Negotiating holiday events, whether family gatherings or other parties where alcohol is served, can be tricky.

Be prepared—here are some tips to avoid slips:

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.