CHICAGO (CBS) — There will be big and small celebrations Thursday night as people ring in 2016, and one thing most of them will have in common is alcohol.

New Year’s Eve can be decision-time for people who are alcoholics, or people who might be trying to cut back in the amount of drinking they do, according to Dr. Gail Basch, director of the Addiction Medicine Program at Rush University Medical Center.

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Basch said some of her patients choose to skip New Year’s Eve parties altogether. Others go, but make alcohol-free choices.

One of the things Basch talks about with her patients is “being assertive, knowing your ‘no,’” She said preparing a stock phrase to politely refuse a drink is a good idea.

“Something as simple as, ‘no thanks,’ or maybe even more direct like, ‘I’m trying to cut down. Thanks, but no thanks,'” Basch said.

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Another strategy is to bring along a sober friend who can help keep you on the straight-and-narrow at a party, according to Basch.

“Someone to keep an eye on you and visa versa. That’s a technique that’s often really successful,” she said.

Basch said if you do slip, forgive yourself, and get back on track the next day.

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For more information about drinking alcohol, how much is too much and more, Basch suggested the “Rethinking Drinking” website.