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How to Cope with Nightmares of Relapse when Sober

How to Cope with Nightmares of Relapse when Sober

How to Cope with Nightmares of Relapse when Sober

It’s a scary situation, you’re dreaming and all of a sudden you dream that you’re doing drugs or drinking again.

Worse yet, you may have these dreams without realizing that you’re dreaming. At Banyan Treatment Center Boca Raton, we know that relapse dreams can and do happen. But not to worry, dreaming about relapsing doesn’t actually mean you’ll have a relapse. Here’s what to do if you’re having these dreams.

What Causes Relapse Dreams?

While we’re sleeping, dreams often happen during deep sleep. We don’t have much control over what transpires in our dreams, which means that nightmares of relapse can and do happen. One recent study found that relapse dreams, ones where people dream of using drugs or drinking again, are more common for people who have a severe history of addiction or alcoholism. 1

Relapse dreams can be caused by facing stress, triggers, or cravings. As your conscious self struggles with thoughts about relapse, it’s more likely that your subconscious self will also struggle with notions of relapse through relapse dreams.

What to Do About Relapse Dreams

Dreams and nightmares of relapse can be difficult, and you may even feel guilty when waking up from a night of dreaming about relapsing. The key is to remember that this will pass. There are some things you can do to combat relapse nightmares and dreams:

  • Enter an alumni recovery program to get support in facing these types of dreams
  • Wait it out, the more your brain adjusts to abstinence, the less frequent these dreams will occur1
  • Talk to your sponsor about your difficulties with relapse nightmares
  • Develop a stress-free nighttime routine and stick to it

Our Boca recovery center offers support for patients throughout their recovery process. If you are ready to get and stay sober, contact our team to learn more about our addiction services in Boca.

Call 888-280-4763 to learn more about our addiction treatment services and support.


  1. Science Daily – Drinking and drug-use dreams in recovery tied to more severe addiction history
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.