Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A disappointing dream

I sort of don't want to write this but I will..

Because I share honestly all the time about being sober.. that's how I roll..

We went camping on the weekend with another family, some good friends. We have five young boys between us and we all had a great time playing board games and swimming in the river and eating chips and dip and collecting cicada shells and playing cricket and cooking dinner and just hanging out in tents in a regional park near our home.

As the evening developed the guitars came out and we sang cheesy sing-a-long tunes while the boys rolled around on the grass in their sleeping bags. After it got dark the torches came out and we did a bit of possum hunting before getting them to sleep on their air-beds. Us four adults stayed up chatting about all manner of crap until about 11pm and then snuggled in our tents as well.

There was booze involved… some wine and beers for everyone (bar me) around 5pm and then whiskey for the blokes later on. They probably got slightly merry and loose-lipped, it wasn't extreme and I didn't sit there wishing I was drinking at all. I had a lovely, fun, chatty, happy evening.

But then that night in the tent I had a very vivid dream that I was at a party and everyone was having a great time and I was stuck on the outside not able to join in. It was so unbelievably cliched and incredibly clear what my subconscious was telling me.

I woke up totally bummed out about the dream, like how dare my subconscious tell me I'm still processing being a non-drinker, how dare the recesses of my mind feel like there's a party going on and I'm not a part of it.

That's not how I feel goddammit it!!!!!!!

Or is there still that lingering thought deep down?

The dream has stuck with me for 4 days now and I keep thinking about it and feeling disappointed with myself for having it. Then yesterday I was sitting at the kitchen table telling my sister about the camping trip and then I mentioned the dream and suddenly I burst into tears.

It was entirely unexpected but the tears just came and I realised I felt very sad. About the dream. I think.

She said: "that's ok, it's just one part of your brain catching up with the other" or something like that.

But still I feel a bit disappointed in myself. That's probably silly. I'm not really sure what I think about this.

Love, Mrs D xxx


  1. I don't think that your dream and the kitchen-table cry is a sign of deep trouble. Instead, I think you have been in need of an emotional reboot and the camping trip and a quiet moment with your sister provided it.

    You've had a lot of changes lately. Your recent move alone is worthy of a mini-meltdown. (My husband is in the Navy and we move around A LOT. So the subtle stress and emotional nuances of a move, even across town, are familiar territory. Trust me on this one.)

    And didn't you get your manuscript back from the publisher recently? I'm certain that has brought with it a Big Fat Deadline, along with the job of rehashing all of your early sobriety experiences. The deadline and the trip down memory lane are both anxiety-producing tasks.

    You are, indeed, very honest in your writings. (Something all your visitors love!) And you also seem determined to confront challenges with a positive outlook and enthusiasm. But sometimes, even the most optimistic among us need a little cry, you know?

    Rest up and give yourself Big Hugs.

  2. that is not really how you feel but how you worried you would feel when you in the trying to quit drinking phase. the awesome thing is, it is not your reality!

  3. Mrs D, I hate those sad dreams that hang over into the next days and days. I won't pretend to understand them. But I think what they are is a way of working out things that are still a kind of residual part of your mental landscape but no longer part of your day to day life. Like when you dream about an ex, or somewhere you used to live. I don't think it means that deep down you feel left out. I think it's more like a reminder that not drinking can make someone feel like that, and for a while early on it had a bit of that effect on you, and you've moved past it. OK, maybe I sound like a bossyboots telling you what your sad dream means, but I hope I don't. I just want to say that, from a distance, you seem to be working out the fun and involvement thing pretty darn well, and in that context the dream seems like leftovers from earlier thinking that's just not you any more. Plus, you rock! xo

  4. I'm often told that dreams are the opposite of reality.

    If this is true then rather than being upset that you couldn't join in with the drinking, you would actually be saying that you're ok with the way things are and that you're coping just fine.

    It's also great that you blogged about it - that shows me that you're not hiding anything and that you're doing great :)

    Louise x

    Confessions of a Secret Shopper | An Undomestic Goddess

  5. Sounds a lot like a drinking dream to me. I get them still from time to time - there I am drinking and knowing I'm drinking and shouldn't be drinking etc. etc.

