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Getting through wine o’clock

July 24, 2014 590 comments

Late in the afternoon is often the hardest time. How do you get through the witching hours without drinking?

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590 comments

  1. I read this earlier in WFS and it really took me back to the last year of me drinking. My best tool is thinking through the drink
    I never want to return to this reality

    Dairy of drinking:
    4am – oh god, it’s only a few hours until I have to get up.

    6am – snooze button, snooze button, why did I drink so much?

    7am – I really need to get up, I’m gonna be late for work, I’m not drinking this evening, I promise.

    7.30am – I’m gonna be sick, I just brushed my teeth and I feel awful. My stomach hurts, I just threw up in the shower, brush my teeth again, mouthwash, my stomach hurts.

    8am – Driving into work, hope I don’t get stopped by the police, I’m probably still drunk, please don’t let me get stopped by the police, let me just get to work and I’ll never do it again.

    9am – I’ve made it to work, were’s the coffee, I need some gum, hope my manager doesn’t notice, coffee and gum, coffee and gum, no one will notice, I can get through this, only 8 hours to pass.

    11am – I have a client, hope they don’t smell the alcohol on my breath, I need more gum and more coffee, I can do this, just get through this one meeting.

    1pm – Made it to lunchtime, get something to eat, soak up that alcohol, I’m almost there, half way through the day, you’re nearly there, just hang on.

    3pm – Afternoon coffee, have a few cups, I’m not feeling too bad, what am I doing this evening? I’ve no plans, I may as well enjoy self, maybe I should have a beer, watch a film, kick back!! 

    5.30pm – Clocked out of work, feeling alright, on the way home, there’s the liquor store, it would be no harm in picking up a little something for later, I deserve it, I’m feeling good.

    7pm – Cooking dinner, let’s open that wine, this is what people do, a few glasses of wine with dinner, nothing to worry about.

    10pm – Might as well have a few after dinner drinks as I watch TV, a few whiskies before bed, what can it hurt.

    2am – Just woke up on the Sofa, really need to go to bed, dear god hopefully I’m not too hungover in the morning, let’s drink plenty of water, hopefully I’ll be fine in the morning.

    4am – Oh god, it’s only a few hours until I have to get up!!!!

    110
    1. Yup. The incredible thing is how quickly the brain goes from ‘I’m never going to do this again’ to ‘I deserve a drink tonight’. Totally nuts.

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      1. It’s true that there’s a window of time where I often cannot talk myself out of having a drink. It’s usually from about 2pm to 7pm. If I make a commitment to take a night class or if I have plans that keep me busy until about 7pm then I’m often good to go and craving goes away. If I can just get past that awful window. My plan is to focus on breaking this bad habit and I will reach a point where I forget about alcohol. Now I am still in the daily struggle stage, but it will pass if I stay strong. Today I will concentrate on good healthy living.

        6
      2. @Cecelia In the beginning, what really helped me was to spend time with me, doing self-care, during those hours. I would get home from work and have a bath, take my dogs for a walk or do a word puzzle. I never drank while I cooked so that was easy. I cooked and ate as quickly as I could. Once I ate, the craving disappeared. You can also listen to AA podcasts or SinceRightNow ones, they are good. I did this usually the hour before work ended for the day. Sometimes I would listen to them in my car on my way home.

        1
    2. That sounds very much like my story. Pouring my glass of wine at 4:30… keep pouring till I’m 1/2 way through my “big” bottle of wine.. recently downing 3/4 of the bottle nightly. Then when i realize how much I drank, i switch to my hubby’s whiskey drinking a few whiskey/waters to enhance the buzz before bed. Saving some of the wine for the next drunken night so my husband can’t say you drank the whole bottle in one night? ???
      Waking up in middle of the night, having to go to the bathroom, trying to drink lots if water to squash hangover,. stomach hurts, worried I wont be able to make it through the work day, cant sleep…. Saying I’ll not drink again. Like you. Well, on day 14 no alcohol. I feel like I’m in a new world.

      54
      1. This is exactly what I do! Or now, used to do. I’d switch to my husband’s vodka so he didn’t know how much I drank. Sleepless nights of drinking tons of water. I wish I would have found this site sooner! Thanks for sharing!

        14
    3. This was me on a daily basis. The morning always started with “I’m not drinking tonight!” and by 3:00pm I was obsessing about alcohol. I stopped my cycle on Jan 11th and although it has been tough, I have been fighting the good fight. I am glad I stumbled onto this site.

      36
    4. You describe perfectly the eternal battle that we have with alcohol……I have a long history of chronic alcoholism and had a long period of sobriety, 27 years before relapsing, which has been happening on and off over the past 8 years. I am now almost three months sober, and feel so much better, able to socialize, enjoy just being able to do the ordinary things without stress or anxiety, physically well, compared to constantly feeling nauseous and anxious, my husband is happy, my friends are happy, and I am happy. But I dread the situation that seems to always arise, when I am so stressed and anxious that I automatically reach for alcohol, and when this happens I seem unable to think of the consequences. I do not go to A.A. but they say that alcohol is cunning, baffling and powerful, and it surely is. When you give in to this disease it takes over your life, and everything revolves around it. It is so good to be able to make choices without having to consider arranging my alcohol stash in case I run out. I am gaining strength from reading all your posts and it is so good to know I am not alone. I wish you all sobriety…..no matter how long it takes and how many times you have to try, keep doing it, it is worth it for a happier life……..flossie.

      36
      1. You are so right. During the day, it’s easy to ponder the consequences and determine no more alcohol. But then it’s evening, and somehow I think that pattern won’t happen this time. And then it does. It’s as though the brain gets rewired and tricked. Having difficulty getting the brain to focus on those consequences in the evening. If I can make it though the evening, I’m fine for the night. Tough going!

