“Well, dreams, they feel real while we’re in them right? It’s only when we wake up then we realize that something was actually strange,” describes the character Cobb in Inception. The movie received critical acclaim for its complex look into an old philosophical pondering: are we awake or are we dreaming and could it be possible that when we are dreaming we are truly awake. “…All of life is a dream,” wrote Pedro Calderon De La Barca in the Spanish play Life Is A Dream, “and dreams themselves are only dreams.”
Lucid dreaming is the interruption to our dreams. In our previous blog, we wrote about how lucid dreaming can be empowering for men in recovery. Regaining control over their lives through treatment and therapy is a transcendent experience for men in recovery. Simple distractions like a using or relapse dream can be overwhelming and even disappointing.
Denholm Aspy, a published researcher on lucid dreaming, wrote for Aeon that there are many psychological benefits to lucid dreaming, “Aside from the sheer joy of being able to bend an imaginary world to your will,” he explains. Lucid dreaming can help with nightmares, like using or relapse dreams. “You might also be able to use dreams to process trauma: confronting what’s haunting you, making peace with an attacker, escaping the situation by flying away, or even just waking up.”
Practicing lucid dreaming, is as easy as planting the idea that you can realize you are dreaming while you are doing it. Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams was found by Aspy and other researchers to be a most effective method. Developed by Stephen LaBerge in the 1970s, MILD takes five simple steps, which include planting the idea that you will remember you are sleeping. First, you are encouraged to set an alarm for five hours after you go to bed. Second, as soon as you become conscious of your alarm, try to remember what you were dreaming before you woke up. If you can’t, try to remember your most recent dream. Stay lying down with the lights off and tell yourself “Next time I’m dreaming, I will remember I’m dreaming.” The instructions suggest saying this in your mind, not out loud. As you repeat this statement, picture yourself in the dream you remembered and shift that dream memory to include you remembering, in the dream, that you are dreaming. Lastly, repeat the mantra and the visualization over again until you fall asleep once more. You should continue to find yourself remembering this practice, which means the seed is planted. Cobb says in Inception, “An idea is like a virus. Resilient. Highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it’s almost impossible to eradicate.”
You can eradicate the idea of addiction, of turning to drugs and alcohol to cope with your life. At Tree House Recovery in Portland, Oregon, we are teaching men how to find freedom from addiction. Call us today for information on our treatment programs: (503) 850-2474