A friend told me that drinking dreams are merely “our subconscious taking out the trash” but I think it’s more like “our subconscious upending the trash can and spreading the trash all over the kitchen then leaving the door open on its way out”.
These dreams are always a variation on the same theme. There I am, in my dream, about to walk through a tunnel to board the Titantic, and I realize I forgot to pack and/or that the suitcase I’m dragging behind me isn’t mine, and then I notice there’s a Bloody Mary in my hand, limp celery and all. Or there I am, in my dream, midway through a fancy book tour (almost as realistic as me boarding a ship that sailed a hundred years ago) and I’m in a restaurant with Mary Karr and Cheryl Strayed and Pam Houston and … oops!… there’s a half-empty pint glass in my hand and I’m pretty sure Mary isn’t the one who sucked down the top half.
The next part is always the same. It’s where my subconscious, now that it’s tipped over the trash, starts smearing compost on the walls like a creepy demon. It’s all like, “No, no, no. This is fine. This drink doesn’t count. You’re still a sober person.” And I’m like, “Wait. What? No, that’s not a thing.” And it’s like, “No, it’s cool. Finish the drink.”
In last night’s drinking dream, it was a margarita. But not just any margarita. It was a glowing margarita, luminous as antifreeze, shining like magic from the shallow hummus container it was served in. Iridescent like fairy saliva or unicorn pee, its glow cast a fluorescent light across the wrinkled real estate of my curved palm. If dream-me had lifted it to my dream-ear, I am sure I would have heard Rufus Wainwright leading a warehouse full of people through the chorus of Hallelujah.
And my addict brain said, “This is fine.”
And I was like, “Fine? This is fucking awesome! But I’m pretty sure it breaks sobriety.”
Addict brain: “No worries.”
Me: “Me? Worry?”
And then dream-me lifted the hummus container to my lips and the potion slid across my tongue and down my throat, casting a beacon of truth and hope across my tonsils while Rufus held hands with Mary Karr but somehow never stopped playing the guitar.
The next part is always the same too. You, gentle reader, may have done things you regret, but addicts hold copyright to a special kind of regret. It carries a baseball bat and relishes the dulcet sound of a shattering kneecap. My subconscious doesn’t so much take out the trash as it makes me wear a Hefty bag like an invisible, ugly jacket for the entirety of the next day, limping because some asshole hit me in the knee with a baseball bat. For a thing that didn’t happen. I think. (It didn’t happen, right?)
Sobriety is enough of a shitshow without this technicolor pageantry playing out in my brain dungeon. I don’t know what I used to dream about, but it wasn’t this. I think it was stuff about not studying for a final exam in the advanced calculus class I needed to pursue my dream of being an astronaut. (That’s how I knew it was a dream.) I’d like to talk to the manager’s supervisor’s boss, please, because I’m pretty sure I chose the sans nightmares version of this trip.
Stop the garbage truck. I’d like to get off.