5 Ways to Handle Your Drinking Dream

by Rebecca A. Watson on July 14, 2015

in dreams, Recovery

I had a drinking dream the other night, and OMG it felt so real. I was with an old friend, staying at her house on vacation. I woke up panicked — the last thing I remember was us just drinking, glass after glass of wine and shots.

dream about drinking alcohol

It’s happened before. Just sayin’ …

I blacked out and threw up on her wood floor and just left it there, covering it with a towel or something. The acid on the floor ate away at the finish.

The hung-over me was freaking out, trying to piece together what happened and how I could possibly get away with not dealing with the floor. I also worried about my blog. I wondered if I could just pretend it didn’t happen — pretend I still had my two-plus-years of sobriety.

It was absolutely awful and when I woke up for real, a relief washed over me I didn’t think I’d feel again since my dreams back in the first year without booze.

These sort of dreams are super-disconcerting; this one stayed with me all week. So, since it’s been awhile since I wrote anything about my lucid life, I thought I would write about ways to think about, and interpret, these dreams.

1. Look at the Symbols

Dream interpretation is all about considering the symbols, and drinking dreams are no different. Consider the fact that this dream has nothing to do with alcohol at all. And go from there.

Rebecca's Journal Written pages

I recommend writing it down.

When I interpret dreams, I generally use Dreammoods.com, which has an app as well as a website. I prefer the web-based version only because the search function is better. However, you should use whatever site you like best.

When you look at these symbols, don’t only use the definitions you find online; also use your own associations with them, if you have any. I’ll go through my dream so you get an idea of how it works.

  • Woke up-spiritual rebirth, acknowledge/embrace both feminine/masculine aspects of self, embracing full potential, consider what woke me up (panic) for what is missing/lacking in life
  • Panic-lack of control/power in life, feel helpless in some situation
  • Wood floor-foundation, support system OR division between conscious and subconscious, peeling away layers to get to my subconscious
  • Vomit-reject/discard an aspect of my life that is revolting, confront some emotions/concepts and then let go
  • Blackout-lack of perspective/insight on a situation OR ignorance, subconscious, evil, death, fear of unknown
  • Drunk– means of escape (side note-I usually don’t consider this symbol how it’s interpreted by many sites because drinking has a special meaning to me and others with problems with alcohol)

Ask yourself, what can these symbols tell you about the whole picture? Not just the drinking. What message is your soul sending you?


Again, using my dream symbols as an example: I think this has a lot to do with the whole exploring of the child sexual abuse with Dr. K, my therapist – the “deep sea diving,” as she called it. I am revolted by something that happened to me, something that was so vile it often made me unconscious/black out, something that I had no control over.

My body is trying to reject this, and I’m feeling helpless over the fact that I can’t do anything about it. I can’t hide it. I can’t escape from it. Indeed when I was waking up, I was just coming to terms with the fact that I’d have to tell my friend about the vomit and deal with the damage.

2. Consider Outside Influences

I was watching a Lost episode the night before, and in it, a dude got super drunk, more than once. In fact, I think there was a bottle in every scene he was in.

On the same night, I also had two separate people invite me to a wine festival a few of my friends were going to. While I think it’s awesome people include me in stuff like that, it did bring up the painful fact that sometimes I have to bow out of stuff to protect my lucid lifestyle.

Not that the introvert in me minds ...

Not that the introvert in me minds …

Are there things in your outside world that would bring up drinking thoughts? If that’s the case, ask yourself a few things:

  • Do you need more support?
  • Are you feeling wobbly?
  • Have you entertained drinking notions or have other signs of a relapse?

If the answer is no, then you can probably just shrug it off, or look to other symbols for insight. If the answer is yes, make some changes to your lifestyle pronto, before you do something you’ll be bummed about later.

3. Consider Your Feelings in the Dream

This is a theory of Belle‘s: If you were disappointed/upset in the dream, even your subconscious doesn’t want to drink.

I know that every time I’ve been about to drink in a dream, my brain is screaming “NO! Don’t do it!” And it’s all dramatic and in slow motion.

I guess to me, that is some sort of reassurance that I’m not on my way to actual relapse.

4. Know that Your Brain Replays Old Situations

I can’t tell you how many dreams I have had about waiting tables since I quit serving years (YEARS!) ago. Server nightmares, we call them, and they are brutal.

But I don’t wake up freaking out that I’m going to wait tables again. In fact, I’m usually so happy I don’t live that life anymore.

Sometimes your brain replays old stuff because it’s asking you to relearn or reapply an old lesson you learned then. It wants you to use the lesson now.

Like, for instance, when I take 25 drink orders and then leave the restaurant, I’m guessing I’m supposed to relearn that I shouldn’t take on more than I’m able to handle.


Nope. Nope. Nope.

In this dream, what lessons could I learn?

  • I can’t un-do things that have happened to me, particularly ones that are out of my control.
  • It’s OK that I want to purge my body of the horrible memories of abuse that happened to me, but it probably isn’t the best way to process them. Other things, like yoga and exercise work better.

5. Gratitude & Time Work Wonders

If nothing else, thank the Universe that you’re lucid and make a gratitude list. Mine today:

  • Music
  • Contact lenses
  • Walks with Neka
  • Snuggles with Sante
  • Beet salads


Also, be patient with yourself if a dream like this stays with you. It just asks you to pay attention to your surroundings and listen to your inner voice. These are two habits that take time and patience to cultivate.

Hang in there. If you’re reading this post, then you’re on the right track. Keep up the kick-ass lucid lifestyle my friends 🙂

If you like this post and are interested in reading more, I suggest starting with my 100 day post, or just check out all my posts about not drinking and recovery.

Photo Credits: Alexis Fotos, Jade, Enrique Lopez, Chris and Jenni

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

primrose July 14, 2015 at 7:05 am

I haven’t had a drinking dream for ages, either, so I can see how it could shake you up so thoroughly. thanks for the indepth consideration you’ve shared.

I also think that dreams are one way our mind is actually processing and coming to terms with memories and emotions from our past. perhaps that that ‘deep sea diving’ (great phrase!) is taking place at night, too, so we can set straighter the kitchen junk drawer of our minds?


Rebecca A. Watson July 14, 2015 at 5:57 pm

Straighten the kitchen junk drawer of our minds…that is an excellent analogy. I think you’re right about dreams dealing with stuff from our pasts. It’s easier sometimes that doing it while we’re awake, that’s for sure.


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