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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1,279 Comments
  1. Anonymous 2 years ago

    Going into my 6th day without booze by default, really. Got a horrible cold that turned into a sinus infection and frankly just felt too sick to drink or smoke so I decided to take advantage of that and dedicate myself to going the distance. I’ve needed to quit both for a loooong time. On antibiotics until next Friday but feeling well enough to go back to my normal M-F routine tomorrow which always includes 3 glasses of wine and 3-5 beers and 3-5 cigs at the end of the day. Dreading the after work time frame as well. Thinking some cardio at the gym and planning and cooking a healthy dinner and going to bed early might work. My husband doesn’t really know the extent of the booze, hid the wine drinking so I haven’t said anything to him about my plans, just letting it happen.

  2. Carolyn Todd 2 years ago

    Amen girl

  3. Anonymous 2 years ago

    Dear Anonymous,
    Your story sounds very familiar. I am 57 and have quit smoking for 2 years now. I have quit the wine for 5 days today. Like yourself I am overweight and summer is here. All the best to you and my prayers are with you. Today was a terrible day for me as Friday is the night for wine.. ** well any night is ) driving by the lcbo was difficult.. my saying now is ” Look at the whole story, get wine tonight.. drink.. pass out.. black out.. wake up in the morning hungover now wanting to do anything.. ” I decided the whole story has been my life for awhile.. “Look at the whole story” before you buy that wine.. All the best to you

  4. Anonymous 2 years ago

    I am new here, 9 days sober but who is counting 😉 Wine o’ clock is the only time of day I really struggle with cravings. I have been changing the word “drink” to “poison” in my head to get through those urges. I feel like having some poison right now. Then I tell myself, “I don’t drink because I can’t control it, it’s crazy to drink poison” I also remind myself how good I’ll feel tomorrow after I stay sober today.

  5. Anonymous 2 years ago

    Exercise and fresh air.
    Praying.

  6. Anonymous 2 years ago

    One night sober, one to go. I don’t want to quit all together, but I would like to stop drinking during the week. It’s nice to see I am not alone. I hope I can do it this time.

    • Phaedra 4 weeks ago

      You are so not alone 🙂 If you are looking for something to read or listen to, may I recommend Allen Carr’s “The Easy Way to Control Alcohol” ?

  7. Anonymous 2 years ago

    Hi Y’all, I am about to turn 50 & I have graduated from one bottle of wine a night, to usually two.. I’ve become such a pro, it doesn’t make me problematic- oh, except I’m probably an extra 40lbs overweight from all the calories & this has been going on for 20yrs. So, the effects on my liver … not to mention the money… I have a happy, healthy-ish life, for the 1st time, ever & I want to be here, to enjoy it! Plus, as many of you know- cigarettes are delicious, with wine. I smoke about a pack a day & have, forever. It’s a miracle, I’m in such good health!
    SO, I haven’t quit yet, but it’s helping me, to hear others talk about wine:30.. THAT is my issue, for sure! I like the idea of a sparkling, mocktail at witching hour & am thinking, if I commit to a 5:30 yoga class, it’ll keep me off the sauce… I own a jewelry store & I work likw a dog,.. oddly, it’s acceptable for me to drink wine there, every night.. I need to just start leaving, I guess.. Anyway, I’m planning to quit, or cut back severely, for my birthday. Thanks for writing, y’all. Your posts are inspiring & encouraging. I am grateful.. Thank you, Barb

  8. Clairebear 2 years ago

    This is my first day on here. I am 10 days sober after a 5 day stay in hospital. I was sober for 7 years until 2011 and then lapsed and have been lapsing on and off ever since. I hit rock bottom a few weeks ago. I am ok but struggling with bad cravings from around 4.00pm. I also have terrible drinking dreams.

