Getting through wine o’clock

Late afternoon is often the hardest time to avoid drinking. This Sober Toolbox is a space for sharing tips on how to beat cravings, and for discovering new techniques that have worked for others. If you're looking for more discussion, interactions and feedback, head inside our Members Feed. That's where the real-time conversations take place.

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1,260 Comments
  1. Nan 9 months ago

    Glad I found this site. I have a hard time between 4&5 that’s when the cravings are the strongest. Love to cook and drink wine however, a bottle a day (sometimes more) for the last 5 years has caused stomach problem…acid reflux and gastritis.
    I have tried quitting several times over the last two years. I now have 5 days sober and want to stay that way.

    • Morehealthy 8 months ago

      Hi Nan, i am in the same boat. A bottle (sometimes more) a day for many years. I keep saying red wine is good for me. But i know a bottle a day isnt. So glad i found this site

  2. Tawdrey 9 months ago

    I used to take a warm bath, with candles etc. Also jumping on to sites like this helped.
    Now there is no wine o’clock in my life. It gets better, so hang in there!

  3. LeslieLily 9 months ago

    I wake up in the morning every morning and tell myself I am not going to drink tonight, I don’t need to and it makes me feel gross. I have to work from home in the evenings and need to keep my head clear, and I have kids that wake up at 6:00am that I need to be fresh for. When I don’t drink I go to bed at a reasonable time, I read until I fall asleep and I wake up feeling refreshed. When I drink I stay up too late, I often also snack, I don’t read, I pass out asleep instead and I wake up feeling like total crap. I’m a worse parent when I drink and then can’t handle the next morning and end up slumping around on the couch. Right now I’m not doing well getting through the evenings even though I keep myself very busy in the evening (I just am very busy with a beer in my hand at the same time. 🙁 ) Looking for any other ideas to distract myself and get out of this awful habit.

    • shinyhappypeople 9 months ago

      Hi @LeslieLily, I relate so much to this. I am fine up till around 4pm. After 7pm, if I can get through till then, I am fine. But those few hours… Ugh! Last night I struggled through, not without tears, and 2 nights last week I managed. I have a 4 year old and am finding myself so so impatient and I hate it. I know if I can stick it out I’ll be better in the long run but it’s so so hard.

  4. Angelz 9 months ago

    Just found this website today, not sure where I am at with my drinking, I can go 2-5 days without drinking however will drink 1-2bottles when I do. I am concerned about this as some weeks I will do this 2-3 times a week. I have reflected on what I might be trying to escape and that’s tough facing that. I find it gets me through facing the hard stuff like lots of kids fighting, complaining and at each other and then also an absent husband who consistently sobotages our finances by not doing the work he should.

    • Tawdrey 9 months ago

      It’s easy for me to say now, because I remember when I was like you, and it was a real struggle, but when you drink you have all your problems, plus the problem of drinking too much. If you stop drinking you’ll still have the other problems, minus the drinking problem. Eventually you’ll be able to cope better with the other problems too.

  5. Noodle71 9 months ago

    I never realised this was such a common danger time, which is a good thing, I think! But Yup 3-4 I’m clock watching, weighing up the families movements, wondering if they’re distracted enough for them to not realise I’m already drinking. But that is a fierce pull at that time, and it’s getting earlier. I’m only into day two but I’ve focused on how tired it makes me, I’m asleep on the couch by 7 after 1-2 bottles of wine, waking every 20-30 mins, have another drink then back out till bed time which can be up to 2am. Considering I’m up again at 6 every morning you can imagine I don’t look too flash. And man the hangovers. Today a few iced tonic with lime and lemon bitters in my favourite big wine glass has got me through, but definately eating is the biggest help I’ve found. Cravings must be linked to that afternoon slump in sugar levels, if I can get a good dinner down me early those cravings almost completely disappear. If I can’t eat straight away a walk out with the dog deep breathing or even go in the shower and have a body scrub for as long as possible, also helps. Someone mentioned a Milo, I can imagine that helping too with the sugar and calorie boost.

