Friday Night: OSIFA!

TGIF becomes OSIFA (Oh Shit It’s Friday Again) in early sobriety. For me, I dreaded how the weekend loomed fearfully ahead and taunted me with boozy opportunities for failure. I am not exactly sure when that changed for me, but I like weekends again.

I credit this monumental shift to new practices and habits. Here are some of my tips and tricks for enjoying the weekend:

1. Check the calendar. Do you have events to attend? Do you wish to attend them? The most important thing about going out in early sobriety is planning transportation. Do not allow yourself to be “stuck” somewhere that doesn’t feel good. You need to empower yourself to leave whenever you feel like you need a change of scene. Do it politely, discreetly,and safely. If you arrived with someone else, be sure to communicate the plan so that they don’t have to leave with you. My husband and I would agree before we went out that I would leave if I wanted, and he could take a cab home later – no questions asked and no guilt trips either way. Oh and bring along your own AF beverage – that is your new rule, right?

2. No parties or events on the calendar? Super – it is all about you then. Whereas I used to stop by the liquor store for myself, now I go to the mall and stock up on tea, ice cream, coffee, reading material, fancy lotions, whatever might make my weekend a little more enjoyable. Hello sofa. Hello Netflix. Hello toe separators and purple polish. Let’s all spend some time together. Once you are nesting there, text a few friends and plan short daytime outings for Saturday and Sunday: coffee, a walk, FaceTime. It is important to have a few things to look forward to so you don’t stay on the couch the entire weekend.

3. Map out your weekend. List out the must-dos and the like-to-dos: cleaning, groceries, errands, pampering, coffee with friends, walking the dogs, exercise, phoning your mother. Now plan to do all of it at odd hours: clean house in the evening, meet friends at Starbucks in the sunshine instead of the wine bar at night, move the coffee table and try standing on your head during Saturday morning cartoons, pull out your stove and clean that gunk back there — basically shake up your routine and keep busy. I found that if I broke out the weekend into chunks of time and put an activity or two into each spot, then it gave me something to look forward to and something to do and something to feel proud of at the end of the day. I am someone who needs to actually write down “sit and relax” “read book” in order for it to get done, so even that goes on the list.

4. Drinking caused me to grow blinders for any event that didn’t involve alcohol. Now I am amazed by how much there is to DO in this world! Farmers’ Markets, art galleries, museums, walking tours, lectures, concerts. Stop walking past those event posters at the coffee shop and read them. Go into the library and look at the events listing. Check out the web page for your local schools and see what games, plays, and events they are hosting. Go to some random sporting event where you don’t know any players or teams and just soak up the energy and spirit of youth! When is the last time you watched pre-schoolers playing soccer? It is the most adorable thing in the world.

5. Organize your home. You probably hate me for saying this but trust me, you will feel better. Here is a great link to get you started: (I love the suggestion of choosing 27 things to throw away while singing “Please Release Me”.)

Readers, what can you add? How about those of you with younger kids – what are your secrets for a great weekend? Let’s get through the next 48 hours together. I know I plan to enjoy myself.

About UnPickled

I am learning to walk without the crutch of alcohol. As I begin I am 1 day sober. Gulp. I drank in private and hope to quit just as privately. The purpose of this blog is to help make me accountable - just by following you will give me enormous support and encouragement.

Posted on September 26, 2014, in Getting Sober. Bookmark the permalink. 67 Comments.

  1. I have a great women’s AA meeting at 7pm on Friday nights. I’ve gone for years and have made many friends there, and going straight there from work on Fridays is not only something I look forward to, but a great way to get me in the right frame of mind heading into the weekend before I even have the chance to think about alternatives. That was EXTREMELY helpful to me in early sobriety.


  2. It’s been awhile since I shared..mostly because I started drinking again to great disappointment to myself. I thought I could handle a few but found myself back to my old self very quickly. After nursing a hangover for two days and realizing that I need to get back to that place I was before..I had never felt sol good when I quit..why did I go back?? Sometimes I just don’t understand the choices I make. Thanks for letting me vent..but quick question can I start fresh and give myself a second chance??
    It’s not too late is it?


