead as he can take it or leave it!! x.

  10. Wow! Happy b- Birthday and I am Glad you had a sober birthday. I am super glad it was just a dream- I had to re-read your post!