Dreaming about drinking: some thoughts

This morning I woke up after dreaming about drinking alcohol.

In my dream, I am with people and we are happy – euphoric, almost – and I have a glass of wine in my hand. I am drinking from it and laughing.

All of a sudden, I realise I’m making a horrible mistake: I don’t drink and don’t want to drink. How can I have forgotten this! The euphoria is replaced by anger and regret.

I feel a huge sense of relief at knowing this is not the reality. In fact, today I am 946 days alcohol free (and counting).

This is not the first time I have dreamt about booze and lots of people who’ve make a similar lifestyle choice report the same.

In these dreams of mine, the alcohol is part of a scene in which there are polarising feelings: joy becomes rage. There is almost always a moment where I realise I am not meant to be drinking and have let myself down.

I’ve often wondered what it’s all about. The dreams tend to come at times of stress or anxiety. The latest one is no surprise really: England is back into a fresh set of restrictions to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and things continue to be grim and uncertain, despite the roll-out of the vaccination.

I miss seeing family and friends and doing things at liberty. I won’t ever take it for granted again. I guess if you’re reading this, you feel the same.

I have written here about how, in the past, I used alcohol to soothe myself. This could be to feel more confident, de-stress, celebrate or simply because I’d got into the habit of having few drinks on a Friday night at the end of a working week.

I can honestly say I have not had any desire to return to drinking in recent times but I don’t doubt the dreams are a reminder of long-term habits dying hard.

Paradoxically, I believe my dream represents a reality check: a reminder for wellbeing vigilance. It’s less about the drinking and more about my emotional state and serves as a good prompt for looking after myself.

For me checking in with myself and rebalancing means doing exercise, reading, writing, eating chocolate (and why not?!), talking to friends or family and regulating news consumption. That and being thankful it was simply my brain telling stories or giving itself a little overnight therapy session.

If I look at it like that, and then put it to one side and get on with real life (the alcohol free one), everything feels OK although I really wish I would dream something more fantastical – like flying or being invisible or developing a time travel machine.

Still, maybe that’s just a bit too far-fetched…

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I'm a writer, journalist and communications officer based in the South West of England. I write about wellbeing, the outdoors and life in a rural playground.

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