    • Oh dear friend, it is never too late! Let yourself learn from the experience, build on the recovery you already experienced. You confirmed for yourself that your brain has been permanently rewired to misfire when it comes to alcohol and that you are far better off without it. Now you know. Now you move forward. Onward! Better days are ahead. You are worth the effort!


  3. Great blog! Are your kids still at home? Mine are roughly the same ages, with two still at home. My husband and I are not quite at the “leave the house for trips by ourselves” stage. I just wonder if you have had to work around any issues they may have had, or things they go through. Some of my anxiety still revolves around their actions and decisions (i know, I can’t control that). Love your Friday night and weekend recommendations!


    • I have one still at home but he is pretty independent (age 18 now). When our kids were younger, we had a standing sitter on Wednesday nights at 6:30pm and she would just show up. Even if we forgot it was Wednesday ad had nothing planed, it forced us to get out for the evening because she as expecting her evening of work and our kids loved their time with her. We’d go to dinner and a movie, for a while we curled on Wednesdays, or whatever we could think of (of course, I was drinking back then so often it meant the bar, but you could use the time for groceries and a deface cappuccino!)


  4. Superstylesabby

    I’m so happy to have found your blog. I lay awake the other night and read every post you’d written word for word. I have yet to start my voyage to sobriety, suppose I keep putting it off but reading about you has inspired me to start. Nothing tastes nicer than that first sip of wine after a long hard day at work. It’s something that has steadily become my routine. Like you I have a successful career which thankfully hasn’t been affected. I relate so much to everything you have written. It’s as if I was reading about myself. Please God I can be as brave and strong as you.


    • To be completely honest, I have not found anything that I like as much as I liked that first sip of wine you described. It whispered “everything is going to be okay now” and I believed it, even thought it was a lie. Maybe if my husband was waiting for me at the door and massaged my shoulders sensuously and murmured those same words, it would come close. He is a busy man thought and I don’t see this becoming his daily routine. The good news, tho, is that even in the absence of that first sweet sip, my life is now so drastically improved that I am happy to live without it after all. You are brave and strong, I promise. Give yourself the chance to find out what you can do.


    • Superstylesabby! OMG I cant believe after reading this post I looked up to make sure I didn’t write it myself and maybe forgot. I too have not started my voyage yet but I can relate to your post. I keep reading and reading and reading and feel closer to day 2 every day! I just wanted to say hello to you and glad that there is someone else that does the same thing I do each evening.


  5. I’m glad I came across your post as I was looking for some inspiration tonight. It’s a Saturday and after a day’s work, I’m itching for a drink. I’m currently doing a “dry month” and although I’m on day 4 it has been a real struggle. I like the notion of a pamper evening and a declutter, anything for a distraction. Hell I might even do both. Thank you.



  6. I didn’t make it 😦


  7. Reading your blog non stop today. It’s day 3 and I feel horrible, super emotional, and the closer it gets to 5:00, the less I trust myself. Going to try to power through it, do what I did last night – journaled all evening, read this (and other) blog(s), snuggled my kid, and repeated NO NO NO NO NO until it sunk in and I was able to relax. Let go of the want.

    Thank you, Jean, and thank you to all your commenters, past and present. I don’t think I would have made it this far without you.


  8. Thanks, this is a couple friday’s later but i think i was browsing around for inspiration today and I found it with this post. I love the self-pampering alternative to the ritual weekend-ly poisoning ritual. And I’m a habitual de-clutterer, like the opposite of a hoarder, so I love the excuse to do more of that. Looking fwd to the money I’ll save on pedicures, and that’s one I can do with my 3yo daughter. It is amazing how much extra time opens up in the evenings when you don’t have to be home by 5 or 6 to get your drink on in private basically. I thought I’d be less social if I tried to give up drinking (or give up drinking so much as my status is currently) but turns out, I’m more likely to say yes to things, not having to worry about free and clear access to alcohol or driving.