  6. Maxie 9 months ago

    Sometimes I feel like my desire to drink has a life of its own . If has been such a powerful habit that gets to be its strongest in the early evening. A lot of time I do not even want to drink, but I still do and do not even enjoy it. I was told to have a written distraction plan , something that takes at least 1/2 hour. I am going to try that to see if it helps. The thought of one day at a time, is super, but there are times that I just have to do 1/2 hr at a time. I hope it will help.

  7. mopar 10 months ago

    Hi all, I starting day one right now, really need the help, I start work at 5 am home by 130 pm, which makes it unbearable, wife is out
    Of town for 2 weeks and now iam drinking almost a 26 vodka a day.
    All I think about is getting that buzz and I look rough now so bloated, baggy eyes etc.
    Good luck to you all, happy I found this site going to stick to it and see if I can break this cycle.

    • Glenn 10 months ago

      Day 1 for me too today. 3PM started to get the cravings. So far I’ve managed by buying sparkling water, I’ve got past the urge at least. I’ve also been looking for inspiration for things to add to my water and have found a brilliant recipe for Kawakawa, Ginger and Lemon syrup (well actually it’s for popsicals but you have to make syrup first) on Maori TV’s website. I’m gonna give it a blast tonight as an additive to my water.

  8. soberup 10 months ago

    I’d like to announce this morning i made it through day/night 1. Took me ages to get to sleep though. Feeling tired this morning. Just thinking of a plan for tonight when wine o’clock arrives. One day at a time note to self lock in one step at a time ask for help. Amen

    • Michael 8 months ago

      My Day 1 is today. I am a GP and if I stay sober I will be able to advise my patients about their alcohol intake and not be hypocritical. One definition of being an alcoholic is if you drink more than your GP🤔
      I didn’t have many alcoholics in my practice

    • DaisyM 9 months ago

      Well done!! How’s the week been? Insomnia a very common side effect of stopping drinking I read

      • KathyF 9 months ago

        This is so interesting. I had 4 consecutive alcohol free days and am finding it hard to feel sleepy enough for bed … it’s 1.25 am and I’m still wide awake … This has been since I abstained. Why????

  9. missjazzxoxo 10 months ago

    I used to drink fizzy at that time I’d start craving

  10. Bridgett 10 months ago

    Mocktails have saved my life. I especially like ones with a half tablespoon or so of apple cider vinegar, which gives the drink a nice bite. And a sweet, salty or crunchy snack helps too. Once I get past wine o’clock, I am fine again, so learning that the craving will PASS has been freeing. Best of luck to everyone here!

    • barnmomma 10 months ago

      Hi Bridgett. Thanks for the reminder. I had great success before substituting kombucha or strong ginger beer (AF) for wine. I’m trying that tonight again. I also remember that I used to eat dinner very early because, after eating, I never wanted wine. That’s another tool I’m going to incorporate tonight, as well. Best of luck to all.

  11. Cyclopse 10 months ago

    Its 16:30 at the moment and I am on my first beer of the day, I am off work until Sat so no prob….I have no children no worries but I can feel a pattern developing for my days off which all revolve around drink…I need to break the cycle

  12. lauren 10 months ago

    the witching hours are the worst, 430pm onwards. need to reward myself for making it through the day with my toddlers. need something to take the edge off getting me through the dinner, bath, bed routine. one beer or one small glass of wine inevitably ends up with me swigging wine from the bottle out of fridge while kids or hubby not looking. by dinnertime 6pm I’m wasted. eat a small amount then its all over, no more interest. when i am AF the anxiety around the situation and the next day disappears. I use a milo at 4pm, inviting non drinking friends over for dinner at 4pm, or having a bath at 4pm with them. it throws the routine out. not always successful but trying new things daily.

  13. chasingthedandelion 10 months ago

    I am one week in and I am finding this the hardest part. From 3 or 4 in the afternoon while at work my mind will flit to the fact that I can’t have a drink (actually a whole bottle of wine) when I get home. I have started having an afternoon tea break at work and having something to eat. Going home hungry was an old habit I used to help the wine have more effect. Sad but true!

