Dreaming About Alcohol Relapse – What Does It Mean?

February 6, 2024

There we are – all well along on our sober journey.

Feeling the benefits, reaping the rewards.

Facing challenges that an alcohol-free life can throw at you. But smashing them head on.

Dreams, as we know, can get pretty intense when we ditch the booze. Often ‘too realistic’, some might say.

Others might really enjoy the experience of these detailed and deep dreams.

One common theme that comes up when people are embarking (and a long way down the sober road!) is that of relapse.

Relapsing – taking a drink, dreaming in detail of the experience of being drunk.

Waking up ‘in real life’ sober, yet hungover.

A massive feeling of desperation and disappointment wells over you.

What do we mean when we say ‘dreaming about alochol relapses?’ – like literally in a dream?

Why would we even be dreaming about alcohol relapses?

Yes, this really is the million dollar question.

Why after all of the effort we have put in to become alcohol-free and live the good life….why do we dream of drinking?

Why would we throw ourselves into this. When we can dream about anything and booze really is not on our mind..why would we be dreaming about relapsing and putting ourselves right back there.

What Causes Alcohol Relapse Dreams?

There are essentially two indicators that can be found to have an impact, on whether a person would be prone to experiencing these intense relapse dreams. They can be extremely realsitic and ‘feel’ like you are living the dream, and indeed falling off the wagon.

The indicators really do bring up anything that you would not expect really. They are:

  • The length of time alcohol was abused
  • The level of alcohol abuse

So yes, there is an increased chance in experiencing alcohol relapse dreams if you drank more, and for longer than a person who has drank less amount for less time.

No real surprises there.

But it is not a hard and fast rule. In fact anyone can experience dreams that involve them drinking.

What does having an alcohol relapse dream mean?

We have looked at the reasons as to why someone would experience an alcohol-relapse dream. Now let’s look at why we would have them?

For what good reason would we dream about this.

Ok, so there is an element of dream reading and theories within all of this.

This is something that I do not know enough about, but here are some resources for the interested.

How To Reduce The Chances of Having a Dream About Relapsing

Maintain a Sober Lifestyle – Of Course!

staying sober is an obvious tip to reduce sober relapse dreams

Staying on with your sober journey is of course one of the ways to reduce your chances of having relapse dreams! This is not to say that they won’t come along, but the chances are definintely reduced. Adapt your life and actively engage in recovery efforts.

Attend support group meetings, therapy sessions, or counseling to reinforce your commitment to a sober lifestyle, if needed. Focus on the positives that sobriety is bringing you and it will start to become part of who you are. .

Develop Coping Mechanisms:

Meditation is banded around a LOT in the recovery circles – and for good reason.

This is one aspect of recovery that I cannot speak highly enough of.

Finding a coping mechanisl – literally NAMING it as your coping mechanism.

Identifying what YOU need and when YOU need it.

A true gift of a skill to perfect.

Learn and practice healthy coping mechanisms for stress, anxiety, and other triggers.

Meditation, deep breathing exercises, and mindfulness can help manage stress.

I find Spotify has lots of great suggestions to get you going, or there are awesome apps like Headspace.

Address Underlying Issues:

Underlying issues may be increase your chances of dreaming of alcohol relapse

Sometimes sleep can be disrupted or upsetting for many reasons.

it seems at times like we have zero control over what our dreams feed us, and what our own minds create.

When quitting drink or any drugs, our mind will be working overtime. It has been dampened for so long, all the thoughts and emotions can come flooding back.

Often, these can be faced and dealt with, but there might be aspects of your life that is brought up that is too challenging to face on your sober journey.

If you identify that this is the case, consider discussing your relapse dreams with a health professional who might help with your own processes.

£xplore and address any underlying emotional or psychological issues that may contribute to relapse dreams.

Establish a Consistent Sleep Routine:

Maintain a regular sleep schedule to promote overall well-being.

Make it a priority in your life, if your life allows it.

At a given time, it is time for your body to rest.

Monitor your sleep through a fitbit or similar.

Obsess over your sleep. It is one of the greatest gifts we have in sobriety, treat it as precious as it is.

Ensure your sleep environment is comfortable and conducive to restful sleep.

Spoil yourself.

Pamper yourself.

Limit Stimulants:

Avoid stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, and electronic devices close to bedtime, as they may disrupt sleep patterns.

Time to turn that phone off!

Stay Physically Active:

exercise can help with sleep disruption, which can in turn reduce alcohol relapse dreams

Make physical activity a priority in your life.

This is a solid statement to live with in life, regardless of your sober journey or dream states. You will never regret remaining physically active.

That said, being active will increse your need for rest and sleep, and may have a positve impact on reducing relapse dreams.

As a tool to try to combat difficult or disruptive sleep, exercise really should be a go-to.

Practice Relaxation Techniques:

Relaxation techniques can help with sleep if experiencing disturbed sleepdue to alcohol relapse dreams

Engage in relaxation techniques before bedtime, such as progressive muscle relaxation or guided imagery.

Keep a journal to express your thoughts and feelings, which may help process emotions and reduce stress.

Healthy Diet:

Maintain a balanced and nutritious diet, as it can contribute to overall well-being, including better sleep.

Consider talking to a Professional:

If alcohol relapse dreams persist or become particularly distressing, consider discussing them with a mental health professional for personalized guidance and support.

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