        4
    5. wow, this so sounds like a story out of my diary… and am celebrating my 11-th day of soberness today. didn’t know I was capable :-)

      question though – does anyone experienced headaches (ha, not the hangover ones)? seems like I’m having one on a daily basis, starting around 5 pm? why?

      thanks you all

      34
      1. Yes headaches daily and I’m not sleeping too well either. Day 10 for me today. Maybe we need more water. Hang in there. xx

        3
      2. hi

        Yes I got headaches for the first couple of weeks-started trying to have a fresh juice ie carrot, beetroot! apple , ginger etc any kinda liver cleanser fruits & veggies…and def drink lots of water…

        3
    6. I have only just joined living sober, I joined because today is the first day, for me, of trying again to get sober.
      This “diary of drinking” describes my daily routine exactly! The passing out on the sofa, the then sleepless night, praying to not be stopped by police on my way to work…the gum!!! And Repeat!
      I find myself taking comfort from finding others who truly understand. Thank you for that.

      23
      1. That was me: drinking wine until 11p or 12a then rolling off the couch at 5a for work, hoping I wouldn’t get stopped by the police & always carrying a pack of gum! Glad I am not the only one.

        1
    7. Oh my gosh! You just described my daily routine as well. Except for the wine part, I drink at least 8-12 beers daily anymore and sometimes have to run home at lunch to have a couple just to make myself feel better. I don’t want this kind of life anymore. Alcohol has really taken control of my life and I want it to end this time. I have tried in the past and keep thinking I can go back to 1 or 2 without any problems, then it catches up and I am right back to drinking excessively. I am tired of telling my kids I will quit only to disappoint them once again.

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    8. I lived like that for years. Now isolated and lonely don’t even go out of my house except maybe once or twice a month. depressed sleep as much as I can. hope you quit drinking sooner than I did.

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    9. I’ve just joined and this is my life. I hit rock bottom on Monday when I spent most of the morning in the loo and was severely hungover. I was trying to keep it all together and the worst one was the realisation that I may probably be drunk driving. I haven’t had a drink since then. 4th day sober.

      7
    10. I’ve known my drinking was becoming a problem for a long time now but I always managed to justify it, I’m sure you know all the usual excuses. My brother in law gave up a while ago, so I guess the seed was planted in my head then. After bouncing around the internet I came to this page. I read a few of the ‘sober stories’, seeing a little bit of myself in each of them and eventually stumbled across this comment. It was like someone flicked a switch in my head! This is me, this is almost my exact routine, threw up in the shower? Oh yes, been there! Any semblance of denial was just blown away, I realised I’m not a ‘bit’ like these people, I’m one of them!! Pretty much made my decision for me, I’m going sober.

      Actually caught myself singing in the shower today, I thought of this and it made me chuckle.

      Just wanted to thank you so much for putting this up here. I’m on day six. Thank you.

      5
    11. I could have written that myself. Amazing how alone it can feel. Like your the only one in such a dysfunctional cycle. The reality is that there are so many of us repeating the cycle every day.

      5
    12. MaryIsNotAFairy,

      This drinking diary sounds frightening similar to my (former) daily routine. Luckily… those days are over for me… hopefully.

      5
    13. That sounds very similar to my days and nights when I was working full time, except I’d wake up thinking I was having panic attacks, only to discover from my counsellor it could possibly have been a withdrawal symptom, which freaked me out! I’ve been back and forth with cutting down, giving up, limited success, back to day 1 and committed to an eight week programme!

      5
    14. I can totally relate to this!! There have been nights when I thought it was a good night that I passed out in bed and not the couch though I had no recollection of doing so!!

      4
    15. Yes, this is me. I say I’m going to have one or two and proceed to finish the entire bottle and am looking to open a second. It has made me unproductive in life , lonely and isolated. It’s day one again! and when I see so many of the success stories, it gives me encouragement. I feel like I’m fighting this battle alone as I’m the “closet” drinker. The worst time is the 6 O’clock hour. That bottle of wine seems to “find” its way home. This site has opened my eyes to see how many people are just like me in this struggle

      3
      1. I relate to being a closet drinker. It’s a lonely battle to fight when you are the only one who knows what’s going on when you are feeling hungover and the craving and repeating the cycle.

        4
    16. God this makes me cringe – this is exactly my daily routine right down to waking up on couch every night at 2am thinking ‘shit better have heaps of water’. It’s shameful. Then up every morning and off the office. my husband is the only one who knows the truth.

      3
    17. I’ve known my drinking was abnormal for a long time now but always managed to justify it, I’m sure you know all the usual excuses. My brother in law gave up drinking a while ago so I guess that planted the seed in my head. I was bouncing around the internet and ended up on this site. I clicked around, read a few of the ‘sober stories’ seeing a bit of myself in each one and eventually I stumbled upon this comment. It was like someone flicked a switch in my head. This is me! This is almost my exact routine, thrown up in the shower, oh yes been there! Any semblance of denial was blown away right then, I’m not a ‘bit’ like these people, I’m one of them! Pretty much made my decision for me right then, I’m going sober.

      I actually caught myself singing in the shower today, thought of this and chuckled.

      Just wanted to thank you so much for putting this up here (and everyone who got it put to the top). It’s been six days. A long way to go but thank you again for getting me started.

      0
    18. I thought this morning (day 3) that perhaps I needed to write a reminder on how it felt so that when I’m feeling stronger and under the illusion I can control it again I can refer back to it…. but instead maryisnotafairy I have copied yours because the first time I read it I thought BOOM

      0
    19. Yup. This totally me esp the please dont the cops catch me and the 4 am waking up. Awfulness. Hopefully last night is the last time it happens.

      0
  2. Just remember that when you wake up the next morning you will never regret your decision not to drink. Not once have I stayed abstinent through wine o’clock and woke up the next morning and said, “damn, I wish I had that glass of wine last night”.