  9. Chickanini 2 years ago

    WOW its been AGES since I have logged on, been to a meeting or even thought about being a super sober sensation. 867 days the little calculator tells me I have been sober and 460 days smoke free. WOW. I do wish sugar was as easy, I have been doing an eating plan cleaning my gut but the sugar is proving to be the one addiction not so easy to give away, 5/7 times as addictive as cocaine, I beg to differ as I gave that up easily also. ANYWAYS, let me just put out a HIGH FIVE to those who have logged on; shared, tripped up, got back up, moved on, cried, laughed, had melt downs, jumped for joy, you are aware you are here and that is the BIG DEAL, recognising for you, that your drinking suggested you have a chat about things and then maybe do things around changing or stopping your drinking. ANYWAYS (I love anyways no not canadian), YOU ROCK I ROCK WE ALL ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Blackjelly 2 years ago

    This is my first day. My tolerance has increased and I can drink a bottle of wine and then some in the evening. I don’t wake with a hangover and function well at work. I have been down this road before so I know I am stronger and more confident when I don’t drink. I face my demons and the financial gains are real. When I do drink I am filled with anxiety and excuses. I read somewhere to treat the addictive brain separately from the intelligent brain. When the wine o’clock ding goes off in the head “think IT wants a drink” not I want a drink. My plan is to replace wine time with walk the dog time or treadmill time. I am so pleased I found this site. Thank you for the welcomes via email.

  11. Anonymous 2 years ago

    This is day 2 of sobriety i don’t know what to do. Im feeling really weird what is it.

    • Chickanini 2 years ago

      maybe do something else that you like to do, though if your weather is like ours here going out doors will be CHILLY…………………………… sit by the fire and read a book, try think possibly you are not giving up something you are changing it, instead of driving to work daily all you are doing now is catching the bus, Instead of adding 2 sugars to your coffee, had 1 or raw sugar, just doing things differently now, not giving something up, I reckon with anything you are making a change, NOT GIVING IT UP, just making a change, chocolate muffin instead of blueberry, mcleans instead of colgate, HOPT SODA from New World or start making the daily cocktails instead of your standard poison. Hey you will find what works for you……………………………. so want to say cheers when I sign off as I still do now with my non alcoholic drinks and buddies, all the best to you

    • LibbyB 2 years ago

      You’ve made a great decision. Alcohol is poison! You are feeling weird because your body is already starting to heal. I am in early days as well, I remember day 2. I consciously made the decision to stop drinking but was terrified I couldn’t do it. I took our dear bloggers advice, and bought and downloaded all I could on alcohol, and absorbed myself in it. I has really worked. Good luck and hang in there. Think of all your cells coming back to life. It will only get better.

  12. Anonymous 2 years ago

    New to this. My plan is to start exploring herbal teas and organise activities involving others that. Get me through late afternoon to early evening such as a walking group. I realise that happy hour is just a way to avoid processing the day and to find a ritual that is relaxing. Finding another ritual will be an important key.

    • Steph73 2 years ago

      You’re one day ahead of me. I dumped all my wine this morning. Woke up and knew it was time. It’s weird alright. I feel like I’m entering unchartered territory without a map. Scared and excited. What do you feel like?

  13. Anonymous 2 years ago

    So I did what needed to be done got my script for anti abuse today am waiting to take my first dose as I drunk last night. A step forward to sobrierty pretty scared but one day at a time. We got this

  14. soberchick 2 years ago

    I have decided to surf the wave during the cravings. It lasts apparently 30 minutes. Accept that the waves will come and then will have to fall. Cravings are temporary. Also I intend to write down feelings during the surfing experience and then the feeling of waking up sober the following day…this is my plan. I intend to do it every time I get a cravings…….

  15. AubreyMichelle 2 years ago

    I notice the craving and immediately label it: “cravingcravingcravingcraving….” which seems to embarrass it and it slinks back into the shadows. It’s also MUCH easier now that I’ve decided no for good, rather than 30 days or 100 days or whatever. I’m focusing a lot on the relief of feeling great rather than the shame I felt when drinking. Drinks with a bite like fizzy limeade really help too (tea just doesn’t cut it for me).

