Dreams have fascinated people for years, to the extent that ancient Greeks and Romans considered dream interpretation to be an art form. If that's the case, what, if anything, does having a relapse dream mean?
I am not a dream interpreter, however, my own dreams have revealed a lot about my personal psyche that I can not ignore.
Most alcoholics I've met claim they don't dream, which very well might be the case. For reasons I've gone into in a previous blog, your brain can not enter the dream cycle when intoxicated.
That being said, I dreamt every night. It wasn't difficult to remember really because the pretense of the dream was always the same, just insert a new location; Vegas, California, Paris, and airplane midflight (that one was especially stressful).
I was constantly running as if my life depended on it.
That was the dream. I almost never escaped, and never stopped running. Often I would wake exhausted and run down, although much of that was the alcohol. It was as if it was exhausting me to dream.
Every night was a struggle for my life, and every time I was too afraid to turn around and see what exactly I was running from.
If that isn't symbolic for the gravity of my alcoholism, I don't know what is.
I haven't had a single dream like that during my sobriety. No, sober dreams come with an entirely new nightmare.
These are nightmares otherwise known as relapse dreams are on an entirely different level. In the beginning, my relapse dreams never consisted of me actually drinking. Usually, the dream would begin with the realization that I had already drunk. The rest of the dream would then be focused on apologizing to everyone and crying uncontrollably.
The symbolism here is not lost on me, either -because no reason is a good enough reason to jeopardize my sobriety.
So what, if anything, do relapse dreams mean?
The obvious reason for a relapse dream is, a big part of our lives hinged on using and getting drunk/high. Kinda like that dream, you have about being late for your shift in that seemingly meaningless job you had your first year of college; it just randomly resurfaces. Many people believe relapse dreams are just that.
Maybe it's that we get so stressed out that our brains turn to the biggest and longest standing coping mechanisms we had. It could very well be your cue to find a new and healthier outlet before you fall victim to actual relapse.
Dream dictionaries report alcohol in dreams to symbolize celebration and success, both by people in and out of recovery.
While it may seem like a step back, having a relapse dream, perhaps it's a healthy combination of the afore mentioned reasons to try and keep you on track.
Your relapse dreams may be an indicator that you are on track, close to success even; so don't look back to the drug that almost broke you.
(relapse) Dream On!