    47
    1. Good point! I will remember that. When I was sober before I loved the feeling of going to bed clear headed, not dehydrated and dizzy,and waking up refreshed and not hungover. That is what I am going to keep in mind tonight.

      5
  3. The Sober Battle
    Like it or not, some days along this journey feel like a battle. A battle against the wolf, or the asshole monkey brain whispering sweet nothings about moderation.
    The first rule of warfare is to know your enemy. Know it’s strategies. Your adversary is alcohol, the enemy is all around you, advertising it’s greatness and not so subtle lure. The battle is not only around you, but also within you, a sometimes fierce conflict for control of your money, your health, your mind, your heart, and your future self.
    Rules of warfare tell us to know the weakness of your enemy. Time without alcohol in your system weakens it’s hold on you and increases your strength in your defense against it’s wiles.
    Choose your armor, your toolbox, whether it is meditation, sober blogs, exercise, AA, prayer, a higher power, or standing on your head. Find what works for you to help overcome the cravings.
    Align yourself with fellow comrades. Having a supportive network around you is key. Sober Living and you lovely cyber warriors here have been a huge part of preventing casualties. There is nothing so wonderful as realizing you are not alone in the fight.
    Be Victorious!

    47
    1. Know thy enemy. When I an hungry, tired, lonely, or angry are my triggers for a nice bottle of wine. For years a bottle of wine has been my reward for the end of a work week., the start of a new job, a completed project are all accomplishments that deserve celebrating with a bottle of wine and do not forget good music and candles. Sounds like fun until the next day which I am left with a hangover and headache. I lose one day of each week to “the next day” when I feel like crap.
      Today, I feel like crap and have got to replace my wine o’clock with excercise, hobby, friends, shopping, and knowing my body triggers. I am going to avoid going down the wine section of the grocery store. I am going to feel better tomorrow and the vicious cycle will start all over again.
      I will tell my friends that I am detoxing and cleansing my body. They usually agree that is a good thing and wish they could too.
      I will go to an AA meeting on my “end of the work week” day so that I am held accountable. I find meetings helpful in the first month which is spent dealing with not giving in to my craving for a relaxing bottle of wine. I am in a battle that I have had some victory and too many losses. I took care of myself today. Today was easy not to drink because of my hangover. Tomorrow as I feel better, I will focus on how to endure through my cravings. A good workout, a nice friend, and to know thy own self.

      23
      1. Your post is helpful. Thanks for your honesty and inspiration. Today is my first day and yes it will be easy. I went a year and a half sober then this past June I was in Mexico on a girls weekend and thought one won’t hurt. Then came home and 2 weeks later I drank again. Then a week, and now in AUgust I am drinking nearly everyday. All the reasons to stop drinking that kept me sober before are long gone. My one reliable friend that I can reach out to suggests AA. You mentioned AA, I know I am an alcoholic but don’t have a big desire to go to AA. Any thoughts.???

        0
    2. Thank you for sharing what a blessing……………..it really helps me …………you are talking my language…….. I feel like a drink to relax forget things numb pain etc but it just causes misery so a day at a time I want to stay sober more than anything ………. Thank you for helping me with your honest sharing …..

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    3. I love this. This makes the alcohol seem like an adversary that can be defeated with constant vigilance and perseverance . We CAN do it. We can win this war ☺

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    4. Just love the phrase ‘know thy enemy’. It is the same mantra for those suffering agaraphobia or anxiety and depression. Once you know the enemy and all it’s tricks it loses it’s power to influence or frighten you.
      It may still be there for a while trying to convince you of its reality but once you realise that it is indeed a ‘toothless tiger’ then you remove the power from your enemy. Victory is yours!

      2
  4. What worked for me:
    1.Make or prepare dinner earlier in the day, slow cooker was great. Less time hanging round kitchen was less temptation for wine while cooking.
    2. Don’t let yourself get hungry. Eat. Erge to drink lessend for me if I was full.
    3. Have a non-alcohol drink in a fancy glass. In the early days I’d have tonic water with lot’s of lime juice, I needed sour cos all non-al drinks were too sweet in the beginning.
    5. After dinner keep busy; clean the house, go for walk, play a board game… anything.
    6. 7.pm. kids to bed, I was ok then. TV with a movie or something engaging that I wanted to have a clear head to enjoy.
    7. It does get easier in time ;)

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    1. Wow, great advice. I never saw myself as having a problem with alcohol, I’d only drink max 4 times a week including weekends, drinking usually 2-3 glasses of wine a night during the week and max a bottle and half on a weekend night. I never missed work, my bills were paid, and I rearly went out to clubs or pubs – I could count on one hand the amount of times in a year I was in a social atmosphere drinking. My favourite drinking time was wine o’clock while prepping dinner.
      After 5yrs living overseas with her father my young teenage daughter returned home. She was having issues settling so professional counselling sessions were recommended by her school councillor. My drinking was brought up, but this didn’t seem fair to me, she was always put first, had nothing but the best, and she was always given what she wanted. She came with me to my work Xmas party, I became intoxicated after 1 bottle of wine and a large vodka and lemonade. I blacked out several times and could not remember things I had done, this wasn’t the first time, usually my alter ego friends would turn up too. My daughter had to take care of me, this was the breaking point for me, the shame and embarrassment.
      With fear of failure I decided to set myself some “no drinking” challenges; 1st 1 month, then 3 months, and then 6 months. With Christmas a week away I thought if I could get through Christmas day and New Years without a drink I could get through anytime, which I did. However on the 26th, I caved and had 2glasses of wine feeling guilty the whole time. So my quest started from scratch. I’m pleased to say I’m 50days sober, almost through the first month of my 3 month challenge (this month has definitely gone quicker than the last). I hope that by the 6 month challenge passes that the desire and temptation to drink at all diminishes.

      14
      1. I had a similar experience with my 18 year old daughter – just on Saturday night :(

        In one sense it is a blessing, as it has made me wake up. But I am so ashamed !!

