I´ve been having a lot more ¨using dreams¨ this past week than I have in awhile. At first I had no idea why but as I sit here at work, stressed, it made more sense. I´ve worked more this week than I have in awhile which is not good for me physically or mentally. I didn´t get to go to my normal amount of meetings this week because we are understaffed and my co-worker and myself were basically the only two people able to work. Only having two guys doing this at our job is fucking ridiculous and it´s starting to take it´s toll.
What I´m concerned with was my lack of sleep. I am not used to working the hours that I did this week because as I stated I am physically unable to do so. Also, I don´t work afternoon shifts so that I can get to the AA Meetings I so desperately need for my sanity. So while preparing myself for the busy work week I had ahead of me I figured I would at least be so exhausted from physical labor that I´d at least get some good sleep when I got home.
Apparently that wasn´t the case.
Now this isn´t even counting the fact that I started this crazy week going into the store at 2am for an installation process that took 3 hours, the night before I´m supposed to pull an all day shift at work. But thats a story for another time.
So let me first explain what a ¨using dream¨ is like for the unfamiliar. It´s exactly what it sounds like. A dream in which I ¨use¨ my drug of choice, in this case alcohol, and the experience is so vivid you actually believe you have failed. It´s the absolute most horrifying thing for me in recovery. I don´t know how realistic other peoples using dreams are but mine can be intense. Luckily they don´t happen that often. Maybe once a month, if that.
But this week was different. I had 3 in a row, which is a new record. Maybe that doesn´t sound too bad to some but let me go a little deeper. My dreams are so vivid that I wake up in the middle of the night, scurrying around in the darkness looking for the empty bottles of vodka that I finished drinking and hid... in my dream. Because Dream Sean actually hides the bottles. He´s covering his tracks so no one will find out he´s drinking again, which dives into how realistic the dreams are. Dream Sean isn´t out partying and going crazy. He´s doing exactly what I used to do during ¨The Downfall¨ which was hiding in his room, drinking in secret and disposing of the evidence and eventually blacking out. Its at this moment reality kicks in and I jolt awake believing everything I just experienced was true.
To give you an idea of the anxiety this brings on I always compare it to when you are napping during the day and you wake up at say, 8:00pm, and you have the quick panic attack where you think you´re late for work so you scramble to shower, get dressed, etc only to realize, OOPS, it´s night time. Whew! Crisis averted.
Take that feeling and multiply it by about 50. The reason it´s so painful to experience is because during that moment, however brief it is, you really do believe you failed. You were weak and you caved and you threw it all out the window. I don´t wish that feeling on my worst enemy...
As painful as these nightmares are they are few and far between. This is not a regular occurrence. Sure, it sucks total asshole, but although my subconscious still latches on to the disease while I sleep, I´m in control when I´m awake.
I fear The Disease. Downright fear it. The Disease knows that it´s at it´s weakest when I am awake and in control so it lays dormant during the day. For the most part that is. He sends in his associate, ¨The Craving,¨ every so often to fuck with me at random times. The Craving is a dickhead, plain and simple. He´s the obnoxious friend you have that always chimes in at inappropriate times and you wish would just shut the fuck up. ¨Hey look at that beer on TV. Remember when you were able to do that? Remember that? Huh? Huh? You remember? Remember?¨ He states the obvious just to get under your skin.
But it´s when the lights go out and I´m at my most vulnerable when The Disease creeps out of hiding and begins whispering in my ear as I sleep. I never want to go back to the way things were during The Downfall. If I shared all the stories from those times, which I may some day, you wouldn´t be surprised as to why I am so terrified of succumbing to The Dark Lord´s will.
Sobriety has it´s ups and downs but the positives far outweigh the negatives. At the end of the day I´ll take the occasional nightmare over the ACTUAL nightmare that was my life just a short time ago...