If you’re a recovering addict, dreams about relapse are extremely common. However, that doesn’t mean that your addiction treatment will go in vain. Rather, it is your brain’s way of connecting your current life and past.

So, instead of worrying about the possibilities, dive in to know everything necessary!

What are Relapse Dreams?

Usually, in relapse dreams, you see yourself getting addicted to drinking, smoking, and other substances all over. However, in reality, you are undergoing a rehabilitation program.

Within the dream, you feel disappointed in yourself, panic about how to get rid of the habit, and feel demotivated that your effort turned futile. The intense wave of emotions leads you to wake up and you feel relieved.

However, you’re here obviously because you fear your dreams turning true. The dream makes you believe that substance use disorders may return.

Are Relapse Dreams Common among People Recovering from Addiction?

Almost all people undergoing addiction treatment programs have these dreams. However, it’s more common at the beginning of treatments. However, as you go further in the recovery process, the dreams become less frequent.

What are the Causes of Relapse Dreams?

The reason behind your relapse dreams varies depending on the substance dependence severity and many more factors like these:

You’re in the first stage of recovery

This happens if you recently enrolled in sobriety programs or just started to control your urges. Your brain is used to get comfort from the substance. So, it reminds you to take a break and indulge in the substance.

You’re mourning

If you were severely addicted, drugs and alcohol probably became an important part of your life. So, your abstinence journey is as hurtful as a breakup or the death of a loved one. You feel similar pain for abstaining which led to these subconscious visions.

Something triggered you

Another reason behind it is that something in your waking life reminds you of your substance consumption. It can be anything as simple as another addict, a liquor shop, broken liquor bottles, needles, traumatic experiences, or even the smell of the substance.

However, it can also be something as subtle as mentioning favorite liquors or cigar brands in a conversation. Or, it can be an old picture of you with alcohol or similar addictive things.

You feel stressed

Sometimes, the original cause of substance exploitation can be the reason behind these visions. For instance, you started drinking because of workplace stress. During your recovery, if you again face similar stress, the old times might flash in your slumber.

It is the same if you feel depressed or anxious. In conclusion, if you are emotionally unstable, relapse visions are normal.

You’re having cravings

Lastly, one obvious reason behind these dreamscapes is that you’re craving addictive substances. This again happens more if you have just begun your journey. It might be a sign of suppressed withdrawal symptoms.

It shows your progress

During the recovery, you learn new healthy skills to lead a better life. So, relapse dreams in the recovery phases may also show how far you have changed. It is a sign of appreciation from your subconscious mind for your willpower.

If you have changed a lot, it highlights your progress. So, you must not worry or overthink about it.

However, if you can’t stop thinking about it, let’s learn…

Ways to Cope with Relapse Dreams

Even after knowing the reasons, you might still be scared of relapsing in reality. In that case, you need to calm your mind with these steps:

Pinpoint the trauma

Since most addiction issues result from deep trauma, figure that out. Notice if you have unresolved trauma. If you don’t know how to do this, speak to a mental health therapist. They can help you identify and process repressed trauma using cognitive behavioral therapy.

Communicate and seek help

Share your dream details with trustworthy loved ones or a support group. You may get to know that other people struggling with addiction had similar dreams.

Once you know that you’re not alone, you will start normalizing these experiences. If those people haven’t relapsed, you will also have confidence in yourself.

Stay away from negative people

Cut off people that might manipulate you into using substances again or that may mock your progress. If it’s a loved one, ask other family members to keep them away from you. If you only have supportive people around you, you will be less likely to be immersed in such worries.

Calm yourself before bed

Before going to bed, take out time for yoga and meditation. Listen to soothing music or indulge in a skincare routine. Do everything necessary to calm your mind.  

Embrace reality

Even after everything, if you still have these dreams, remember that this is not reality. Getting relapse dreams doesn’t nullify your effort. So, remember you have complete control over your life!

What if you truly relapse?

However, if you genuinely relapse in reality, here are a few things to do:

  • Be honest about your feelings and express what triggers your cravings to your therapist and loved ones.
  • Avoid sharing your weaknesses with people that might use them against you.
  • Speak to your therapist to find a better coping mechanism and learn emotional regulation and understand relapse stages.
  • Invest in better alternatives and self-care.
  • Have faith in your recovery and stop calling yourself an “addict”.

A word from ThePleasantDream

Relapse dreams may ask you to work on your trauma or focus on your feelings in reality. It’s not a prediction about your reality. But it can signify how focused you’re on recovery.

However, if you feel disturbed by the vision, you can always ask your therapist for advice. But in the end, believe that you can improve your life and you will reach your goals!