The holidays can be a difficult time to stay sober for many reasons—from having to attend family events to not having family events to attend to proximity to alcohol.

Here are some tips to make it through the holidays sober.

6 tips on staying sober during the holidays

1. Meetings and more meetings. As is true year-round, meetings are an important tool to keep us connected and sober. Stock up now. It’s always easier to keep going to meetings than to start going to meetings.

2. Marathon meetings and Fellowship events. Almost all regular meetings take place on holidays, and many Fellowships hold special round-the-clock marathons. Check the announcements section of the EBI (East Bay Intergroup) website. Or contact the Rockridge Fellowship or the In Between Fellowship for holiday event status.

3. Commit to service. Sign up to host a marathon meeting at a Fellowship. Get a service position so you’ll have to show up. Or maybe give someone a ride or get a new sponsee (or sponsor). There are many ways to be of service and get out of ourselves.

4. Reach out to newcomers. Even if you’re a newcomer, perhaps someone with a few less days than you would benefit from your experience. Our attendance at meetings isn’t only for ourselves, it’s to help others as well (which helps us).

5. Start a new tradition. Get together with (sober) friends for a Gratitude Celebration. Bake some cookies—even if you’ve never done it before. Decorate in a manner that is meaningful to you. Write an intention list. Find what’s positive about any holiday.

6. Remember, it’s still a day at a time. Holidays are still just one 24-hour period.

6 tips on attending events where alcohol will be served

1. Keep your glass full of a healthy beverage such as sparkling cider or bubbly water (many members recommend against non-alcoholic wine or beer, as they can be reminders of what we can’t have). Even regular water is good to keep us hydrated, energized and healthy.

2. Put your sobriety first and don’t give in to others who may not understand or have your best interests in mind. “No thanks, I am not drinking today,” is a sentence anyone can understand and should be able to respect.

3. If necessary, leave the room or leave the house. Go outside, take a walk, call someone, check in to a meeting. Get support. We don’t do this alone.

4. Many members find “book-ending” to be helpful. Make a call (or text) before and after an event that might be challenging or stressful.

5. Have a buddy. Take a sober friend or confide in someone you trust to support you that you are not drinking. When you know there’s at least one person who knows you won’t be drinking, that can help

6. Just don’t go. If attending the annual work holiday party puts you at risk (people have gone out at the office party) or the family celebration seems too difficult to navigate without that drink, remember, you are not forced to attend.