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. Sobrina 9 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 8 months ago

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

    • Bobswife 9 months ago

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

  2. JaniceStonebridge 9 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.

  3. whichisnice 9 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!

  4. Misscp 10 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 9 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 9 months ago

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

  5. Shell 10 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.

  6. chanwats27 10 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 🙂

  7. njcopel 10 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 9 months ago

      Good for you!!!

  8. jenl 10 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 10 months ago

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

      • JudyB 9 months ago

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

  9. TheBee 10 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.

  10. NoJudge 11 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).

  11. Cocotte 11 months ago

    Have a snack to eat.

  12. sharicooking 11 months 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.

  13. Nich00 11 months 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.

  14. Freedom4ab 11 months ago

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

  15. luxkiwi 11 months 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 10 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 4 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 10 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 11 months 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 11 months ago

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

  16. totemdreamer 11 months 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

  17. ShelleyHP 11 months ago

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

  18. JS123 11 months 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 11 months ago

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

  19. pattyw 11 months 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…..

  20. delle 11 months 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.?

  21. Seabass 11 months 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.

    • Mynewself 8 months ago

      Well said!

    • Nigel 9 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 11 months ago

      Wonderful post so true!! Thank you

    • denversmom 11 months 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

  22. delle 12 months 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.

  23. Had-enough-of-booze 12 months 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!

  24. thinkb4udrink 12 months ago

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

  25. Tallulah 12 months 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 11 months ago

      ? here’s an extra one for today.

    • makingchanges19 11 months 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 12 months ago

      BTW I’m meant 3/4/19.

  26. thinkb4udrink 12 months ago

    Kombucha is yummy and healthy

  27. Sandybeach 12 months ago

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

  28. wendyshaw 12 months 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

  29. moon 12 months 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.

  30. Groove19 12 months 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.

  31. Got2getthere 12 months 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.

  32. 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

  33. 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 12 months ago

      that’s actually a really good idea!!

  34. 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 12 months ago

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

  35. jonbee 1 year ago

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

  36. missuniverse 1 year ago

    okay here we go. the weekend! Rock but don’t roll!

  37. beachbum3 1 year ago

    Hi everyone,
    day 23 and finding wine o’clock hard! My go to is ginger beer and popcorn. Then having dinner early because I didn’t drink after dinner. I scoffed a bottle of wine between coming home from work and having dinner.
    How are you all coping with a spouse who is still drinking? Some days I want to drive a stake into his heart while he’s sitting there drinking his wine ( just joking,sort of)

    • thork 1 year ago

      Hi beachbum3! I can appreciate exactly what you’re going through. I am 38 days AF, and at first I felt jealous that my hubby could sit in his easy chair relaxing and enjoying his cocktails all evening while I had to put in the effort of finding other ways to occupy myself that didn’t include wine. It was work but in very little time it started to pay off and I was enjoying long walks with our dog, calling the kids for a little “catch up”, looking up new recipes for the coming week, playing solitaire while singing along to some “Beatles” music in the background. Then, suddenly, it seemed I saw my hubby as the sorry one. I was enjoying LIFE and he was hanging on to his “blanky” and avoiding all the wonder and joy of engaging with the rest of the world! Hang in there. Its worth it.

      • Classic50 1 year ago

        I really love your post. I love that you turned your attitude about the situation around. You are a winner!

  38. spring64 1 year ago

    Day 3 and I slipped. Went to the store to get food for dinner. Bought a bottle of wine. Going to go to the food store in the mornings to lesson the temptation instead of going at wine o’clock.

    • wendyshaw 12 months ago

      That’s a great idea. I hate buying wine I’m the morning, bad look

    • Classic50 1 year ago

      Thank you for posting this… your honesty helps me face my own struggles. I have given in so many times. I cant even put into words how rubbish I feel about myself. I realise now that the harder the pull from wine means the I’m winning . The most dangerous place in a war is the front line, and to win a battle there means you’re destroying the enemy’s strength and taking ground back. It means the moment will come that they will be gone and you will have peace. I want peace

  39. loosinboosin 1 year ago

    Just joined today
    5pm is my witching hour
    I hope I get through it with water and thoughts of my health

    • beachbum3 1 year ago

      4pm was mine. Try ginger beer. I put mine in my favourite wine glass and have a small bowl of popcorn with it. I’m trying to replace my old ritual with a new one. So far so good.

      • 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. Kombucha is not for everyone, but as beachbum3 said, ginger beer is a great suggestion.

  40. Straddler 1 year ago

    I sometimes managed to get through with tea and milk. Friday night is coming. It is 9am in South Africa. I’ll have to wait and see how tonight goes but I am determined. Plan is to take kids to a kids restaurant and play area, and keep looking at them. I’m also doing this for them.

  41. Destructive 1 year ago

    I just joined and for me its not a bottle of wine but a bottle of vodka. I hve built up such a high tolerance. The cost of a bottle of vodka a day is high. I hve begun to reach out for help to kick it n am waiting for my spot in rehab which scares the shit outta me but is necessary. I am hurting everyone around me but once i get home n pour that drink i don’t care… I need it. Im scared to gve my best friend up.

