I had a very vivid drinking dream recently. This has not happened for a very long while. In the dream, I was at lunch with a group of people – family I think – when I suddenly I looked at my beverage and with shock and dread realized I was consuming a sweaty wine cooler or cider of some kind. I was dumfounded to observe that this was happening and seemingly normal – as though I had just woken up to my life and I was a drinker again. I instantly felt my tummy hit the floor as shock turned to fear fringed with disapointment. And then in the dream I see my mind step into to “fix” the situation with assertion that I only drink at lunch – as though having a boundary around the time of day that I drink will not implode my life my entirely. While I was trying to process the lunch situation the truth hit that I would no longer be able to continue the work of sobriety and growth that I have for so long engaged in because I am clearly no longer sober. And that was the saddest part. Not engaging in the process of growth or interacting with other sober people from an insider’s point of view. The loss of the distinct privilege of living my life so well that I am completely counter-culture in my non-drinking status. was painful. I live every.single.hour of my days regardless of circumstance, stressor, relaxation requirements, or celebration occasion straight up without need of an intoxicant to help or enhance or numb. I feel it all. Good, bad, boring, scary you name it. Then arrived the next truth of “this doesn’t work – I know this doesn’t work, this is not in alignment with who I am and what I want for my life.” I disgustedly pushed the bottle away from me, almost knocking it over. A visceral response directly from my soul to be sure. And then two words rise up from sinking tummy: START AGAIN. Put it down and START AGAIN.
I woke up right after that and what I noticed, aside from the profound relief and gratitude that the whole thing was a dream, was that many, many times over these past almost four years I have resisted being the odd one out who was not doing what the group was: sharing a bottle of wine over dinner, a pitcher of beer after skiing, a shot of baileys in the coffee at Christmas time. In my dream, I was part of the coveted group and having a cocktail at lunch and I was devastated. I wanted to be doing lunch differently. Clearly. In full awareness. Faithful to mySelf. I desperately wanted to get back to the place of being the odd one out who did not require an intoxicant to make a lunch outing “fun” or “normal” or “to be part of the collective” or to be going along with whatever our culture thinks is cool and necessary regardless of what it is doing to my mind, body and soul. I wanted to be me. Brene Brown calls this being in the wilderness – when we stand in our truth rather than trying to fit in with the group. “…the price is high, the reward is great…” (Maya Angelou) And that dream feels like growth. So very grateful to be the odd one out. Cheers!