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. soberchick 3 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…….

  2. AubreyMichelle 3 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!! 🙂

  3. LibbyB 3 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.

  4. Anonymous 3 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.

  5. RiseAgain 3 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!

  6. RiseAgain 3 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.

  7. Anonymous 3 years ago

    What training app did you use?

  8. Liza 3 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.

  9. Anonymous 3 years ago

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

  10. Anonymous 3 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.

  11. Clawd 3 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.

  12. Anonymous 3 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.

  13. Anonymous 3 years ago

    Im on day 3 too.

  14. Anonymous 3 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

  15. Anonymous 3 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

  16. Anonymous 3 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

  17. Anonymous 3 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

  18. Anonymous 3 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 3 years ago

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

  19. rangimarie 3 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!

  20. Lori Keller 3 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?

  21. SunshineStace 3 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 3 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

  22. Anonymous 3 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.

  23. Mach 3 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.

  24. Roostina 3 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.

  25. Anonymous 3 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.

  26. rosepetal098 3 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.

  27. Sue Double 3 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

  28. Mere 3 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…

  29. MrsNomoreguilt 3 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.

  30. Anonymous 3 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

  31. Christina 3 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.

  32. Anonymous 3 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 not helping me or my family, I wanna quit, but is more than a drink..

  33. Anonymous 3 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.

  34. Kit 3 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!!

  35. SuzyMouat 3 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.

  36. Pam 3 years ago

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

  37. Anonymous 3 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.

  38. Anne 3 years ago

    Thank you Patch for giving me some hope that I will be ok, because I really feel quite scared that I won’t be able to do this, but at the same time its true that I have never really truly made the decision to be a non-drinker (Craig Beck style). However I did make that decision yesterday with a raging hangover and associated anxiety and normally would have had a drink (many) to ease it, but it was a simple decision not to do this. Today is day 2. I am planning long walks with friends and yoga in the evenings and listening to podcasts and reading blogs. I am so looking forward to ‘loving it’ as you are, and this helps me see me that I can. Stay tuned!

  39. Anonymous 3 years ago

    The wine glass has all the wrong connotations for you. Use a normal glass I strongly suggest.

  40. John Kuipers 3 years ago

    You are getting the sugar the sugar from the chocolate & fizzy drink in lieu if sugar in alcohol. Be mindful of this.

  41. Anonymous 3 years ago

    Oh God you have just described me!

  42. Anonymous 3 years ago

    I find what helps for me is to play games on my cellphone while cooking my evening meal. Keeping my thoughts on when I go to bed with a good book. Going to bed early and reading has been my saviour so I really concentrate on that great feeling.

  43. trishj 3 years ago

    Day one for me today. I put an app on my phone called I Am Sober, and it’s going to send me a motivational message at wine o’clock (4pm). It also encourages me to write a pledge everyday. Hubby is having a beer and it’s not bothering me, I hope I can continue not being bothered!

  44. Anonymous 3 years ago

    I am 3 weeks sober tomorrow. I used to hide my wine and in the last year have progressed to hard stuff eg
    whiskey and gin and vodka. My last binge I got drunk at work and my husband got the local police man to escort me out of work and lock up the shop – the shock and horror of it all woke me up. My husband was naturally angry with me as I haven’t managed to stay sober for long after coming out of rehab 18 months ago. I am on my last chance with my marriage now. For Xmas I purchased a breathaliser so that has helped me resist drinking as I have told my husband he can breathalise me anytime he wants to. Definitely feeling a much happier and in control person since I have stopped.

  45. Anonymous 3 years ago

    You just described me.

  46. Patch 3 years ago

    Everyone thought I was mad for “trying” to give up drinking at a crazy time but actually it hasn’t been as hard as I thought it was going. I have been 46 days sober and loving it! The first week, I was at a loss, so I did a jigsaw puzzle which took my mind of wine time and now I take one day at a time.

  47. jupiterverse 3 years ago

    I was Invited to dinner at a 5 star hotel that I had always to go to by a wealthy friend I knew as a student. I got to the hotel before he did and ordered myself freshly squeezed lemon juice topped with sparkling water and a sprig of mint in a large wine glass. He thought I was having an alcoholic cocktail. It was hard to sit through dinner while he had simply the best Bordeaux that I would have loved to have shared in my previous life. When he asked as to why I was not drinking, I told him the truth. I simply could not lie. He tried to tempt me but I held firm. This week, I am going to a fancy champagne and cocktail Christmas party. It is going to be another battle but I shall dream up a non-alcoholic cocktail for the evening.

  48. Millicent 3 years ago

    I found buying myself my favourite chocolate bar and a fizzy drink worked – felt a bit naughty but I knew I was not addicted to either and wa simply a treat

  49. Tania 3 years ago

    I think about wine, I can go days without it due to work commitments or maybe I’m thinking I don’t need it today. But I think about the next glass/bottle. I am a bottle a night drinker, no halves or one glass, if its there I have to have it. I am over weight, high blood pressure, have a double chin, gainers 20kgs …. yet wine wins

  50. Anonymous 3 years ago

    Day 3. Monday after work. Was so craving a drink and cigarettes. Bought some grapetiser instead. Looks like champagne with the bubbles but Alcohols free. Then went for my first summer swim. The feel of the sea water, the sun and sand. Forgot about the craving for a drink. The cigarettes don’t taste as good without the alcohol. Today was a good day.

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