March 16, 2000
Gin & Root Beer

 


 
This week I've had a Drinking Dream every single night.

I'm not overly concerned about it. I'm sure it's probably nothing more than the perfectly normal, healthy, nocturnal manifestation of my subconscious anxiety over the upcoming trip to TicTac, including my recent fears about airline safety, the normal amounts of unease I feel about returning to the place where my most dysfunctional behavior took place, and/or unresolved worries regarding noncustodial motherhood/separation anxiety/recovery issues.

Or maybe it's the M&M's at bedtime.  Either way, I'm not freaking out.

But here's the thing that does have me feeling a little *oogly* this morning.

perfectly normal healthy nocturnal blah blah blah As common as these dreams have become -- as often as I dream about drinking -- last night was the first time I actually drank in one of the Drinking Dreams.

Here is how the dream usually goes:

* I'm back in the TicTac house, where I open up the refrigerator and see half a carafe of ice cold Paul Masson, sitting on the top shelf. Thus begins all sorts of internal, Good Angel/Bad Angel *dialogue.* ("Yo Secra! Let's get ripped and go online and send the same 'You set me on fire, baby!' e-mail to every guy in the chat room!")  Finally I remind myself that I don't want to start drinking again because it'll mess up my precious year and a half of sobriety.

Dream ends.

... OR ...

* I'm back in the Tree House, where I open up the refrigerator and see twelve bottles of ice cold Saxer's Lemon Lager, sitting on the top shelf. Thus begins all sorts of internal, Good Angel/Angel *dialogue.* ("Yo Secra! Let's get looped and go online and post the Chicago Polaroids on our website!") Finally I remind myself that I don't want to start drinking again because I would rather perform my own gum surgery with a dull pencil and a broken mirror than ever wake up with another hangover.

Dream ends.

... OR ...

* I'm back in the Kirkland House, circa mid-80's, when the girls were still babies. I open up the refrigerator and see a half-case of ice cold Rainier Beer, sitting on the top shelf. Thus begins all sorts of internal, Good Angel/Bad Angel *dialogue.* ("Yo Terri! Let's get smashed, call people we went to high school with and tell them we're running for Congress!")  Finally I remind myself that I don't want to start drinking again because I'm not really in Kirkland, I'm in California ... and it's not 1984, it's 2000 ... and the girls aren't babies anymore, they're young women with jobs and boyfriends and cell phones ... and this is all just a stoopid dream, anyway, and David is laying just a few inches away from me with his warm butt squished up against mine,  and I need to wake up RIGHT NOW.

Dream ends.

Those are the Drinking Dreams I'm accustomed to. I don't like them. I don't *enjoy* them. I wake up afterwards and lay there feeling sweaty and distressed and vaguely disgusted with myself. But I know that having the dreams is a normal, healthy part of the whole recovery process ... sort of the psychic equivalent of a good bowel movement. So I usually don't let them bother me too much.

But last night's Drinking Dream was a little different.

For one thing,  in this dream I was standing gin and ROOT BEER? ROOT BEER? whut the f**k?? here in my own beloved ugly pink kitchen. Until now, The Castle has been *off-limits* as far as Drinking Dreams go. Sacred ground, so to speak. Usually I'm back in TicTac; occasionally I'm back in the Tree House; very once-in-a-while, I'm in my Dad's house, or at Dave's Place Tavern, or standing outside the Seattle Coliseum throwing up vodka into a fringed suede purse. But I'm never ever here in The Castle. So that was disturbing, all by itself.

For another thing ... and this is embarrassing to admit ... I was dream-drinking lukewarm gin and root beer . Not exactly my usual poison of choice. (Certainly not as classy, say, as a six-pack of Buttface Amber Ale or a box of fine Mountain Chablis.)  And this time I actually drank. That's the most disturbing part of all. In the dream, I found a bottle of Gilbey's in the kitchen cupboard, and I automatically poured a big slug of it into a plastic cup already half-full of root beer. And then ... without ceremony ... without even thinking about it, really ... I chugged it down.

I immediately felt waves of remorse. "If I kiss David tonight," I panicked,"he'll smell it on my breath!"  I wasn't worried that he was going to leave me, or throw a pizza box at me, or say 'Oh what the heck? Think I'll join you!' and run out to the nearest Black & White to get us a bottle of vodka for dinner. And I knew our relationship wasn't going to come to a screeching halt because of one fudk-up on my part. But I was worried about disappointing him. Almost as worried as I was about disappointing myself.

And that was it. End of dream.

When I woke up, I didn't just feel sweaty and distressed and vaguely disgusted with myself ... I felt polluted. In more ways than one.

And even though I know it was just a dream, and that it was the perfectly normal, healthy, nocturnal manifestation of my subconscious anxiety over the upcoming trip to TicTac, including my recent fears about airline safety, the normal amounts of unease I feel about returning to the place where my most dysfunctional behavior took place, and/or unresolved worries regarding noncustodial motherhood/separation anxiety/recovery issues ...

... it's still taken me most of the morning to shake it off.

(And just to be on the safe side?  I think I'll skip the M&M's tonight.)



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