The smoking dream

Physical healing of the body and mind
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

29 Sep 2008, 19:19 #251

If you had imagined yourself smoking a cigarette in a dream before you quit it would not have registered. Smoking was an every day occurence.
It is what you did, it was how you lived - dose to dose.
Now, when we show up in our dreams & we are smoking it does not mean we want to smoke a cigarette or use some tobacco, it only means that was a normal activity for quite some time during our lives. Much like conscious thoughts - Dreams cannot harm you. Actions speak louder than words - or thought
More than anything the panic and confusion when waking up after one of these dreams thinking you've relapsed and thrown away your quit is a sign of deep psychological healing. You even believe you're an ex-smoker in your dreams. That is the mindset of a committed ex-smoker. As Joel so correctly states:
In regards to smoking, no matter what you do in your dreams, you will be OK as long as you remember in your waking state to Never Take Another Puff!

Last edited by JoeJFree Gold on 18 Mar 2009, 12:49, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:00

12 Nov 2008, 09:36 #252

I had the smoking dream last night.

In my dream, I smoked with a girl that I knew when I first started smoking... Very strange, I hadn't though of her in at least 15-17 years. Hopefully she has quit too.

In the dream I kept thinking "Why am I doing this?" and I kept looking at my hands thinking that they smelled bad.

It's odd how so many of us have this dream.

Joined: 31 Jan 2009, 02:15

20 Mar 2009, 00:40 #253 must be deep in my head!

Like so many, I get this dream a lot. What is so weird is that so many of us are having the same dream--I mean, the same theme and the same horrible feeling about losing our quits. I wonder if the common thread is connected to the other common thread we share--the great education we get here and the focus on the fact that as addicts, we all know that one puff = all.

In past quits, I also had dreams about smoking, so I'm not surprised by them at all--but I am surprised that the theme is always about losing my quit and how horrible that feels emotionally. I remember dreaming before that I felt sad that I'd give up a "friend"--sick to think of that now.

I'm glad for these new dreams. Though vivid and sometimes disturbing, they are a great reminder to me that I've got an education here that has changed the way I'm thinking, apparenlty even into my subsconscious.


- Free and Healing for One Month, Twenty Two Days, 22 Hours and 27 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 2 Days and 15 Hours, by oiding the use of 764 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $135.90.

Joined: 17 Jul 2009, 02:28

18 Aug 2009, 23:21 #254

Just wanted to say I have had 2 smoking dreams also.....within the 1st month of my quit. They were very strange. Last night I had a wierd dream about an old friend that smoked, she still smoked but I did NOT in the dream. woohoo

Luckily I had read about these smoking dreams HERE and was not suprised or threatened by them Thanks again FREEDOM!
Renee - Free and Healing for One Month, Twelve Days, 21 Hours and 20 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 3 Days and 19 Hours, by avoiding the use of 1097 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $192.36.

Joined: 09 Jul 2010, 21:20

11 Jul 2010, 18:25 #255

I am glad I read that explanation. I must really don't want to smoke, cause i felt awful when i woke up! Thanks

Joined: 29 Nov 2010, 15:16

13 Dec 2010, 19:30 #256

Thank you Joel, John, OBob, Marty, and everyone else for: a) such an insightful series of posts on this subject, and b) for such an incredible qualitative data set regarding "the smoking dream"--one from which I think we may begin to identify some correlations.

First of all, Joel's post that assures us that our dreams are not simply "repressed urges" must be taken as a given, and can serve as a "jumping off" point for further thought on the subject.

All but TWO of the posts in this thread relate to dreams in which people who have arrested their nicotine addictions "realize" they are smoking or "find" themselves smoking, or otherwise catch themselves in the act without having dreamed the conscious precursor to the act--a.k.a the "decision" to take a puff. I find this facinating, and very telling. It reminds me of the thousands of times when, as a slave to nicotine, I would unconsiously light a cigarette, smoke it, extinguish it, light another, etc. until my entire pack was in my ashtray. I know John wrote about this phenomenon in his ebook (as well as in a few of his posts on other threads).

