The "Witching Hour".


This topic contains 12 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by

1 year, 9 months ago.

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  • #12106


    I would appreciate some feedback on this. I’ve been writing my drinking fears and the one that has me the most stumped is that while I’ve successfully not had a drink since starting this program, and nor do feel like I want to now that I know what I know, and have cross examined my thinking that led me to believe life wasn’t worth living with wine, every night at 5:3-6:00 I “hear” this little voice that feels temper tantrumy, saying “Damn it! I want a glass of wine!” I have just allowed it to throw it’s little tantrum, and haven’t succumbed, but I wonder how to take this a step further to learn what is happening, and how to mitigate it? It does worry me. One insight is that I was traumatized all through high school by my father always around dinnertime.(5:30-6:00). One of my family members, often me, would end up leaving the table with food unfinished, crying. I’m wondering if I’m equating this “witching hour” with the need to numb? I’d love to hear any thoughts? Thank you.

  • #12109


    Toby, one thing about the 30DSS is that it’s so much more than a manual enabling one to “quit or cut back” drinking. It’s really a plan to be put in place for living your best life, as you’ve probably realized by now. One of the things that comes up is the need for self examination, of your past, your strengths, your foibles, and much more. As Socrates declared, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” So any antecedent you can find to help you made sense of what makes you tick is a good thing! Congratulations on your Sobriety! Sina

    • #12126


      Thank you, Sina. I really appreciate your taking the time to respond. Today’s assignment for me, Day 23, included doing the Work of Byron Katie. After finishing that, I felt much more clarity. I realize one worksheet doesn’t pave the way, but I’ve always been a seeker, and know many more will follow. I couldn’t agee more that the unexamined life is not worth living.

      Again, thank you!


  • #12123


    Hi Toby,
    I have the same problem with that time period and wanting a glass of wine. I have the same argument with myself, Ill just have one relax a little and be fine. Of course its never just one glass and the cycle repeats. I’m finding it helpful to not be alone during that time. I make plans ahead of time to have dinner or meet with friends or family or to do something distracting. The other evening I just got in my car and went to Walmart, and bought some munchies I don’t normally eat and an ice cream treat for myself that I decided I could have if I held out until 9:30 pm. I think having the strategies really helps too. So I know AA isn’t part of the plan, but I printed out copies of the meeting times in case no one is available to hang out with me, I can go and sit and let the “witching hour” pass. Good luck Toby.


    • #12127


      Hi Debi-Ann,

      Thank you for this. I’m grateful that I’ve got a support system with my husband, who isn’t doing the 30DSS with me, but has decided he will use this time to not pour our customary glass of wine around dinner time, and checks in with me each night around 5:00 to offer to talk me through whatever emotion I’m feeling. I’m also committed to tapping daily, and am using it to help with this one trigger. It’s funny – it is the ONLY time I even vaguely think about drinking wine. I’m glad you’ve found a solution for your witching hour as well.

      Again, thank you for responding. It is my first time (I’m on day 23) of posting. I know it’s invaluable.


  • #12165


    Hi Toby,
    Sounds to me like you found your trigger. Is there someone you can talk to about your dad? Or a trauma release practitioner?
    Best wishes to you.

    • #12179


      Thank you for weighing in. Yes! I just returned from a weekend seminar in which we did a lot of work around fathers. I’m thinking I’ll develop a Tapping Solution for myself, because I’ve done SO much work around my father, and I’m thinking it’s time to deal with it on a cellular level.

      The good news is – that niggling feeling of wanting a glass of wine is dissipating. (I’m on day 21 today of not drinking!) Now I’m craving sparkling water.

      Again, thank you so much!

      Toby Tetlow!

  • #12172


    Hi Toby,

    I hear you on the dinner-hour-as-trigger, which is one of many reasons I left my husband three years ago: he made dinner time miserable, and I vowed to make it a time of relaxation, checking in, and being ourselves (the kids and I) in our private space. Dinners are very laid back now, but I still have the witching hour leading up to “dinner on the table.”

