I am a recovering addict and I go to a twelve step program. I haven’t used in almost five years.

I have had relapse dreams since the beginning of my recovery. I am also an ex-smoker and I am often smoking at the beginning of the dream. If I am, then I usually find myself smoking pot from a joint. I don’t realize that it is not a cigarette until after I have already smoked it and relapsed. However, I usually keep smoking it anyway. I am guilt stricken. In the dream I ask myself: “Does this count? Have I really relapsed?”

After I decide that I have relapsed I start thinking about all my friends from the program, and if I will be able to tell them. I know I have to tell them to have any hope for a second chance at recovery. If I am not smoking at the beginning of the dream I usually end up drinking alcohol, but it is the same situation in that it sort of happens by accident. I don’t really know I have done it, until after it happens.

I know these dreams are common for people in recovery. I hear people say that we have them to remind us to be grateful for our recovery. But I wonder why it always happens without me realizing that I am doing it—until it is too late to stop myself? Is the smoking a warning that I am doing something in my life that could precipitate a relapse?

—Anonymous, Age 20, Female, Single, Ventura, CA USA

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