  9. I’m so glad to hear that other people have the OSIFA reaction! I love your tips for enjoying the weekend sober.


    • Ideservebetter

      I hate the weekends.on my second day and I am not having real issues but I know that I will have hard time on the weekend. I have hardly any social life and get depressed facing a whole weekend with nothing to do but be by myself. Thank god for my dog!


  10. Still thinking

    I am scared. I think….no, scratch that, I know I have a problem with alcohol. I have a successful career, have wonderful friends and family yet…..I can’t seem to fix this problem. From the outside I look like I have it all together. My recycling bin tells another story. I feel like a failure. I am a binge drinker. I drink to excess approx 3 times per week. A couple of glasses of wine with the gals leads to a stop at the liquor store to pick up a bottle of wine. I will finish the entire bottle alone. It eases my stress instantly. I am tired of being tired and hungover. My husband deserves better. My children deserve better. I am afraid to admit to people I have an issue with alcohol. So rather than start my journey I continue to drink….so no one will notice? It’s crazy even as I write it. How do you start? How do you hide the fact you are not drinking in the beginning? I don’t have the energy to field questions. My wish- to be a moderate drinker. I don’t know if that’s possible. And that scares me. Thank you for this blog. I have never said this out loud to anyone.


    • Hi Still Thinking – what you describe is exactly where I was almost 5 months ago. I thought I was moderating because I ‘only’ drank on weekends. But on those weekends I had increased to 2 bottles of wine a night, if my husband had a glass or 2 with dinner I would feel resentful and drink beer or brandy to get enough alcohol and so on.
      I was sick and tired of it as well, constantly thinking about it, when could I have my next drink, how to hide how much I was drinking. I stumbled across sober blogs by accident when looking up things like “am I a problem drinker” and checking signs of diabetes because of the scrape on my leg that wouldn’t heal.
      I read a few from beginning to end and loads of light bulbs were going off in my head – they were describing me exactly. I was shaken but decided to quit for 30 days to see if I could, a short while in I knew I needed more support and signed up for Belle’s 100 day challenge.
      Lots of self care in the beginning – sleep, read blogs, treats, alternative drinks – and more sleep. It got better and I am SO happy that I made this choice.
      Take care – if you decide to quit reach out for help, you are definitely not alone and it is definitely worth it.


    • Honestly, being a moderate drinker is a wish we all had at one time.
      Your story is so familiar. I finally had to admit I was dying. The alcohol was crushing my happiness and my soul.
      Of course, so friends were surprised when I announced I was giving myself a year alcohol free for my 42 birthday. But I’m doing it.
      I’ve approached it all with as open mind as I can. I have a great therapist, doctor, friends (not my old booze friends) and have done some AA. I blog. I read.
      Reach out. Could you be honest with your husband? Life can be so much better.

      Give sober a try!


    • Hi Still thinking. I could be you until I realized that my daily wine habit was causing more stress than I convinced myself it was soothing. Sneaking, hiding, etc. You say your husband and children deserve better. While that may be true, I believe YOU deserve better. When you decide to stop, do it for yourself. If you’re happy and healthy the rest will come automatically. Hang in there. You CAN do it! Find peace. It’s not in a wine bottle. We are all here for you.


    • That was me two Sundays ago. I drank to excess that night, but stopped with three beers left in the fridge. I spent the night restless, full of shame and regret, worried about work the next day and the new workout class starting led by ME! On Monday morning, I said enough is enough. I dumped the last three bottles of beer down the drain. I’d been battling with myself mentally for awhile and it was making my addiction worse. I found a counselor that specializes in substance abuse and didn’t even have the nerve to call, so I emailed my desire to meet with him and he called me and I saw him the Wednesday after my Sunday binge. The first weekend was hell!! Even the following Wednesday, at my second appointment, I told the counselor the thought of never drinking again terrified me. I had every intention of coming home and sitting down with my husband and writing out rules and boundaries for my drinking and to get back after it by Friday. Yesterday, I spent the entire day reading blogs, this and another “soberjournalist” and realized I can’t drink again. I was heading somewhere bad and me and moderate drinking do not go together. It is actually a relief to admit this. I feel very powerful right now, although I’m sure hard times are in my future. I am excited, however, for my children and marriage to have a MUCH brighter future. I am relieved that every decision is no longer going to based on me being somewhere where I can safely drink as much as I want to. Reading these blogs has been the best therapy ever. The benefits of sobriety are endless. The benefits of returning to drinking are very few and so very temporary and at such a high cost. I was so tired of shame, regret, embarrassment, always feeling I had a secret…….so tired of it. Now I’m just excited thinking about all the things we can do this weekend without worry. My OSIFA only lasted until about noon on the second Friday and I felt a huge surge of power while reading blogs. I’m sure I’ll have some more in the future, but for now I’m very happy with my decision.