    And I’ve also agreed with my partner–and am telling my friends–that I will eat a pickle before I drink again. They also have permission to pour pickle juice in any drink I ever pour for myself again. I HATE pickles. I loathe and detest the things. Threats of cancer etc. only served to depress me while I drank, but the thought of pickle juice seems to be a highly effective form of aversion therapy!! 🙂

  16. LibbyB 2 years ago

    Im very new at this. That wineo’clock is a doozy. My coping mechanism, Im sure isn’t very original, but is working for now. I spent the equivilant of two bottles of wine on exotic teas. I make a pot of a sweeter blend and keep sipping to keep my mouth busy for as long as it takes to work through it. Its hydrating too.

  17. Anonymous 2 years ago

    It helps me to write too. Just to get my feelings out. Also, glad to have found this site. I didn’t know how to live sober.

  18. RiseAgain 2 years ago

    Keep your head up!! My family are all big drinkers and I am trying to stop. It is day one for me also. I am scared but I know what needs to be done. I am ashamed at the things I say to my family when I am drunk. We are all in this together!

  19. RiseAgain 2 years ago

    I feel your pain!! I am in the same boat. I had a huge blowout with my son last night and said many terrible things. I am in bed crying right now. I really want to change. I am sick of the depression, anxiety, shame, and worthlessness. I feel today is the day to toast (sparkling water) to a new life. It’s fitting after Easter Sunday’s.

  20. Anonymous 2 years ago

    What training app did you use?

  21. Liza 2 years ago

    A training plan for regular exercise, especially if it’s for an event (e.g 10km or half-marathon) helps to break the habit. I discovered this by lucky chance, in that I set myself a goal & downloaded an app to help plan my training, then on ‘training days’ I realised I was motivated to achieve the plan & didn’t think about ‘not drinking’. It felt normal instead of being a big deal on my mind all day. It has given me new confidence, and on those days I have more energy & sleep better. I still drink a few days a week, but this perspective is giving me the confidence to tackle the idea of being increasingly alcohol free.

  22. Anonymous 2 years ago

    Thank you for those comments. This is Day 0. Your ideas resonate with me. Keep them coming!

  23. Anonymous 2 years ago

    I start craving my wine when I’m making dinner. So I have changed things up a bit and I order out or make something simple for the family so I’m not tempted to cook and drink. I run a bath and soak. It makes me very relaxed. Then it’s settle in time and it really helps diminish the craving.

  24. Clawd 2 years ago

    I am forcing myself to exercise during witching hour which is minimising all cravings dramatically. Only 1 week into sobriety so very low on energy by the afternoon but if you can force yourself out the door and out of your head I’m finding it a useful strategy.

  25. Anonymous 2 years ago

    After being sober a few days now, the sleeping nights are so restful and rejuvenating. The anxiety is far less than it used to be. Blood pressure is starting to normalize after the wild swings. A relaxing feeling is the best feeling.

  26. Anonymous 2 years ago

    Im on day 3 too.

  27. Anonymous 2 years ago

    Im on day 3 today its been a very long time since ive gone more than a day without. So glad to know theres others out there in the same boat im finding the head addiction the hardest def staying busy is helping. Good luck

  28. Anonymous 2 years ago

    My longest sober stretches getting through wine o clock were about staying hydrated. Not getting hungry. Not isolating and keeping my thoughts in perspective to stop spiralling. x

  29. Anonymous 2 years ago

    Today is the first day in a long time I am going to bed sober, I am feeling excited about moving forward without awful alcohol in my life, I also say things I regret when I’ve been drinking and don’t want to do it anymore, they say it takes 40 days to break a habit which really is not a long time, one day at a time and prayer is so important for total healing, one step at a time we can all get through this we can start by trying and remember you are not alone millions are fighting addition try someone close to you that can help motivate you, stay away from negativity and bad thoughts focus on the good around you

  30. Anonymous 2 years ago

    keep coming here. I have been on and off this site since it started.the longest I have stayed sober was 1 year, but I keep coming back and keep trying . I’m 3 weeks sober now and feeling strong .good luck

  31. Anonymous 2 years ago

    This is my 1st day on this sight.
    I am an everyday drinker. And I drink a huge amount everyday.
    I am ashamed of myself, I have put on 30kg in the past few years (all sugar) from alcohol.
    I am treating my loved ones badly when Ive had too many
    I have really bad anxiety
    I have negative thoughts
    I cry a lot (like as Im writing this)
    All of my friends, family and household are drinkers and I dont know what to do about this…
    I need to stop drinking as Im scared its going to kill me, and hope that this sight may help a bit

    • Anonymous 2 years ago

      Hi are things going better now? Can we help in any specific way?

