A man is haunted by relapse nightmares

Nightmares can have the potential to dig up some of our deepest fears when we least expect it, causing us to wake up in a panic. Relapse dreams, aka drug dreams or drunk dreams, are no exception. Here we take a look at relapse dreams and what they mean for your recovery.

What are Relapse Dreams?

Relapse dreams are simply dreams that involve drugs or alcohol, which usually result in us getting high or drunk within the dream. While these are just dreams, they often times can be quite terrifying upon waking.

They can be particularly challenging in early sobriety when alcohol or drug cravings are still a major problem.

What Causes Relapse Dreams?

Relapse dreams, like all nightmares, can be brought on by a variety of factors. Anxiety, stress, A woman sleeps through her relapse dreamsand depression can all be factors in causing nightmares in individuals. (1)

And not surprisingly, these three factors are all also common in early recovery. Furthermore, withdrawal from drugs and alcohol is commonly cited as a potential cause for nightmares to occur. (2)

Are Relapse Dreams normal or are they a cause for concern?

Relapse dreams are not only terrifying for those of us who go through them in early sobriety- they also tend to cause anxiety that we may be doing something wrong in our program. This is, simply put, a completely unfounded fear.

The reality is that relapse dreams are completely normal and to be expected. Relapse dreams result from factors that are simply out of our control (such as the brain healing from past drug use), and not as a result of us working a bad program.

Do Relapse Dreams ever go away?

In general, relapse dreams, unfortunately, can happen at any time in our recovery, regardless of how much time we have. The reality is, relapsing is a legitimate fear we all carry and thus is subject to cropping up in a nightmare like any other fear we may harbor.

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The good news, however, is that for most of us relapse dreams occur much less frequently than they do in early sobriety. Furthermore, they also become much less scary as we get used to dealing with them over time.

Final Note

This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.


  1. https://universityhealthnews.com/daily/sleep/what-causes-nightmares/
  2. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/nightmares