        1
    2. Thanks for the suggestions. Being hungry definitely makes me want to drink. After eating the urge subsides a bit. I’m still struggling to string more than a couple of days together. The good news is – my husband has decided to cut back – out of the blue he told me no more wine – it affects his sleep. So with no wine in the house, it should be easier for me. I hope he sticks with it! Thanks again.

      6
      1. hunger is definitely a trigger for me, during the week I get home and as soon as I’m in the door I have a wine poured and continue to drink until we have tea, and sadly deliberately delay tea so I can drink more! My need for the wine is definitely dulled once I have had food, although I still continue to drink, but only a glass because I’m basically pissed by the time I have tea. I find if I have a really big meal I actually don’t want to drink. Which gives rise to another worry that I will become a telly tubby if I go completely sober, because I will eat to fill the ‘gap’.

        0
    3. The slow cooker sounds like a good idea! My problem is I love to cook and when I do I like to sip on wine while preparing the food. Then by the time you sit to eat I’ve already finished half a bottle of red and then theres no stopping. I’m going to get a slow cooker …Thanks
      Deede :)

      3
  5. I heard a comment that rings so true for me……

    “We spend the first three decades recking our bodies and the next three trying to fix it.

    Some do it and some of us can’t manage it. If you want something badly enough you can do it. I’m a binge drinking alcoholic, I use to get abusive when I drink and wake up and was horrified when I’m told what I did the night before.
    Mentally and physically I was killing myself fearful of dementure and liver disease. I’m 43 years old and took my first sip at 13. I am 40 days sober so very early days but honestly I love my life now. I wake up and go to the gym early before work, I’m loosing weight and I feel so healthly it’s incredible how life can change without alcohol to bring you down,
    It’s true you do have to quiet down in your life to succeed but what’s the alternative been tagged as a drunk, I am so pleased I put down the bottle and I really really hope I can succeed to give it up forever, I don’t want that old life back.

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    1. I’m the same as you in that I took my first drink at 13 and have been a binge drinker ever since, I’m 43 too. Well done on your 40 days sober, you are inspiring me, I’m only on day 6 and have struggled every day so far!

      2
  6. This is what I did yesterday to get through Day 9 :)

    I bounced around all day from minute to minute, urge to urge. It would go away for a while, then come back. By dinner time I was feeling pretty low, but I managed to hold on because it’s only a couple of hours until bedtime. Now I am feeling close to normal! These are the things I did to avoid alcohol:
    1. Swam for 20 minutes at the gym
    2. Posted here
    3. Read comments here
    4. Read a couple of recovery blogs
    5. Prayed
    6. Bought wallpaper for a redecorating project
    7. Threw my eating plan to wind and ate cake
    8. Visited an elderly neighbor
    9. Took a catnap
    10. Cried
    11. Cleaned out my car
    12. Told my husband I was nervous about a new job, that I felt like drinking, and that those feelings were making me depressed.
    13. Cried AGAIN!
    14. Ate more cake while taking a nice soak in the tub
    15. Posted here AGAIN!
    Day 10, here I come!

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  7. This is the biggest hurdle for me. I start thinking about it when I leave work at 4pm. As soon as I walk through the door, I feel like I need a drink. I would drink in the lounge and then move into the kitchen and carry on drinking while cooking. Now, instead of sitting down withe the laptop or TV, I do a few rituals. I change my clothes. I take the dog for a walk. I tidy the living area. Instead of drinking, while cooking, I wash any dishes lying around or fold washing. If I can make it to 7pm without a drink the urge starts to fade. It doesn’t strike me every day, but I do have to watch it, because it can sneak up on me. When it does I try to say some sort of mantra. I choose not to drink. I choose to stay healthy. I’m strong and grounded.

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  8. What helps me is the video I made of myself on the morning after the last time I drank. I could see myself lookng dreadful and describing how utterly miserable I was. I described my dreading the day ahead anticipating how hard it would be to get through meetings and the working day feeling the way I did. I had bloodshoot eyes, haggard looking skin, and I had bags under my eyes- basically I looked the,way I felt.

    If I am ever tempted to drink, I review this video and it puts me right off.

    14
  9. First 24hrs sober in three years! Wine hour was rough but made it.
    I read way above the list here, a woman (can’t find it anymore) who shared what her life was as an alcoholic. It was that post that gave me the push and inspiration to try again. I thought I’d share a typical 24hr day that went on for two years until two days ago.

    I am an artist and don’t have regular hours, so I got to drink A LOT ALONE! But I rarely got drunk, just a good buzz, until I passed out and could start again. So here was my typical day:

    11am – wake up, pour a double shot of vodka and OJ to ease the anxiety, stress and relieve the fear I had from my horrific nightmares – while giving a sense of lightness to my day! (my hangovers were depression/anxiety/guilt first thing upon waking, I never got physically sick almost ever). Smoke a cigarette, put some music on, don’t bother taking a shower or eating breakfast. Then jump onto the computer to start my emails in bed. The first shot and cig were always the best for me, it was the only things that got me out of bed.

    11:45am pour another shot with a mixer – stay in bed and work on computer stuff. Panic and Anxiety slowly wearing off. More Cigs!

    1pm – pour another shot with a mixer – stay in bed and work on computer stuff.
    More Cigs! But I was almost always working, but lost my creativity about a year ago when this pattern began. Stuff some food in belly, but not much.

    2pm – time for a shower, now off to have a meeting or photoshoot. Take another shot for the road, brush the teeth, grab the gum. Before entering the subway, buy a 5th of vodka and a mixer to have as a travel bottle for when I start crashing. Sipping the whole way there and then some. Swish with mouth wash, pop the gum in and do what ever it was I had to do. (yes I was always worried they would smell it – no one had said anything phew!)

    5pm – come home and pass out for about 3 hours.