    • LeslieLily 9 months ago

      Same, I eat less in the afternoon so I can feel the effect of alcohol faster and I tend to get drunk really fast on purpose. Today I have a hang over from last night so I probably won’t drink (I usually skip a night if I have an especially annoying hangover) but one thing I have been reminding myself of is that usually by the time I go to bed because I’m too drunk to stay awake, I already regret it and feel like crap and am mad at myself. Reminding myself over and over that this is how it almost always ends. Hoping checking back here during this time of the evening will also help me.

    • soberup 10 months ago

      Morning i too would have my last meal of the day at lunchtime which is usually 1pm. Just so my wine has better effect on me. The next morning my head is pounding cause i smoke as well. This is my second day booze free and smoke free… i guess in a couple of days if i make it without the booze is to acknowledge why i started drinking daily on my own.

  14. AndIan 10 months ago

    I am on a cycle, 3 days off and 4 on but the 4 are very very heavy. I struggle at around 5pm.

  15. Bobswife 10 months ago

    I try to stay busy and sometimes I will make a mock tail

  16. Sobrina 11 months ago

    My first post in here. I’m on Day #65 (this time). Once did 474 days, but I think this time I’m not going back. I don’t want to start over! I have to say I wish I had never started up again. I had so much joy being sober after the first few months. I remember the first 2-3 being especially difficult, but somewhere along after that, It got easier and now I can’t wait for that time again!

    My toolbox for getting through wine time (which had gotten to be any time after noon if I wasn’t working) includes seltzer water, podcasts, music, projects, reading blogs , prayer and emailing my sober penpal. I’m willing to do anything that helps! I know that joy is there and I want it back! Glad to be here.

    • Maxie Westgate 9 months ago

      You sound like you are very strong and determined . Good luck to you.

    • Bobswife 10 months ago

      I try to stay busy, go for walks with my dog and making a mock tail helps also

  17. JaniceStonebridge 11 months ago

    I have a stock of non alcoholic drinks. I go to the fridge and pour one into a nice glass with ice and lemon. I mix some together to add interest. Cranberry juice for instance with no calorie tonic water. I add something pretty too…strawberry or other fruit , lemon etc . Tastes good. I enjoy it and it’s guilt free.

  18. whichisnice 11 months ago

    I took a 30 second sound bite from an inspirational song I enjoy and made it my 4 p.m. alarm. on my phone. It should spark a joyful reminder at just the moment each day. May you all have a beautiful af day!

  19. Misscp 11 months ago

    I’m starting Day 1. I have a bad habit, not an addiction, and I know habit based practice works for me so I’m aiming to make new habits, swapping wine for water! I drink wine to quell my anxiety and stress levels, despite the fact that I know it doesn’t help the next day. I’m starting with soda water and fresh orange slices. I now have bouts of gastritis when I drink alcohol and I feel embarrassed after some evenings drinking because of my behaviour (even though no-one says anything). I’d like to change my story, I know I am the only one who can….

    • Bobswife 10 months ago

      I can relate. Up until the last one or two years my personality didn’t change a whole lot with alcohol, I just had fun but more recently I turn into a mean person at times which makes me so sad I don’t understand and I am not that person. Good luck to you and your journey

    • JudyB 10 months ago

      Sounds just like me. I’m starting Day 1 too. How are you going so far?

  20. Shell 12 months ago

    I try and eat earlier, or have dinner prepared and I have a special non alcoholic drink ready to go.
    I also listen to different motivational things.

  21. chanwats27 12 months ago

    Me too!!!! I have found that making a special nonalcoholic drink (for me it is sparkling water and fruit juice) and listen to sober podcasts or read blogs when i feel weak. Also have started evening workouts just to change things up. One day at a time 🙂

  22. njcopel 12 months ago

    Hi, I am fine any other part of the day except late afternoon. That’s when I always pulled off the cork. Tired after a long day of work, I “deserved” to drink??!! Now I take the dog out, and make diner and then chill. Doc prescribed me a very small amount of klonopin which takes the edge of when I need it. It has been now going on 7 months without a drop. Still a struggle. This requires GRIT.

    • Bobswife 10 months ago

      Good for you!!!

  23. jenl 12 months ago

    Reading all of these posts is so helpful. My story is like so many others. I want a better life. Amazing full. Not small and constricted. I will beat wine o’clock.