    • beachbum3 1 year ago

      Mine was bottle of wine but affected me badly. Did a home detox under medical supervision for 5 days now on medication to help me stay sober. Still get cravings occasionally but the help you get from the drug and alcohol organisation I went to is amazing! I am going to a psych there as well.
      Don’t be scared it will all be worth it! Although I’m not out of the woods I feel so much better.

  42. junes 1 year ago

    Friday night dinner out. A trigger point because I usually start my weekend winding down with a glass of wine that more often than not turns into a bottle 🙁

  43. lhilary 1 year ago

    Tea with milk and honey seems to do the trick!

  44. cath1683 1 year ago

    I’ve just joined today! Only 26 days sober.
    My hardest time is ‘teatime’ as we call 6ish here in England. It was my default get a glass of wine time. I love cooking but finding it hard without my glasses of wine to go with it. Never had so many microwaved meals!
    I hope I can get back to cooking without the temptation ..
    and I am eating so much sweet stuff, never had a sweet tooth before :/

    • eme71 1 year ago

      I can relate to this so well. I’m in the US, so we have ginger ale (maybe it’s ginger beer in the UK?? Here it’s non alcoholic.) Anyhow, having that while I’m cooking has been good. Also listening to my favorite music or a podcast while in the kitchen is good. I’m also trying to focus on the meditative aspects of cooking–the chopping, the stirring, those things that can be relaxing if you can look at them for the beauty that they hold. (And yes, I am eating sweets like no tomorrow. One thing at a time, right? )

  45. lhilary 1 year ago

    After 9 days – that is the hardest time
    Of day. It is actually easier when I am
    Out with other people. I try different things each day: take a walk, cook a great meal, go to a cafe and write, light a fire and read, yoga… whatever I can to reinforce I don’t need that glass ( bottle) of wine to enjoy the evening.

  46. nicolebell 1 year ago

    I have found video games to be helpful actually! It keeps my hands and mind busy.

  47. sarah47 1 year ago

    I’m scrolling through masses of posts of advice and I’m liking the ‘eating early’ which I do anyway but hearing your comments about drinking the wine on an empty stomach resonates with me completely! That’s when I love it the most- I’ve realised if a friend ever wants to meet for a drink, I’ve never wanted to go unless it’s about 5pm- if they want to meet later im over it as I’ll be well into my bottle and can’t drive! Oh dear. So amazing to read all these posts over the years and hear how so many struggle like myself every night!! The feeling so powerful in the morn then come 4pm crumble.

  48. sarah47 1 year ago

    I’m on day 3 and drinking Komucha which seems to be going ok- I’m also doing dishes, washing clothes, watering the garden and not doing much sitting down watching tv like I used to as that’s what I did while drinking my g and t’s and then red wine… wishing the night would go faster so I can sleep and tick off another day!!

    • JMPMT 1 year ago

      I’m with you on Day3 ( yet again)….look forward to going to bed every night

      • Classic50 1 year ago

        i’m so glad you put that ‘yet again’ in you post…im back to day 1 today and just feel so overwhelmed with regret and guilt I can hardly see straight. Thanks for your honesty.

      • Travelbug 1 year ago

        I am right there with you both, 72 hours. Had a restless night last night. Didn’t get much sleep…Hope I can sleep tonight

  49. fitnessmiller 1 year ago

    I have long wanted to stop drinking . I feel I have an unhealthy dependence on alcohol and I am tired of the feelings of regret and disappointment I feel after drinking. Not to mention the headaches and fatigue that always following the day after. I have experimented with an alcohol free December and have mostly stuck to it. I have had alcohol on 3-4 occasions. One evening I could not manage my stress and anxiety and turned to wine for relief. Then the other occasions were social and I just didn’t know how to be around people who were drinking without joining them. Each time I was rewarded (punished?) with feeling terrible – emotionally and physically and it actually made me feel more resolved to actually quit. I am committed to staying AF and am looking to this community for support. Thank you.

  50. DAVmo 1 year ago

    Ok. So all I have is 3 days. But I just read some great ideas to use to get me through the next two work days before Christmas. I will take a 5 pm shower. Love that idea. Also I liked these ideas; take a walk, watch a Netflix series one a day after work, eat lots of fruit, bake. And most of all I will check in here. I am scared and worried about failing again but also strangely hopeful. I do feel different because this time my 11 year old daughter commented on my drinking and how it affected her. I yellled at her in a blackout. I’m also having withdrawals and anger issues. But I want to live without drinking and thinking about wine. I am hopeful. I can do this. Why not now? Alcohol has never made anything better or more special for me ever. Ever. It only makes life worse. Here’s to day 4.

    • Newview 12 months ago

      I totally hear you, especially about your 11 year old, I have 2 boys and they are noticing it now also….I need to set a better example/ Hope you are doing well still

    • fitnessmiller 1 year ago

      Sending good vibes. Stay strong stay focused.

    • Skibabe 1 year ago

      Keep going, you got this!

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