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Dreams have been a source of wonderment, fascination, and even frustration for human beings since the dawn of time. The average person typically ponders their significance and tries to analyze them, seeking a deeper meaning. Dreams (and nightmares) evoke mystery, powerful emotions, and even inspiration. While some say they don’t remember their dreams, others have a very active and vivid dream life.
Many look for answers in dream dictionaries or seek the guidance of mystics to try and interpret a dream’s symbolism. Psychologists say that dreams are a way for the subconscious mind to work out real-life problems and difficulties. Others think their dreams have no meaning whatsoever. They tend to believe dreams are just nonsense manufactured by the mind to keep it entertained during slumber.
While the average person is at least somewhat intrigued by their dreams, perhaps only those in recovery have a true grasp on how powerful (and disturbing) they can be.
People who get into recovery from an addiction to drugs like cocaine, heroin, prescription opioids, methamphetamines, or marijuana often experience what are called “using dreams” after they achieve a certain amount of clean time or sobriety. This is very common. Ask any recovering drug addict if they have ever dreamed about using their drug of choice and they will most likely say yes.
A using dream focuses on drug use. Powerful images of drugs, paraphernalia, old neighborhoods, drug dealers, using buddies, and dealing drugs are typical. Many people dream they have relapsed and wake up completely confused as to whether or not they have actually taken drugs.
People in recovery can find the images in using dreams to be very disturbing. These kinds of dreams usually take on a nightmarish connotation. This can be very upsetting to the recovering person who is working hard to stay sober. They may feel confused as to why they have had such a dream when they have been abstinent from drugs for months or even years.
Others dream that they use drugs and wake up disappointed to find out it was only a dream. Their using dream may have glorified drugs and romanticized the way they could make them feel. When they wake from slumber, the might wish they could go back to the dream.
Research has shown that a recovering person’s reaction to a using dream tells a lot about where someone is at in their recovery. If they wake up relieved that it was only a dream, they are probably working hard to continue to stay sober and learning to live a new lifestyle. This is a good sign. If someone wishes they could go back to the dream, this might be an indication that they are in trouble with their recovery. This might be a warning sign.
The next time you have a using dream, analyze how it made you feel. Were you happy to wake up? Or were you angry it was only a dream? This will likely tell you whether you are moving in the right direction with your recovery or if you need to reevaluate what you are doing to stay sober.
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