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The Fear

I’ve had some dreadfully realistic drinking dreams in the past couple of weeks. In one dream I was waking up after a heavy drinking session, having blown my sobriety. I felt sick, both from booze and shame. Dry mouth, banging head and a great black hole where the memories of the previous night’s drinking should have been. I could feel the dreaded ‘fear’ setting in and I had forgotten how fucked up that feeling is…

– A sense that you have done yourself some lasting damage after a night of drinking;
– A feeling that you are going to die soon (and not just due to other hangover symptoms); 

– A feeling that death might actually be an option or a solution. A lack of value for your own life.
– Angst that you may have offended, inappropriately touched or even physically attacked someone the night before; 
– Absolutely dreading the next time you meet the people or return to the bar where you degraded yourself the previous night. 

This ‘fear’ is often accompanied by “The Remorse” where you are also genuinely ashamed and sorry or the way you have behaved, as well as simply frightened for the sake of your own wellbeing.

I can’t believe I allowed myself to believe that drinking was a worthwhile, fun way of passing the time. Many a night out ended in me feeling depressed and really afraid. But, each time I would convince myself that the next time I drank it would be just a glass or two. I wouldn’t get myself in that state again. Why would anyone inflict that on themselves?

In the dream, all of these old familiar feelings were back but the overriding anguish I felt was for the disregard I’d had for my precious sobriety. I was so gutted that I had stamped all over the recovery I have worked so hard for. Drinking will never be any different for me and those feelings took me back to a place I don’t want to revisit. Boozing doesn’t hold a candle to my sober life. Drinking will always end in personal sacrifice. Recovery has helped me to see that I don’t have to choose that self- destructive path anymore. I will work hard and put my sobriety above everything because it’s worth it. I am worth it.

I’m coming up to a whole year sober and that’s a really exciting milestone for me. I think sub consciously (aka wolfie-fucker)  I am worrying that the novelty of being sober will wear off once I get to one year. It won’t be all shiny, new and full of surprises. I have realised that I won’t get ‘there’ and be able to relax and put my recovery feet up.  But, once the really hard work at the beginning had passed and the cravings had become less of a regular thing, I’ve actually embraced the adventure that is my sobriety.

Wolfie can fuck off out of my dreams, ‘cause he’s wasting his time. Recovery is what you make it and I plan to keep rocking mine. 



24 thoughts on “The Fear

  1. Drinking dreams are mad, aren’t they? I didn’t realise they were a “thing” in recovery until I came into the sober blogging world.

    Despite being shaken by these dreams, you sound so strong. You realise the true value of what you have worked so hard for and that is invaluable. The sheer fact you feel the fear is an indication of how important this is to you, and how steadfast you’ve been in your determination to kick woflie’s arse.

    As they say, fear is healthy… It shows you’re not complacent, and although we’d all like recovery to be a definite point you work towards, I think we both recognise now it’s an ongoing process.

    Let’s have a Sober Party when you get to your year, with special edition Sober Tiaras You are my bloody hero, you deserve everything you’ve been given in sobriety 🙂

    • They are scary, I had two in a row this week but they serve as just the reminder that I need when I wonder if I was really that bad. It is NOT normal to feel like that.
      I’m up for that party, there’ll be egg mayo sanwiches, crisps and cake. And sober chicks who are fucking awesome….like you!
      Who needs wine?

  2. Isn’t it great that you get to live that nightmare of a slip out … in your dreams only??? It’s like, you get to see where it will lead, and all the insight from a slip, without actually having to go through it. Gosh, you def hit a nail on my head–I used to have such suicidal, hanging-loose thoughts after drinking. And the fear, yes, the fear. I don’t want to make that personal sacrifice either, and you know what? We don’t ever have to again. Wolfie is not going to swoop down on us and take over our limbs. We are careful and have a lot of tools in place to diffuse his voice–we have the choice now.

