Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Storytelling Method and Recovery Alcoholism

The Storytelling Method was found to be successful when used as a treatment for recovering alcoholics (DeCicco & Higgins, 2009). The authors found that the emotional triggers that precipitated drinking were often discovered by the dreamer, for example, deep loneliness was often felt just before drinking. Another interesting finding in the study is that recovering alcoholics often have "drinking dreams" even though they are no longer using. These can happen for months or even years into sobriety. Recovered alcoholics can find these dreams disturbing as they do not want to feel the reaction of drinking, even in dream mentations. Also, they can trigger fear that the addiction is not under control. How might TSM help recovering alcoholics deal with their emotions in waking life and with drinking dreams, should these arise?

56 comments:

  1. With the TSM former alcoholics can see what those dreams really mean, similar to how dreams involving sexual activities are more often representing something that isn't actually the act of sexual relations. For former alcoholics the dreams of drinking could be related to something else, such as the feelings that lead to drinking before or the having the relief that drinking used to give them from something else.

    If the dreams are leading the patient to the knowledge that their waking life is causing the same feelings the once had that led to drinking before they can then take action to fix that aspect of their life if they choose too. If it's from something else in their life then they can discover that as well, maybe they had ran into an old drinking buddy and it's causing them to remember all the times they drank together before. Really there are uncountable ways that "drinking dreams" can come about and there are uncountable meanings for those dreams as well, but with the TSM the patient can at least find out the reason for them and use that knowledge to resolve their waking life to help stop those dreams.

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    1. Great point Patrick! I would agree that if there is something in the individuals life that they are routinely doing, but had been causing them to have a drinking problem to begin with, then TSM would definitely pin point that.
      I felt that also drinking dreams don't always have to be directly related to the dreamer assuming they want to drink again either. This may just point out the negative feelings they may have towards it.

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  2. Recovering alcoholics could use TSM to help remove the fear and anxiety that may come with recovering from an addiction. I can't imagine the fear that would surround dreams that induce losing control. Using TSM to interpret some of these dreams may give the dreamer insight into why they are occurring, but most importantly, interpreting these dreams may reestablish the control that has been lost. TSM may help them to discover emotions that lead to drinking behaviour in the past, and then learn to deal with those emotions in a productive way. This could lead to personal gains rather than stepping backward into drinking behaviour.

    I think that for most people dealing with substance abuse issues, dreams stemming from addiction can only serve as beneficial if interpreted in the right ways. Dream interpretation may help the individual to discover reasons for drinking and things in his/her past that have led to unhealthy behaivour.

    The worry that may come from "drinking dreams" may affect ones waking life, in that the anxiety that can accompany feelings of loss of control during waking life may lead to drinking behaviour. TSM may help in that individuals can work through these dreams so that they no longer have an impact on waking day events, feelings of control and anxiety.

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  3. DeCicco (2008) stated that dream interpretation can be done alone, or can be guided by a clinician or therapist. People who struggle with addictions can choose to recover alone, or with help from a clinician or therapist. Whether recovering alone, or seeking guidance, dream interpretation can be useful. TSM allows dreamers to make discoveries about their dream’s meaning. These discoveries can guide waking life behavior by indicating to the dreamer aspects of their life that may need to change, or perhaps aspects which they are appreciative of.

    TSM can be useful for providing insight about coping strategies. It was mentioned in DeCicco’s lecture that TSM (and dream interpretation in general) can indicate if therapy or coping strategies are working, how the dreamer feels about their progress, and other insightful information about the dreamer’s emotions. Whether using TSM alone, or with a counsellor, the dreamer may have discoveries about their alcoholism and about their recovery process. These discoveries can be useful to make changes to waking day life, and can help guide the emotional aspects of recovery.

    I think that “drinking dreams” may feel like nightmares to a recovering alcoholic. DeCicco (2008) stated that dream interpretation can be useful for nightmares, but if nightmares are recurring, it is recommended to seek clinical help with dream interpretation. TSM is an appropriate method for interpreting dreams, and it also opens the door to other dream interpretation methods (such as the 2A Method, Projective Method, and Meditative Dream Re-Entry) which the dreamer may choose to use to find other levels of meaning from their dreams. TSM could help the dreamer find meaning in their “drinking dreams,” and, as mentioned in the previous posts, this meaning could be insight about their triggers for drinking, or their emotional process of recovering.

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    1. I agree with Jodi that the "drinking dreams" often experienced by recovering alcoholics can feel like nightmares to the recovering alcoholic. However, Van De Castle states in "Our Dreaming Mind" that the Gestalt approach to dream interpretation is often the most helpful with recurring dreams and nightmares, therefore if you are treating the "drinking dreams" of alcoholics as nightmares, the Gestalt approach may be more beneficial to use than TSM.

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  4. "Drinking dreams" are said to trigger the fear that therapy is not working, however I have a different opinion. I believe that "drinking dreams" may actually indicate to the recovering alcoholic that their therapy IS in fact working. If a recovering alcoholic experiences a dream with alcohol imagery, and subsequently does not feel the urge to drink OR successfully fights the urge to drink, this to me indicates that even when faced with alcohol in a dream, they have developed the ability to resist drinking in their waking day. However, if after the dream they have a drink, I can see why these dreams would cause the dreamer to feel their alcoholic therapy is not working.

    TSM is helpful at pin pointing the situations or events in one's waking life that need attending to. Perhaps an individual begun drinking to fill the void in a waking relationship. If for example the drinker has been sexually assaulted by a family member, they may begin drinking. This drinking may continue to the point that they forget why they began drinking. TSM may help remind the drinker why such a behaviour started, and then they may choose to alter their waking day habits by attending therapy sessions for the sexually abused rather than numbing their pain by drinking.

    As for dealing with their emotions in waking life, I believe that recovering alcoholics would be more successful at understanding their emotions when TSM is employed that if they ignore their dreams. As professor DeCicco states, the emotional triggers felt before drinking behaviour can be discovered via TSM of dream interpretation. Using the TSM method, the recovering alcoholic can identify these emotions and realize which emotions trigger their drinking. They may be able to control these emotions via therapy, self-reflection, meditation etc. and once these emotions are under control, they may "cure" their alcoholism. Also, if further insight to their emotions is desired, they could couple TSM with the 2A method which more deeply accesses the emotions surrounding a dream.