  32. rangimarie 2 years ago

    I tell myself that there are 24 hours in the day, and its actually only 4 hours of that day that I used to drink, so in the first week I just told myself “all you have to do is get through 5-9pm and then you’ve made it!”
    I try to eat close to when i get home, because I always found that I delayed eating so I could drink more and I used to eat around 8.30pm. Now I try and eat before 6.30pm, even if I have to buy dinner.
    I make myself a refreshing cool drink of soda water and a bit of cranberry juice with ice and sip it.
    I read as much as I can about other peoples successful sober stories, because it reminds me that this is what I really really want and that the pain I experience now in the beginning won’t last forever and that I will never regret being sober in the long run!
    I try to go to bed early and feel grateful for mostly good night sleeps and guilt free wake ups in the morning!

  33. Lori Keller 2 years ago

    Thank you all for great tips! I made it through Day 1, barely! I did the New York Times Crossword and baked a batch of Bulletproof brownies. Also going to bed at 8:30, but, hey, whatever works, right?

  34. SunshineStace 2 years ago

    My strategies for getting though the witching hours:
    -have lots of non-alcoholic drink options on hand (fizzy waters, soda, teas, coffee, hot chocolate)
    -keep commitments to a minimum, to reduce stress
    -switch up the routine (I used to drink wine while preparing dinner in the kitchen by myself… now I either cook in the morning and heat it up later, or order take out or eat out, so I’m not in the kitchen for an hour alone)
    -listen to sober podcasts and read sober blogs
    -go to bed as early as possible
    -wake up sober and ENJOY the day!! Rinse and repeat. =)

    • loopdaloop 2 years ago

      love these strategies and really relate to cooking and drinking especially after got little one to bed and then I felt I could eat myself and had earned my drinks. So now I’m eating with him and going to bed more or less with him! X

  35. Anonymous 2 years ago

    hi, if we lived close by I would come over. sometimes it takes someone to see you and hear you.
    I can’t do this by myself. recently I had my son come over and help me.
    I am ashamed and scared but the obsession with alcohol continues.
    I wish we lived close by.

  36. Mach 2 years ago

    Today is my first day on the sight. I need others that are on the soberity rollercoastal. Everyone around me drinks even at home. I can’t get away from it. My husband is “perfect” and doesn’t no wrong and all the drinking and going to bars isn’t going to stop with him. I stay home, I write A LOT. I’m not working right now due to breaking my foot at work and because of not healing and 3 surgeries at the tine I lost my job back in August of 2017. I just had a 4th surgery March 5, 2018. I want no pity, but I have been having major breakdowns lately and am in need of breakthroughs.

  37. Roostina 2 years ago

    So it’s witching hour now!! Don’t actually feel like a drink but this time last week after a hell day of travel disruptions and some emotional upheaval due to some family stuff and my decision to stop drinking I REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY wanted a gin. So I phoned friend and had a lovely chat while sipping a yummy iced tea and treating myself to a lovely sunset. I think the key for me is to replace that gin or big glass of chardonnay with something a little bit indulgent. The ritual of making iced tea is really quite nice and I feel like I’m doing something really nice for myself.

  38. Anonymous 2 years ago

    Today is Day 1 sober. Last night I binged on rum & pepsi. It used to be 1-2 bottles of wine but now it’s the hard stuff. 2-3 shots per drink. I’ve blacked out several times, soaked the bed because I wouldn’t wake up and go to the bathroom, I’d have conversations with my husband or kids and not remember a thing the next morning … It’s taken me a long time to finally acknowledge that,yes, I’m an alcoholic and I need to stop today and for the rest of my life. I’m scared but determined. Absolutely no self-pity. In search of encouragement I found this site. I’m so grateful for all your wonderful sharing. Its comforting to know that I’m not alone.