    Haha…I worry about sobriety becoming boring, and old, too at one year. Then again, it has been for a while for me. I see a year as just another day, sort of. I worry because I have been having serious thoughts of moderation, like, whew, the race is over, I can finally drink again. I don’t know, I’m just going to take it one day at at a time…

    • I need that reminder, occasionally.
      I try not to entertain thoughts of moderation. But the idea that I can have a few drinks again one day, yeah, I don’t discount that. Just not today…it’s not a good idea today.
      Moderation, as we both know does not rock, having just one, then none, now that does sound boring, like a waste of time. There was never any point in one?
      Banish those thoughts!

  3. My husbands old sponsor used to tell us it was a freebie! I know I felt terrified when I woke up from my first one. I haven’t had one in a very long time, but they don’t scare me anymore. I used to think it was foreshadowing…..now I know better!

  4. great post! Those drinking dreams are bizarre, aren’t they? I had them repeatedly in the first few weeks – so much so that I started keeping a diary and my phone beside my bed so that if I woke up confused in the middle of the night I could check the phone for the date and then my diary to make sure that yes, I had gone to bed sober 🙂

    I love your phrase ‘the overriding anguish I felt was for the disregard I’d had for my precious sobriety’. This is SUCH a precious thing that we are building here, this sober life.

    I waver between being angry that I will never be ‘fixed’ and accepting that the benefits of that precious new creation justify every single moment I spend on it. So fantastic that you are nearly at your one year anniversary!

    • Yep right there with you on that. Such is life. I’m not always skipping soberly along but I have no choice so acceptance of that has made it easier.
      Some folk have far worse to cope with.
      I choose the glass half full (but not the bottle anymore!)
      Thanks x

  5. I’ve had some really vivid drinking dreams and the relief upon waking more than makes up for having them in the first place. They have come in batches and probably around certain times or milestones, though I never bothered to track when. They do serve to remind how painful and awful the morning after was. And we lived that way for so long. Maybe drinking dreams are a blessing more than a curse.

    • Yes, too much time has already been wasted like that, yuk!
      I think the one year anniversay is pushing my buttons and sending my emotions a bit all over the place.
      I have been on rockier rides…will be okay!
      Thanks x

  6. You are such an inspiration to me, have been since my first days. Thanks . I’ve not had a drinking dream yet and if I did I didn’t remember so your reminder is so important to me. You’re a rockstar Carrie! Plan a big Ta Da for 1 year.

  7. I really hate drinking dreams…not because I have them (they’re normal after all) but because of the way they make me feel. I wake up feeling like SUCH a failure and even though I know (in the dream) that all I have to do is just not drink again, I still feel like I’ve let myself down. I wish I knew what triggered them because I still have them. Not as frequently of course but sure enough, every once in a while one sneaks in.


  8. Isn’t it strange that you’re getting them again now? I wonder what’s causing them? Maybe sobriety is playing on your mind more than usual in the run up to your 1 year anniversary. Glad to hear you sounding so strong and seeing them for what they are – reminders of the past and a place you are no longer in! Xx

    • It’s almost certainly the milestone. I am a bit wobbly about losing resolve post celebration…
      But I’m on alert and will be ok.
      They are a useful flashback, if not a scary one!

  9. Oh yeah, 1 year! Awesome. I hate those dreams but the hard out drinking ones make it easier to stay off in a way because of the sick fear at going back to that. I’ve been having dreams lately that are about me just being sober and on the outside of the fun. Those ones are pretty glum. Oh well.. they can come if they want.. I’ll stare the fuckers down and win. xxx

  10. Thankfully they’re just dreams and we can let them go the next day, unlike a hangover. And the fear! Ahh! I hated that so much. It is worth the aches and pains of early sobriety to never have to experience that again. Thank you for the reminder. xx

  11. I can’t tell you how much this article resonates with me. Not the drinking dreams, as I have only just given up, but what you say about “The Fear”. That’s my main motivation for giving up, along with the fact I feel I’ve been (relatively) lucky up to now, but one of these days I will end up doing something, or something will happen to me, really bad.

    And like you, I’ve been telling myself for years that next time I won’t get that drunk again. But in the end, I do. Maybe I can go out 9 times and not have blackouts or wake up after passing out somewhere I shouldn’t. But the tenth time I will, and that’s one time too many.

    I’ve only just started reading your blog, and I’ve found it so helpful. Thanks for that.

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