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man having a drug dream
November 9, 2018

Is it Normal to Have Drug Dreams in Sobriety?


When we get sober, we go through a whole lot of changes, physically and mentally. For those of us who have been using for several years, it can take some time for everything to truly get back to normal. During that time, we will probably experience a whole gambit of different side effects and behavior patterns that will be confusing and maybe even uncomfortable. One of those things is having drug dreams.

If you really think about it, it would be much stranger if we DIDN’T have using dreams, especially for those of us who used frequently and for extended periods of time. Consider it, for years we have been putting all sorts of substances into our bodies that alter the chemistry of our brains. When all of a sudden we decide to stop doing that, our brain is going to feel the loss.

What is a Drug Dream?

For those who may not have experienced a using dream as of yet or if you are looking to gather more insight on a loved one who is in recovery, it might be beneficial to know what a drug dream is. Let me give you the rundown of my most frequent type of drug dream.

Let it be known, I have almost 3 years sober, at this point, so yes, you can still experience them after early sobriety.

I am usually in some sort of party setting to start the dream off. It is usually random, unfamiliar yet familiar faces, maybe a random person from my past that I haven’t seen in years, you get the idea.

All of a sudden, the opportunity to pick up various drugs arises through someone mentioning it to me in passing in the dream. Throughout the rest of the dream, I end up going on a wild goose chase trying to gather the money, locate my dealer, and find a quiet place to get high. Once I finally have the substance in my hand and am preparing to do it, I wake up.

It goes like this every time I have a drug dream, and there has never been an instance where I was actually able to get high in the dream, I always wake up or get caught by my mother right before I am able to use the drug. Feel free to delve into the spiritual meaning behind my dream and the individual from my past that always shows up because I sure don’t want to do that.

What Does it All Mean?

Regardless of what happens, if I get high or not, or what occurs throughout my dream, I try not to sweat it. Reason being, I’m an addict and an alcoholic. That is just what my brain does, and I assume, that is what it will continue to do so long as I am sober.

For myself, and most other sober people I know, these dreams don’t happen every night, or really that often at all. They occur pretty sporadically and usually during a time of stress or change. Here are some important things to keep in mind if you have a drug dream:

  • It doesn’t mean you are going to relapse
  • It doesn’t mean you are a bad sober person
  • It doesn’t mean you want drugs more than sobriety
  • It isn’t a bad omen or a bad sign or any of that hoopla

What it means is, that you are an addict or alcoholic and that you have memories of your using days. You don’t need a dream therapist to tell you that!

woman having drug dream

How to Shake it Off

Just like with any bad dream, experiencing a drug dream can leave you with an uneasy feeling for the rest of the day. So what is a sober person to do! We definitely don’t want to waste a day feeling guilty for something we didn’t even do, so what are some of the best steps to take to shake off that uneasy feeling of shame for a high we didn’t even take?

Go to a Meeting: hey man, this option works always and in every situation. Any time you are feeling funky about your sobriety, your cravings, being in your head, whatever, the best place to go is to a meeting. Take an hour to get out of yourself, talk to some other sober people, listen to what other people are going through. It works every time!

Hang out with sober supports: Again, talk about a great way to get outside yourself and into someone else’s perspective. It could be helpful to run it by your pals and all have a good laugh and share your gratitude on how you don’t live like that anymore.

Exercise!: They say, “move a muscle, change a thought” and sometimes, the best way to shake off that uneasy or weird feeling after a drug dream is to get the willies out, literally. Go for a walk, run, jog, hike, swim, or dance party with yourself, whatever you need to do in order to get out of that funk!

Get Out of Your Bed: If you wake up in the middle of the night from a drug dream and just end up laying there, with no hopes of a meeting or desire to exercise, the next best bet is to get up, get out of bed, take a pee, walk around your house, etc. This kind of falls into the pattern of moving a muscle, changing a thought, and sometimes that’s all we need to shake the unease.

A long story short, drug dreams are completely normal and everyone has them. They come and go, but I have heard of even old-timers who experience drinking and drug dreams well into their 20, 30, even 40th year! It shakes everybody up, but in the end, if the only thing you get out of it is a good excuse to go a meeting some gratitude for your sobriety, that definitely can’t be a bad thing!

Getting Help

If you or a loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol and if you’ve tried but failed to kick the habit, you may need professional help. Addiction is tough to beat by itself due to the pain of withdrawal and a lack of support, but you can find both at Stout Street’s reputable treatment center. Call us today and begin your journey to sobriety.