If you’re reading this, you’ve already gone past accidental intoxication. In the grand scheme of party advice, you’re beyond what to wear, how to carry a smart conversation and which clutch will hold your iPhone, your lipstick and a few credit cards. If you’re reading this, you’ve passed very drunk and are hurtling straight into a collision course with completely fucking wasted.

This is no ordinary holiday party advice column. This is an Oh my god you forgot to eat dinner, went crazy at the open bar and got shitfaced at your significant other’s holiday party but will probably black out on all of this in the morning advice column. It’s happened to everyone.

It’s not your fault. Don’t cry. Good god, girl, whatever you do, do not cry. You’re not allowed to cause a scene. Scenes can come later when you’re in the cab or passed out on your bathroom floor. No, you will not cry in public at your significant other’s company Christmas nog slog. You will keep your drunk little chin up and be a trooper.

Besides, it wasn’t your fault the martinis were so potent . . . and free. You had had a long day! You forgot to eat lunch! So what? Who cares?

Oh, but now you’ve gone and spilled martini down the front of your dress. And your boyfriend has given you a look that can only be interpreted as cold.

First of all, don’t talk to anyone. Don’t talk to his attractive coworker, don’t talk to his assistant, and whatever you do, for the love of all that is good and employed, don’t talk to his boss. If you’re the sort of drunk that latches onto conversations, find another plus-one to share your lubricated feelings with. Or try to find someone just as drunk—or drunker—than you. This person will make you feel awesome. But don’t feel too awesome. You’re still shitfaced.

If someone makes eye contact with you, just smile and nod. If someone tries to strike up a conversation, just smile and nod. It’s noisy, sure. But the real reason you can’t understand anyone is because you’re wasted.

Lurch yourself over to the bar and get some water. Drink as much of it as you can. Order it in a highball g;ass with a lemon wedge. Drop a shot of water into a pint of water, call it a water bomb and chug it. Avoid cuddling up with the bartender, unless you’re looking to end the night with a stomach pump.

If there’s a buffet table, hunker down by the pasta station and the breads. Start carb-loading like you’re running a marathon. Make sure you eat a lot of bland, starchy food, but don’t go overboard. If the party is catered with passed canapes, figure out which door the servers are emerging from and camp out near their incoming trays. If there’s no food, order a glass of olives from the bartender. But remember what I said: no cuddling up with that potential trip to the ER’s detox lounge.

At this point, you should be double-fisting a dinner roll and a pitcher of water.

Don’t dance. Even if everyone’s dancing and your boyfriend beckons to you and the coast looks clear. Do. Not. Dance. Just sit your ass down at an indiscriminate table in the back of the room. You’re probably wearing a pair of too-tall heels that squeeze your toes in all of the wrong places. Shoes aside, you’re having some trouble standing upright. Swaying you can do. But standing still in an upright position? Like I said—just sit down.

Are you seated? Good. Now is the time to get that iPhone out of your pocket. Focus on Angry Birds. There, doesn’t that feel nice? Silly birds! I would suggest that you refrain from sending your boyfriend frantic text messages, but I’m sure you will. All’s fair in love and intoxication.

If you start to feel nauseated, find the bathroom as quickly as possible. If someone gets pushed or a tray of glasses breaks, keep going. No one will remember you as the girl who bumped into so-and-so. But once you vomit in public, you will be immortalized as the chick who puked at the holiday party. Your boyfriend will probably not be cool with that.

So, you’ve made it to the end of the night with your bra on your chest, your puke in the toilet and your dignity mostly intact. Congratulations! You deserve that alcohol-induced sob-fest in the cab. You deserve that nap on the bathroom floor. You deserve to make that heartfelt apology you will offer your boyfriend because you’ve kind of maybe most definitely embarrassed him. You also deserve that massive hangover that’s coming your way tomorrow.

But you made it! Your relationship made it, too! So no big deal. It’s happened to everyone.