Relaxation triggers …

5 o’clock was bloody hard for me in the early days of getting sober. Very bloody hard. Because this was the point in the day when I would usually start cracking into the wines. It was what I’d done for many many years. Five O’clock being Wine O’clock was a fully intrenched habit (read: addiction).

In the latter years of my drinking I was mostly a full-time housewife & mother. I had a bit of part-time work and part-time study thrown into the mix but most days at 5pm I’d be at home in the kitchen doing a million things at once. Preparing meals, wiping faces, changing nappies, running the bath, filling the dishwasher, turning on lights, pulling curtains, tidying up, listening to the radio, and drinking wine.

Drinking the wine was important to me. It made me feel like a grown up amidst  the domestic chaos. It reminded me of my footloose and fancy-free days when I’d be out in the bars in the evening. Now stuck at home I felt like I deserved this lovely glass of wine. I felt like it would relax me and mellow me out. I thought it was a normal, ordinary habit that everyone did and it was no problem. Wine was my friend.

Except it wasn’t and often my one glass turned into 5-6 and I’d get sloppy, sleep like crap and spend the next day feeling like shit only to rinse & repeat over and over, day after day, until my 5 o’clock habit got so nasty and heavy and deceitful that I decided to end it.

And so I did. I gave up drinking and started the transition to becoming a happy, calm sober person. Only problem was.. I felt anything but happy & calm in the early days! And 5pm kept arriving every. bloody. day.

It would creep up like a nasty friend and then slap me in the face.

‘I’M HERE!!’ 5 o’clock would scream. ‘NOW WHERE’S MY WINE??!!!’

(not sure about 5 o’clock being able to talk but hopefully you get my gist)

The main problem with 5 o’clock being wine-less was that I felt I’d lost my relaxation trigger. That first wine at 5pm did something very important to me. It lowered my shoulders, made me feel like I was caring for myself and not just my kids (ha ha great way to care for yourself, necking shit booze, but anyway..), and helped make the busy stresses of the day melt away somewhat.

In short it chilled me out.

Without the wine I felt I couldn’t relax. I’d lost my magical liquid that gave me some respite from my busy life. I’d lost that special drink that eased the pressure. I’d lost my relaxation trigger.

So I had to find new ones. And I have. I have some very effective relaxation triggers that I implement now when 5 o’clock is approaching. They are not fancy. They are not hard. But they work for me. They are authentic ways that I send myself a message ‘you can start to unwind now’. They do not mess with the chemicals in my brain, numb my senses or cause me to disconnect with my family. They are my new relaxation triggers and I love them.

* I put my comfy pants on. This is a biggie for me. I have 2 pairs of comfy pants that are not fit for outside of the house. I LOVE them! A black pair of yoga pants that are super loose at the top and flared at the bottom and a grey pair of track pants that Mr D bought me in the States (I call them my ‘Kardashian pants’) – fluffy on the inside with elastic at the ankles (ew!). When I go down to my bedroom at 5pm to take off my jeans or dress or whatever I’ve been wearing that day, and put on one of these pairs of my comfy pants I am sending myself a big fat message that now is the time to unwind baby!! Slippers are optional depending on the weather. Loose top also optional depending on what I’ve been wearing throughout the day.

* I cosy-up the house by turning on lamps and closing curtains/blinds. All part of the winding-down routine.

* I turn on the radio to listen to the 5 o’clock news. This has been my habit forever and I have stuck with it. I feel connected with the outside world and it’s a lovely background hum to my kitchen activity.

* If I’m not in the mood for the news I’ll plug my phone into the kitchen speakers and listen to some music. Something cheesy for me!

* I make myself a drink. Usually something with soda water (lemon or lime, ginger, always ice cubes).

* I won’t answer any emails or messages unless they’re urgent or easy/low key

* Sometimes I light a scented candle or put on my oil burner. Sorry if that makes me sound like a hippy, but it’s true! I’ll especially do this if the day has been really crappy and I feel I need to increase my relaxation triggers.

Of course I’m not always home at 5pm (although mostly I am) so these triggers don’t work on the days I’m outside of the house. But on the days I’m at home these are my new habits.

But if I’m honest it’s all about the comfy pants. Comfy pants are my new ‘glass of wine’. Ha!

What about you? Do you have any particular relaxation triggers?

Love, Mrs D xxx

20 Comments
  1. Felicity 4 years ago

    I have comfy pants, slippers and my dressing gown/snuggy… I get in from work, put my phone on silent, put on my comfys, then get into my bed, read my book for a bit and then meditate ( I know that sounds a bit hippyish haha, but it simply means clearing thoughts from the day, everytime one pops in to my head I put it in on leaf and imagine it floating downstream all the while concentrating on my breathing)…. Sometimes I may fall asleep but try not to. Usually do this for about an hour then feel super chilled. After will get up and have a nice alkalising herbal tea and get into cooking dinner with scented candles and some nice tunes on the stereo 🙂 If I’ve had a particularly intense day I will often have a hot shower before lying down and clearing my thoughts.

