This time of the year is filled with great things, like a break from work and spending time with family and friends. Still, it’s a highly emotional time, where tensions can feel like they’re about to bubble over, making alcohol a tempting option to soothe our concerns. And while there’s nothing wrong with this, spending the holidays sober has some perks, especially if you feel like you’re in a vulnerable place.

Trying to get through the holidays without the help of any kind of substance is a tall order, but it’s still possible if it’s a priority. Here are some tips that can help you stay sober through the holidays.

Spot your triggers

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Most of us don’t think about what makes us want to have a drink, so a plan to spend the holidays sober can be a great opportunity for introspection. A helpful thing to do would be to think about your relationship with alcohol, jotting down your thoughts whenever you feel the urge to have a drink and trying to figure out what prompted that reaction. After a couple of days of this, you’ll start spotting some trends and patterns that can help you steer clear of triggering situations, making it easier to stay sober.

Keeping track of your triggers is also a helpful practice when using alcohol or substances to numb emotions, which should be cause for concern.

Stick to a routine during the big days

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Days of celebration, like Christmas or New Year’s Eve, are usually associated with a lot of drinking, making it more difficult than other days to stay sober. Make a plan for these dates and try to stick to it, waking up at a certain time, adding a workout if you feel like it, and planning whatever it is you want to do to celebrate. If you’re feeling like lazing out over the holidays, the advice still applies; plan out your movie marathon, your phone calls with friends, or your video game binge.

Inform people of your intentions

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If you’re spending the holidays with someone, let them know of your plans for sobriety. There’s no need to go in too deep as to why you’re not drinking or consuming any substances for the holidays, but verbalizing your feelings will likely reduce people harassing you to have a drink when you don’t want to.

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