How To Get Through A Using Flashback

You’re in treatment, working hard every day to learn how to stay sober. Each day- you’re doing it! You’re staying clean and sober while gaining invaluable tools for living a lifestyle of recovery. Though you experience physical cravings and occasional psychological cravings, you really don’t want to use. You’re finding value in recovery. At first, you were less than sure. Now, however, you are feeling more and more sure that this is the life you want for yourself. You want to heal, you want to grow, and you want to live a life other than the one you were previously living. You didn’t think you could ever feel this way, but you do. Drinking and using is a thing of the past. You’re working toward a happy and healthy future. One night, as you’re deeply sleeping- something you’ve learned to treasure as your deep sleep abilities have returned, you have a dream. In this dream you see yourself drink, use drugs, and throw your recovery away. Most often you realize you weren’t thinking about it and you didn’t even really want to do it. Immediately after it happens in your dream you feel remorse. Why did you do it? Why couldn’t you say no? How did you possibly forget how good recovery is starting to feel? When you wake up, you feel awful. The guilt remains as if the dream were real. You feel terrible about yourself and your decision making.
Using dreams are normal. Dreams are a way for the brain to make sense of information it didn’t get a chance to process during the day time. Every day in treatment, you are living a busy schedule full of therapy and discovery which can prevent you from fully acknowledging underlying cravings for drinking and drug use. There isn’t anything wrong with cravings. There isn’t anything wrong with using dreams. These flashbacks to using drugs and alcohol are a symptom of addiction itself. The disorder of addiction is characterized by obsessive thinking and cravings. Without obsession about drugs and alcohol, even in your dreams, it wouldn’t be addiction. Before you start telling yourself a story about not being serious about your recovery, wanting to relapse, and other tales remember to tell yourself first about addiction:

  • Addiction is characterized by obsessive thinking
  • Addiction is characterized by physical and psychological cravings
  • Using dreams do not define your recovery- they will happen for the rest of your life
  • Using dreams will happen less and less often the longer you stay sober
  • When you have a using dream it doesn’t mean you are going to relapse or that you want to relapse
  • Using dreams mean your brain is processing something about your addiction or about one of your underlying issues that contributes to your addiction.

Talk to your therapist and bring up your using dream in your group therapy or at a group meeting. You’ll hear others’ stories about their own using dreams and how they got through the uncomfortable feelings the day after.

When you change your story you can change your life. That is our philosophy at Oceanfront Recovery, a treatment facility. Our treatment programs are built on proven therapeutic methods for creating real change and real recovery. Call us today for information: 877.279.1777