Whether it's your first sober Christmas or you've been off booze for years, you might be feeling anxious about facing temptation or knowing how to explain your situation.
Liberty X singer Michelle Heaton recently revealed feels 'nervous' ahead of celebrating her first sober Christmas.
The 42-year-old mum gave up alcohol eight months ago after her drug and alcohol addiction left her close to death.
Speaking on Lorraine yesterday, Michelle revealed she's intrigued to see how she'll find the festive period without drinking, admitting she wants to know how others find joy without consuming alcohol.
Dr Alison McCylmont, a therapist who provides psychotherapy and counselling, says the first thing to do is congratulate yourself.
"Living with an alcohol problem is a difficult thing – but congratulate yourself that you’ve made it this far and take it as a milestone to celebrate," she says.
"Christmas is about celebrating but it does not have to be about drinking. Remind yourself that celebrations are a time of joy and a time to engage with others. You can engage as well sober as you can with alcohol.
"Your personality is not made through alcohol, even though it might have felt like that in the past."
OK! has put together some helpful tips from experts and doctors who can help you stay sober and have a very merry Christmas and New Year.
1. Take regular breaks
"It’s going to be hardest at the table when people are sitting down to eat and fill up their glasses. Get outside in the fresh air every now and then, and keep your non-alcoholic glass filled," says Dr McCylmont.
2. Repeat a mantra
"Having an internal mantra to repeat to yourself for the harder points – such as 'I’m making good decisions for me' – can be really helpful," says McCylmont.
3. Share your anxieties
"It's good to have someone with you who can support you on the day and can keep you on track," says Dr McCylmont.
"Don’t feel pressured into breaking your goals. You may find people feel uncomfortable with your choice – but this is to do with them. They are worried that your choice reflects on their own and maybe encourages them to look at their own habits in a way that’s uncomfortable.
"If you are recovering from a drinking problem, be honest and be proud of your bravery that you are making your health as a priority."
4. Pick a non-alcoholic drink you love
Author Janey Lee Grace, of Happy Healthy Sober, says: "It's all about keeping the ritual and changing the ingredients.
"Keep the ritual of meeting a friend for a drink but make it alcohol free.
"Try artisan tonics, fermented kombucha – an alternative to sparkling wine – or a zero per cent beer."
Carl Anthony Brown, founder and creator of CROSSIP, a range of non-alcoholic spirits, says: "There are many who love a drink at Christmas, but is it honestly about how drunk you can get? Definitely not. It’s about the flavours and the feeling you get with Christmas-style beverages.
"Try recreating your favourite Christmas classic, such as seasonal non-alcoholic cocktail or a non-alcoholic mulled wine."
5. Lace up your trainers
"One of the best things about being sober is no hangovers," says therapist Lucy Bifford. "When everyone else is feeling groggy, you’ll feel fresh.
"Take a moment to make the most of your clear head. It could be a run or it could be a walk around the block. But if you get up and moving on a day you used to reserve for the sofa, you'll remember why you're doing it."
Some people won’t notice that you’re not drinking, but it’s worth preparing a response for those who do ask about it. Shorter answers are often the best.
You can simply say to people, 'I'm not drinking at the moment and feeling great about it.'
"This is a positive and life affirming statement you can feel good about," Dr McCylmont says.
Annie Grace, author of The Alcohol Experiment, says: "The truth is, the less you make of it, the less they will make of it. Sometimes we assume people are judging our behaviours when in reality most people are thinking about themselves.
"If you shrug it off like it's no big deal, they will also. I love to simply say: 'I'm good thanks [I'm not drinking]… by the way, I've been meaning to ask you about your new job/new house/how you are?'
"This not only turns down a drink but often kicks off a conversation."
Respond confidently and then move the conversation on.
7. Remember it's just another day
"Each day of the Christmas and New year period is really just another 24 hours, so try not to give it any more power than that," says Silkworth Charity Group, which provides help to those who are suffering with alcohol or drug addiction.
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