Dealing with “Using Dreams”

Recovery is often a complete upheaval of our life. Our addictions consumed us and determined nearly every aspect of our daily lives. It is only natural that when we give up what was once such an integral part of our life, our subconscious still remembers the familiar feeling of being intoxicated and we have dreams of using.
Dreams of using drugs are unavoidable in early recovery. We have no control over what our subconscious chooses us to experience in our dreams. Often, the content of our dreams changes overtime. In the beginning stages of our recovery our dreams reflect our desire to use and are a manifestation of our drug cravings. Eventually, however, we begin to experience nightmares of relapse—of throwing away all of our hard work in recovery and falling right back into the pain of our addiction. In early sobriety, we should have morning rituals in place, such as prayer and meditation, to center ourselves before the day begins. This may be helpful in relieving the discomfort of waking up from a drug-using dreams, but if it causes us to wake up with present thoughts of using or craving, we may want to discuss the situation with our therapist, sponsor, or a friend in recovery. There is no reason to feel shame about it—they are unavoidable in early recovery, but we should recognize the dreams as a sign that perhaps we should engage more deeply in our recovery program or examine why it is that we are having them.
On the other hand, Jeremy Taylor, author of “The Wisdom of Your Dreams”, explains in a 2012 Psychology Today article that, “My experience with this kind of dream, (and only the original dreamer can say for sure what the meanings and implications of his or her dreams may be), is that it comes precisely because the recovery is so solid. Usually it indicates that dreamer’s the recovery is so integrated into waking life that he/she is in danger of forgetting just how bad it actually was! It makes sense — who wants to remember the terrible times? But if I forget, then I am also losing conscious touch with just how bad the deepest addiction was, and I am also forgetting just what an amazing, wonderful feat it is to have broken free of the grip of the addictive behavior.” It is entirely up to the dreamer to decide what the purpose of their dream is. Whether we decide to take it as a warning to get back into our program, or take it as a sign that we should be grateful that we are no longer controlled by addiction, it seems that these dreams serve some sort of purpose. Above all, we should not feel bad about our dreams. After all, they are out of our control and overtime become less intense and less frequent.

“When you change your story, you change your life.” That’s the motto of Oceanfront Recovery, a men’s treatment center in beautiful Laguna Beach dedicated to providing caring and compassionate treatment to help you on your journey of recovery. For more information about Residential Treatment and other individualized treatment options, call today: (877) 279-1777