    8pm – Double shot time to catch up, as I feel much more awake and ready to do it again – I loved that “first” buzz. More Cigs and more computer work.

    10pm – No more work for me, now its TV and another shot and mixer.

    12am – my boyfriend get’s home from work, I pour him a shot and more for me!

    3am – Just buzzed enough to finally fall asleep.

    7am – Awake from dehydration, nightmares – in that half sleep guilt, panic and anxiety kick back in. I take another shot(s) to numb it and pass back out.

    11am – RINSE AND REPEAT!

    I am sober Today and I feel like a totally different person. I’ve tried sobriety before and this time I can’t go back to the way things were. (Just writing this makes me want to drink – and I won’t)

    12
    1. I hope that you stay sober. Have you read Jason Vale’s book, Kick the Drink Easily? The advice in this book that really helped me is instead of feeling like you are being deprived from removing alcohol from your life , feel like it is a treat not to be drinking. Anyway, I wish you the best but look into his book if you haven’t already. It was an eye opener and got me on the sober track.

      4
    2. That’s awesome work, BeFree. I notice this post is quite old. How are you getting on with your sobriety? It’s my fifth day today. :)

      2
  10. Thought I had posted this earlier so hoping it does not appear twice….

    I’m new to the Living Sober lifestyle and intend to make it a permanent thing. Started Counselling and some of the advice I got was to treat the end of my relationship with alcohol as if I was treating the end of a bad marriage/relationship. When I got my head around that I made up a guide to help me through.

    Here is what I use.

    1) The divorce has been granted. It’s full and final. It’s been a 30 years marriage that’s mostly cost a lot of money and heartache. It stops now.

    2) This will pass. The hunger for her and the kick I got from being with her is, and always has been, a temporary and fleeting thing.

    3) Breathe. My life is going on and is much better without her around.

    4) Exercise every day. No, it does not mean busting my arse at the gym (although I can if I want!). A walk around the block is exercise. If it’s raining I’ll get wet. I won’t melt. But every day exercise will happen.

    5) Forgive my fuckups. I’ve tried and failed a lot in my life. It’s time to recognise I can’t change what I’ve done but I can change what I’m doing and how I act in the future.

    6) Put right what I’ve put wrong. I’ve let people down and hurt them. Do something right for them when I can.

    7) Help someone else in the same spot. I have to help someone who can’t help themselves.

    8) I’m not perfect and I will fuckup. See #5 above.

    9) Climb a mountain! It’s a metaphor… but do something you can’t do or want but never have.

    10) I own this.

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  11. I’m new to this site and I have never blogged before. It all feels pretty strange. It’s a beautiful sunny day and EVERYONE in the supermarket are buying beers for after work weekend drinks. I stood in the booze aisle for ages deliberating with myself. In the end I wandered around the other aisles several times, and then bought tonic water……just in case I really want a vodka later. And I am really really struggling with not having one. It five o’clock, and I’ve finished a great two hours work on things I have been avoiding, I went running this morning, it’s Saturday tomorrow, I looked thin this morning for the first time in ages…..and my head just won’t stop telling me a vodka and lime would be PERFECT right now. That I can have one, that one will be fine (I can NEVER have one). Anyway, this isn’t much help to anyone else, so apologies for that! And I’m going to try to surf the urge and read a book for a while and just try try try. The blogs on this site do really help, and there was this brilliant quote I have stolen, which was when she enjoyed it she couldn’t control it and when she controlled it she didn’t enjoy it – that is exactly me!

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  12. Oh, between 4:00 and 7:00 are just awful for me. I actually begin thinking about drinking around 1:00 in the afternoon and by 4:00 I’m leaving work and ready to sit down to a nice glass of chardonnay. I’m only on day 3 but I’ve been on this path often enough to have picked up a few tricks. What I’m really working on is realizing that as strong as the urge is at 4:00, it will be gone in a matter of hours whether I drink or not. If I DO drink I’ll feel tired, sick, angry at anyone who happens to be around, guilty and shameful. If I DON’T drink I’ll feel relaxed, able to concentrate, proud of myself, happy to be alive! That’s the choice I can make at 4:00. I think the drink through to the sick, awful end and know that cravings are temporary. Sometimes I just have to put off the drink 15 minutes at a time. Eventually I come out the other side and am so glad I made the decision not to drink. And I’m rewarded by waking up the next morning looking forward to getting out of bed and starting the day!

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    1. It’s so weird! After wrestling with getting through Day 1 (by substituting or distracting those cravings) I wonder “What was all that about!?” What stops me from having a drink now (Day 43) is mainly self-respect and a healthy dollop of pride.

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  13. I notice this is an old topic but here’s my two pennies worth anyway.
    Am going to try a new routine of going for a bath when I get in from work, instead of heading for the kitchen and eating my (not inconsiderable body) weight in carbs and sweet crap.
    Today I treated myself to some gorgeous bath salts (aromatherapy) and when they were being beautifully wrapped, instead of saying ‘It’s OK, they’re not a gift’, I thought, yes they ARE a gift, to me, as a reward for being 112 days sober!
    Had an early bath as am off work today, Feel really calm and chilled and my partner just came in and commented on how lovely the house smells!

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  14. I don’t know if anybody experienced this, but the ritual of getting in my car and buying it seemed to be the peak of the whole cycle. It was a weird rush of some kind. Then after I would get home I would have two beers and think, “now I have all of this left to drink and I don’t even want it but I feel like I have to drink it anyway”. Really sick thinking.
    SO NOW I keep a stock of V8 and gingerale and pass the crucial “start time” with my drink on ice and a trip to this website and read some very good blogs or listen to the Bubble Hour podcast. I don’t go to F2F meetings but there is so much support out there now.. Enough said.

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    1. I can so relate to this!! I tell myself to go straight home and then I turn into the store for wine….like Im so not in control of my life and decision making!! I am so glad I found you ladies!!

