Alcohol served around difficult child

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Nancy, Dec 25, 2010.

  1. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Every year our family and my sister's family goes to my dad's for Christmas Eve to exchange gifts and eat. This year I asked dad not to serve any alcohol. We never drink anything on that night anyway and either does my sister but dad usually drinks wine and offers it to everyone. I knew if that happened that difficult child would be tempted to drink and probably sneak it. Anyway it caused a problem and rift between my sister and I because dad wanted to have it for my niece's fiance and nephew's girlfriend.

    So we get to dad's and he's drinking wine but immediately put it into the kitchen sink. Ok that was no big deal. I open the fridge and there are beer cans and a wine bottle right in front. During the course of the night several beers and glasses of wine were drank. They tried to be considerate by drinking int he kitchen and not bringing it into the living room but this is a small apartment and difficult child was certainly aware of it.

    There was enough tension already in the evening but I was surprised and hurt that my sister would disregard my feelings in this manner. Anyone who has an alcoholic in the family knows that triggers are very strong and this time of year especially. My goodness we were only there for three hours, couldn't they hold off?

  2. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    I agree. Triggers are extremely strong - just the smell, or sound of a bottle being opened, or the sight can do it. If your difficult child managed last night despite all that stimulus, she deserves major congratulations. Trouble is, she'll now be more at risk in the coming days due to that exposure last night.

    We went through this at the beginning of recognizing our difficult child 1's addiction. Even during the beginning of his outpatient rehab, husband didn't think we ought to get rid of everything in the house and that we ought to be able to 'have something' when difficult child 1 was living there. His reasoning was that, at different times in life, difficult child 1 would have to be around people who would be drinking, usually socially but sometimes in connection with a
    job, etc. With the education provided to families in the outpatient program, husband changed his attitude. Triggers are intense and can prompt a relapse even days later, and someone with the disease of addiction should not have to face them within the shelter of family. I'm sorry your father didn't
    understand that and your sister didn't appreciate the seriousness of the issue. They may just not understand, but I hope they'll listen to you regarding the life-or-death gravity of deliberately exposing your difficult child to alcohol. I'm so sorry.
  3. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Oh I so agree Nancy. Especially since sobriety is such a current issue. It is not like she has been sober for a long time which I would think would be a little different... in that it is true alcoholics do need to learn to live in the world where other people drink. But no given your daughters current issues I do not think it is too much to ask your family to hold off for 3 hours.

    In some ways it feels worse to me for them to go off and drink in the kitchen where everyone was aware of it, that makes it even more tense and somehow to have some people sort of sneaking alcohol might be more of a trigger.

    We have not really run into that situation yet. I have to say I am not sure I can imagine asking my inlays not to serve alcohol although really they are not big drinkers so maybe it would be no big deal. I am not sure.... I think it would be uncomfortable for my son if it was made a big deal of.
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    with difficult child being so very newly, and tentatively, sober, your relatives were out of line. They may not have realized the effects their actions could have on her, but they sure showed how much respect they have for YOU and your daughter. It took us 2 or 3 YEARS before we were comfortable having a single drink around my gfgbro after he got sober. He is one of those very rare people who had a relapse about a month after he left rehab and other than that has been successfully sober for almost 8 years. We didn't even know about the relapse until about a year after we became comfortable drinking around him. I actually have never had a drink around him since Wiz was born, but that is because after I got pregnant I found I get very ill if I drink even one weak drink. Hours of bowel spasms and nausea are just not worth it. Heck, we even hid the vanilla when gfgbro was around because I use vanilla beans in rum or vodka.

    It is just WRONG of your family to be so disrespectful. in my opinion this is NOT soemthing to let slide. You may or may not choose to speak with them, but next time they want you to do something for them, or to visit, I would be unavailable or unable to do so and would tell them that it is a direct result of the disrespectful way they treated your request on Christmas. If they have problems with that, well, maybe it speaks to their own alcohol problems. Alcoholism isn't called a family disease because it only effects your parents and siblings, Know what I mean??? Often if you take a long, sober look at the past generations and the various limbs on the family tree you can see a whole lot of alcohol related problems. I know in our family it wasn't just gfgbro. My father and mother have each had times when they used booze as a crutch. Going back on the family tree I have grandparents, aunts, uncles and great grands with alcoholism, not to mention all the problems in the families my relatives married into.

