My Drinking Dreams – They’re a Nightmare!

drinking dream while napping

I get so much out of living my life sober. And I am really working towards happiness and fulfillment. I feel like I am on the precipice of something or someone. But I haven’t quite worked out what or who. I suspect this is my spiritual awakening to a new life. And this time it will be honest and true to my wants and needs.


Interrupted by Drinking Dreams …

I am well aware that I have not fully let go of my old self. Yes, I know I need to do this to move forward. I am like a child on a seat that is too big – my feet are dangling over the edge and swinging front to back. It’s like I’m waiting for someone to help me down. But I don’t need anyone to help me down and I am acutely aware that I am old enough to jump. I’m just a bit scared at the newness of these understandings. 


Whenever I am in a new place in my recovery, I seem to have drinking dreams. And they are so vivid, that when I awake I am sure that everything in my dream has happened and I’ve had a relapse. That would not be a drinking dream, that would be my worst nightmare!.  


These drinking dreams tend to take one of two forms:

The first form is me the “day after”. In the dream, I am aware I have drunk alcoholically but have no memory of the first drink or even the event where I drank. The second form is me drunk, but trying to hide it. And again, I have no memory of taking the drink.


In most of my dreams there is a mix of people. Some I know and some I don’t. And they are all from different phases of my life. One constant is the presence of my 12-step fellows.


drinking dream on the lawn


Getting Counseling for my Dreams …

Lately I have felt my emotional sobriety slowing down. Maybe a little stuck. I realized I needed some additional help and have recently started seeing a therapist. And although he does not claim to be an addiction specialist, he does have a very good grip on my self-deprecating qualities. We addicts are experts at self-deprecation and could win medals should it be a sport …


The counselling sessions have revolved around the fact that I have turned my personal life into a game of Whack-a-Mole. And that I am collecting more and more moles to deal with.  As I am collecting, my motor is turning faster and faster to keep them moving and thus – I burnout. I believe my “motor” is my heart and my true self and the part that is almost always forgotten. I always forget the self-love.


In the Drinking Dream, What Happens After?

The drinking dreams inform my unconscious. My old self remembers my drinking days and maybe some euphoria from that time. Even glorifies some of the people I had around me. With the help of my therapist, I am starting to look past the drinking part of the dream to what happens afterwards in the dream,.


Who picks me up? Who to I tell my misgivings to? And more importantly, who is with me at the end of the dream?  The one true constant is always my 12-step fellows.


I believe these drinking dreams are part of our sobriety. Probably not something to be concerned with. And I believe they are the reminder of who we were. By looking past the drinking and at the bigger picture, I don’t fear the nighttime visions anymore.  


Focusing on the People

My alcoholic self is only one part of who I am. And to truly recover, I do need to embrace it. But I don’t have to let my alcoholism define me. I am free now to make the right choice for me, not the choices that I feel are right. 


And by focusing on the people in my dreams (not the alcohol) I am focusing on those who have always been there for me. Those who hold my hand and help me up. Those who make me feel safe – even in a scary situation …. 


I like to think that in my dreams, my subconscious is telling me what’s good for me. But also giving me a gentle reminder of who I no longer am – no longer need to be. I’m not scared of my drinking dreams anymore. No more nightmares to be feared – just a mini 12-step meeting in my head while I am sleeping.


Nicola Lee

Nicola Lee had it all - a successful career, 2 children, marriage, car, house... She found herself at alcoholic rock bottom on the 5th December 2015. Nicola says, "After some time in sobriety, I decided to write down my journey through recovery and finding a way to live happily and sober. By writing my truth I hope to dispel some of the myths around what defines an alcoholic." Nicola Lee lives in Hampshire, England. She writes a blog at called 365 'Days a Year' and also writes for the Huffington Post UK.