    • tamsil 12 months ago

      Me too!!! Day 1 for me! Good luck! I’ll be thinking of you sipping my tea.

      • JudyB 10 months ago

        day 1 for me too. If you can do it, I can too.

  24. TheBee 12 months ago

    I make sure I am not hungry as I’ve discovered that I often reach for the wine – especially sweeter options like rose or white – when I am hungry. As a vegan who doesn’t eat carbs either, wine is my ‘sugar’. When I am full I don’t even think of it but it has become a habit to have a drink first as I love the taste. So, if I don’t want to drink I focus on eating veggies with vegan dips and thus can ‘ride out’ the wave of desire. I also sometimes fold myself into Yoga practice followed my meditation… although that sometimes brings out the demons to chat! Tough but more beneficial in the end.

  25. NoJudge 12 months ago

    I’m only 10 days AF, so all I’ve done while cooking dinner so far is fill a glass of water and keep it close. I take sips of that rather than my typical wine while watching Joe Elliot’s 12 steps on youtube. ??‍♀️So far so good. Step 3 is tomorrow. I don’t even know if I’m an alcoholic or not yet, but it all makes great sense — so it’s powerful to watch during the most difficult time of the day + a non-alcoholic beverage (the other day was Perrier).

  26. Cocotte 1 year ago

    Have a snack to eat.

  27. sharicooking 1 year ago

    It was hard for me the first week, but since I have made new habits that I look forward to I am no longer anxious at 5:00. I am also a lot more relaxed driving home from work because I am not in a hurry to get home and pour myself some wine. I come home and walk my sweet dog.

  28. Nich00 1 year ago

    Day1 for me. I can go weeks and months without drinking but then inevitably I have 1 drink which turns into a bottle, which turns into a bottle of wine most nights. I need to stop.

  29. Freedom4ab 1 year ago

    Starting today, I’m about to start preparing dinner and I know it’s usually wine o’clock time now. Feeling the pressure

  30. luxkiwi 1 year ago

    15 months sober, relapsed twice over the past 6 months. Sick and tired of being sick and tired.
    Day one I really want this!!!
    I am over the daily pain and mental torment of active drinking.
    I used AA in the past but reticent to return I felt it to dogmatic lots of great stuff within the program but felt the pressure of attending so many meetings hard and heartbreaking hearing everyone’s painful stories all week long.
    I also found too many people judging others and not that anon in a small community.

    I want my recovery to be more focused on what brings joy and wholeness to me.
    Sit in the light and follow my bliss.
    Working through my shadows with love and compassion.
    ?❤️?

    • pattyw 12 months ago

      Check out Jason Vale’s book, Kick the Drink,,,Easily. Really opens your eyes to the what alcohol really is….the most addictive, legal, and hyped DRUG on the planet. It made a huge impact on me.

      patty oxox

      • Freddie 6 months ago

        Thankyou yes I will. I need something to shock me to reality started yesterday but blew it on track tday got past 5/7 pm yay

    • tamsil 12 months ago

      I feel the same way, looking for alternatives to AA, while there’s a lot I love I did few very judged….

    • sharicooking 1 year ago

      Dear Luxkiwi, Have you read (or listened to, I like Audible books) the Naked Mind by Annie Grace? It was easy for me to quit my daily habit once I knew the science behind my addiction and alcohol. It kind of was like wanting to eat my favorite food once I found out it had hair or crap in it. LOL. Does that make sense? Willpower is no longer required because fundamentally I know how bad alcohol is and the addictive aspects of it. I also recommend Never Enough and the Biology of Desire. Both of these books help in understanding the science of alcohol and addiction. You can do it!!!!

      • Gingergal 1 year ago

        Thanks heaps for these suggested reads. I benefit greatly from learning more

  31. totemdreamer 1 year ago

    I just joined and am on day 2, even though I have had many failed attempts before I think this group will definitely give me more knowledge and determination. I think I’m just tired of all the years I feel I wasted, the hangovers, the lying, the blacking out. And yet I always worked and felt like I was keeping it a secret, I’m sure everyone knew. My drink of choice at first was just beer, so, it didn’t feel like I could be an alcoholic drinking beer, it progressed to gin the last few years. The afternoon is hard, it’s when I feel like making my first one. I’m trying to focus on getting healthy, eating better etc. I hope it helps

  32. ShelleyHP 1 year ago

    Starting Day 1 – been 4 years in the waiting and I am dreading 5pm wine o’clock.

