It happened. I drank.
In my dream.
It was my first relapse dream since I’ve been in sobriety. And, it was fucking scary.
I woke up drenched in sweat, Lars sleeping sweetly at my side, no inkling of what had just occurred. I lay there beside him in shock for the better part of a half hour. Upon waking, I was still convinced that it had actually happened. I racked my brain. What was I going to do? Who should I tell? Should I tell at all? And then, I realized that I hadn’t been at a restaurant the night before, I hadn’t sat across the table from my ex, there hadn’t been a white tablecloth that shone the ring of red wine from the glass I had set down. I had spent the night with Lars, chatting and watching documentaries, sipping bottled water.
In the dream, before being convinced that one glass of wine would be OK, I remember knowing I was sober. And, I was also aware of the fact that I had just received my six month milestone. The images remain vivid, though, as time passes, the thoughts that floated around in my head, the justifications and circumstances grow hazy. It was only that one glass of wine. Red. Dark. Rich. And then, I knew I’d screwed up. I remember thinking of my home group. What would I tell them? How could I go back?
Then, wide awake, in the dark, just a line of light stretching across the floor, I made peace with the fact it was all a dream. I was still sober. Still had my six months. I had no admissions to make to my home group or anyone else. But, I was scared.
I got up and went into the bathroom to smoke a cigarette. Each drag slowly calmed me. I ran through the details I could piece together in my head over and over again. Why dream this now? Why did my brain wait until this point in my sobriety to start teasing and torturing me? Perhaps because with the passing of my six month mark, I’ve had relapse on my mind. I’ve seen members of my home group go out. I’ve been thinking all this, but, in truth, I’ve been thinking about it all along.
I was visibly shaken and upset when Lars finally woke up. He assured me these type of dreams are normal and happen even to people who have long term sobriety. And, while it was a temporary comfort, the images still creep back in and unhinge me.
Who was that woman I’d become in the dream? Why was my ex there? Why wine? Why not my classic standard, Mr. Jim Beam? So many questions that only the synapses and neurons in my twisted brain can answer.
Lars was right when he told me, “I know it sucks, and it’s scary, but, it was just a dream.”
Just a dream. A little dream of me, or some version of her. A version that I think it best to leave at the linen covered table. A version in poor company. A version much like one I knew six months ago, easily convinced and aptly justified.
But, yes, just a dream.