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    2. “I don’t even want it but I feel like I have to drink it anyway.” Yup, yup, yup. It amazed me how strong the habit was. Every night without fail, like clockwork, I would pour my first glass of Chardonnay and drink until I fell asleep hours and (shamefully) well into my second bottle later. I would frequently leave a tiny bit of a bottle so that I could pour myself my first glass from that then open a new bottle and drink it down to a tiny bit. In that way, I’d “believe” I wasn’t drinking a whole bottle. Alcoholic’s math.

      1
  15. Has anyone on on here heard of “HALT” ? ie, Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired..? They are four ways of being that are well known to trigger drinking. I find Hungry and Tired are my strongest triggers, and it is often the way I am feeling after a hard day of work or looking after children. So “happy hour” or 4-6pm is the danger zone. The drive home from work, stuck in traffic to pick up the kids from daycare, I’m hungry, tired, and would start to think about a nice drink to soothe me and chill me out…for me? Wine..a tiny thought that develops into a huge thought in a matter of minutes…DANGER ZONE…this is when I reach for my chocolate bar and my coke zero. It’s handy to have in the car/in your bag. Trust me sugar helps a lot! And then, just put off the drink until after tea. Eat a nice big meal. Reassess. I bet you’ll feel less like drinking. But if you don’t? Have a shower or a bath. I’ve read others comments about baths on here and yes I agree- hydrotherapy works. If you’re so inclined, exercise in the evening- change your gym workout to the evening. You’ll be less likely to want to drink after doing healthy stuff. Witching hour is hard in the early days but it does get much easier.. you just have to get time up. Eventually you won’t even think about drinking at witching hour. It’s great when you are in love with the new sober life so much that you don’t want to drink at all…and I NEVER thought that would be me, but here I am! Hope my advice may help anyone who is struggling. And if you are struggling, don’t lose hope. If I can get this thing, you can! The struggle is so worth it to have a happy peaceful life! I’ll repost if I think of other things that helped.

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    1. It is encouraging to know that you have overcome the urge at witching hour that currently overtakes me. I can do a couple of days without wine and feel like I can do it and then the pull comes again and the cycle of feeling not in control of it and guilty – in case I let my kids and husband down by becoming ill – invades me. I don’t understand how I got to this point and want to stop but I can’t imagine life without drinking – I wish is never started. Any thoughts to help me would be so welcome – I need to kick it and feel free.

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    2. Great help, thanks. Definitely tired is a trigger. I work nights and the witching hour after a sleep day is definitely a trigger point, but a meal and a bath help. I guess it’s the body craving sugar, and decision making is not at it’s best when very tired. It’s nice to know that these are common triggers. Thx!

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    3. @nursestel I agree but would add an extra H for Happy. I don’t only drink when I’m in a negative frame of mind….having a great day or achieving something at work I’m proud of spurs me on too. Thanks for the suggestion of doing gym work outs in the evening – you are so right… if I return feeling virtuous I will be less likely to drink. Thanks!!

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  16. Been drinking every day for 30 years .

    This is my first day of not drinking .

    I need to do due to hbp and other problems .
    Got through it so far but its only the first day 0(

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  17. Part of my feeling that I was ‘in control not the booze’ was my obsessive not drinking before 6 pm rule which I stuck to religiously – but I also counted down the minutes till 6 pm. When I gave up the demon drink my 6 pm became a nightmare – so I decided to keep up part of the ritual only. I would choose a really nice non alcoholic drink – to hell with the cost – something I had spent time choosing and bought earlier in the day, pour it into a wine glass and walk around the garden, breathing deeply. Going outside instead of the kitchen was new and different and helped the distraction level. Every day I would see something new in the garden and as time went on I started looking for that.
    It was really difficult for some months but the full wine glass at least felt familiar and comfortable on one level. Interestingly enough when I finally got the courage to tell the neighbours I was no longer drinking nearly a year in, the response was “No you haven’t – I see you all the time outside with a glass of wine” But it was not as they thought.
    I am 8 years in now – still like a drink with my husband at 6 pm – in a wine glass – he has a beer. It feels like a treat but I can live with myself now – I really didn’t want to before. I was a friend to all but myself when I was drinking. Now I am friends with the woman in the mirror I want to stay that way.

    5
  18. I just want to be free, not to think about holidays and days planning when I can have wine. Grumping at the kids constant headache. Then having more wine the next night. It’s sad. Day 1

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  19. 4 Days no vino. I will keep going. Lost job nearly 1 year ago. 1 bottle of Vino per day. Gained 25 lbs. 4 days in with no wine and I feel good. Moody today. Skin looks clear. More energy. Need the support from others. Sometimes I miss the impulsiveness of it all. But, not going there.
    Thank you!

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  20. @dolly what you were were saying about what was supposed to be a fun treat, ended with mindless drinking, a wasted evening, falling asleep and feeling crap the next day, rang so true with me. I realise now I have been numbing myself, I feel so much clearer in my mind since not drinking, I sleep better, I’m more present and alert, my mind isn’t concerning itself with the next sip or next glass or next bottle, I didn’t realise what a trap I had created for myself. I think what I’m learning most now is I need to keep doing this for ME and not feel pressure to live up to society’s norm of drinking, because we are the ones who know the negative affect it has on us, it’s too easy for that half a bottle of wine shared with a friend while out for dinner one night to turn into drinking at home after work every night, so just gotta stay strong and remember why we are doing this x

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    1. Yes I so relate to wine o’clock ,
      I really struggle and have a partner who drinks.
      I have found a recipe for chai tea and have been making copious amounts of that.
      I must admit I do feel clear headed though,

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  21. I used predinner cocktails as a way to unwind from the day when Inwas drinking so wanted something that would have a similar effect without the booze. I learned how to meditate in my 20′s and it has now become a part of my daily routine in my sobriety. 20 minutes in the morning before I start my day and 20 minutes at cocktail hour really helps me. it really helps to calm me and makes me feel more centered. I usually follow with a club soda and tonic with lime. I still feel a little tug once in a while but it is just a thought so it passes.

