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Dreams Of Drinking


December 2012

Fair warning, the language in this post is raw.

You’re sitting in a bar that you’ve never seen before, surrounded by friends, all smiles and good times – the only thing missing is the noodle salad. You order a beer and savor every last drop that passes your lips, then you order another, and another – not a care in the world… You’re laughing with friends, having the time of your life!

Then you wake up in a cold sweat. God dammit! Fuck, did I get drunk last night?! Christ almighty, save me… I can taste it. I went out last night – I can feel the hangover. I just pissed away my sobriety! All of that work! Son of a BITCH!

Tears start welling up in your eyes… What the fuck was I thinking? I’m toast. Mrs. Bgddy is sure to leave with the kids. What am I going to do? I can’t breathe without my girls…

Then the haze starts to clear – it was just a dream. It’s around 4 am, Sunday and this was me at around 3:10. Folks, I wish I could truly put to words how real these dreams feel – you can literally taste them, no shit. The biggest trouble sober people have with the drunk dream is that they don’t talk about them, I’m not one of those people…

One common misunderstanding about the drunk dream is that we sober folk are doing something wrong and that’s why we’re cursed with these dreams. I can tell you, I had to think hard to remember that I was indeed home playing euchre with my in-laws last night, not out at my Uncle Lou’s bar (in real life he’s a dentist) pissing my life away for a drink. Worse yet, I didn’t get hammered, I just had two and left. I drank with… Control. [Alcoholics of my nature completely lack control – when I picked up the first beer, there was no predicting how much I would drink or what would result from my being drunk. I have accepted that this is simply how I am, that there is no changing this (I’ve tried-repeatedly) – to have a dream in which there was control, for a fellow like me, is a fate as bad as death. Left unchallenged, it could plant the seed – and start it festering – that maybe I can drink like other people! That thought, that seed, is the very beginning of my death… Quite literally, unless I work over the next few days to dispel that notion from my very core, unless I maintain vigilance over the next several weeks and months against that festering seed taking root in my mind, it will grow and result in my getting drunk, of this I have no doubt, because this is the nature of my disease].

I’ve been sober, consecutively, for 177,331 hours. 7,348 days. 241 months. 20.11 years… and I just had a drinking dream that shook me to my soul. I have been working diligently to maintain my sobriety. I work with others, I do what is asked of me from other sober fellows… More so now than I have in years.

And that’s why I believe I had the dream, because I am working the solution. A dream is nothing more than your brain’s way to take out the trash – and that’s what mine did last night… It just happened to take out a lot all at once.

I now have my wits about me again, my heart has slowed back down and in a half hour that will be 177,332 hours of continuous sobriety…

You know, I wouldn’t be surprised if this didn’t have something to do with being excited to receive a couple of comments on two posts from another sober fellow the other day – I haven’t taken the time to get on the computer so I can follow his blog yet… Hmmm, food for thought.

In any event, back to the dreams. They are rare. They are miserable and they are intense – and I’ve had one every few years (sometimes once a year or maybe even twice) for the last 20 years… They’ve grown far more infrequent over the years, but they’ve never stopped. and this is a good thing.

I look at it this way: After the dust had settled, after my pulse returned to normal and the sweat and tears dried up, I got to relapse – without taking a drink. I got to feel the pain, horror and anguish first hand – without the consequences…

I caught a glimpse of what life would be if I gave in and drank, and it hurt.

If that’s not something to be thankful for, I don’t know what is. Thank you Jesus, for saving a wretch like me. I once was lost, and I’m working real hard to be found…


  1. Sandra says:

    Thank god I have no clue what it’s like to be you. That is a blessing, but I am so thankful that you shared your personal hell with us and especially your thought process of how you deal with it. You are your family’s hero, make no mistake about that. And mine too.

  2. JustI says:

    Funny (strange) that you should write about dreams just now. I’ve been having some really weird dreams lately. I’m not one to really remember dreams very often, but lately I’ve been reliving periods of my youth, and I wake up at 2:00 or 3:00 AM, thinking wtf!!! I’ve been wondering what kinds of experiences or feelings have been stirring the subconscious pot. Perhaps it’s the holidays and years past that puts my mind on ‘shuffle’, but it has me in a quandary!

    I’m glad that you have taken a painful experience and put a positive spin on it.

    ‘No longer blind, but now I see”

    Best wishes for a long and positive new year!

  3. elisariva says:

    I am so sorry that your demons haunt you once in a while. Stay strong my friend. Your motivation is contagious.

    • bgddyjim says:

      Thanks Elisa… I will. Sadly you can’t live like I did without it coming back to haunt you from time to time. Believe it or not, it really is a good, positive thing once the shock wears off. The horror only lasts for 30-45 minutes.

  4. Karen says:

    Very moving post. It sound like an awful experience but you have put it in perspective for yourself….the lesson without the lapse. I’m very glad it was all just a bad dream!

    Happy New Year Jim. May all you dreams in 2013 be about flying on you bike πŸ™‚

  5. aaronwest says:

    20 years is a long time. Congrats on your sobriety. I have a number of friends in recovery and know how difficult it can be regardless of the days/hours/years clean. One day at a time, my friend.

  6. I know those dreams, brother !

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