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    1. Lauren, your point about stating why the drinker even started drinking is very important. There are many situations where they definitely would not even remember why they started drinking, but TSM could find this out. I never even thought about the insight that could be revealed in that sense.

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    2. I agree with your idea that "drinking dreams" can be a sign that therapy IS working rather than NOT working like a lot of people are posting. Like you mentioned, if a dreamer rejects alcohol in a dream that is a probable sign of recovery, but I also believe that if they actually did take the drink and felt guilty after, that would be recovery too! For a dreamer to feel guilty after taking a drink in a dream shows that they know it is wrong even while dreaming (even in their subconscious mind). It indicates that they are afraid to fail and start drinking again, which can take a toll on their nerves, yes, but I don't think it necessarily means they are failing at recovering like some people are suggesting because it is merely their subconscious mind playing out their fears. Just because someone takes a drink in a dream does not mean they will do it in waking life, it is only fear imagery that their mind is portraying so they know to not do it.

      I do agree with most people though that dream interpretation has to be done correctly in order for it to work properly. Dream imagery does not always have an obvious meaning... it could be the opposite of what it looks like or have some other hidden meaning, so for an alcoholic to assume they are not doing well in recovery just because they took a drink in their dream really does not have any justification because the actions in the dream could have a hidden meaning that would be seen through proper use of TSM.

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    3. I read a lot of replies that were consistent with by beliefs towards TSM and alcoholics. However, you're view was another way of looking at the situation, and I found it very interesting.
      Firstly, I think that TSM is a great way to find a 'deeper' meaning for alcoholics and try move further into their thoughts. I do think that most alcoholics go through certain experiences in life that prevent them from giving up their drinking habits. Therapy is always a good approach however, TSM will let an alcoholic find insight about him/herself on a less aware note whereby the unconscious will help to bring into clarity the concious.

      I too do agree that drinking dreams may be a good sign that the therapy is effective although this may sound confusing. These drinking dreams could be bringing forward aside from feelings of guilt, into light a reason for the dreamer to stop or fix the cause that causes him/her to drink to begin with.

      One way to get ex-alcoholics to find a more positive approach to these dreams is therapy. To make them understand that these disturbing mentations do not necessarily have to be a bad or negative thing, instead it can be seen in a more positive way whereby instead of triggers to begin drinking again, it can be a confidence booster as to the fact that they have given up drinking and been sober for however many days/months etc.
      Of course, seeing it under this light may be a lot harder than said but with the right kind of help, I believe it would be a good approach for dreamers who fear that this may be a trigger.


      The biggest help I think TSM will provide will be to current alcoholics who can use TSM to look within themselves in order to find reasons as to what entices them or makes them want to drink. I do not believe however, that every individual drinks due to a deeper or hidden meaning but maybe just enjoys drinking and becomes addicted to that extent. In scenarios like that, TSM may be dangerous to a point that it may over analyse not associated dreams to waking life, making it more complicated. Therefore, with alcoholics TSM should be used with great care and guidance.

      -Nabiha Hassan

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  5. Megan MacDougallMay 24, 2012 at 10:37 AM

    The Storytelling Method may help recovering alcoholics deal with their emotions in waking life by finding certain triggers that may cause them to feel the need to drink. For instance, perhaps there is a link between when their drinking dreams occur and an event that is going on their life at the time. Through TSM they may discover that certain events, people or topics are causing the drinking dreams or are somehow related. Through that analysis and discovery it may be possible to eliminate such events thereby reducing the anxiety and drinking dreams, or may be able to further investigate the issue and find other solutions. For example, a recovering alcoholic may find that the drinking dreams tend to occur around the Superbowl because every year their friend has a major Superbowl party and there is a lot of alcohol involved. By triggering the source of the anxiety, the person will then be able to discuss this issue with their sponsor, therapist or a close friend and be able to come to a decision of what to do in the situation. They may find it is best to not attend the party this year, which will reduce the anxiety and hopefully put an end to the drinking dreams.
    -Megan MacDougall

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  6. I much agree with Jodi above who referred to "drinking dreams" as nightmares for those who are recovering from addiction. Feelings of being uneasy, agitated, and anxious are sure to accompany these dreams for an addict.

    By employing The Storytelling Method of dream interpretation recovering addicts may be able to find a deeper meaning to these potentially triggering dreams that would not surface with no dream interpretation. At this point they can determine where they are in their waking day in relation to this dream and focus on maintaining their sobriety by working on what they feel is most significant to them at that point in their recovery.

    If they find they cannot determine where they stand by using TSM they could additionally explore their dreams using the 2A method to find a deeper emotional meaning in their dreams.

    Using TSM can be done individually as well so it could act as a maintenance technique to one's recovery if they are no longer in a treatment facility, out patient program, or seeing a clinician/therapist. And if they are currently on their own, this dream interpretation technique could signal them requiring additional assistance to maintain sobriety and they can take steps in their waking day to reach out to other treatment options.

    Samantha Lewer

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  7. Since TSM has been linked to the discovery of causes of addiction, recovering alcoholics can make better sense of their own triggers. In turn, this may allow them to adapt in their waking life by avoiding triggers or changing their perspective on triggers.

    For example, an alcoholic might use TSM and find that financial problems are a significant trigger for her drinking. In turn, she can use this discovery to change her outlook on money or possessions. Another, more obvious, fix is to organize her money in a more efficient matter.

    In short, TSM's insight into triggers for alcoholics can help them to organize their waking life in such a way that does not drive them to alcohol.

