Dreams are powerful. They create a world that is so real that we can feel the effects of our dreams even after we wake. It is quite common for recovering addicts to have dreams where they are again using drugs or that they relapse. The dream may be a pleasurable experience or a nightmare, it just depends. These dreams can be very frustrating, as they can create guilt for using drugs, even though it was just a dream.
Additionally, they can untimely remind you of things that you were trying very hard to forget. Your subconscious mind can create very powerful and realistic dreams while you are trying to recover. If you have recently experienced using dreams, read on for a few tips to help you deal with them.
Remember That It Was Just a Dream
While your using dream could have been incredibly vivid and felt superbly real, it was just a dream. Take a couple of deep breaths and relax. Turn on a light, look around at your surroundings, and ground yourself. You have not relapsed, it was not real. Remind yourself how far you have come and what is is real.
Pay Attention to Your Emotions
Were you upset by the dream? That’s good. If you felt frustrated or unsettled by your dream, that is a good thing. It means that you are taking your recovery seriously, and that you are striving to stay sober. Recognize how you feel and how you were affected by the dream, and then move forward. One study about using dreams indicated that it didn’t matter what the dream was about, rather, your response to the dream.
Dreams Can Create Change
Studies show that recovering addicts who have using dreams achieve longer periods of sobriety. Their dreams remind them that they need to be vigilant in their recovery. Studies also show that recovering addicts first have dreams that focus around them using drugs, and then many of them begin to have dreams of them refusing to use drugs. Your dreams can be a way for your mind to rehearse the future.
Be More Vigilant
Use your dreams as a reminder of why you have started along the path to recovery. Decide to increase your efforts to live a sober lifestyle rather than becoming discouraged. Over time, your using dreams will decrease, and you will be strengthened. If for any reason your dreams give you the urge to drink or use drugs again, see a therapist immediately, or talk to someone that you know and trust to help you work through the effects of your dreams.