  39. rosepetal098 2 years ago

    I find the moment I get in my car at the end of a busy working day. The thought goes through my head everyday like clockwork “I’d love a glass of wine when I get home” in reality I don’t just have one. I have the bottle. I make a conscious decision everyday to drive straight home and not go to the shops. Once I’m home I’m safe. I pour myself a orange and soda. I toast to my husband that I got through the drive home. Everyday like clockwork. He makes me accountable. Which means I have to keep going and I’ll toast everyday to remind myself I’m in recovery and have to keep going.

  40. Sue Double 2 years ago

    Fill your head with as much info about not drinking. Read online sites and listen to podcasts about becoming alcohol free. Remember a thought is just a thought and when that urge comes know this….if you can ride it for 20 minutes it will go. When I say ride it I mean notice it . Acknowledge it. Do something else. Bath. Cup of tea. Walk . Run .lie down with yourlegs in air (recognised method to change mood) recognise thought has gone. We live in an ever changing world everything passes. Thoughts about drinking included. Meditate . Love yourself . Those are my thoughts

  41. Mere 2 years ago

    You are in the right place! Keep posting and looking for support here and at other similar websites. And make yourself a wonderful drink of seltzer and fruit juice and sit and savor! Let the craving pass…

  42. MrsNomoreguilt 2 years ago

    I’m new to this and having had many failed attempts before I find late afternoon the hardest part to get through. It’s the voices in my head that seem to take over my thoughts and before I know it I’ve got a drink in my hand. Trying again to be sober – day 1 and hoping that I’ll get through wine o clock today.

  43. Anonymous 2 years ago

    Wanting to take the first step. I keep saying I’ll cut down. I’ve been successful in the past. The first day alcohol free, seems the most daunting …. I’ve cut down successfully before, but it creeps up on me again …. it’s been a long time since I’ve had zero alcohol. I want to achieve an alcohol free day. In my mind at the moment, I still want to limit my alcohol intake, but I know deep down it probably won’t be an option for me

  44. Christina 2 years ago

    I just try and keep busy. I am one of those people who have a hard time relaxing. A glass of wine was a good way for me to sit and relax. Then I would sit all night! So I guess I still struggle with the relaxing part, but I sure am enjoying all the other parts of my life. I am not skipping past them via a bottle of Pinot Grigio.

  45. Anonymous 2 years ago

    6 days has been the longest without wine, very hard to stop when family , friends and even your kids school meetings are in a bar.
    I love the taste of wine in my mouth and the relax feeling, but as a single mother I know I have to be always there and available,wine has been my break but is a bad one..is not helping me or my family, I wanna quit, but is more than a drink..

  46. Anonymous 2 years ago

    While Looking for support, wisdom and strength I found this website. I’m in trouble. Last night had 5 drinks , thought I was fine…. dizziness, nausea, blacked out, and seizures, woke up with my husband very scared holding me. I hope this scares me enough to stop alcohol for good this time. I hope it scares others enough to find their inspiration/ motivation also.

  47. Kit 2 years ago

    Change up the routine in that time frame: exercise, go for a walk, think of some activity that you’d like to start up. For me, going home is the ‘wine o’clock’. I cannot avoid going home, but I can move forward with a plan. Then a nice refreshing beverage with dinner. Look forward to your bed and your jammies. And most of all look forward to a clear morning!!

  48. SuzyMouat 2 years ago

    Check in with yourself; HOLTS……hungry, angry, lonely,tired, stressed.. whatever it is address it then talk to someone. Pick up the phone but don’t pick up a drink.

  49. Pam 2 years ago

    Looking forward to figuring it all out. Effort and support. Laughs help to. We shall see.

  50. Anonymous 2 years ago

    I find having an ice-cream, small amount of chocolate, with a black coffee right after dinner, helps me get through that urge. I wouldn’t normally have had a sugary treat as wine was my go to, but I figure if it breaks the wine habit then I can cut down to just the coffee once I’m over the hardest bit. Later on in the evening I’ll have a Rose Tulsi tea (has anyone else tried this?? It’s a very nice tea that also calms nerves). I try to think past the rush I’m after in the present moment, and to think about the proud feeling I have at the end of the night going to bed sober.

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