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  8. Morgan Gail Stykel (0388819)May 24, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    The Storytelling Method (TSM) may help recovering alcoholics understand their emotions in waking life, and deal with drinking dreams. TSM may help a dreamer understand their waking life with respect to emotions, personality, or life circumstances, among other things. I speculate that the dreamer may feel a drinking dream is reflective of his cravings for alcohol. As indicated by Robert Van De Castle in “Our Dreaming Mind” (1994) many theories propose that things in dreams may be symbolic of other things. Hence, a drinking dream may symbolize a different life desire that the body wishes fulfillment of, and not the desire for alcohol. Knowing this, the dreamer may feel more in control over their drinking urges, recognizing that dreams about alcohol do not necessarily reflect a desire to drink, or indicate that the dreamer will fail in his recovery.

    TSM may help a person deal with their drinking dreams; in turn, minimizing the fear they have of their dreams containing alcohol. Instead, the dreamer can learn to embrace the dream and try to learn from it. What the dreamer learns can be applied to his waking life in attempt to improve the dreamer’s life.

    Furthermore, since the TSM can be done independently, the dreamer may be able to confront his dreams without the aid of a therapist. This may be rewarding for the dreamer as they become capable of confronting their own dreams and what they may mean for the dreamers waking life. Also, many people do not feel comfortable sharing their personal life, and TSM allows a dreamer to make discoveries without disclosing any of their personal life.

    The 2A method can be used to further look into the emotional meanings of dreams. I cannot wait to try out the 2A method for lab 2, and discover what my dreams are telling me about my emotions!

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  9. Ashley HutchingsMay 24, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    TSM might help recovering alcoholics better deal with their emotions in waking life because it helps provide discovery easily and quickly and helps individuals be able to make a connection from their dreams to what they may be experiencing in waking life. TSM may help recovering alcoholics zero in on their emotions and discover why they are feeling the way they do. They may be able to identify triggers that may lead them to drinking. As a result, an individual can develop coping strategies themselves or with the help of a therapist or clinician. Furthermore, if TSM is not successful and the individual does not have any insight from their dream then they could proceed by trying the 2A method. The 2A method of dream interpretation helps to access emotions in one's dream and then further helps them to discover what their dreams mean (Decicco, 2008). In chapter 6 of Decicco's (2008) book, it states that emotions are sometimes confusing and can get misread. When emotions are identified as being important, an individual can work towards more positive things in life and get away from the negatives (Decicco, 2008). This is evidence that it is important for recovering alcoholics to pay attention to their dreams and the emotions that are associated with the dream to help them gain further insight into their issues and be able to find ways to solve the problems.

    I also agree with the statement in the above postings about how "drinking dreams" refer to nightmares for those recovering from alcohol abuse.I would think that those recovering from an alcohol addiction would experience fear of relapsing which can produce anxiety, which in turn may lead them to drinking alcohol again.

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  10. Steffanie PorterMay 24, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    The Story Telling Method could help recovering alcoholics with their waking day issues and drinking dreams by demonstrating that the dreams are relating to the past. Maintaining sobriety cannot be easy, and when drinking dreams persist, it must be confusing. If someone in this position were to complete the worksheets for TSM, they may find that they are dreaming about past experiences with alcohol, and the positive and/or negative feelings attached to those experiences. The dreams will not necessarily indicate a current desire for alcohol; instead it may show what the person must continue to abstain from.

    If a dreamer does the TSM technique, they may discover what triggered their drinking, and then may be able to train themselves to use a different pacifier. If they realize what situations/emotions provoke a strong desire for alcohol, then the desire can be avoided in future situations which will aid in maintaining sobriety.

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  11. Behaviour modification science states that most behaviours (especially negative ones like alcoholism) occur not in a vacuum but instead in the presence of antecedents that lead to the behaviour. Therefore, I think its reasonable to assume that TSM could help recovering alcoholics identify specific antecedents, unique to them, that foster their drinking behaviours, which would then allow them to deal with these antecedents and hopefully eliminate them from their lives. (this is just building on the original post by Professor Decicco and perhaps furthering her ideas by stating that physical as well emotional antecedents may trigger drinking behaviour).

    For example, perhaps an alcoholic first began to drink as a young man after being emotionally abused by his parents. Now that this young man has grown up he continues to drink every time he encounters confrontation with his relatives (however he is unaware that his relatives are an antecedent to his drinking behaviour). Using the TSM the alcoholic may stumble upon the notion that his oppressive relatives lead to his drinking behaviours and then he could perhaps attempt to reevaluate his relationships and eliminate this antecedent or perhaps use another strategy such as reinterpretation to narrow the effects of this antecedent.

    I also think that TSM could work in a similar way in isolating specific emotions (which I guess are just a different type of antecedent) that accompany drinking behaviours.

    As far as dreams associated with drinking, years into sobriety, are concerned I am less confident about my ideas with regards to possible solutions. I think perhaps these dreams are simply the remnants of past hardships and anxieties that are stuck into the back of the minds of alcoholics. I think perhaps alcoholics could try and reinterpret these dreams as reasons to continue to avoid drinking as opposed to violent nightmares, easier said than done I'm sure.

    Evan

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  12. Janine LownsbroughMay 24, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    When alcoholics use the Story Telling Method, it has the potential to be very beneficial in regards to quitting the habit. Their dream interpretations should be able to tell them what kinds of reasons they have for drinking. This will allow them to understand that drinking does not fix the problems that they are trying to cover up, it just pushes them to the side and probably makes them worse- all the while being an alcoholic is likely hurting many different aspects in their lives.

