One of the biggest changes I have noticed since quitting drinking is how much my sleep has improved. When I was drinking I slept really badly. If I had had my usual bottle of wine (minimum) I usually fell asleep quite quickly. Looking back, it was probably more a case of passing out rather drifting away into restful sleep. If I hadn’t had a drink I would find it almost impossible to get to sleep. Often I would use sleeping pills.
When I did manage to fall asleep, I would wake frequently and never experienced deep sleep, more a fitful jolting in and out of consciousness. Often I would find myself wide awake in the early hours, unable to get back to sleep. My mind would be going round and round in circles and I would have an overwhelming sense of dread although I didn’t know why. I would feel guilty and ashamed and often couldn’t quite remember the evening before.
The first two weeks or so of sobriety were not good sleep wise. I experienced sweats which led to me waking up cold with my nightclothes and bedding soaked. I had headaches and restless legs. My mind continued to race but at least I knew what I had been doing the night before and although I was tired, I felt more clearheaded.
Since them my sleeping has transformed. I fall asleep easily and if I wake in the night I can get back to sleep quickly. No tossing and turning, no night sweats and no fuzzy regrets.
With better sleep I have found I dream more. There are a few themes which seem to be recurring and I have been intrigued to discover what they might mean.
People who have stopped drinking frequently report drinking dreams, especially in early sobriety. I have had two such dreams. In both I was at a party and was drinking a glass of wine. It wasn’t more than a glass but I woke feeling devastated I had thrown all my good work away and would be back to Day 1. I was relieved to discover it was only a dream.
Apparently it is common to have dreams of drinking which give rise to feelings of guilt. This can help to reinforce sobriety or could warn of a potential relapse. Either way, my drinking dreams were upsetting and I am glad I haven’t had many.
Another dream I have experienced regularly features various scenarios where my hair thins so that my scalp is visible or falls out altogether. The site I have consulted for an interpretation of this dream suggests it may indicate concern “with the notion that you are getting older and losing your sex appeal and virility”. Mr So reassures me that I am more and more sexy each day and I certainly don’t feel any less virile (not sure my virility was especially high in the first place but I can’t say it causes me any concern!)
An alternative interpretation is that dreams of losing hair indicate feelings of weakness and vulnerability. I think this is closer to the mark. Vulnerable but still virile – could be worse !
The last dream features my teeth falling out. Apparently, this indicates lack of self confidence and embarrassment. This sounds familiar.
Overall, I don’t mind these dreams. It is reassuring to know that my brain is functioning again. According to my dreams, I am toothless, bald and drunken with no sex appeal. In reality, I still have my hair and my teeth. I am still sexy. I am still sober.
Sweet dreams. X