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  22. I find it really interesting how so many of us find before dinner time the hardest time of day- I have often asked myself if this is in someway connected to my emotions- how I felt at that time of the day growing up when I was most likely to of been around both my parents and the incredible sad/angry/hurt energy they both carried and became very much the ‘atmosphere’ of all of 8 formative years…maybe not- but often wonder…Anyone else out there that find 4-6oclock the hardest and grew up in a home with parents that were unhappy?

    I find when I want a drink at this time I set my sights on that after dinner is done and I can run a bath and soak in it by candlelight then hop into bed clean, relaxed and SOBER knowing I made it through this day and will wake up in the morning hangover and regret/shame/despair free. And be a better Mumma to my wee boyXXX

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    1. @4dayweek

      Wow, you know you may be on to something here. I feel the exact same way. I certainly do find the hours between maybe 4:00PM – 6:00PM to be where I would have usually “decided” to drink in the evening. I definitely grew up in a home with unhappy parents. It’s like, when I consciously made the choice and said to myself that I would have some drinks tonight (some drinks for me is probably twelve beer), then any tension or anxiety I may have been feeling when I was building up to my decision was immediately lifted and I felt more relaxed.

      I still have to work on that, but I am getting better. I know it will get easier as my sober time increases.

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    2. I grew up in a mostly happy large family environment. Alcohol did not suit my Mum – she like to keep it together and it made her feel yuk and our Da certainly liked to drink at weekends etc and was never aggressive on it. I still ended up drinking too much myself.
      Your way of managing the end of the day is grand – I like your attitude. It must be hard for people who grow up with parents out of control – I’m very grateful for the stability we had. There wasn’t lots of money but we knew where we were at. If everyone could have a soak in the bath there would be less soaks, maybe??

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    3. Hey, I love your blog! this me exactly. If i can get over the 4-6pm! i will make it out alive! I could’ve wrote this! i completely relate to you! thank you! I am on day one again. I really want to be amazing and refreshed. I too will look forward to my evening baths.

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    4. Funny how we are all different. I had the opposite theory–I live alone now but grew up in a happy family and have wondered whether wine-o’clock is a response to loneliness and loss of that sense of sharing at the end of the day. But I am with you on value of hanging in and getting past this daily hurdle. The joys of clarity in the evenings and mornings make this struggle more than worthwhile.

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    5. My experiences and perceptions about alcohol when I was growing up was good. My dad was a serious, often angry person and when he and my mom had cocktails in the evening, he became nice, and funny. I couldn’t wait to be able to drink because it looked like so much fun. The daily wine started at the time I became interested in cooking nice meals, my husband and I would cook together and drink wine. I’m not sure when that changed, but its funny, I don’t look forward to spending hours in the kitchen anymore. It is just too closely tied with drinking. I hope that changes.

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  23. hi there, I’m doing a level 1 NCEA social studies assessment for school on alcohol and its effects on new zealanders, i stumbled across this site by accident while researching, and i was wondering if anyone would feel ok to answer some questions?
    if so that would be amazing, (haven’t had much luck finding answers on the internet)
    1. do you think new zealand has a drinking problem? why? why not?
    2. what are some main effects that drinking has had on your life?
    3. do you think there is enough information available to make well informed deception about drinking alcohol?
    thanks :)

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    1. There is no question, New Zealand has a huge drinking problem. Statistics tell us this. You only have to visit the Hospitals on Friday and Saturday nights (and week nights) to see the effects our binge drinking culture is having. You only have to walk up Queen St on a Friday and Saturday night and see what is going on. Our University accommodations are a riot of young people getting blitzed (throwing up in the elevators) etc on Friday and Saturday nights (and any night in between). I realise other countries have issues similar to this as well, but NZ does seem to be particularly bad. 2) My personal drinking habits led me to write off 3 vehicles, which cost me a lot of money. Very nearly destroyed my marriage. Made me not the best parent i could be. And made me absolutely miserable. 3) I dont think there is enough information in school about alcohol, there seems to be a lot of information given to kids (teens) about other drugs, but alcohol seems to be put into another catagory, almost like its acceptable and normal for everyone to be drinking. Considering how destructive alcohol is, it should be a top priority for schools to inform our young people of the negative effects drinking can have. Thankyou for reading

      1
    2. Hi there,

      1. I think quite a lot of Kiwis probably feel they drink too much, and I think there is a fairly permissive attitude to drinking in New Zealand. I think the prevailing attitude among many is that getting drunk is an accepted part of drinking and that all the fall out from that is a bit of a badge of honour. More and more you hear that the your generation have far healthier attitudes towards drinking than previous generations, which can only be a good thing (and the fact that you’re doing a project on it for school is hugely positive, and part of how the drinking culture may be changing for the better). Overall I think alcohol causes an enormous amount of suffering. You only need to go to court for a morning, or observe a hospital emergency waiting room, to see how much of an effect it has on people’s lives. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You never see the harm it causes behind closed doors. I’ve developed quite a negative view of alcohol. The other day my wife told me she never thought my drinking was ever out of the ordinary compared to anyone else, which surprised me as I now feel I have been irresponsible over the years.
      2. Before joining this site and quitting alcohol drinking was just always part of my life. In my younger days I drank excessively (I’ve never being particularly good at holding my booze and many a night ended messily) like all my friends did. I got drunk for the first time at home at a family gathering when I was 13. I never really questioned my drinking till I had kids. I would never have classed myself as an alcoholic, but I recognise now I’ve been a problem drinker (in terms of frequently not being able to stop when I’ve had enough). I used alcohol as a crutch to prop up my confidence in social situations, and when I became a stay-at-home parent I began to drink wine or cider while cooking dinner out of boredom or to take the edge off a stressful day. That pattern of afternoon drinking could stretch to every night on a particular week (then more on the weekend as a reward for getting through the week). The drinking in front of the kids started bugging me, and the occasional bender when I drank far too much even though I planned to drink responsibly, and as you get closer to 40 (I’m 39) I think your body feels the effects of even small amounts of alcohol more than when you were 19 and bullet proof.
      3. I think there is enough information to be honest, and I also think people know within themselves usually when things are becoming problematic. I think there could be more information available to show people they can live without alcohol and how to do it. Resources such as Living Sober are incredible but probably not mainstream in terms of people knowing there’s that option. I think this sort of site would work for most people that might not need to go to rehab, but just want to quit or moderate with peer support.