    When it comes to drinking dreams, it should not necessarily disturb them, because it probably does not mean that they want to drink again or they are not fully recovered, but instead, it may be indicating to them that the same emotions that they were trying to cover up in the first place when they started drinking, are appearing again. If they look at it this way, then it should allow them to alter and adjust their waking behavior to make them feel better again (if they drink because they are lonely, they may be lonely again and need to work on the relationships in their life etc).

    drinking dreams: may just be that they are lonely not that they wanna drink again

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  13. The Story Telling Method can help recovering alcoholics deal with their emotions by going through each step in the TSM. By going through each step the individual can become of aware of their emotions and what their dreams are trying to tell them. Through their dream interpretation can directly unravel to relate to their waking life and with this the TSM can help show why they started drinking in the first place or methods on continuing being sober and not drinking. Recovering alcoholics can deal with their drinking dreams by the TSM method showing what the drinking dream is symbolizing. This can help recovering alcoholics change their routine in their waking life and maybe the drinking dreams will stop if they pay attention to what their dreams are trying to tell them by going through the TSM steps. By dealing with their emotions by going through the TSM steps, their waking life may be happier and involve less drinking. They will have a more solid understanding of what direction their lives need to be going in. TSM may help recovering alcoholics stop drinking all together in their waking life if they listen and go through the steps to see what their dreams are telling them by using this method. Additionally, drinking dreams may not always symbolizing drinking it may be a symbol for something else a past emotion that would lead them to drink not actually committing the damage of wanting to drink again.
    - Erin Hillier

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  14. I recently attended a conference on trauma and addictions. The clinician who spoke claimed that at least 80% of people who seek treatment for drug and alcohol dependencies have a history of trauma. Trauma, simply put, can be defined as an upsetting experience which is outside the "normal" range of human experiences. It might have been a one time incident (i.e. a victim of crime or a natural disaster) or it could be complex trauma (i.e. a history of persistent abuse/neglect by caregivers). While the traumatic experience(s) of individuals vary greatly, the emotion regulation centre of the brain is always impacted. Sometimes people heal their emotional wounds by processing their experience(s) and coping in a healthy way. For some, alcoholism and other addictions are a way people learn to deal with their strong negative emotions (in essence, to avoid the upsetting feelings). This brings me to my own thought, which is that the STM of dream interpretation might be effective with alcoholics partially because it helps them to tap into their repressed emotions. Reconnecting with strong emotions can be difficult, but it can also be rewarding. Once an emotion is identified and acknowledged, exploration and catharsis can begin. The individual can learn more about them self and the emotions that trigger the behaviour of drinking to excess. With the help of a trained professional, or a supportive family member or friend, the person can gain insight into their behaviour. Ideally, they will then have the insight to make informed and mindful choices in the future. They may also be able to identify healthier coping mechanisms such as exercise, support groups, and/or creative outlets such as writing or art-making. Again, the STM and the 2A method of dream interpretation are useful because the individual can be their own guide if desired.
    Lindsay Dixon

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  15. This is an interesting way to use The Storytelling Method. When you abuse drugs you are trying to escape some type of reality that you do not want to face in your life. Some people try to escape a mundane life while others try to escape abuse. Being an alcoholic pushes certain emotions one has deep down and just because someone quits and recovers does not mean that all of their emotions and issues are solved. It can still be scary for a recovering addict to uncover some tough truths about their lives and how they feel, so they rather not uncover everything. I feel like The Story Telling Method could help, hinder or be of no use to people.

    The method could help people who want to know more about their emotions and uncover things at a deeper level. Your dream state and wake state are still part of each other and are not two separate variables, what you dream about can have a lot to do with your actual waking life. Having recovering alcoholics use this method might bring up some old memories and some old issues that they need to work on to heal and to become stronger. Discovery could lead to acceptance and understanding that this is a lifelong battle.

    I also believe that some things should stay buried. Some dreams may bring things to the surface that people do not want to remember. It could happen that maybe too much analysis of one’s dream could trigger the person to want to drink even more. Some people are more fragile than others; some just can’t handle uncovering emotions or buried events. I also believe that this type of method may not be beneficial to everyone. It could be great for people who want to discover more about themselves, but it just might not be a great tool for everyone.

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  16. Christine McAteerMay 24, 2012 at 9:41 PM

    TSM is a method used to help undertsand the meanings of dreams in relation to our waking lives. So four recovering alcoholics who are experiencing drinking dreams would benefit from the use for TSM. I think the TSM will help the person realize just exactly what their dreams are trying to tell them and reassure them that they have their drinking under control. The subconscious hold on to memories from every moment of our lives and if alcohol was a major part of their lives I think it will take awhile for the thoughts and memories to fade into the background.
    TSM has been proven to help alcoholics understand why they are drinking and it would be a great way to now help the recovering alcoholics that are being haunted by memories.
    The thoughts are still there within the person to drink in most cases because of repressed emotions or past experiences, but the courage to stick with it is what counts and TSM would help to reassure them that they are doing what is best for them and their dreams can help show them that they are healthier and happier in their waking day lives. The thoughts and images generated in their minds may be hard to deal with after the struggle with alcohol. TSM will help them see past the bad feelings, and the initial reaction to these dreams and help them understand the deeping meaning to these drinking dreams.

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  17. TSM can be useful for those recovering from alcoholism as it can lead to discovery about the addiction as well as providing the person with insight into their past, their future and their emotions. It may lead to discovery about why they drank and the emotions they were feeling at that time.
    TSM is a practical, user-friendly approach that can aid in the process of recovery from addiction by helping the addict make sense of their dreams and work through their emotions so that they can make sense of their waking life.
    When recovering alcoholics experience "drinking dreams" this can feel like a nigtmare to them, as being drunk is what they are trying to avoid in their waking life. By using TSM they are able to work through these dreams and possibly find discovery about the reasons that they drank and the emotions that were involved when drinking. This could help them to work through these emotions and could aid in their recovery process.
    Recovery from addiction can be a long painful process for some people and TSM provides a self-guided method of therapy that can help the addict make sense of their emotions and dreams and apply this insight into their waking life in order to further their recovery.

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  18. I can see the TSM helping recovering alcoholics become more aware of themselves and the emotions they are feeling both subconsciously and consciously through their recovery. Furthermore, it may help them understand what images in their dreams might mean and where they are motivated from in regards to their illness and recovery. In addition, recovering alcoholics are likely in therapy and the TSM can help them talk out and have a better understanding of their dream imagery with their therapist or therapist group.
    As the previous post mentioned, the dreams they experience that have to do with drinking may be scary for them because it reminds them of drinking and may motivate them to want to drink again. By becoming aware of the exact emotions and possibly the motivation for these experiences through discovery using the TSM, patients can work through their problems more thoroughly. That is, by directly addressing problem areas through TSM and other therapy.
    -Stacey O'Brien

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  19. TSM would be able to help recovering alcoholics in their waking life as a way of discovery and finding what these drinking dreams actually mean for them. For example just because you have a dream about something very objective and clear does not mean that the interpretation of that dream will be direct and clear. There is discovery in the emotions felt by the dreamer. Therefore, a recovering alcoholic may have these drinking dreams, but may discover that they have a negative emotion associated now with the drinking. This negative association would be found through TSM and would provide as a comfort to the dreamer.

