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Dream Interpretation - Sobriety signals the end of innocence

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Our dreams may reflect our current status to us. Today’s dreamer reports such an instance. There’s a reason for the reflection. We have to know where we are to know where we’re going. Such dreams help take account of the present and bolster our understanding of how to move forward.

Dear Carolyn,

My parents say I took a detour on my way to success. That’s their way of saying that I messed up. For more than five years after high school I got into some pretty bad things, mostly drugs. I was addicted to meth and all the bad things that go along with meth addiction came to me. I was in and out of rehab a couple of times and even went to jail.

But now I’m back to my old self. I’ve been clean and sober for almost two years; I’m working and back in school to advance myself. It has been very scary and I felt lost and hopeless for a long time. But I’m feeling stronger every day now. So this dream really bothers me:

I dreamed that I saw a group of my old friends from high school. I used to hang out with all these girls. We played soccer and had a lot of classes together. I was so happy to see them. I called out and waved to them. But they weren’t glad to see me. They weren’t rude exactly, but it was like they didn’t recognize me. They just kind of looked past me, or looked at me like I was a stranger. It really hurt my feelings and I didn’t know what to do. I woke up feeling sad and confused.


Sober but Sad

Dear Sober,

Congratulations on your sobriety. Your road has been arduous. The tone of your letter suggests you have seen a lot and learned a lot – much of it the hard way! Your detour, as your parents called it, took you far afield of your original trajectory in life. Yet here you are – clean, sober and back on the well-lighted path to a life of achievement. Good for you!

Your dream offers a reflection of where you once were, where you started, and where you cannot go again. Even though, in your newly sober state, you may feel in some ways like your old self, you are no longer the girl you were in high school. You cannot unlearn the lessons you’ve learned. You cannot forget your experiences. Metaphorically, you cannot return to the innocence portrayed by your teammates and classmates in your dream. You would not recognize each other. Your experiences have separated you from them.

That is the sadness of what you’ve been through. It’s not uncommon to realize that we no longer have anything in common with our old friends, though your experience is more dramatic than most. It’s the bittersweet taste of growing up. Don’t lose sight of the future, Dear Dreamer. It’s bright for you now.

Sweet Dreams to You!