  11. Hello sofa. Hello Netflix.

    This will be my first OSIFA experience, and your suggestions were amazing. The anxiety that’s building by the mere THOUGHT of attending an event without a drink in hand is crazy. This helped taper it a bit. ❤


    • Be good to yourself! Plan ahead, as if you are babysitting someone fragile for the weekend and need to think about all the nice things you could do to pass the time together. Because, really, that is in essence what you’ll be doing.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Today is my day 13! Wow! I’m loving this! I feel peaceful. I’m making myself happy instead of trying to make sure everyone else is happy. I posted a few days ago but wanted to add what a pleasure it was to go to the doctor’s yesterday and check the NO box asking if I drank alcohol! Whoohoo! Thanks for all your encouragement and guidance. I truly believe I’m gonna make it this time!


  13. Well, after another weekend of staying drunk, embarrassing myself in front of my kids, being exhausted and barely making it to work today I really, really want this to be my day 1. These posts have helped me believe that this is possible and that I will still be able to have fun. Just feeling good would be nice…


    • I believe in you. There are thousands upon thousands of people who intentionally and successfully practice HAM (Harm reduction, Abstinence, or Moderation) in their relationship with alcohol. Many of them are hanging out on the internet and quite a few are regular readers of this blog, ready to listen, share, and encourage you on your journey. You can do it!


      • DJRUGIRL – this too was me, as the week progressed and the weekend approached, I would feel the anxiety set in that I wouldn’t be able to control my drinking. I’m now, yet again working on my sobriety and I have to say, though I’ve failed several times, I’ve learned from each time, and my drinking days will never be the same. I really want this, this time, and I really am thrilled to find a blog like this, that I feel I can be successful, and learn from each and every one of you. Thank you and look forward to each and every day I stay sober 🙂


    • You wrote this the same Monday morning I dumped the rest of my alcohol down the drain and started my journey. I was so ashamed of my weekend and guilty my kids had come to see this as the norm. Wondering how you did. Today is day 13 and my second sober weekend and I’m feeling pretty great right now.


      • I only lasted about four days I am embarrassed to admit. Today I start again…I have no alcohol in my home and I really want to do this….Friday and Saturday are where I always fail….I really think I may need to call someone and get some help. I am very worried and scared right now. Reading that you feel so great really makes me want to do this. Even though I am not hung over this Monday morning I am still just as lost…


        • The first weekend I cried I was so miserable. I am seeing a counselor on Wednesdays that specializes in substance abuse. He has helped me change up my routine to get the HABIT of drinking under control. I have changed the music I listen to, didn’t watch football the first weekend, I bought sodas and juices to try to make yummy drinks. Sugar free Popsicles. The first weekend was hell and the anxiety I felt leading up to it was awful. Another blog on here that you’ve probably seen, soberjournalist, is nearly my exact story only in the UK as opposed to the US. I don’t know where you are. Anyway, last Friday I printed her blog off and read it from day one to her most current post. It changed my life. That, this one (Unpickled) and “tired of thinking about drinking” have changed my whole perspective and given me strength I NEVER knew I had. You’ve got this. If I can do it, anybody can!


  14. Something that has worked hugely for me is changing my whole routine so I no longer HAD a routine. I didn’t set out to do that on purpose, but it worked out that way, and I’m grateful for it.

    I used to work regular 8 to 5 days and have a traditional weekend off. I had my regular nightcaps and my weekend sessions. Now, I work a mix of early mornings, nights, mid-days, everything really except 3rd shift, and almost never have two days off in a row, let alone the true Sat/Sun weekend. My job also requires physical and mental sharpness, so even a slight hangover or fogginess isn’t an option anymore.