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    1. I agree with you Logan. Dreams can easily be misinterpreted, or taken as literal. TSM would help the dreamer to uncover the underlying reason for why the dream is occuring, which would be beneficial when trying to deal with and understand something like alcoholism.

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  20. TSM might help recovering alcoholics because this type of analysis will guide the dreamer towards understanding the imagery that their unconscious mind is creating. The dream imagery can guide towards recovery by making the dreamer aware of whether or not they are making the right choices and taking the appropriate steps towards recovery. Their dreams might help them to see if they are going about their recovery in a way that works best for the individual, or if they should try something else. To get a further understanding of the dream and how it relates to their addiction, the dreamer could also use the 2A Method. By using this interpretation method in addition to TSM, the dreamer can get a better understanding of the emotions that are involved in the dream. The 2A Method can then help the dreamer become aware of there negative emotions before they unknowingly choose alcohol as a coping method.

    If "drinking dreams" occur, TSM can help the dreamer to understand the meaning behind why these dreams are occurring. When trying to understand a dream, the dream imagery can easily be taken as literal, or misinterpreted. TSM can show that these drinking dreams are occurring for an important reason.

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  21. The TSM method could help recovering alcoholics in their waking life by helping them to realize and examine how different strategies are (or aren't) working for them. When drinking dreams arise it is understandable that the individual would fear what this may represent (a future lapse, or a current desire to drink). However, the TSM may help those in this circumstance by helping them explore their waking fears of 'falling off the wagon' that have manifested in the dream life. They may have been unaware of how much fear surrounded their perceived imminent failure. Moreover, analysis using the TSM method could help prevent worries caused by these drinking dreams. It is possible that the dream causes the worry about relapsing, and then this worry about relapsing translates into more drinking dreams. In this case the TSM would benefit in that it could provide insight into the real roots of the problem: relationship issues, dissatisfying work life etc.

    Alya Al-Joundi

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  22. I would agree with the many people who linked drinking dreams with the individual's fear of relapsing. In addition, I believe it it possible that the dream itself could cause a relapse. If a recovering alcoholic lost their sense of control in a dream, upon waking they, as previously stated by others, might feel as if their therapy isn't working and become discouraged. In addition, they would have a fresh reminder of the numbing effects of alcohol. I believe these feelings alone might precipitate a new bout of alcoholism. However, in using TSM, the dreamer might be able to properly identify what triggered the dream (again, stated by others) and act instead upon the trigger, such as stress at work. With this would come the realization that the dream was not caused by the want to start drinking again, increasing their belief in the therapy and their own self-efficacy. It also might prompt them to seek professional or supportive help, such as selecting a psychologist or attending an AA meeting.

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  23. As discussed in earlier postings, these dreams may not necessarily be associated with the previous drinking problems that the dreamer had. The purpose of The Storytelling method is to link the words from your dreams to words that have meaning to you through associations. By doing this a story develops in which the dreamer gains discovery and insight into what the dream actually meant to them. By doing this and by exploring the dreams of a recovering alcoholic, the dreamer can begin to feel more comfortable and assured that the dreams that they are having are not necessarily connected to their previous drinking problems. Rather, associations that the dreamer makes may in fact be linked to other issues that need attention in their waking life (like issues at work, marital problems, etc.). The dreams that a recovering alcoholic may in fact have may be hard to overlook, especially when the dream is focused around alcohol. However, if the dream is more about trying to resist the urge but eventually giving in, for example, the dream could actually be about regretting things that they have always wanted to do but never had. Dreams could be very helpful for recovering alcoholics, but only when they are able to find the real meaning behind the dreams that they have.

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  24. Hello everyone my name is Allyson Dale and I am the co-author of Dale and DeCicco (2011) and we tested TSM with university students and found predictive value of dreams. We recently tested TSM with Canadian soldiers and found the method to be very successful in relating dream imagery to waking life for Canadian soldiers (Dale & DeCicco, 2012). When testing TSM with recovering alcoholics, and then in a later study with Canadian soldiers, there were similar findings. In both studies, the continuity hypothesis was supported when examining both dreams and discovery. Soldiers had discovery directly relating to specific events which occurred in the past while on tour. Also, the predictive value of dreams was demonstrated in both studies. DeCicco and Higgins (2009) found that dream content of aggression predicted discovery of addiction for recovering alcoholics. Dale and DeCicco (2012) found that dream content of combat predicted discovery of feelings of pride and honour, for soldiers.

    When examining emotional content in dreams, soldiers and recovering alcoholics appear to be very different. Both the dreams and discovery for soldiers contained very little emotion. In contrast, the dreams of recovering alcoholics were found to contain lots of emotion. This may be due to the two groups having very different emotional awareness. Dealing with and recognizing emotions are a major step on the journey to recovering from an alcohol addiction and this is evident in dream imagery and discovery for recovering alcoholics. In contrast, training for soldiers involves the inoculation of stress and fear. Soldiers are trained in conditions that simulate the stress that is experienced in combat, which involves teaching combat skills that become muscle memories, and automatic responses that can be carried out without conscious thought or emotion. Although there are many other factors, this may explain the differences in emotional awareness in both waking life and in dream imagery found for recovering alcoholics and soldiers.

