Last night, I had the dream again.
When I first got sober, I had a rather typical recovery dream. I'd be at a party or a dinner and there'd be a drink in my hand or at my place setting, and I'd drink some and then remember with horror that I didn't drink anymore. I'd be filled with guilt and shame and remorse and it was awful. Once I started talking about these dreams at AA meetings, I learned they were very common. And that only alcoholics have them.
In the last few years, the dream has changed. Now when I take that drink in the dream, I realize that I've been drinking all along, all these years of so-called sobriety have been a sham. I'm heart-broken at the thought, confused, miserable. And when I wake up, it takes a few minutes to know that the dream isn't real. And that I am in fact sober and have been for more than 24 years.
I'm not sure what the dream means. The situation changes each time: different events, different circumstances. The constant is the knowledge that my sobriety isn't real. I've never heard anyone else mention this dream. Once I get over the shock of it, it leaves me curious to know what else in my life might not be real, what the faux drinking symbolizes.