Longterm recovery and trouble sleeping - anyone have experience with this?



Hi there,
My husband is in recovery for five years now. The last two years were the first where he didn’t have a decreasingly-so, but what I’d still call significant relapse on cocaine. He always drank, but that wasn’t the completely corrupting addictive substance for him.

Now he drinks to slow his brain and get a good night sleep. I’m not concerned about addiction with this pattern (now) but I know it’s not the health ideal and I know it mustn’t make him feel very good waking up like that. It’s generally not more than one bottle of wine a night and he has a rule for himself that it can’t be every night of the week - so only has 3 bottles in the house for a week (since he orders them from a delivery - coronatimes situation…).

Anyway, I’m really wondering if others have seen sleep problems in their loved one’s recovery and if they’ve had any success in finding routines / techniques that help?
Have others seen this pattern?

Thanks for sharing!



When I was getting sober I had trouble sleeping. Detoxing from psych meds, daily pot use, and years of misusing and self medicating-- I remember having no energy during the day and not being tired enough to sleep at night. It helped me to get outside and go for walks, to sweat it all out and to get some positive brain stuff going on. About 6 months into my recovery I joined a gym and really started using my daytime energy and ultimately got on a really good sleep schedule. Taking care of my body helped iron out some of the mental stuff.

(I have also heard that alcohol can have a negative effect on sleep. Maybe something to consider aside from the addiction aspect of drinking)



Ugh don’t I know it (facepalm)! :slight_smile:

Thanks for sharing your experience @jg12


Agreed to your point that addict has some sleep issue in the staring of the recovery years. For this you should continued with the therapy for long time of period. Therapy includes medicine suggested by Psychiatrist, Psycho education by Psychologist, Support group like AA/NA or this village group. With the help of these addict can control their cravings, routine & he Can Understand the severity of addiction.
Another part we should understood that addict can’t use any addictive substance because he can replace with his regular substance or may be because of this he can start with his substance. In this situation using alcohol is not a good idea because may be his addiction will shift to alcohol or he will not get that much high from alcohol which is getting from his own substance, so then he will start consuming his old substance and had a lapses or relapses.
So its better to take a medical help for these kind of issue and keep faith in his recovery and therapy.
This my personal experience, I am a Psychologist, from last six years working wih the addicts.
Thank you.


Thank you so much … I was about to say the same thing. And addict is an addict is an addict. Just because that is not their “drug of choice” mean absolutely nothing.

If you get the time, go to Amazon (or any bookstore) & buy The Alcoholic / Addict Within: Our Brain, Genetics, Psychology and the Twelve Steps as Psychotherapy. This book has a wealth of information & is by a physician who is also a recovering alcoholic/addict. It explains so much & is not only good for the person in recovery to read but for ANYONE who loves this person.


I appreciate your input, but that hasn’t been my experience with this human being, necessarily :slight_smile:

I don’t hold that he’ll never slip back into the clutches. But I’ve seen moderation, and I think that there’s more to be understood about it. I do also believe that different substance types interact differently with different personalities. Speaking from my personal experience, what I’ve witnessed and understanding to date!

  • I think the stigma around addiction makes it easier to use broad strokes versus exploring in the grey areas! My goal is that as a society we drive towards greater scientific understanding of addiction.


Alcohol can act as a depressant short term to get a person to sleep but it is not a restful sleep. It interrupts the circadian rhythm & blocks REM sleep.

Also alcohol is still a mood/mind altering drug so he is only potentially swapping one addiction for another. And most addicts who use a “non drug of choice” make their way back to their drug of choice. They justify their actions by saying “oh I was never addicted to that” but their addiction is not limited to just their DOC.

I suggested a book below in another comment. Download the sample off of Amazon to get an idea of what the book is about.

Good luck.


@Jane yes I agree with @jg12 in that alcohol can have a negative impact on sleep. My S/O has major sleep issues from drinking. I also used to drink quite a bit of wine at night and found my sleep patterns were getting more and more disturbed. Just something to think about.

For me, quitting drinking helped a ton. In fact, I have RLS and I found alcohol consumption worsened that as well which In turn made for some sleepless nights. For my S/O who suffers from severe alcoholism, he gets better sleep during periods of sobriety, but still struggles to find a good solution and he hasn’t been sober enough to really give his body and mind a chance to heal.


My husband is sober for a little over a week now, but this is how he started drinking and it got worse and worse. It’s good that it is not an every day habit for your husband. My husband has struggled with insomnia his whole adult life. Sadly, he is relying on sleeping pills that they prescribed him at detox. I really hope he can get off them soon. I find that no matter what night time routines I recommend to my husband, he wants to decide for himself how to spend his evenings. He has been drinking chamomile tea and taking liquid vitamins that are supposed to promote sleep that I bought him.


Trouble sleeping? Hello. As soon as I became a parent (30 yrs ago) I stopped full on “restful” sleep. But… maybe he can try listening to old time radio programs. Instead of thinking over his concerns he can be listening to that old time dialogue… “Darla Went to the Beach House?” and it is just simpy enough to fall asleep without racing, thoughts and worries. Good luck. OTR (Old Time Radio) out of Antioch Michigan is a great station- a different genre every hour…