Doing the Steps Even in My Dreams

A few mornings ago I was sitting out on the lanai in Hanna, Hawaii while it was still dark out. I was remembering a very lucid dream I had during the night…

I was super-drunk and had been told that my next door neighbour had been saying some unkind things about me. My blood boiled. I was shaking and outa control. I knew I was going to confront her and that it would be the wrong thing to do but I could not control myself. My husband tried to calmly talk me out of it but there was no reasoning with me. Bang, bang, BANG! on her front door. I gave her what for and I knew that I was visibly drunk and that she knew it. This dream seemed to go on and on. I felt regret and shame wash over me throughout the night over and over and over again. These feelings were so familiar. The realization that I had been drunk the night before, the realization that I had said or done something I deeply regretted, the realization that I could not change the past nor my actions. It was the hanging my head in my hands, shoulders stooped, posture slouching, stomach sinking kind of regret. I think once or twice during the night I realized that it was a dream but I spent much of the night or so it seemed steeping in shame and demoralization.

These dreams are such a poignant gift in so many ways. They have a way of helping me “think” the first drink through all the way to the bitter, remorseful end through real time with real emotions. The stuff I can so easily forget when I think that drink is a good plan and what could be the harm?! It is like my mind says: we haven’t played out the drunken scene for a while – cue the shame and regret pattern – if its not happening in real life lets make it happen in a dream.

As I tossed and turned I had the thought, “You need to remember this dream -it is telling you something very important while you are away on a triggery beach vacation during the triggery holiday season… It is sounding the alarm, reminding you where you will so quickly end up if you choose to pick up…”

The level of relief I felt when I knew that it was all a dream and had not really happened was off the charts. In my dream I had gone all the way through to the next morning and lived through each of my typical next morning stages beginning with the “oh no! I didn’t get drunk again…” to the justification stage “well she shouldn’t have said those mean things about me and none of this would have happened… it is actually her fault…” That one rang really hollow. And very quickly I came to a place of surrender, “you fucked up and you need to make amends right now…” In my dream I actually went back to her door and apologized for being drunk and the things I had said and the way I had said them. How cool is that? I am doing step work in my dreams! Love that. I will take that as a marker of progress. So I sit in a place of gratitude for the stark and dark reminder my dreams provide me with of places I have been so many times before and never want to return to again. Grateful for another sober day in paradise…

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