  33. JS123 1 year ago

    I am 24 days AF and am discovering that the desire for wine at the end of the day has diminished considerably. It was really hard in the beginning but everyday gets easier. What helps me is to drink a thermoflask of yogi kava tea which is extremely relaxing. I have been taking it when I go out for dinner which really helps. Now if only I could take it to a cocktail party (my first AF) that I am going to this weekend…

    • NoJudge 12 months ago

      Your post inspired me to order some on a amazon today! ??

  34. pattyw 1 year ago

    I had 8 days then gave in over the weekend. I was just feeling so empty and sad (so much work to do). Day 2 again today. The biggest thing that gets me through the witching hours is eating early…even if it’s 4:30. And right now I’m not focusing on eating super healthy….it’s more about feeling satisfied. Once I eat, I don’t think about booze. And I’ve known this for 30 years but have rarely put it into action. Sigh…..

  35. delle 1 year ago

    I have a huge tolerance for alcohol I can neck a bottle of white wine in about 40 minutes followed by about 5 beers female in my 40s this happens twice sometimes 3 times a week and I manage to make work. I see posts of people guilty after necking a bottle of wine. I’ve got a lot of work to do.?

  36. Seabass 1 year ago

    I am 140 days in to this journey today, and let me tell you, it has been an awakening. There are many questions about myself that have been answered through sobriety. Things that have been an absolute mystery, shrouded in a haze of alcohol induced grandeur and facade. Alcohol had slowly infiltrated every part of my life, from the moment I woke up in the morning to the moment I passed out…alcohol was there. My addiction thrived sometime after drink number 2 and before drink number 8, when “I’m at the top of my game.” I’d tell myself “I’m handsome, have a great job, make lots of money, great cook, great musician, the world is in the palm of my hands.” I mean, I had confidence, real confidence, and it was glorious. Its this dangerous period of time that fed my addiction and compelled me to drink more. But here’s the catch. Remember earlier when I said “facade”? I meant it. All of the great feelings of pride and accomplishment are bullshit. They’re fake. They are…a veneer. What’s happening on the outside is that I’m becoming a bigger asshole with every drink. A deplorable son of a bitch that treats his beautiful wife with little respect, ignores his kids, fucks up dinner, spends his limited means on crap, sleeps dreadfully and wakes up hungover to another day at his shitty job. That is the reality of what drinking gave me. Shame, guilt, remorse, regret, fear, anxiety, pain, expense and an utter lack of self respect. A lie.
    Now that I’ve gotten my rant out of the way, here is what I’ve learned in 140 days sober:

    1. I’m truly have no self-confidence. However, sobriety has given me new pride in myself and the time and energy to make large steps in the right direction.

    2. I am not nearly as macho and tough as I thought I was. Turns out I’m incredibly, if not overly, sensitive. Still figuring out how to tame this.

    3. I REALLY love sleep, and I sleep soooooo much better.

    4. I am smarter, faster and have quicker wit than I’ve had in years.

    5. This is the most important one…

    I am an infinitely better husband and father without the booze. If any of you are parents and need a reason to quit, do it for your kids. My home life is several orders of magnitude better.

    I have more money, self-respect, recognition at work, and love from my family then ever before.

    It isn’t easy to feel right after so many years of fooling your reward system, but I assure you, it is possible and it is worth the effort.

    The juice is definitely worth the squeeze.
    -Seabass

    • Mynewself 10 months ago

      Well said!

    • Nigel 11 months ago

      That’s a very compelling story with some wisdom there gained from being free.I couldn’t agree more with regard to being a better parent.I am 24 days into AF and have children they are getting a better deal out of their dad and my anxiety levels are dropping day by day.Loving the change and it’s a challenge but rewarding nonetheless good luck to everyone who starts this journey.

