Drinking Dreams..

Monday 2 Nov, 2015, 10:39am by Mrs D 9 comments

It’s very hard to explain the intensity of a drinking dream to someone who isn’t sober. It’s one of those experiences we sober people have that are hard to convey in words to non-sober people.

It doesn’t sound that bad to say: “Last night I dreamt I was drinking. It really upset me and I woke up feeling unsettled.” You might get a sympathetic nod from a friend or family member when you say that, but most of the time I don’t think they really understand how full on these dreams can be.

But trust me – all of us here at Living Sober can relate. We know how incredibly intense and unsettling drinking dreams can be. And so do others in the wider recovery community. There’s a great  Bubble Hour podcast on Drinking Dreams here.

I’ve had drinking dreams when I’ve woken up in tears almost. And that edgy feeling has lingered with me all day.

Was I upset just because the dream occurred? Yes. I didn’t like that my brain had taken me back to that boozy place. I felt like I’d moved on from that way of life and had done such big work inside my brain to shift my thinking – how dare my subconscious take me back there.

Was I upset because I thought it meant I wanted to drink again? Yes. I didn’t like that the dark recesses of my brain were sending me these messages while I was sleeping. Did I secretly want to be back drinking? Say it ain’t so!!

Was I upset because the feeling was so real? Yes. Every single drinking dream I’ve ever had has felt incredibly real. I can taste the alcohol. I can feel the feeling of inebriation. I can sense the deeper mood inside of me as I numb myself with booze. This is what I hate most of all.

I had an incredibly intense drinking dream over a year and a half ago that I cried about four days after it had occurred! You can read my post about it here on my original blog (it’s worth reading just for the wonderful comments that I received after publishing it).

And just two nights ago I experienced a very vivid drinking dream. I’m over four years sober now but still it came. In the dream I was at a museum with a group of friends (not sure why we were at the museum) and I was drinking wine. I was the only one drinking and everyone else wanted to go but I didn’t.. and I was resisting leaving and just drinking my wine. It was horrid. I felt drunk. I felt annoyed at having to leave. I felt rebellious and useless. And I felt dysfunctional.

It wasn’t nice at all.

But you know what was so great? It served as a very strong reminder to me of how awful it felt to be a boozy boozer. My overwhelming feeling on awaking was ‘Thank goodness I don’t do that any more’.

And that is a very good thing.

Love, Mrs D xxx


  1. I’ve had a couple of drinking dreams. You’re right it is hard to explain to another person the anxiety that comes with these dreams.The first one was not that intense, I just remember having to drive and I was like oh shit I’m too drunk, oh well, guess I have to go for it. The one the other day came after a few weeks of just wanting to but a big bottle of vodka and suck it down. The night after I confessed that to my husband I had a really scary dream. I had only drank a small amount of wine and was feeling really drunk, (wow my tolerance must really be down!) it felt awful, I knew what I was giving up but I didn’t care,. The anxiety was huge that others would realize how drunk i was. I was watching someone else’s children, and couldn’t look the adults In the eye. Again had to drive, there was a party-I could’t not drive, that would admit to bring too drunk…I could go on… I basically woke up sweating and scared. My sub conscious really had a message not to fuck it all up now.

  2. My latest drinking dream was so real that for days after I had to think it through to make sure it was a dream and that I hadn’t had that glass of wine in real life.
    Whew! Don’t have to reset to day 1!

  3. I can totally relate to this post now. I had my first drinking dream as I am approaching my 30 day mark. Maybe because I am about to surpass by longest period of sobriety. I remember the smell of the red wine and just feeling horrible about myself that I couldn’t stick with not drinking. Definitely a reminder why I don’t want to go back to drinking again.

  4. I’ve had them throughout my 11 years of sobriety. Over time some have been recurring – or at least very similar for some periods.

    First often I’d be somewhere like a big 60s UK city centre redevelopment, all concrete and grey. They’d be a pub but I couldn’t get in because the door was locked or a bouncer stopped me. There were no windows and I so desperately wanted to get in. Then they moved on – I’d suddenly realise I had a half pint in my hand (should have told me it was a dream… when did I ever not order a pint … or a large anything!). I’d realise I’d started drinking and think – well too late to stop now and would raise it to my lips or order another one.

    I had one recently – in the last month – that really left me feeling very unsteady when I woke up. This time I was just on it. I knew I was drinking, wanted to drink, sobriety could go to hell I was going to get drunk… and naked for some reason too. That one was a frightening one it seemed so real when I woke for a split second I wasn’t sure if it was a dream or reality. But the room wasn’t spinning, I wasn’t soaked in sweat or piss or both – no vomit – no horrible taste in my mouth. But honestly I was going through that kind of checklist. I hope that was a one off and not the start of my disease finding that level of uncomfortableness funny on a regular basis.

  5. I take my alcohol fuelled dreams as a reminder to self … that it’s a scary place to be in . I’ve woken with my heart pounding and my mind making sense of something so awful that I feel physically sick. They come seldom , and they arrive out of the blue . So even thought they appear awful I still accept them as a message to remind me why I prefer to live sober .

    1. Uuugh, I’ve had many drinking dreams and I so loathe them. That “what the f*&k have I done” feeling and the relief waking up is sometimes not enough to make me feel better. I’ve had all kinds. Ones where I forgot I didn’t drink anymore, ones where I knew damn well I shouldn’t drink and did it anyway, ones where I was drinking but trying to hide it, ones where I found out sober friends were drinking again. I will probably have one tonight from just thinking and writing about it. I agree it is a good reminder, though. Plus, all my dreams are messed up. I just had a dream that someone broke into my house and parked their car in my basement, and there was a tiny miniature Ving Rhames there as well, so I don’t put too much stock in my dreams.

      1. It was dreams that helped me see how necessary sobriety was for me. I had 2 dreams in which I could not keep my daughter safe. She looked at me in the dream with this look that said, “you have had a bunch of beer, you can’t help me.” They were the kind of dreams that you have get our of bed, walk around, and try to calm yourself down. I quit drinking for a stretch after that, but didn’t stay with sobriety for more than a couple months. I tried drinking again, despite what I feel was a very stern warning from my subconscious. I found your blog after a few weeks of being back to my old patterns, and related to so many things in it. I am done for good, I think. Your blog reminded me that you never regret staying sober. Since then, I had a vivid dream where I drank and wook up so disappointed in myself. It took me a while to realize it hadn’t happened.

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