Tuesday 20 February 2018

Me O'Clock

I used to love the wine o'clock jokes and memes.

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,

SM x


  1. Just reading your book starting on a road to change

  2. hi all !
    #Meoclock in my world - is a lovely body scrub followed by bath with desert island discs on whilst I wear a moisturising face mask . this has been a fairly recent pastime - probably as long as ive been AF -( 39 days now!)
    it really works for me . I would love to hear other peoples ideas as well

    love to all

    sarah B

  3. My #meoclock is me playing a word game on my phone...the only problem is, that #meoclock sometimes continues into #dinneroclock...can you say #addictivepersonality?????? :)

  4. Yes, I'm definitely all for #meo'clock. Have you seen the instagram page tellbetterstories? It's great and calls us all out on our 'harmless' jokes about alcohol abuse.

  5. HI
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  6. It's amazing how much time there is in a day when you haven't got the pressure of fitting in drinking. I'm now have time for Yoga, drawing and reading all much more restorative. 115 days sober and still going strong.

  7. Sorry to throw a spanner in the works but why do we have to follow the wine o'clock hashtag at all?
    Can't we just make our own rules? We don't have to o' clock anybody or anything!
    To be honest Me o' clock sounds rather self indulgent given that most of us have been over indulgent in the first place given our innate love for the jungle juice.
    I am aware that I am being a party pooper here but I what I am trying to say is that by all means let's challenge the wine o'clock mentally, but I don't like the name of the movement.
    That being said, love all the ideas and comments here.
    Sorry again

  8. Cup of Yorkshire tea, catch up on social media, or an early bath before my son has his, with music blaring from my phone via Spotify, a book and some fancy bubble bath. Going to start picking up my flute again too

  9. Hi Clare
    Reading your book. What fantastic read and very witty. I get it all. I've just turned 56 and been a heavy drinker for the best part of 35 years.
    Army beer monster in my 20s to 30's. Then graduated to red wine from my 40's onwards. I, like you used to, can easily do a bottle a night far more at the weekends. I very rarely have a day off. I get 3am witching hour, waking up sweating and feeling anxious.
    I've done dry Jan once, about five years ago and felt great. Then back on the booze.
    So since starting your book it's really got to me. This week I set myself a challenge to have four consecutive days off. This is my fourth day already feeling great and three mornings without feeling groggy.
    Although I am a heavy drinker I am active, I run, cycle, swim and walk a fair bit. I eat healthily and have never smoked. So only one bad vice to get to grips with.
    Now, I don’t have the intention of giving up totally, however I really need to cut down drastically. The wine witch hasn’t come calling just yet as I’ve managed to keep myself occupied by running and going to the gym over the last three days. I’m sure tonight my fourth night and being a Thursday night, the wine witch will be knocking at my door. Which is fine I won’t be there I’ll be doing laps of the pool.
    I’m even thinking of giving it a miss tomorrow night (Friday). But one day at a time.
    Thanks for writing your book it has really inspired me, as you have been there.
    Keep up the good work and thank you.


  10. Recently finished reading the book, and loved it, it was like reading my own life story (up to the quitting part). I decided on new years eve that enough was enough, so I have now been sober for 53 days. Mainly all is good, but occasionally I could easily reach for the vino again. How do you manage that. I have invested in the becks blue, but too scared to drink it because that was my pattern, a couple of beers followed by the dreaded wine. my husband did dry January with me, then converted back (although not drinking as much as he did), but since then he never seems happy. I find myself wondering if he has gone off ne (am I boring now). On a plus I have started football, and generally find I don't hate myself as much as I did.

    1. @countingthedays well done on 53 days!!! I'm the same as you. Last drink was new years eve. I'm feeling great physically and I'm not tired anymore and no hangovers. I don't crave like I did in January but have thought about wine recently. It was 100% my thing so when the going gets hard I have a Becks Blue. One or two usually does the trick. But like you say if it is possibly a trigger for you then can understand that it's a difficult decision to have one. When the pressure is really on I just think about how hard I've worked to stay off it and that I'm not going through this again! I can say is keep going and wish you lots of luck! You're doing great. Jacqueline

    2. Thanks. i have been reading loads of books recently to get me through and i have found it really helps. also the blog writing thing seems empowering so i think i may give that a bash now. haha. it really brought a smile to my face reading your reply. made me realise I'm not alone

    3. @countingthedays I agree research is great to keep you going and Clare's book and blog is a Godsend. Clare's book literally saved me and was the final straw I needed. Not having to apologise after a night out for what I may or may not have said I don't miss. Even after only 55 days, nights out are much better for me as I can remember and enjoy everything without having the dreaded guilty conscience and hangover the next day. My hangovers used to last for days and to combat them, I'd just drink more. So happy that you are feeling better and keep going! You are definitely not alone! You have got this and are doing so well!! Jacqueline

  11. Love it! I don't use twitter or I'd post something. I think today will be gym and a soak in hot tub and then...chocolate! TGIF! Happy weekend all! #meoclock

  12. Day 16 and sober. Very happy and determined. Currently don't have #Me O'clock, so I need to work on it! Becks Blue continues to be a Godsend- does anybody know WHY it seems to help with cravings so much? I'd be really interested to know.

    1. For me it feels like I'm having a 'proper drink' and it actually tastes like I'm having a real beer! They really take the edge off when I'm sitting on my hands and I only usually need 2 or 3. Job done! Great thing I'm still sober! Good luck!! Jacqueline

    2. You should try Krombacher alcohol free.
      It tastes exactly the same as real beer.
      I always get mine in a wine glass, it makes me feel like I am joining in.
      Pathetic, but necessary at the moment

    3. No way is it pathetic! You are doing an amazing thing!! You do whatever you need to do to get yourself through. Stay strong and all the very best of luck. We are all with you!

    4. I totally agree. Everyone is different and we need to do whatever WE need to do to get ourselves through. AF beer is certainly helping me at the moment and I am now on Day 20! Thank you both for your replies - it is so good to know I am not alone.

    5. Congratulations on 20 days!! You are right, everyone is different. Whatever works, go for it! Keep going, keep going, keep going!! You are definitely not alone - we are all side by side x

    6. Just realised that I'm only Day 18! Oh well! That's Becks Blue for you! It's still the longest I have been sober for in many years, so I'm very happy.

  13. 18 days, 20 days. Whatever the number it is a massive achievement! Well done and keep going!