    I sure as hell won’t drink in the morning before a PM shift, I won’t drink the evening before an early morning shift the next day, and when I get home at 10pm from a night shift, I just want to shower and go to bed.

    So I suppose I’ve eliminated much of my drinking simply by eliminating my opportunities to drink.


  15. Fridays were tough the first two months, then not a problem for 2-3 months, then came back to hit me by surprise. Turns out that things were going so well at work that at the end of the week I was on a real high. Coming home, a bottle or two of wine would be the perfect celebration and also ease me into the weekend. Toughest part it first was not seeing it coming.
    I love your idea of mixing up the weekend time blocks. Those disruptive practices really help force me out of old habits and ways of thinking.
    Lots of good ideas in this post!


  16. I focus on the people I love. I have young children, and I used to think that drinking was the easiest way to get through the weekend. I’m coming up on four months of sobriety, and I’d now say that being sober is the easiest way. There was nothing easy about those hangovers, exhaustion from terrible, drunk sleep, and guilt. Dragging myself to kiddie birthday parties, school events, and soccer games was awful with a wine headache.

    I used to pour myself wine or a martini in the late afternoon and basically shut down. I was physically present but phoning it in, and I felt like a lousy mom. Now I’m really present with my kids. We read books, play games, and watch movies together. Family dinners are still hit or miss with our toddler, but going out for dessert or an after-dinner walk is always fun. And when the kids are asleep, my time with my husband is quality time.


    • SanFran Sober, I can really relate to this habit of drinking to get through the weekend with kids. I would feel overwhelmed with all the errands and cleaning that we had to fit in with a toddler, but the drinks at the end of the day gave me something to look forward to – never mind that I was not really present for my child. I feel so much better about myself as a parent now. Thank you for sharing your perspective.


  17. Thank you thank you. I’m still in the OSIFA phase, but my animals/kids remind me how wonderful weekends without booze can be. I’ve also started a love affair with Virgil’s cream soda.


    • New to this, what does OSIFA phase mean? I’m 30 days booze free today, and feeling strong and determined to stay sober.


      • sunnydaystoday

        My bad I see it OSIFA (Oh Shit It’s Friday Again)…Love it, it’s so true that weekends are the toughest, but everyday I stay sober, the stronger I get, and the more confident I get. 🙂


      • Hi. I’m also one month booze free.
        Something is different this time for me. I want to taste some life without the health issues that keep me down, while drinking.
        OSIFA means oh shit it’s Friday again. 🙂
        Best of luck.


      • Sorry for the late reply . . . I’m a bit new to the blogging thing! We were talking about “Oh Shit It’s Friday Again” (as opposed to TGIF). Congrats on your 30+ days – wishing you continued strength and success.


  18. Two of my favorite activities were cooking a yummy meal while drinking wine and going out to dinner on the weekends with other couples. During my first few months it was just plain hard. What helped was changing things up in the early weeks. Takeout Fridays instead of cooking and looking forward to dessert when I went out to dinner. The first few weekends I was fortunate, I went on a yoga retreat for one weekend and my husband was away for one, so it was really me time. I quit last October 30, so the holidays were kind of tough. I had a recovery plan which was to journal everyday, read blogs, exercise daily and avoid drinking situations as much as possible. I remember that at about 6 weeks I was supposed to attend this party with my husband and I knew I wasn’t up to it, so I just asked him to go and enjoy and make excuses for me. I felt bad but knew I needed to take care of myself.
    Now I still love to cook a yummy meal and I do it with a lemonade, cranberry seltzer cocktail and when I go out, it is no problem to have a cranberry and seltzer or a water and enjoy the meal. Also, I can always be the designated driver now, so everyone is happy!
    Things have just changed for me, quitting drinking has made me happier, I have less guilt, more even moods, am more focused at work and have a brighter outlook on life. I still struggle with certain things and still question myself as to whether I was “really” an alcoholic. But now I realize it doesn’t matter if I was “really” an alcoholic or not what matters is that I choose not to drink and can navigate the world without the crutch of alcohol.
    Good luck to all of you in your early months, I hope that you can get through the really tough first few weekends and first few social events with ease and grace.


