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Why You Have Drug Dreams Once You’re Sober

woman sleeping and experiencing drug dreams

If you’re recovering from an addiction and have been sober for a while, you may start to experience disturbing dreams. It’s a common occurrence to experience dreams so vivid you wake up believing you just used drugs. This is usually terrifying if you’ve been struggling with recovery from addiction, and you may even experience a sense of guilt when you wake up. Drug dreams will usually be a nightmare with the conscious fear of relapse. These dreams are a part of the recovery process and can even be considered positive. They can be a gauge of how your recovery is moving along. You might think you’ve made it past your addiction, but sometimes, there’s an underlying part of you that is still dependent on the substance.

If you are in recovery but continuing to have drug dreams, the alumni program at Northpoint Seattle is here to help. Reach out today at 888.483.6031 to learn more about what our clinical addiction specialists and support groups can do for you.

The Function of Drug Dreams

Nobody is sure what the function of dreams is. The many theories include:

  • Dreams are random images your brain created to respond to things that happened throughout the day.
  • Dreams prepare the mind for possible future stresses – almost as though the mind is conditioning itself to handle things efficiently.
  • Dreams allow you to contact your subconscious, which can be a compelling experience. An example is when dreams inspire great inventions.
  • Dreams are nothing more than free entertainment provided by the brain.
  • Dreams represent wish-fulfillment –a means of finishing things the subconscious wanted to do but didn’t.
  • Dreams are your mind’s way of ensuring a future destiny can manifest.

There are various reasons that addicts will experience drug dreams even though they’re ecstatic about their recovery success. If you used drugs for a long time, it was an essential part of your life. Once you stop using them, you think about them often and remember details. Those memories and thoughts then influence dreams. It’s believed that dreams are inspired by events that have happened throughout the day. If you were reminded of your past drug use one day, that could be a trigger for dreaming about drugs. There is also a greater tendency to experience relapse dreams during times of stress. This may indicate that you need to find a more effective way to manage a situation.

Drugs and Dreaming

Most people who use drugs regularly will not experience dreams because drug use tends to suppress dreaming. In this way, drug dreams might represent “unfinished business” for the subconscious. This is especially true for those who have experienced trauma or taken part in shameful behavior while using drugs. The longer you abstain from drugs, the greater the chance of experiencing drug dreams or nightmares. These dreams can play a role in promoting depression or anxiety if you’ve experienced them in the past. The mind is asking you to look at painful experiences that perhaps were the cause of your drug use in the first place.

Drug Dreams Are a Phase in the Recovery Process

Treatment centers and medical professionals will tell you that drug dreams are a positive part of recovery. While they may feel scary and as though you’re losing your mind, they can show you that more work needs to be done. While you have decided to stop using or drinking, your subconscious may still juggle with the change you made. The dreams can be horrifyingly real but are a part of your recovery as you navigate your drug-free life. It would be best if you shared the dreams with your counselor, support group, or rehabilitation staff so you can have the support you need while working through the feelings you’re having. This may include changing things in your life to ensure you don’t relapse.

You can have all the motivation in the world to stay sober, but the subconscious mind may still crave drugs. While there are many benefits to sobriety, your subconscious doesn’t reason in the same way your conscious mind does. The mind of a recovering alcoholic is aware that one sip of alcohol would be a terrible idea. The subconscious mind only knows that it wants a sip of alcohol and has no capacity for reasoning. When you fall asleep, the subconscious displays images of your addictions. It creates clear pictures that might include you sitting there drinking a glass of alcohol or using your drug of choice. Although you feel over your addiction, your subconscious lets you know that not all entities in you feel the same. The good news is that drug dreams are not usually a sign of relapse. The conscious mind, which is controlled by choices you make, and the subconscious have different ways of coping. It may take some time for your subconscious to work through your sobriety.

Drug dreams can help you recognize that recovery is a journey and not a destination. This can be positive in that it can result in you giving your sobriety more attention. Drug dreams may not be a good sign if you’re having too many. If the dreams are recurring or you feel like it could cause you to use again, talk to someone in your support system. Talking about it with your 12-step group or counselor will help you come to terms with what you’re experiencing while you sleep. Know that the dreams will subside after this phase of the recovery has been achieved. The drug will no longer weigh on your subconscious, and you will have overcome another obstacle in the recovery process. As you learn how your mind reacts through drug dreams, you can better understand your addiction. You can learn to deal with these vivid dreams in positive ways that help you.

Learn More About Drug Dreams at Northpoint Seattle

If you or someone close to you is in recovery and affected by drug dreams, there is help. Reach out to Northpoint Seattle today at 888.483.6031 or contact us using our secure online form to learn more.