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Often in recovery and sobriety, addicts experience something called a “drug dream”. It’s a dream that involves using, being high, and/or getting the drug. I’ve experienced many different versions of these dreams and often wake up in a panic, wondering if it had really happened or not. I remember one time it took me over an hour to figure out if I had relapsed or not and my anxiety was intense. After I’ve realized that it was only a dream, the feeling of relief would take over me. The gratitude of realizing that it was in fact “only a dream” would keep me humble in my recovery, too.
Although I would be relieved that it was a dream, I sometimes would be feeling “off” throughout the next day or two. The scene of the dream replays in my mind over and over. Unfortunately, drug dreams also can cause urges to get high and be a huge trigger. I’m grateful that when I first experienced a drug dream, I had a ton of resources to help me get through it. My best coping mechanism is prayer. I would hit my knees and pray for God to remove the unwelcomed desire. Sometimes I would struggle throughout the day and maybe not be as cheery as I normally am, but I didn’t use which was the most important thing. After praying, I would call someone in my support network and be honest about the dream and how it was making me feel. That honesty would be a great help because I was avoiding suppressing the emotions that the dream made me feel.
I recently had a drug dream, but this time the dream went different. It wasn’t me getting high. Instead, I was in the city that I used to get my drugs from and I ran into an old dealer. Even after telling the dealer how my life is different now and that I no longer use, he placed a few bags of heroin in my hand discreetly and said to me, “Here, take these. Just in case you change your mind.”
I held the bags in my hand and walked away. I put them in my pocket as I walked down the busy street. The Monkey came to me in my dream and was trying to convince me to get high. I battled with The Monkey and was refusing to get high, but I kept the bags in my pocket. I started to think that maybe just one time I can use.
Then my dream went a direction a drug dream rarely ever goes. I gained some courage and grabbed the bags out of my pocket and walked over to the closest storm drain. With so much anger, I threw the bags down the drain and walked away. I was so mad at myself that I kept the bags for the short amount of time that I did. I woke up shortly after destroying the bags.
I couldn’t believe that even in a dream, I resisted the temptation of getting high and ultimately didn’t use. I was so relieved when I woke up and I felt empowered. I felt a sense of confidence in my recovery because I could remain sober, even in that state of mind.
That dream made me reflect on my progress of recovery. I was so thankful to God for staying so faithful to His promises and always being there for me. I’m still in shock that I fought the temptation in my dream.
God, how true this is. I used to really hate having these dreams for I would feel the same way you are describing. Instead of focusing on the negative feelings an thoughts though, I started to write down how I felt and really pick through my feelings. What a relief to know it was only a dream. You really are such an inspiration to me Ally. We met at such a low point in both of our lives, and went we both experienced what it was like to hit our bottoms once on the outside. But we survived. Isn’t that amazing? Being an addict sucks, but honestly, if we can use our anger and our fear and turn such shitty,negative feelings and experiences into something great- helping just one addict who experiences drug dreams and feelings of hopelessness and who know what it is to have this Monkey on our backs…now that my friend, makes having this disease of addiction a gift and not a curse.
Keep writing girl! More people need to know they are not alone.
Similar to drug dreams, I often have dreams of relapsing and ending up in a psychiatric hospital again for suicidal behaviors. Although I haven’t harmed myself or tried to commit suicide in a little over a year, I always wake up panicking, like you had mentioned, unsure as to where I am in the present moment and questioning how I could have let myself get to that point after having achieved so much. I had no clue that these kind of dreams occurred for other people, so I am definitely glad to hear I am not alone even if it isn’t the exact same thing.
TurningPointCT.org was developed by young people in Connecticut who are in recovery from mental health and substance use issues. We know what it’s like to feel alone, stressed, worried, sad, and angry. We’ve lived through the ups and downs of self-harm, drugs and alcohol, and the struggle to find help.
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