Out in the Open

Eat, don't drink, and be merry: An alcoholic's guide to ringing in the New Year

At their yearly New Year’s Eve bash, Jim and his wife Shellie find a way to mix both alcohol and recovering alcoholics as they toast to a new year.
New Year’s Eve at Jim and Shellie’s (Peter McAuley)

The holidays can be a rough time of year for people who struggle with alcohol addiction. From mulled wine to clinking in the new year with a round of champagne, alcohol seems integral to the festive season. But instead of avoiding these tricky waters, Jim Shedden dives right in.

New Year’s Eve at Jim and Shellie’s (Peter McAuley )

"If you're an alcoholic and you go to someone's house they are going to offer you cranberry and soda and if I have cranberry and soda I feel like a goddamn alcoholic. I don't want it."

Jim's a recovering alcoholic; his wife, Shellie Thomas, drinks socially. And every New Year's Eve, they host a bash that combines both recovering alcoholics and alcohol.

​Piya visits the couple at their home in Toronto to find out how they do it, and why.