    • sunnydaystoday

      I’m 31 days sober, and everyday I too find myself happier with less guilt and less ups and downs in my mood. I also find that when I get stressed about stuff, that I can calm myself down more easily, and things don’t bother me to the same degree.


  19. I’m almost at one month sober and laughed when I read the first sentence of this post because it’s SO TRUE! Friday afternoons are hard – everyone’s gearing up for a good time and I start to (stupidly) feel sorry for myself. Last night I went to dinner and a movie with a friend and it was lovely and today I woke up feeling GREAT! Another party tonight – so far they seem hard initially, but once you dive in, nobody seems to notice that I’m not drinking and I can just relax and have a good time. Thank you for this blog – it helps to know there are others going through the same process!


    • sunnydaystoday

      I agree that if I overthink the upcoming event and how I’m going to cope, I find myself getting anxious and nervous if I’ll be able to deal with the questions of why I’m not drinking. I find that if I stay positive, and keep the self talk motivational, and that I will get thru the evening, that the time the effect occurs, I make it thru. I agree that it definitely helps to pre-arrange transportation, so when I’ve had enough, I can get out from the situation. How about you?


  20. Watching my kids playing soccer without feeling horribly hungover and guilty, going on bike rides with them, getting the chores done I want to get done instead of having no energy to complete, watching movies where I remember the whole thing. I haven’t done many events where alcohol is the main focus – at 4 months I still don’t want to do that. But – dinner out with my husband, games night with friends where I focus on the game not the drinking. I love sober weekends more than I ever thought possible.


  21. Wow! Thank you! This will be my second sober weekend in more years than I care to count! Your blog has helped me stay strong. I always have found my “Zen” while in the kitchen cooking, letting my OCD count jars and make sure all labels are facing correctly and lined up properly, only now I drink cucumber like juice instead of a glass, bottle (box?) of Cab. Only day 9, but I know I will not drink today.


    • 9 days is great! Keep it up! I could do the whole bottle of cab too, now I’m the ice tea / club soda and lime queen. It’s still in a wine glass though! I’m day 31. I’ve never gone this long in years and each day I add to sobriety is exciting!


      • I’m not “sober” in the strict sense like Jean or many of the other readers here, but most days of the week I actively choose not to drink.

        I prefer beer over wine, so one of my favorite “mocktails” for beer is to get out a fancy pint glass and fill it with diet ginger ale and black iced tea. It looks like beer, it’s slightly bitter like beer, and it’s fizzy, too, not to mention ZERO calories.


      • Thank you analie! I too have my drinks in a wine glass. It feels comfortable. Only it’s cucumber lime Gatorade now. And vitamins EVERY day. I’ll be glad when I reach my day 31. Congratulations! The best thing for me being sober now is that I’m actually happy about it. And peaceful.


  22. Love this. Thank you! Bea x


  23. Such a timely post for me! Thank you! My plan this weekend is to try some new recipes. The kids aren’t so sure, but we’ll see how it goes… Annie x


  24. Great advice…for everyone!


  25. My kids want to come running with me this week-end for the first time!! So we’re all going running LOL 🙂 Great list Jean xx


  26. 24 hour silent women’s prayer retreat….yes. I am. Right now. Whaaaaat???


  27. This list idea is great! Plus the thought of bringing AF beverages is a must! I just found your blog tonight; it’s wonderful!


  28. I feel like I could have written this post myself! Thank you for making it real!

    Sent from my iPad



  29. One more thought-swimming. My kids love the pool. That has been a go to activity when we just need to get out of the house.


  30. Movies are a good choice. I never wanted to go to the theater when it cut into drinking time.
    Now it’s a fun and safe way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

    We continue to decline events that focus solely on drinking. I just don’t have the interest to listen to people drone on and on anymore. Coffee dates, yoga and lunch meet ups instead of dinner are much more common.

    And bubble baths. When in doubt I get in the bath. It’s a safe, comforting place.


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