    The disease of alcoholism is "cunning, baffling and powerful" (AA big book chapter 5). And it is - this was just another route for it to try and batter your defences down it is hoping you'll cave in and next time feel it surely will be better if I just have one drink to join in.

    Don't be disappointed - use that dream as part of your defence. The fact that it is having to come at you in your dreams is because you are doing so well. It is having to get sneaky and go underground in it's battle with you. That is a good sign to me - your are slowly winning the battle, it knows it, it is changing it's tactics to try and defeat you. Stay strong, walk tall, stare it in the face, don't talk to it cos it'll engage you in a discussion but still staring at it back away then walk away in contempt.

  6. Mrs D: I am no Jungian analyst, and it is presumptuous of me to comment on your dream- but I will anyway! Dreams, to me, are a way for our subconscious to communicate things our waking conscious needs to know. Your life, as reported here, has had a number of major stressors in it recently. Like most of us, your former ingrained response to stress was "hand me another drink". One point of this dream might be to remind you that you have CHOSEN to be an outsider to the prevailing drinking culture and to your former knee-jerk responses. To reinforce the deliberateness and immensity of this choice, and to acknowledge that you remain committed to it. N'est-ce pas?

  7. I'm the queen of disturbing dreams. The trouble with dreams is that they often mean something but not necessarily what you think they mean. Sometimes you just need to sit with the feelings without trying to analyze them and let your intellect and emotions catch up with each other.

  8. Funny thing is, when I read about your camping trip, I wanted to drink with the blokes! I wanted to sit in the still of the night, boys in bags, guitars strumming, and get my drink on!!!

    I do think our dreams speak our subconscious. But not always today's subconscious. Just like I dream of sleeping thru tests or arriving unprepared for a test (it's been 30 years!!!), perhaps your dream was only reminding you of former days and former thought patterns. And isn't it wonderful to be reminded of how far you've come :)

    Thus concludes my "Pollyanna" take on the dream! I hope your day is fabulous.

  9. Well, let me be the not-entirely-optimistic one here and say something that I personally would NOT want to hear. Maybe you need to spend less time with your friends who drink and find some friends who are a better fit for the New You. I can't believe I'm writing this, because it is EXACTLY what I need to do and haven't. So I guess really, I'm writing this for me. Thank you for the teaching.

  10. A very wise woman wrote this comment on my blog the other day...
    "Isn't it funny now that we feel bad if we get pangs like they are a failure and we shouldn't get them any more.. that's just silly.. we are not superhuman and the world is awash with alcohol.. a substance that we don't' touch any more but used to in abundance. We are superwomen, but not immune to the occasional sad thought."

    This goes for dreams as well.

    Cut yourself a break my friend...after are only human.

    Love and hugs,

  11. After all the brilliant insight and analysis of the other commenters there isn't much to add. I was always led to believe that dreams were the processing of the days events and that sometimes they get a little jumbled up. It's okay to feel sad whatever the reason and the only cure for that that I know is a hug xx

  12. I'm with Sherry on this one. Cut yourself some slack - be gentle to yourself on this one. Every alcoholic I know gets drinking dreams or dreams where drinking is involved and they feel like shite. Everyone will have an opinion on them, but I can tell you that it's not a harbinger of doom nor is it something to be disappointed in. You can't control what your subconscious is processing and erupting with. While dreams may reflect certain things, they aren't prophecies.

    The feeling of being left out is a strong fear for most of us. Fear of abandonment, fear of rejection, etc...these are heavy in us, especially when we were drinking. Remember, there are going to be echoes of our old lives happening. don't take too much on about these dreams.

    You're living the real dream - being sober!

    Love and light,

  13. I agree with Susan that it might be better to distance yourself a bit from the drinkng pals and boozy parties - Much love you to Mrs D -

  14. Just a lot of stuff happening in your life. Cry, it's good for the soul. You are not on the outside looking in. You're one of my heroes.