    My whiny voice says, “wasn’t it so nice to have a glass of wine (leading to four more) when you’d just had a really intense day at work, and you’d have to make dinner by yourself (poor you) for two tired and grumpy children who won’t eat what you make anyway, and you are worried about having enough money to get through the month, and which bill are you not going to pay this month, and how are you going to have enough money to afford to pay for your daughter’s birthday present in one week, and the party, and…total panic that I want to escape from…and tomorrow, your kids are leaving and you have 5 days without them and no friends (literally no friends outside of my kids’ social network, working on this but it will take time)….

    That is my witching hour every night with kids, and my witching hour without kids: “Omg, you are not going to see another human being who cares about you for 5 days. What the hell are you going to do with yourself without alcohol?”

    Here’s what I have been doing so far, but I am also asking for more tips and tricks (particularly aimed at the high-functioning-drinker-mom-type who is also socially isolated half of the time):

    Opera (or other really intense music). It fills up the room and my entire head.

    Pounding the carbonated water. I can still drink a lot 🙂

    That Sober Guy podcast…or Freakanomics…or This American Life. I can get lost in stories.

    Reading my entire journal over again.

    List making or figuring out exactly how I am going to survive the month financially.

    Once I get through that and settle down to reading or working on the action steps, I wake up grateful that I still have all my same problems and worries, but I also HAVE A CLEAR HEAD AND SOME PRIDE IN MYSELF. I had a rough morning today – rallied the reluctant kids to summer camp, packed a lunch that I know they won’t eat, didn’t shower, arrived to work at 10, only to realize I had forgotten my computer and needed to go back to get it, but at least I arrived to work late without a foggy brain!

    I keep telling myself that the witching hour will one day be a thing of the past. I hope that is true. Maybe the witching hour will always be a witching hour. Maybe everyone, sober or not, feels like this hour of the day is something hard to get through, and maybe it will still be hard but we can get through it anyway…just like all the rest of the people do who are not problem drinkers.

    Toby, what are you going to do to make your dinner hour the ideal time? What would make it so different from the way your father handled it? How can you reinvent it according to your own values?

    In sobriety solidarity 🙂


    • #12178


      Thank you for taking the time to write me back.

      I find it fascinating that putting it out here on to this “vortex” seems to have performed some kind of magic. I’ve noticed that for the past 2 days, I feel infinitely more grounded, and completely satisfied that when I get that feeling during the “witching hour”, I’m thrilled to be pouring myself a sparkling water.

      And, I, like you, am SO thrilled to wake up each morning feeling so danged good, physically and mentally. I’m noticing that I’m waking up feeling optimistic instead of depressed. And, I’m just on day 21 of not drinking. (Day 25 of the 30DSS.)

      I also mentioned to another person here that I’m developing a tapping solution for this – and have vowed to do it for 30 straight days. I’d done tapping a few months ago about surrendering, and miraculous results occurred.


      Congrats to you, as well!

      Toby Tetlow 51

  • #15877

  • #18501


    Wow, I never equated the traumatic childhood dinners with the evening desire to drink. For me, I think it’s just a matter of exaggerating the misery of my job into an I Deserve It/No One Is Going To Tell Me What To Do/Screw Them situation, which is really not necessary. My job is not that bad!

    I also have a lifelong anxiety about, if I let myself be happy, something terrible will happen. That’s a hard one to deal with but I’m getting better at it over the years.

    I just can’t believe how well this program is working for me. I actually feel turned OFF by the idea of alcohol and have NO desire to drink at all. What the . . . ???

    Good luck, everyone everywhere!

  • #19322


    The ‘ole witching hour is the toughest still. I have to find something to do, read 30DSS, I’m cleaning. It’s just plain tough. Then at 8 I’m doing the happy dance. I feel good, I know I’ll sleep, I know I’ll feel really good in the morning and I’ll be writing in my gratitude journal how grateful I am. I heard Garrison Kellior speak recently. He loved his gin and tonics but finally just got tired of waking up groggy everyday. That has become my mantra. I will feel so good in the morning. No more shame, no more plans to quit. Be Nike, just do it!

    • #19337


      Ah, the witching hour! I find I’m doing fine right now (day 20 of 100% commitment) but I do feel a little trepidation about how I’ll fare once I’ve worked through all 30 days. Right now the reading and action steps are filling up a good portion of my weeknight evenings! One thing I’m starting to add back into my life is exercise. In particular, early evening classes (yoga, Zumba…). By the time I’m home from those, the witching hour has passed.

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