Earlier this week for about 8 seconds I thought I had done the unthinkable. For 8 seconds I genuinely thought I had fallen off the wagon! But I hadn’t. Let me explain….
It may be two and a half years since I had my last drink, but I’m still reminded of what it’s like to be drunk regularly. I don’t mean this literally, I’m talking about having dreams where I drink alcohol.
That might sound strange, but it seems the only dreams I ever remember now, are the ones where I get drunk. I use the word ‘dreams’ loosely because they are not dreams, they are nightmares. Or as I call them, drunkmares.
They are always very dark and often involve my friends and family witnessing me in a drunken state. I have no idea what sets them off. It doesn’t seem to matter if I have had a good or a bad day, as I’ve had these vivid nightmares after both.
The worst thing about them is waking up, and for about 8 seconds I genuinely believe the worst. I think that I have fallen off the wagon. I can’t describe how soul destroying that 8 seconds is. I want the bed to swallow me up. A complete blanket of regret covers me from head to toe.
However, this is quickly followed by total relief and elation when I realise it was just another drunkmare. Within the first 9 seconds of waking up I’ve gone from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other!
When I first started having these nightmares, I hated them. I thought, ‘I dedicate my life now to not drinking and as soon as I shut my eyes this happens. Does it mean I’m close to relapsing? Is there an uncontrollable craving around the corner?’. The answer ,for me, was no.
Nowadays, I think differently. I would rather not have them at all, but if I can’t stop them, I might as well embrace them. In some ways they are like a blessing. That 8 seconds of regret and shame after every one of these dreams is a huge reminder to me.
It’s a reminder of exactly how I would feel if I really did fall off the wagon. It’s 8 seconds of being back to square one. That’s a place I never want to go back to. These things I hated at first are now another weapon in my armory against my addiction.
This isn’t the only positive I take from them. I now find that the relief that I feel when I realise it was just a dream, sets the tone for the rest of my day or even week. It sounds stupid, but I end up in a more positive mood than I would have been if I had not had a drunkmare.
If you are in the early stages of recovery and you’re getting these horrible dreams, you need to take the positives out of them.
From my experience, it doesn’t mean that you are close to relapsing. It just means that alcohol has been a big part of your life and it always will be, even if you are sober for the rest of it. And I hope you are.
Thank you for reading and remember to always try and take the positives out of every situation you can. It’s helped me a lot.
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