The holidays are here. If you’re a recovering alcoholic or just someone who is looking to drink less, the holidays can be challenging. That’s especially true when it comes to staying sober during the celebrations.

There are alternatives to drinking and ways to stay sober during the holidays including avoiding the next-day hangovers, creating better memories, saving money and calories and keeping yourself and loved ones safe.

Another benefit is that you can do your part to prevent alcohol-related accidents. Far too many deaths and injuries are caused by someone getting behind the wheel after a few drinks. DUI collisions occur in every city and state. Last year, in Broward Cunty alone there were 190 alcohol related car accidents.

Luckily, staying sober during the holidays doesn’t mean you need to avoid the festivities altogether. It does mean that you need to do some pre-planning. Here are alternatives to drinking that can help you maintain your sobriety while you celebrate the holidays.

1. Implement a Plan for Holiday Parties

When choose to stay sober during the holidays, one of the best things you can do is create a plan for your holiday parties. A plan helps you avoid issues that can lead to you choosing to drink. Some of those plans include being your own driver. Providing your own transportation lets you leave a situation as soon as you no longer feel comfortable.

If you have a sponsor, program their contact information into your phone. This will allow you to make contact right away. It’s also a good idea to bring your own supply of party drinks as alternatives to drinking. That way, you don’t accidentally drink an alcoholic beverage.

2. Have a Support System

If you regularly attend meeting and you’re going to be traveling during the holidays, make sure you get a meeting schedule before you leave. The meeting schedule should include dates, times, and contact information for meetings in any city you plan to visit during the holidays.

Enlist the support of friends and family. Let your loved ones and others you celebrate with know that you’ve chosen not to drink this holiday season and ask for their support. You can even request that they serve alcohol alternatives at family events or bring along your own to share with others.

3. Choose Activities Carefully

If you want to stay sober during the holidays, avoid situations that put your sobriety at risk. This includes parties that take place in bars and clubs. These areas increase your exposure to alcoholic beverages. It’s also a good idea to choose holiday parties where food is served.

Eating can help you avoid the temptation to drink alcoholic beverages. It’s also a good idea to avoid hanging out with old drinking buddies, especially those who have not become clean and sober.

4. Invent a Non-Alcoholic Drink

If you want to enjoy holiday festivities without risking your sobriety, give yourself something to celebrate with. Alternatives to drinking including to creating your own non-alcoholic holiday drink.

Spend some time experimenting with soda, juice and mixers to create a festive beverage you can enjoy drinking during the holidays. That way, you can enjoy holiday parties without the alcohol. You may find that others you celebrate with will enjoy these drinks too.

5. Create Your Own Tradition To Stay Sober During The Holidays

If all your holiday traditions involve alcohol, it’s time to create a new tradition. There are a lot of ways to keep your mind off consuming alcohol during the holidays. One way is to donate your time at a local homeless shelter.

This tradition allows you to give back to the community. You can also create a tradition of serving as a designated driver. This allows you to help others stay safe during the holidays.

Alternatives to Drinking

Don’t let the holidays interfere with your sobriety. Use the tips provided here to celebrate the holiday season, your sobriety, and your mission to stay sober during the holidays.