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  25. Although the dream imagery may involve drinking, drinking and/or alcohol may have nothing to do with the true meaning behind the dream. TSM can help to discover what waking life situations and/or feelings are triggering the images of drinking in dreams. And (as was stated in the question for this post) since alcoholism is often a type of coping mechanism for stressful life events, figuring out what life events trigger the drinking habits in waking life through using TSM, can help in recovery. The dreamer, knowing the root of the problem, can find other ways to either fix the problem, or find a healthier coping mechanism that doesn't disrupt or impede their daily functioning. So, not only can recovering alcoholics take solace knowing that their "drinking dreams" don't mean they're craving a drink, TSM can help them to figure out why alcohol consumption became a problem for them in the first place.

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  26. Jazmine EtchellsMay 27, 2012 at 8:42 AM

    TSM allows individuals to interpret the meaning behind their dreams with the use of word associations and relate that discovery to some event in their waking life. This can be extremely useful for people suffering from disturbing dreams or nightmares. Many recovering alcoholics experience nightmares that relate to their addiction called “Drinking Dreams”. “Drinking dreams” are when a recovery alcoholic breaks down in the dreams and gets intoxicated or has some encounter with the possibility of relapse. These dreams can be quite difficult for a recovering alcoholic because they struggle everyday to resist that drink and to see themselves fail in their dreams makes them fear that they may fail in reality. By using the TSM method they will be able to gain a better understanding into what these dreams mean and how they can possibly change their life to resolve them. For example, as mentioned in the post above, recovering alcoholics experience a large amount of emotion in their dream imagery. This may be the result of the emotional healing process that alcoholics go through on their path to sobriety. By using the TSM method the dreamer may reach a deeper understanding as to where these emotions are stemming from and use their dreams as part of the healing process. If the dreamer can identify what in their waking life is causing them to have these emotion filled dreams, some of which can be quite intense and uncomfortable, they can make a conscious decision about what they need to do if they want these dreams to go away. The TSM method will guide them to the meaning of these dreams and can help them through their recovery by providing a better understanding of what their dreams are expressing and how things may need to be changed in their waking life.

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  27. The TSM could help recovering alcoholics deal with their emotions in waking life and with drinking dreams as the method helps you discover the feelings that they are trying to express through their drinking dreams. the method can help them to undestand the feelings that are behind the reasons that they turn to alcohol. by interpreting their dream with the TSM they can learn the feelings and emotions that lead to their consumption of alcohol and work towards finding ways to reduce those feelings and even to find newer ways to cope with those emotions that does not include drinking making their road to roverery that much easier for them. by being able to understand that the drinking dreams they are having are only their way of expressing the emotions they are feeling it will help remove that fear that their addiction in not under control.

    Sarah Craig

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  28. TSM may help recovering alcoholics deal with their emotions because some dreams represent the unconscious mind. TSM can help an alcoholic to come to terms with their emotions during the waking life, such as talking to a therapist or a loved one instead of turning to alcohol. TSM can help them discover some of the emotions or life situations that are bothering then in the waking day that they may not be aware of or suppress. TSM can help them to cope and understand their emotions instead of turning to alcohol.
    -Amanda Edwards

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  29. Adding on to the previous blog, TSM can help recovering alcoholics deal with their emotions in their waking lives and 'drinking dreams' by bringing up various emotions that they may not be consciously aware of within their waking life. For instance, they may not feel as though they are experiencing loneliness or isolation within their waking day as they are consistently surrounded by supportive family and friends, however they may feel isolated and judged because of their addiction. Unveiling these suppressed emotions with use of the storytelling method allows them to address these emotions in a constructive way, with help of a therapist or other professional.

    Emily Nyboer

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  30. TSM can help recovering alcoholics by suggesting some other meaning towards their dreams other than having a need for alcohol. The method suggests that their dreams are not meant to anticipate drinking but are to help them recover from their over usage. the TSM method can help them work through their dreams instead of only giving them a reason to why they are having their dreams. the method can help organize their emotions in the waking life instead if relying on alcohol to do that for them. It can help them deal with their feelings at the fore front instead of hiding them from themselves.

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  31. TSM may be useful for recovering alcoholics to help sort out why they are dreaming about drinking as well as other feelings and thoughts. Recovering alcoholics can use TSM to clarify their emotions and feelings towards their recovering or healing. Recovering alcoholics may feel that their addiction is not under control because of the drinking dreams. They could be dreaming about it because they are still in recovery and they fear that they may relapse. The dreams could also be telling them that things currently in their life are making them feel the need to want to drink and it needs to be determined what exactly it is in order to stop the dreams from occurring.
    -Sarah McFadden

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    1. I completely agree that TSM could be used as a means of discovering the waking life circumtances that are unconsciously bothering a recovered alcoholic. The dreams might be an indication of the people that the dreamer needs to reconcile with, distance themself from, or embrace in their life.
      The drinking that they experience in their dream may be their mind's way of sending them a message about their feelings that they have not acknowledged. In addition, TSM may be a way for them to perceive their drinking dreams as a way of gainging enlightenment about their waking life, as opposed to feeling anxious that their addiction continues to be a major life problem.

      Alicia Holding

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  32. Recovering from alcoholism has a large impact on various levels of being (e.g., physical withdrawal, psychological control, emotional regulation, etc.), so it makes perfect sense that individuals recovering from alcoholism have “drinking dreams” or dreams related to their previous addiction. Interpreting their dreams through the Storytelling Method may help recovering alcoholics better understand their past and to identify the emotions, stressors, and triggers associated with drinking that they may not be completely aware of. This method of dream interpretation may then assist individuals in learning how to cope, healthily and effectively, with these emotions, stressors, and triggers.

    The Storytelling Method may also shed light on the benefits of sobriety by exploring how their lives have changed (likely for the better) during recovery, or how aspects of their lives may have been different if they remained an alcoholic. For example, how continued alcoholism may have had detrimental effects on one’s relationships, health, career, etc. This may then serve as a reminder to persevere and be proud of bettering their lives.
    - Lindsey Martin

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  33. TSM can help recovering alcoholics discover why they have "drinking dreams," even though they are not drinking anymore. They may discover, through TSM, the triggers in their waking life that are contributing to the arising of "drinking dreams." Once the recovering alcoholics are able to discover what in their waking life is contributing to them having the dreams, they can start to find ways to combat those triggers to prevent the dreams from happening again. The "drinking dreams" may hinder the recovery of the recovering alcoholics by making them feel like they can never escape the habit of drinking. However, using the efficient TSM method can help them discover what in their waking life needs to change in order for them to prevent themselves from having the "drinking dreams" again. Overcoming the causes of the "drinking dreams" will encourage the recovering alcoholics to continue to persist in their fight to overcome their alcoholism. It will help prevent the "drinking dreams" from happening again and make them feel more confident about their road to sobriety in their waking life.

