December 11th, 2018
So, they say you still dream when you go to sleep after alcohol, you just don’t remember them. It’s been about 5 days since my last drink, and holy shit my brain feels like a circus while I’m “sleeping” if that’s what you want to call it.
From all the information I’ve gathered, it’s normal for people coming out of heavy alcohol use to have restless nights, but I feel like this is on another level. To note, I STILL wake up every day feeling more refreshed than I ever did while I was abusing. However, the firestorm of activity in my head is borderline overwhelming. Unremitting doesn’t even being to describe the changes that I’m experiencing under this new sleep cycle.
I’ve been sitting here revolving thoughts on how to put it into words, yet it seems inaccessible. All I can say is that it feels like my body and mind are trying to catch up on years and years of something it was missing. Sort of like those time lapse videos that cover days and days of footage in a matter of a minute, except it goes on for hours. When I was drinking, for many years, it was EXTREMELY rare that I’d ever recall having a dream, let alone remembering any of it. Recalling exactly what happened in the plethora of what I used to call “sleep movies” is still rare, I just know I’m having them.
That was until last night. I’d go through the entire thing, but it’d take forever and it would make absolutely no sense to anybody. It didn’t calculate to anything for me, either. For example, the dream ended up with me hanging on the rope dangling from a helicopter, being flown in circles around the National Mall, then letting go when I felt like I got to high. I was falling, and they say you usually wake up right as you’re to hit the ground, but I didn’t. Striking the ground at super speed, kind of like superheros do in the movies, I got right up and searched my phone on how to walk home across the 6th street bridge (which I’m pretty sure doesn’t exist).
In a quick and startled jolt, I sat up and looked at the alarm clock. 7:30am, so that was enough of that, and got out of bed. The dream wasn’t necessarily bad, or a nightmare, nor do I know if it means anything. Outlandish and eerie are two words I guess I could use to interpret what the hell just happened. I’ve decided to try and avoid thinking about whether this is normal or not, and just let it happen as it happens. After all, I need to constantly remind myself that my entire being is going through a gargantuan change. Regardless, what I’ve read is proving to be true and then some.
On another note, I’ve researched something that scares me pretty badly. Drunk dreams. Studies show that a large amount of humans that are becoming sober struggle with intensely lucid dreams that involve relapse and times during their addicted life. They also include what is being called “wish fulfillment” in which the individual relives an out of their control series of moments abusing whatever drug they were addicted to in an intensified and vivid state. Mostly occurring during REM sleep. These are have said to get so bad that the person in particular will wake up in a panicked state, feeling as if they’d relapsed, creating undesirable feelings of guilt and despair.
Lucky for me, I don’t think I’ve sustained any lengthy period of REM sleep. Unlucky for me, is that it’s bound to come and I’m absolutely terrified to experience this. Especially because I spent so much time abusing alcohol. Does my brain have it in for me big time? I am legitimately scared to sleep, if that makes any sense at all. Unfortunately, time is the only thing that helps these episodes fade away, and is only a part of the battle to recover. Proof is in the pudding that, and I’m still a recovery baby, recovery is a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week ordeal. That may seem juvenile to say, and in no means offensive to recovery veterans, but I am just learning. It helps serve as an ever-important reminder that the war I’m waging against my demons will rarely, if ever, come to a cease fire.
Curious as to what others have experienced, writing about my own early experiences with rediscovering what it’s like to dream seems like it could be helpful to people that may find themselves in the same boat. Does the brain really play catch up, and how long will this last? How much, if anything, is there to restore? Are the worst ones to come and is there any possibly way to prepare myself? These are more of the unknowns that I reflect on throughout the day, all while trying to maintain constant productivity and progression. The battle is in full assault within me, and although it’s fairly exciting, the fear of the future is still very prevalent.