I had my first dream about alcohol last night. On some of the sobriety pages and apps that I follow, I knew it was a thing. Over the course of the past year, I’ve had very vivid, sometimes prophetic dreams, but they never breached the subject of alcohol. I thought I was safe. I was wrong.
I was standing in a barn with my husband, decked out in paint clothes. My assigned task was to paint a set of microwaves pastel purple. A sloppy, messy cup full of paint was slapped into my hands, and I was told to “get to work”. As I began brushing the purple paint on one of the microwaves, the bristles began falling off until I was left with nothing but a handle. My husband said he thought he knew where he find another paintbrush and left the barn. I waited. And waited. And waited some more…. until I got irritated at how long I had been waiting and took off in search of my own replacement paintbrush. I walked out of the barn into the sunshine, where the yard was bustling with workers. I grabbed the attention of an older female walking by, who quickly produced a spare paintbrush. I went back into the barn and set my mind on my task.
As I was layering on the paint, I quickly realized that the paint was not thoroughly mixed together. I brushed on streaks of dark purple and white, and every color combination in between. At this point my husband returned, sans paintbrush. I asked if he knew whose stupid idea it was to paint microwaves and did they know the colors weren’t mixed properly. He pointed over to where our youngest daughter was standing in the doorway. She had heard my comments, got upset, and took off running. I felt terrible. My husband and I walked out of the barn, him trying to console me. “She will get over it” and “you didn’t say anything too terrible”. He pulled out a bottle of wine. As he was uncorking the bottle, he started in with the justifications on why I should drink, “this will help calm you down” and “you deserve this” and “we worked hard today” and “it’s just one glass of wine”. I caved. He poured the crimson liquid into a small plastic cup, the cheap flimsy kind, like what you would find stocked in a hotel room. I drank deeply. In my dream I let his justifications envelop me and came up with a few of my own, “I can reset the clock tomorrow” and “I never said never again” and “it’s just one glass and I deserve it”. We sat outside the barn watching the flurry of activity around us as we finished our first glass of wine. Then another. And another….
I woke this morning, still suspended in that place between asleep and awake. I was shaking and filled with remorse for having reset my sobriety counter. My immediate thought was, “what the fuck did I just do?”. Like way too many mornings, I laid there, trying to piece together the events from the night before. Snippets of dream world collided with reality. Wait, I wasn’t painting microwaves in a barn last night. I cupped my hands around my mouth and blew. Terrible morning breath, but not a hint of alcohol.
As relief washed over me, I pulled out my dream dictionary and tried to interpret. “(Barn) feelings that are kept in your subconscious… (purple paint) inner emotions and the need to express more love, kindness, and compassion in my waking life… (microwave) representation of quick thinking and the need to consider a new and better way of doing things… (irritation) need to express negative emotions instead of keeping it bottled up…. (daughter) reflects your ideal or better self… (red wine) excess… (plastic cup) fake, artificial, not genuine… (drinking alcohol) seeking pleasure or escape
Now, I know that interpretation is based solely on perspective, but guys… this one rocked me. I have cute little pictures of NA beer and positive affirmations on my @flirting_with_sobriety Instagram account. I have snarky memes on my @vicariouslyspeaking FaceBook page. Even here on this blog, I have completely glossed over the real.
My heart fucking hurts. My marriage is teetering on the edge of dissolution. I am tired. All. Of. The. Time. I wake in the morning refreshed and full of promise, but that quickly fades. I have amazing thoughts I want to share, however after spending 9+ hours at a job I fucking hate and the rest of my time ensuring our household is functioning, I am too exhausted to do anything with those thoughts. They wouldn’t be coherent, even if I tried. I haven’t lost weight like the majority of the newly sober community members like to proclaim. If anything, I’ve gained. My digestive system is still fucked, my skin is still dry, I still crave alcohol. Not as often, but the cravings are still there and just as debilitating. It’s hard work.
The one silver lining in this dark and stormy cloud, is that I am starting to unpack a lot of shit about growing up in not one, but two narcissistic households, some of the fucked up situations I went through during my military career, and how alcohol was involved in all of it. The words are flowing freely on that one…. it’s going to be a hell of a book some day.
I don’t think I have swan-dived off the “pink cloud” quite yet. I still have moments of euphoria and confidence in the path my sober lifestyle is taking me. Last night’s dream, however, has made me realize that I need to approach my newly sober world a little more honestly. I mean, the whole fucking point of putting this out here, for anyone to read, is so that others might not feel so alone in their journeys. Spouting off a romanticized, glossed-over version isn’t helping anyone, myself included.
If my words start becoming a jumbled mess, please know that I am trying. And they are real. The good, the bad, and the fucking ugly.