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    1. This post is from Sarah Aseerwatham

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  35. The storytelling method may help recovering alcoholics deal with their emotions in waking life and with drinking dreams in many different ways. Recovering from any life changing event, it is hard to go back to a ‘normal life’ within a short amount of time. As the passage explains that the authors found that emotions trigger precipitated drinking, the TSM method could help to further look into that discovery. Some emotions one can try to forget about, but they will always be there until a person does something about it. The story telling method can help look into further possibilities of emotions that trigger the drinking to this extensive level. As the dreaming mind is very creative, it could put together a story in one’s head about why the dreamer drank so much at that time. It could help to cope with how they are recovering now.
    Once the storytelling method has revealed a discovery for the dreamer, it will then either show the dreamer what they need to do to help them recover, or the discovery might be a blind spot for the dreamer. If in fact this blind spot exists for the dreamer, these dreams will continue to bother them until they have figured it out.
    It is important that the dreamer explains every detail of their dreams in the story telling method, so that the discovery can be found the best way possible.

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  36. Many alcoholics use TSM to get insight and coping mechanisms to their addictions. Decicco’s text states that the stories created by the dreamers usually give them insight to what started the addiction and why they started or are continuing to drink. By finding out the source of the problem using TSM, alcoholics can either start or continue the recovery process.

    Agreeing what many have already said, drinking dreams is probably like a nightmare for many recovering alcoholics. It gives them a reminder of what used to tempt them about alcohol. Using the Storytelling Method and can help dreamers keep control of their dreams and reduce their anxiety of being out of control of their addiction. Knowing the possible causes of the drinking can help keep recovering alcoholics on the right track of recovery.

    Kristin Vieira

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  37. The Story telling Method is very useful to recovering alcoholics because it helps deal with their emotions in waking life and with 'drinking dreams'. It helps recovering alcoholics deal with their waking life emotions by discovering a deeper meaning of their emotions that they might not have been consciously aware of. Once they discover theses emotions and interpret them through the Story telling method they can make life choices accordingly. STM is also useful with drinking dreams because recovering alcoholics who experience drinking dreams can be scared that they are going to relapse. If they interpret their drinking dreams through STM then they might discover that their dream is not telling them that they should drink again but might have another meaning. I agree with Sagana that it is important that the dreamer explains every detail so discovery can be made.
    Kristen Thumm

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  38. Stephanie WottonMay 27, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    As I have found analyzing my dreams I have found TSM to be the most effective method of dream analysis when I am feeling emotions in my waking life that I have found overwhelming. TSM often helps to tie these emotions to waking day events that I wasn't aware were causing stress or other negative emotions. For this reason TSM would be helpful in helping recovering alcoholics assign their negative emotions to waking day events so that they can address these emotions, ie. if the individual uses alcohol as a stress relief and is feeling stressed if they can isolate and address the events that are causing them stress they may feel less tempted to drink, which may be causing further stress. Drinking dreams, if properly analysed can provide insight into the dreams recovery status, for example, if the individual rejects alcohol in there dreams it can be a sign that the individual's recovery is going well and this may provide the dreamer with confidence. However, if the individual does not reject alcohol in their dreams the dream may provide insight into the triggers specific to that dreamer, if the individual can isolate what happens before they drink in their dreams they may be able to develop strategies to address these triggers in their waking lives.

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  39. If recovering alcoholics are still frequently having dreams about consuming alcohol then it could perhaps indicate that they may still have some work to do. Seeing as dreams are reflections of our unconscious mind these dreams probably show that they still have underlying emotions that if left uncared for, could eventually drive them back into their addiction. This is where The Storytelling Method would come in handy.
    Dreams are obviously very confusing to most people and so TSM could help a great deal in figuring out what exactly these dreams mean. Once they find out what emotions and problems in their waking lives are triggering the dreams then they can take the measures to remedy them and feel even more secure with their strength to fight their addiction. It could also help a great deal in settling their worried thoughts regarding unconsciously reliving the feelings of alcohol because they’ll know the true meaning as to why they are happening. This would be much better than constantly worrying that they are drinking in their dreams because they are gearing up to restart drinking in waking life.

    Sean Stead

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  40. The story telling method can help recovering alcoholics deal with their emotions in waking life, as we know from reading chapter six of The Giant Compass, that our emotions and personalities play a special role in our dreams. A great example of this is the situation described in the question. If it the person drinking the alcohol used the substance as a means to deal with feeling deep loneliness, without fully resolving the emotional issues, it makes sense that drinking dreams may still occur. Our dreams often send us messages that our conscious mind might not realize or want to contemplate. I think it is important to listen to our dreams, and for the alcoholic, perhaps reassess if their issues surrounding drinking have then been dealt with completely.

    Another possibility which has been mentioned in other blogs, is that a drinking dream for a recovering alcoholic could be termed a nightmare as it causes upset and fear for the dreamer. Like other dreams, a nightmare can be worked through using the story telling method. In doing this, the story telling method offers the situation for the person to gain insight and discovery in ones waking day life, therefore the road to recovery can continue.

