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 was 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??!!!'
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 2-3 pairs of comfy pants that are not fit for outside of the house. I LOVE them! 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