      Hey, good luck with your studies. And good on you for jumping on here and asking for info. :)

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    3. Hi there

      1. Absolutely. When you stop drinking you notice how often people talk about drinking, especially on Fridays! Every social occasion has to have alcohol and it is easy to feel ostracised and ‘uncool’ if you don’t drink – young or old. The statistics around violence and accidents clearly show how often alcohol is implicated in causing social harm (you might want to contact someone who works for the police or in an emergency ward at a hospital! or Salvation Army who have a unit devoted to addiction etc). Kiwis tend to binge drink, which has huge health and social harms associated. Have you seen these statistics? http://www.alcohol.org.nz/research-resources/nz-statistics and this is pretty good too http://www.ahw.org.nz/resources/Toolkit%202009/Fact%20Sheet%20Alcohol%20Harm%20in%20New%20Zealand%20final%202009.pdf
      A lot of the problems alcohol causes remain hidden – people behaving in ways or doing things they wouldn’t normally do when they were sober for example, and then playing it down because they are embarrassed or unaware. Alcohol is too much a part of what we think being ‘grown up’ is – I think it is a massive problem in New Zealand.
      2. Physical: heart palpitations, looking unhealthy, unidentified party wounds (UPWs), no doubt internal organ issues that we can’t see, black-outs, forgetfulness
      Psychological: anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, sadness, loss of self-belief
      Social: trouble maintaining healthy relationships, doing ‘stupid shit’ and offending people, loss of dignity, being irresponsible, putting self in harms way
      3. Information is there if you know where to look, but most people don’t until they know they have a problem by which time it is a hard battle to get on top of it. Alcohol misuse creeps up on you slowly – often starts when young when you think you are having fun (even though you may have forgotten what you were doing). I think the level of harm it causes is played down in the media, people think only ‘ park-bench alcoholics’ have a problem but actually it is a lot more widespread than that – many high level functioning people have a hidden problem with it – and I hate to say it but even some of your peer group may already be showing signs that they can’t just ‘stop’ after 1 or 2. I think the information around alcohol needs to focus on how it hurts as as individuals (physically and psychologically), as families and as a society. I think more information is getting out there, but more required.
      Good luck!

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    4. NZ does have a bad drinking culture. There is enormous peer pressure put on people in just about any age group to drink . Advertising in NZ doesn’t help as it often depicts it as being a glamorous pass time. And for some people it is. But for an enormous number it is incredibly destructive. It’s damaging not only to those drinking but it has a flow on effect to whanau and communities too.
      In the past few years I have been more aware of my drinking, and have a huge problem with wine. It’s utterly addictive. Just as addictive, or even more addictive than smoking or other substance. I have many times tried to stop but haven’t successfully as yet. It’s a huge battle. I can go without beer or spirits but if there’s wine in the house it’s all or nothing. And all doesn’t always stop at one bottle. It totally sux.
      I think that there needs to be more face to face education targetted at the younger age group that focuses on the down sides. Maybe more shock tactics.
      Some of the advertising isn’t probably seem by teenagers these days because they don’t watch TV like their parents etc did at their age. But in saying that there have been a few really good ones that will have I’m sure made an impact, if they’ve taken the time to watch.
      Good luck with yr project. It’s nice that you found this site. It’s made a huge difference to a lot of people. You should also check out some drinking blogs. Like Mrs D’s. She has links to many others on her one too. And if you have the choice, don’t drink. It’s a waste of time, health and money.

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  24. I go to the gym. A good hard workout (or an easy, breezy workout– like a tai-chi class) is just the thing! Plus, i’m getting my endorphins from a good source instead of from booze.

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  25. Reading this makes me feel shocked. Shocked that others go through the same. But reading it also makes me feel reassured that others do go through it and can get through it.

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  26. My special trick is simple but it really works for me: I take a 4PM long hot shower….use the best smelling berry flavored soap you’ve got & get lost in the bubbles…when ya emerge you are so clean and sparkling cool that a drink is not needed or wanted. All of a sudden, worries are washed away.

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  27. I decided that using alcohol as a way to get through my Christchurch earthquake insurance issues to do with having no home was not a good reason to drink. I want to care for my liver and brain- all of me. I stopped on Sunday, so it’s now 5 days with no alcohol and I feel a lot better about myself. I would beat myself up for drinking, all day long. The 6 o’clock dinner cooking time is the hardest and I find myself just leaving the kitchen to get away from the grog. I reward myself with some Waitaroa sparkling mineral water.
    Alcohol dependence is insidious and the wee voice saying a bottle of beer or a glass of wine won’t mean anything sometimes yells very loud in my ear. I hope this lessens as time goes by.

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    1. Well done you. The yelling in your head does get less as time goes by. Someone told me once that imagine your sobriety date is like an earthquake happening, lots of rumbling then the further you are from the date of the earthquake the less severe the aftershocks become. Wishing you well on your journey.

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    2. I also live in Christchurch…7pm was the hardest time for me when my husband put the kids to bed and I got stuck into my secret stash of wine

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