    Nicole Hinan

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  41. As previously stated, the Story Telling Method is very beneficial in discovering a person's inner desires, fears and perhaps passions that we feel too socially constricted to act upon through society's rigid guidelines. In the case of an alcoholic, having the inability to not control one's drinking habits is often frowned upon. Becoming sober is the most widely accepted action when having this disease, therefore when an alcoholic has inner desires to drink its hard to admit that they are struggling with staying in control. By analyzing their dreams which give insight into their waking life, alcoholics may be able to avoid environments or situations that bring about feelings of being out of control. Stressful situations could trigger the coping mechanism of drinking. Being able to make a discovery using the Story Telling Method showing that certain portions of waking day life prove to be stressful, could ultimately help avoid certain situations and reduce the longing need for alcohol. Alcoholism is a disease, and does have an effect on family members, health, finances and professional pathways. The story telling method could aid in determining which portions of the client's life is being affected by the disease, and the patient could work towards understanding, fixing and coping with the disease.

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  42. By using the Story telling method, a recovering alcoholic is able to really see the meaning behind why they are having the dreams. By knowing this, the people can adjust what they need to in their waking day life to make sure that there is no possibility of a relapse. If someone is feeling lonely or upset, and their dreams are showing them drinking, they may be able to target what the issue is in waking life and fix whatever it may be.
    The story telling method could also show some insight to any positive things that the person may not see in their waking life normally. This can help them to continue on their quest to sobriety, and a happy healthy life. Most situations in life can be a struggle, especially for someone trying to recover from alcoholism, so seeing what their dreams mean can help to keep them sober by showing any issues that they may be facing in waking life, or the exact opposite, in the sense that they could not be realizing the positive influences and situations that are around them in everyday life.

    Brittney Delves

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  43. Interpreting dreams is a perfect way to uncover how to fix something and better their quality of life. The Storytelling Method of dream interpretation is easy to do and time efficient. The TSM is for anyone who needs to understand the basic to why something is happening and use that to try to fix it. With all the emotions alcoholics and recovering alcoholics are dealing with, they need something simple and efficient.

    Finding the trigger to why an addiction or habit starts can be very tricky, but dream interpretation can be very helpful. Dreams can let the dreamer know that something is not going right in the dreamer's waking life. Regarding alcoholics, the dream could be signalling important health issues that need to be addressed due to excessive drinking, or if the person is recovering and going through a certain treatment, the dream can lead the dreamer to see that the treatment is working or is not working. Finding the trigger to why someone drinks or why they used to drink can be very beneficial in the healing process.

    Having dreams about drinking can go in two directions. First, dreams about drinking and enjoying the drinks in the dreams could really upset a recovering alcoholic because he/she has to deal with waking life triggers as well. Second, dreams about drinking and not enjoying the drinks could be beneficial right away. With interpretation, both types of dreams could be beneficial because these dreams are always telling the dreamer something important. Maybe the dreamer spends too much time thinking about the good times he/she had drinking and should focus more and the good times he/she had being sober.

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  44. I feel that TSM would help recovering alcoholic’s deal with their emotion in their waking life and with drinking dreams as TSM would help make sense of their dreams. TSM would explain the meaning behind their dreams. The steps taken in TSM would only allow the recovering alcoholic’s see the connections between the waking life and the dream. As most people don’t have a real idea what their dreams mean and therefore what they depict in their dreams can cause their fear. The process of TSM starts off by writing down the dream, underlining key words, developing keys words, than rewriting a new story giving multiple interpretations of the dream so the individual may come to understand the importance of the dream as there are now different areas to consider where at first they might have never even thought off. Furthermore, TSM allows the person themselves to make the discoveries than asking others or professional help which for recovering alcoholic’s they usually feel that the situation they were in previously was their own fault and their own trust in self might at times be abandoned, resulting in alcoholics looking for help from others. As they know they can’t do it on their own. Therefore, TSM will encourage self-empowerment because the process is usually done by the participant and only the participant can make sense of what the dream is. This is why I truly believe what recovering alcoholics need is improved self-will and the “can do” mentality because they know only way to beat alcoholism is only up to them and their decisions they make to improve will be on them. Though going back to the emotion of fear and how it’s negative I feel with the clarification from TSM about the dream it will reassure that there isn’t anything to fear of but more of an importance to understand and feel confident that their dream is trying to tell them about their waking life.

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  45. The Storytelling Method is a useful way for those recovering from an alcohol addiction to examine their dreams and waking life. Addiction can be a very emotional experience; in that the trigger may be emotional, or the consequences may be emotional. These emotions may not be readily available to the person; they may be buried deep in the subconscious. As a result a person may experience setbacks in recovery, or progress that is less than desirable. An example of this could include "drinking dreams".
    TSM helps the person explore his or her dreams on many different levels. Addiction does not just affect a person on a physical level; it can affect a person on multiple levels of being as well. Implementing TSM may help the person tap into their different levels of being and subconscious, perhaps shedding light on different emotions and triggers that are otherwise not immediately apparent.
    By using this method, I think that TSM would also indicate the success of any therapy a person recovering from addiction is experiencing. It would make sense to me that the less frequent "drinking dreams" a person experienced, the more successful their therapy is. Also, another indicator of success may be the more triggers a person is able to identify; as TSM allows them to explore more levels of their subconscious.

    Ann-Marie Harris

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  46. Jennifer Cheznowski 0376917May 28, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    TSM might be able to help a recovering alcoholic in a variety of ways. When working through the steps of TSM, an individual is required to analyze their dreams in ways that allows them to understand exactly what triggered certain dreams. Different situation through out the day (good or bad) can cause different dreams to take place. For a recovering alcoholic, certain occurrences in the day may trigger dreams of drinking. For example, a person may not be aware that passing a liquor store on the way to work in the morning subconsciously causes them to dream about drinking. When going through the steps of TSM, a person might be able to identify that passing a liquor store in their waking life, is causing dreams of them drinking. When putting two and two together, the recovering alcoholic might be able to make changes in their life to be able to prevent such disturbing dreams.

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  47. TSM could help recovering alcoholics deal with their emotions in waking life in the sense that their dreams likely convey information as to how they are feeling, which in turn can be beneficial to examine in conjunction with their treatment in order to determine how well they are coping. In addition, recovering alcoholics can learn that dreams have multiple meanings, and not to be discouraged if alcohol continues to show up in their own. Rather, depending on the context, this could be a positive thing.

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