While writing up a recent manuscript on addictions and dream interpretation an interesting finding was revealed with The Storytelling Method (TSM). Participants reporting an addiction (alcohol, drugs, sugar, food, or cigarettes)participated by completing self-report measures of waking day mood and completing a TSM worksheet. With TSM both a dream and discovery or meaning of that dream was reported. Many past findings were confirmed including "using" dreams, unpleasantness, cravings, repressed substance use, and images continuous of waking day preoccupations (e.g. Araujo, Oliveira & Piccoloto, 2004; Choi, 1973; Denzin, 1988; Fiss, 1980; Hajek & Belcher, 1991).
One new and interesting findings was the correlation between discovery about waking day gambling, tension/anxiety in waking day, and anger in dreams. It was found that people who scored low in tension/anxiety in waking day reported their dream to be about gambling. Also, those who were high in anger in their dreams (via content analysis) also reported discovery to be about gambling in waking day.
These findings imply that high anger in the dreams of addicts may be an important feature that is linked to gambling in waking day. It is important to note, that gambling was not reported as an addiction by any of the participants.
In a further analysis with a regression model, it was found that anger in dreams predicted discovery about gambling in waking day. For example, participants reported such things as; I have been spending my time at the casino, or, my family and friends are telling me that I gamble too much. Again, this finding has important implications for working with addictions.
Dream interpretation with TSM was found to be useful with addicts since it led them to relevant waking day discoveries (e.g. I miss my drinking friends, I need to go to an AA meeting soon). The finding that anger in dreams was linked to discovery about gambling suggests that further research needs to be done in this area. Also, since addictions seems to occur in clusters then gaining insight about another possible addictions with dream work, would be very valuable.
In an extensive literature search only a handful of empirical studies have been found linking addictions with dreams and discovery. The research, past and present, suggests that this be studied on a larger scale but also, that the applied implications may be quite far reaching.