Is It Normal To Dream About Using?

by AdamS on July 13, 2012

According to a new study performed by Los Angeles psychologist and addiction expert Melody Anderson, having dreams that involve doing drugs or drinking alcohol are a normal part of the anxieties that result from recovery. “They’re like those dreams where you back in the test hall in high school and can’t remember anything,” she says, “They’re a sign of the battle sober people have with admitting complete powerlessness over drugs and alcohol.” However, many in the recovery community believe that experiencing visions or dreams about using is a serious precursor to relapse. Particularly those going through OxyContin drug detox have been known to have dreams of using. Thankfully, there are new treatments to help individuals who are experiencing these kinds of dreams.  In addition, far more psychologists and addiction experts are expressing the opinion that these are, in fact, healthy occurrences while going through detox symptoms, and that dreaming about drugs or alcohol is an essential component of early sobriety.

Research

Part of Anderson’s research relied upon a 1998 London study that found that 85% of individuals who had been abstinent from drugs or alcohol for six weeks or less had about 3 dreams involving drinking or drugs a month. “Those who had a higher number of these dreams were more likely to use again.” However, those people who were able to share these dreams with their counselors or psychologists were able to see the value in these kinds of dreams, and that they were a necessary part of recovery. These individuals were far less likely to experience relapse compared to those who kept their dreams to themselves. These kinds of dreams about using are actually valuable for people who are early in recovery because it lets them know that while they may be sober, the threat they pose to themselves to relapse is still present, and must be carefully and diligently monitored.

Self-Assessment

Dreams are an excellent way for individuals to self-examine their progress in recovery. Most of those studied said that previous to their dreams, they had been around or near people or situations were drug and alcohol use was going on. “People often have them around the anniversaries of their sobriety, or other important dates that might prompt a flashback. They can also arise when addicts are forced to focus on someone else’s addiction. You can be sober for decades and after spending time with another alcoholic or addict, you might be triggered and have a using dream.” The important thing to remember for individuals who have these dreams is that they do not guarantee a relapse, and that they should instead talk with someone about what they are experiencing.

Recovery from an addiction to drugs or alcohol is a long, arduous road. It can be filled with many setbacks. Detox symptoms, especially OxyContin drug detox symptoms, are difficult enough without having vivid dreams that could tempt the addict to use again. The most important thing that people in recovery need to be aware of is that no matter how long they have been sober, the threat of relapse is always present. However, this should not discourage people who dream about using. In fact, it can be a very healthy way to take stock of where you are in recovery. If  you or someone you know is having difficulties with addiction or their recovery, get them to seek help from an addiction counselor or psychologist.

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