What I am getting at is that the dream (or perhaps more aptly--the nightmare) is about reintroducing nicotine to ourselves (the addicts) without conscious thought, and thus relapsing without intending to do so. Joel teaches us that the conscious mind is the "gatekeeper" that can make sure that we never take another puff

Let me take a moment to recap my own dream. Like all but two of the dreams I have read about on this thread, my dream did not involve a conscious choice to smoke. Rather it involved me becoming aware of the fact that I was smoking, leading to the inference that I had taken that "first puff" without any intent or knowing mental state at all. Then, at the moment I looked own and realized I was smoking, I got FURIOUS with myself. While still dreaming, I thought to myself that it was not possible, and that my conscious mind was my gatekeeper and would never have allowed this to happen. While still dreaming I realized that I had blown my quit, and that I would have to quit again, immediately, so as to minimize as much as possible my future withdrawal (and maximize my chances of success-- i.e. no long drawn-out plan to quit). While still dreaming, I then thought about freedom and was instantly angrier at myself than before (if that is possible) and realized that I would never be able to post again, and that my new quit (yes I quit again in the dream within seconds of having smoked) would not involve interacting with the Freedom community. I briefly entertained a thought of lying about the slip. I thought of Joel's article regarding the Law of Addiction and the retaining of an attorney to defend a relapse. I even had an argument for my attorney! In criminal law (at least in America) crimes are made up of a series of elements. For example. Murder of the first degree is the 1)intentional 2)taking of the life 3)of another person 4)with malice aforethought. Robbery is 1)the taking 2)of property of another 3)by force or threat of force, however slight 4)with intent to permenently deprive thereof.

My point is that some of these elements are requisite mental states, know in criminal law as the mens rea. For any criime that requires a knowing or intentional act, it is a complete defense to successfully argue that the act was done, but not knowingly or intentionally. To use murder as an example, the "malice" requirement and the "intentional" requirement are why a fatal car accident is not premeditated murder for the surviving driver.

So before I get too far afield, lets tie this back into the law of addiciton, smoking, and the "smoking dream." First of all, the mens rea defense, though worthy of sympathy, must fail. In other words, the law of addiciton is not a law like the robbery law of the murder law--it does not have a mens rea element. It does not matter what an addict is thinking )or whether he/she is even conscious of) the reintroduction of the addictive substance--all that matters is that the physiological cause-and-effect that makes the law what it is set in motion, and the only options will be to cease administration again (and go through withdrawal) or continue to readminister the addictive substance (and thus become a slave again.) So my attorney (the one I retained to defend against my unintentional relapse) will lose my case.

So is the "smoking dream"actually a nightmare about faultless relapse? At least two of us since 2001 describe a conscious decision to take a puff. But for the vast majority of us, it is possible. Another very interesting thing (and I wish people had been a little more clear in their descriptions) is the "anger" and "disappointment" people recall feeling regarding the fact that they smoked. It simply is not clear to me if people are WAKING UP and feeling that anger and remorse (which would lead me to one set of conclusions) or if, like me, they were angry at themselves and felt remorse IN THE DREAM ITSELF. Upon close reading of the various descriptions of the dreams, it seems that many were like me and got mad at themselves while still dreaming.

I really want to finish this post, but I have to run to a meeting. Gonna post this (rather than risk losing it) and hopefully finish it up this evening or tomorrow.


Joined: 18 Jan 2009, 22:05

19 Dec 2010, 09:19 #257

What a fascinating post, Stratsquire    

Even after nine years and more, I can remember vividly not the detail of my dreams but the huge effect they had on me. Incidentally, I also well remember intending to lie about my relapese in order to retain my membership of Freedom!!!

Yes, I was uncontrollably angry with myself, and I am quite clear that I was angry whilst the dream continued, and also when I woke up. In the dreaming state there were occasions when I shouted at myself, almost as though I had become two separate people - one the relapser, the other the prosecutor. Then when I woke, very often I would lie in bed for a minute or more in a deep state of despondency, gritting my teeth in anger. I recall one occasion when I got up, got dressed, and was making my breakfast before I suddenly realised that I hadn't relapsed after all. I'm sure I have said many times in this thread what a powerful effect the smoking dream had on me, and my quit  

It had never occurred to me, before your great exposition above, that almost none of the smoking dreamers have dreamed of the point at which they relapsed, the moment they actually lit that cigarette and smoked it. Could it be that none of us could actually visualise that act? Maybe we were so firmly determined that it would never happen that we could not, even in our subconscious state, allow ourselves to glimpse the act?

I'm looking forward to your continuation, counsellor  

Joined: 03 Jan 2011, 22:56

28 Jan 2011, 14:15 #258

...didn't involve smoking at all!  However cigarettes were falling from the sky in a rain of temptation   
I've noticed the smoking dreams dissipated after the first couple of weeks nicotine-free - what a relief!  A short time into recovery and even a dream-ciggie disgusts me.

