Most individuals with an addiction to alcohol struggle even more than normal during the holidays to stay sober. Beginning with Thanksgiving and continuing through the New Year, the holidays are full of celebrating, parties, and get togethers that often involve alcohol. These festive events often put an alcoholic in a difficult position, as they know the temptations they will face, and they know the potential for embarrassment that exists in these types of situations.

Other people feel a deep sense of loneliness at the holidays, and they may feel regret, depression, and anxiety over where their life has taken them. It is important for everyone to be mindful of those struggling with alcoholism, especially when planning holiday events this year.

There are many things that can be done to support and encourage those who are working hard to stay sober. It isn’t necessary to drink alcohol at every holiday event, and many people would actually benefit if alcohol wasn’t such a staple at holiday parties. Consider the following ways to have sober holidays during the season in order to make life a little easier for those working toward sobriety.

1. Have an untraditional work Christmas party. Work Christmas parties are often awkward and socially difficult, especially for someone who does not want to drink alcohol. Instead of the typical holiday gathering, employers can plan untraditional ways to celebrate. Employees could go ice skating, see a play, or take part in some other event that does not involve alcohol.

2. Alcohol-free at home. Someone who hosts their own holiday party can consider leaving the alcohol out. This will make it easier for the alcoholic in the group, and will prevent guests from driving home after drinking. The host can have fun experimenting with alcohol-free beverages that will be just as big of a hit as traditional alcoholic drinks.

3. Alcohol-free traditions.  While many families still have many traditions at the holidays that center around alcohol, many others are starting new, healthier traditions. Playing card games, caroling, volunteering at a local shelter, or caroling are all positive activities that can become a new tradition for sober holidays.