Alcoholics sometimes worry when they have drinking dreams, but these disturbing dreams are not unusual. What would be unusual is a sober dream while still drinking. It might go something like this…
Alcoholics sometimes worry when they have drinking dreams, but these disturbing dreams are not unusual. What would be unusual is a sober dream while still drinking.
At the sudden conclusion of a long night of drinking, I passed out – I mean, I fell asleep abruptly – and dreamt that I woke up sober. In the dream, I apparently have a valid driver’s license, so I decide to go for a little sober drive.
I see a policeman I know well; he’s eating a donut while driving. I decide to pull him over because I want to do the Next Right Thing. Besides, paybacks are okay because I’m new to recovery. He tells me to go to an AA meeting and work on the sobriety problem that I don’t think I have.
Instead, I walk into a bar just to see how business is going now that I‘ve quit drinking. The bartender, who I know well, says, “What are you doing in here? You’re an alcoholic!” When a bartender tells you you’re an alcoholic, then you’re an alcoholic.
The bartender says he’ll be my temporary sponsor and wants me to take a coffee-making commitment for the next 85 years. I decline because I’m doing this A Day at a Time. Besides, I don’t want to admit I don’t know how to make coffee; I just drink the stuff. As I leave, he suggests rather loudly, “Don’t take the next first drink.”
Presently, I find myself out in the street; I’ve become the Jaywalker. I’m crossing the Road to Happy Destiny when I see Mr. Brown and with my wife driving his sports car down the street toward me. He runs me over and then turns around and does it again. For a fleeting moment, I think maybe jaywalking is not a good idea.
With a new resentment and not knowing how to do the Inside Job, so I think maybe I deserve one measly little drink. I go to get one; but my bartender/sponsor, who seems to be everywhere, yells, “You don’t want a drink; you want a drunk!” Great, I think. My sponsor is channeling Socrates.
I decide to look for a new, more open-minded sponsor – and a drink. That Next First Drink appears. But someone has put whiskey in my milk, and I can’t get the milk out. I am not one of those who would normally mix. I get a justified resentment.
All of a sudden, I find myself walking through a revolving door and into a smoke-filled room. Some guy with no last name is telling a story to a group of folks who are getting ready to take Certain Steps, but are balking at some of them. I notice John Barleycorn at the back of the room motioning for me to come over to the easier softer way.
Just before I leave the meeting, I’m elected to the door-to-door Big Book salesman commitment. People are buying them, but some of them want to thump me with them. “No thanks,” I say. “I’m already brain damaged.”
Someone asks if I’ve been Through the Wringer. I want to know if it’s a requirement. He says, “No, but it helps.” I skip the wringer and go oblivion-seeking – I have nothing better to do.
I wander to where some Lower Companions are at the Jumping-Off Place and are looking down their noses at me as they dance too close to the edge. They don’t know that I’m not an actor; I’m The Director – a fact that is about to make my life unmanageable again. They don’t care; they just take my Inventory.
I leave before I digest any large chunks of truth about anything. Soon I notice a sign, “Beyond Human Aid.” I go beyond it to another sign that says, “Point of No Return.” I say, “If I ever get that bad, I’ll quit forever.” But I know I won’t because I’m different.
A moment of temporary sanity occurs, and I decide to go the other way and look for a gratitude meeting. What a mistake! I gratefully wake up in the middle of it . . .
. . . And suddenly, things are back to normal. I have a familiar hangover – my head feels like it’s going to blow off my neck. My complexion is gray, and I have dark circles under my eyes. There’s dried blood on my chin and elbows from the night before. I don’t much like The Man in the Mirror today.
Dishes, bottles and piles of bills are everywhere. And the car, where’s my car? I go looking for my drinking buddies to ask them if they’ve ever had a sober dream. One where you wake up in a cold sweat thinking, My God, did that really happen? Did I sober up?
One buddy said he hadn’t had nightmares for years. Another one turned to the bartender and said, “I won’t be having what he’s having – even if you run out of everything else.” A third replied, “No big deal, it didn’t happen. You just woke up and couldn’t tell truth from fiction – happens all the time. We just don’t share about it.”
Before long, Mr. Brown and my wife stop by and say, “Some of your dream may be true. If you ever get the Book, read ‘The Family Afterward.’”
Don’t Quit Before the Miracle Happens – I didn’t. Today, I’m on the Road to Happy Destiny. I may have drinking dreams, but happily wake up sober.