    • Mirror 1 year ago

      Wonderful post so true!! Thank you

    • denversmom 1 year ago

      Thanks for that. Today’s my first day to come to grips with my addiction to wine. I’ll probably read your post everyday for the next month, truly inspiring

  37. delle 1 year ago

    Ok just signed up tomorrow will be day one. By day 3 will be craving. I’m overweight, my face is red I waste heaps of money on this crap as well as time. Time to wake up push cravings away and get moving.

  38. Had-enough-of-booze 1 year ago

    Every morning I plan my evening which is easy if im working but on the nights that im not i make a very conscious plan of somewhere i have to drive to, an outing with my kids, a bike ride or anything that doesnt involve being stood in my kitchen feeling strung out!

  39. thinkb4udrink 1 year ago

    ?Another night without a wine ? starting to feel quite good

  40. Tallulah 1 year ago

    3/4/18 will be night ONE. I’d like to try a 100 night challenge. Has anyone else challenged themselves for 100 nights without a drink? Every night without alcohol I will put a huge smiley face in my calendar book. My goal is to collect as many smiles as possible, hopefully for 100 nights. My situation I’m certain is not unique, my husband is a huge drinker. He comes home every night and drinks all night long. I don’t drink every night but it is hard to resist when I see him drink. I try very hard to block it out and ignore him drinking. I can’t have a decent conversation with him drunk and me sober so sometimes I just cave in and drink with him so we can talk. I will not blame him for my drinking, it’s not like he’s putting a gun to my head forcing me to drink. I just have had enough joining him. I need huge support not to drink 5:00 pm on. I will plan to get out the seltzer and lemon instead of the bottle of wine, stay strong and focused on one night at a time for 100 nights = 100 smiles. I see something about Kombucha. I’ll have to try that, thanks.

    • denversmom 1 year ago

      ? here’s an extra one for today.

    • makingchanges19 1 year ago

      I’m on day 2 of a 100 day challenge myself. Feeling strong at this moment but 5:00 witching hour hits hard some days. I’ve read Tired of Thinking about drinking which was what got me to try for 100 days. Best to u and keep posting ur progress!

    • Tallulah 1 year ago

      BTW I’m meant 3/4/19.

  41. thinkb4udrink 1 year ago

    Kombucha is yummy and healthy

  42. Sandybeach 1 year ago

    This is only day 2. I’m planning a menu for tomorrow and drinking ice water.

  43. wendyshaw 1 year ago

    Hi I am day 2 today. I feel a lot calmer when I don’t drink. I need to find some interesting drinks to substitute my wine o clock

  44. moon 1 year ago

    Seltzer, splash of Cranberry/mango juice, wedge of lime over ice helped. Now I just crack open a flavored seltzer or diet ginger ale. I’m one month in. Not perfect but getting to the point of loving my new normal.

  45. Groove19 1 year ago

    Hi, I am day 1 today. Last night I drank a bottle of wine & let’s just say that I’m very hungover & regret the experience both physically & emotionally.

  46. Got2getthere 1 year ago

    I have been exercising, long doggy walks or going to the gym. I switched up y schedule to go to the gym in the evening to avoid any thoughts on going to the store to get wine. Also been spending time with kids at night and doing household tasks. Amazing how much I can get done when I am not three sheets to the wind! jk ok not really. It is a good feeling and I get pride from the work I get down at home after a day on the job. Also helps to read and listen to podcasts – lots of them.

  47. missuniverse 1 year ago

    day 4 and getting ready to go out for a bday lunch lunch. Can already taste the margarita. Still on the fence weather I will have one ( or three) or not! UGHHHHHH

  48. ThandoAlive 1 year ago

    As i am starting my day1 today i will have a tonic, the kick in the taste will probably do the trick

    • Newview 1 year ago

      that’s actually a really good idea!!

  49. JulzPlz 1 year ago

    I pour Kombucha into a glass I would use for hard cider. Still get the fizz and the tartness. Tricks my brain.

    • 20012015 1 year ago

      Same…I love Kombucha

      • Newview 1 year ago

        great idea…im going to get some this eve, and maybe drink it out of my fave wine glass

  50. jonbee 1 year ago

    Keeping busy with positive thinking & treating with special alcohol free drinks

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