Free and Healing for Twenty Seven Days, 23 Hours and 15 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 1 Day and 22 Hours, by avoiding the use of 559 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $420.02.

(edited to remove code stretching screen too wide)
Last edited by bexjc on 28 Jan 2011, 16:36, edited 2 times in total.

Joined: 19 Feb 2011, 20:16

06 Mar 2011, 10:00 #259

Thanks, Joel! Very interesting and informative. I haven't had another smoking dream, but it's good to know I can come back to reread this if/when I do.

Joined: 13 Sep 2010, 22:43

16 Sep 2011, 15:05 #260

I can remember so many of these in my early months of quitting.  They were so real I would wake up and be so dissapointed in myself for smoking. 
Once, I was even ready to get on this site and confess and relinquish my posting rights before I finally realized that it really was only a dream. 
I am amazed at how real they can be.  I had not had any until a couple weeks ago as I was coming up on my 1 year mark.  Once again it was so real
I was griping at myself,  I couldn't believe I had almost made it to a year and had given it.  Luckily I did realize that it was only a dream--again. 

Once again, I have been so glad to have found this site and be able to learn what to anticipate as I go through my quit.  I know not everyone
experiences the same things, but to get on and see that things that I have gone through are not abnormal has been a big help over the last year.

Leigh - Free and Healing for One Year, Six Days, 15 Hours and 53 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 32 Days and 6 Hours, by avoiding the use of 9292 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $2,594.61.

Joined: 06 Jan 2012, 04:43

13 Jan 2012, 09:11 #261

I'm glad I read this, because the other night I had a nightmare that I smoked like ten cigarettes in a row.  I woke up sweating and out of breath.  I thought I was losing my mind until I read this article.  If I didn't have this site I would probably be smoking again.  Thanks again Joel for your life saving advice.  It's only been 12 days for me but it feels great, I'm ready for a lifetime of freedom.          NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!

Joined: 18 Jul 2012, 16:21

12 Oct 2012, 16:41 #262

Thanks to all who have added to this great thread.  I have been quit for 99 days and last night had my fourth smoking dream. The dream plots are minimal and variable -- I might be sitting round a table with friends or just walking down a street chatting with somebody when I suddenly realize I am smoking.  As stratsquire observed a few posts above, there is no conscious decision to smoke within the dream; the dream begins with the discovery I am already smoking, and within the dream I feel a whole host of intense emotions,  the strongest of which is an intense disappointment in myself for having blown my good quit. I feel anger at myself, contempt as well, and feel utterly defeated by my weakness. These smoking dreams are nightmares of sorts, but unlike other kinds of nightmares, they are not dispelled upon waking. Normally, if I wake briefly in the night between sleep cycles, whatever dream I was having vaporizes or is immediately understood to be a dream. These smoking dreams, however, linger in a singular way. It is not that I resume the dream when I go back to sleep as sometimes happens with other dreams. It is that the belief that I am a relapsed smoker has become part of my dreamer identity, and it is not until I am fully awake in the morning that I realize I have not in fact, in physical fact, smoked. Even then, mixed in with the relief, is a bit of demoralized feeling as if I had lapsed in my heart if not in deed.  

I can't think of any other kind of dream that reaches into my identity the way these smoking dreams do. 

The positive takeaway is increased awareness of how much I do not want to ever smoke again. The negative is an erosion of  confidence in my quit, as if the dream is saying, you can't do it. If I were complacent, I could turn this to my advantage. I am, however, a long way from complacent.


Joined: 29 Jan 2013, 02:07

08 Feb 2013, 14:32 #263

"It kinds of gives you a sense of how bad you would feel if you actually do go back to smoking. Not physically speaking but psychologically". Yes! They are nightmarish. I identify so much with this one!

Joined: 09 Feb 2015, 10:36

10 Feb 2015, 08:45 #264

Thanks for all the posts. I learn a lot here.

Joined: 07 Feb 2015, 08:48

17 Feb 2015, 08:26 #265

It took 5 weeks and one day to experience this. Thanks to reading a lot the dream came and went as a anticipated event.
There was no joy in smoking, it was simple and fast opportunity mixed with weakness with instant regret and fear of having to smoke again.
I still do not and have not had a single craving or desire for even a single puff. Smoking a whole cigarette, or more than one like in the dream is completely unimaginable.