They made me feel like my daily wine habit was totally normal - expected even. It was all part of being a busy mum, winding down at the end of a day corralling three energetic children.
They were proof that everyone else was doing exactly the same thing. So I didn't have a problem! Despite the fact that I was drinking a bottle of wine every day, not just one glass....
Then, after I quit drinking, I started to hate the wine o'clock thing. It just made me feel left out. It was a constant reminder of what I was missing. And I was ANGRY. Angry that booze had misled me, lied to me and let me down.
Now that I am a seriously happy alcohol-free person (and, if you are still struggling, believe me, you WILL get there) I just give the wine o'clock jokes a wry smile and think (in a slightly patronising way, I have to admit. I am not perfect) you can keep your yucky addictive toxin. I am not interested.
Then I came across a fabulous blogger via my new Instagram addiction (you can find me at @clare_pooley) called Cat Sims. Her blog is called Not So Smug Now.
Cat was on a Radio 5 Live programme about wine o'clock - titled is #wineoclock damaging or just a bit of fun?, which she then wrote about. (You can find her brilliant post on the SoberMummy Facebook Page).
Cat argues that we're asking the wrong question.
The wine o'clock hashtag, she says, 'comes from a place of good.' Not so long ago, mothers tended to compete with each other, rather than support each other, and the hashtag is an acknowledgment that motherhood is tough.
Cat says that instead of worrying about whether wine o'clock is normalising drinking, we should be concentrating on normalising not-drinking.
I totally agree.
We need to address the fact that non-drinkers are often made to feel like party poopers, and feel like they have to explain why they're not 'joining in'.
I don't ask anyone to justify why they're drinking an addictive drug - that's their choice. So I don't see why I should have to justify why I choose not to. It should be accepted that people can choose to drink alcohol, or not. Simples.
This got me thinking....
.....instead of grumbling about #wineoclock, why don't we create our own hashtag. Because the truth is that we still need some wind down time at around 6pm. We still need to feel adult, and we still need to congratulate ourselves on a job well done. Don't we?
So, why don't we start using #meoclock?
I'll share this blog post on Facebook and Instagram, with my picture of #meoclock above - that's me and the terrier relaxing with the fabulous self-heating, aromatherapy Spacemasks.
It would be great if you could add your own pictures of #meoclock in the comments on the Facebook page. Or, if you use Instagram, post on there with the hashtag (and please tag me so I can see!)
Let's start a new movement, showing all the alternative, wonderful and wacky things you can do at 6pm that DON'T INVOLVE WINE!
(If you're stuck about what to do at me o'clock, then why not check out The Sober Diaries - you can read the first few chapters for free by clicking here and choosing the 'look inside' feature).
Love to you all,