  2. SusanG 5 years ago

    Comfy pants and more reading of your book tonight – thanks

  3. Stevieboy 5 years ago

    Hi Mrs D,
    Your post about relaxation made me think about how I manage it, and I realize one way is music – either listening to an old favourite, or playing some. The other way is to get in my lovely reclining chair with a good book: not a new one, but one I’ve read before and enjoyed. It’s interesting how if it is a good book then it’s way better next time, and I’m quickly in another world.

  4. Anonymous 5 years ago

    I have suffered for years with ptsd I have now got my triggers down to a few days usually over the weekend….when the anxiety and depression kick in….I just read this post … And realised it can help me understand my problem…it dosent matter that I am not a recovering alcoholic
    I can use these amazing ideas from these courageous people to help me get through the weekends…..love it….did not realise I would find help like this from alcoholics anonymous …I think maybe there are lots off cross overs of ideas that can help lots of people with mental health problems as well….thankyou

    • Anonymous 4 years ago

      ive got Ptsd too. I thought id say hi as dont know many people with it. Ive gotten through drug n alcohol recovery but still a struggle, but a goid one!!! In my therapy i learned 80% of people use a form off addiction to cope. I can leave the drugs and alcohol now but the anxieties ongoing. Walking and Yoga ( or any thing to do with moving) helps.

    • hazel7277 5 years ago

      I too suffer with anxiety its hard for me going places that’s my trigger. How do u manage yours

  5. Free2bMe 5 years ago

    I’m going to make it through tonight with the help of 5pm comfy pants. Thanks for the advice. This is just what I needed to hear today.

  6. Scared 5 years ago

    Hmm, I have a confession…I skip the comfy pants and go straight to PJ pants. And sometimes, it’s 4:00 not 5:00! It depends how badly I need a relaxation trigger 🙂

  7. mummaofthree 5 years ago

    Oh I need some comfy pants!! I looked today on-line (Glassons used to have brilliant yoga pants) but I couldn’t find them (sob!)

  8. jewala 5 years ago

    Hmm, an eye opener, I need to watch out for my times of stress and then create a healthy unwinding ritual to help me relax, won’t mind starting here, with my own comfy pants, lol, keep d light shining mrs d, and God bless u.

  9. Freesia 5 years ago

    I feel there is a brilliant new business possibility here.., we could call them ‘serenity pants’ – or ‘sober pants’ 😉
    Its all about a symbolic ritual huh, and a physical act to shift from your busy day, to a slower pace, for me I like to light a scented candle or the burner with lavender (yes i AM a hippy) the aroma calms me 🙂

  10. Rayah 5 years ago

    Love this blog!! I’m new to sober life Mrs D and so thankful I’ve found it. I’ve attempted to stop drinking on a number of occasions and it’s usually around the 5pm time when I stumble. I work f/t and have three kids and I always feel pressure to drink at that time. I’m 7 days sober now and feeling pretty low. Headache, achy body & lethargic. I’m snapping at the kids and my husband between 4.30pm and 9.30pm (between school & kids bedtime). I work 12 hr shifts as a nurse and find those days easier not to drink but still prone to having a few on arrival home at 9pm. I do the ‘comfy pants’ !!! lol I will follow your advice on the rest because I can’t stand poisoning myself any longer. Thanks again

  11. Sfran 5 years ago

    Thank you, great post. I am still struggling so I don’t feel I can add anything, but I will try some of your ideas!

  12. Gilbert 5 years ago

    Off with the skinny jeans and on with the harem pants.Love it.

  13. bingerwhinger 5 years ago

    I absolutely love this,comfy pants! So strange reading this that it’s exactly what Ive started doing subconsciously, everyday now at around 5 or 6 its my Eeyore pj fleecy set i dont sleep in them as too hot but so snug to walk around in haha! brilliant post and lovely to read xxx

  14. KAM 5 years ago

    Hmmm..I never thought about a routine to relax myself. Right now …my evening routine is the same just without booze. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not. So much of my life surrounded around booze and I would always be the one to initiate booze. I may have to switch things up a bit. Thanks!

  15. Prudence 5 years ago

    I love comfy pants but don’t usually put them on that early coz I live by myself and run business from home and don’t like to get caught out looking too sloppy (till a bit later). So what I do at about 5pm is walk away from my desk, get a nice raspberry and lemon drink with ice and soda and mint, a couple of flash cheeses and crackers and I watch the Chaser and then Millionaire Hotseat and try and kid myself that I’m real smart when I get a couple right. I really enjoy that hour if the phones aren’t busy interrupting me all the time. Then the news is on channel one, then I switch to channel 3 for Campbell Live and usually while the sports news is on I half watch while I get myself some dinner. And I read all the posts somehow in between and in the ads and before I know it it has got late and I go to bed (and watch a movie). It sounds pretty boring actually but it seems to be working for me, in my new much changed life!!!

    • Jasminasper 5 years ago

      I like the comfy pants ! I must do that !

  16. Sez 5 years ago

    Wow when I read this it sounds exactly like me, my wine o clock starts at 6pm, but not anymore, I’ve just started my sober journey, I’m totally going to try these strategies, the comfy pants, scented candle! Thanks

    • Jasminasper 5 years ago

      Comfy pants is catching on lol

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