    It is hard when you start to really see the problems in the family, and to see how it really does impact your life. It is one reason that the entire family NEEDS to go to Alanon. It not only helps the addict stay sober, it helps the rest of you realize and heal from your part in the disease.

    I am sorry it was so uncomfortable.
  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure exactly what my opinion is in this case. I absolutely am sorry that it caused discomfort and anger for you and your immediate family. on the other hand difficult child has been a difficult child for a long time and although the extended family is aware of alot of the problems, they have not walked in your shoes. Like we all in the CD family say and have said over the years "thank God for CD as nobody else really understands!"

    That being would have been wonderful if they had been able to change their traditions and offer complete support this holiday. In our extended family there are relatives who really, really resent the hardship, isolation and stress that husband and I have endured. They don't "hate" GFGmom, difficult child or easy child/difficult child but their effort to provide wholehearted support did not
    last year after year after year. There are homes we don't visit and occasions we skip just to maintain comfort within the family.

    So...I understand your disppointment but suggest that you not let it fester. They made some effort evidently and treated difficult child warmly. She may have even felt more comfortable that they did not alter tradition on her behalf. She will be exposed to alcohol and drugs frequently as she matures. Perhaps you can prearrange a signal that she can use if she feels it is best to leave the environment you're in due to her discomfort? You all have a long road ahead and knowing that you and husband have her best interests at heart may strengthen her resolve while not feeling alienated.

    Lord knows I sure don't have the answers. My perspective has evolved alot. I've never had that exact experience and each of our difficult child's is different. I'm hoping that in her head and her heart she "felt the love" of a familiar celebration and perhaps told herself later how great she felt enjoying the get together without the triggered need to drink. Hug. DDD
  6. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I have to agree with everyone else, it was just not right for them to act like that, it's very unsupportive of them. Perhaps you could also offer to bring sparkling juice or cider for them to drink instead of sneaking off to the kitchen, and that might make it easier for them and also allow difficult child to "join in"? Some people can make that trade without being triggered, others can't, and it might depend on where her mood is. Maybe you could ask her opinion of it, and she could offer to bring it instead and tell them openly that it would mean a lot to her and be helpful to her recovery? It might smack them harder how much it affects her if it comes directly from her.
  7. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It really was not OK with me. We never drink on Christmas Eve. Every year since we got married we went to dad's on Christmas Eve and never drank anything, it wasn't that kind of celebration. This year was different because her daughter is getting married and he likes beer and so of course we had to accomodate him. And my nephew who has had two DUI's now has a girlfriend and so I guess they needed to drink. And for some reason mysister decided she would have a glass of wine even though she never drinks because she's on heart medications. It was made worse because two weeks before Christmas when difficult child relapsed and didn't come home, dad called and asked if she was still coming on Christmas Eve because if she wasn't he wanted to serve alcohol. I told him I had no idea if she was coming home that night so how would I know if she would be there. And if it was that important to drink then wejust wouldn't come. That caused a big problem with my sister who proceeded to send some very nasty texts.

    Bottom line is I explained when she got out of rehab that it was important that she not be around alcohol especially in her early sobriety and that triggers are very harmful. I explained that we had no alcohol in our home and if we were somewhere where alcohol was served we would leave and I asked them to understand and support that. To sneak in the kitchen and drink when difficult child was walking in and out of there all night was very hurtful to me and very nonsupportive to her.

    I suppose it doesn't matter much anymore since difficult child has completely relapsed and we are working on getting her out of the house, but I'm not sure my relationship with my sister will ever be repaired. I know that if she were in my shoes I would have bent over backwards to support her.

  8. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Rats! I'm sorry she is on the downward slide again. The rollercoastering is emotionally devestating for parents because we keep hope alive and see each sober day as a victory. In a million years none of us thought this would happen to one of our kids and the recurring pain is almost too much to handle. Thank heavens you and husband are on the same page.

    by the way I have lost a sibling due to this issue. Although my brother is not warm and fuzzy (retired AF Colonel who kicked his fifteen year old son off base and out of the family years ago) it was nice having a few conversations a year and sharing memories of our 22 years sharing family. I hope you and your sister are able to get past this disappointment. It's hard to forgive and forget but you need every bit of loving support you can get. Many caring hugs coming your way. DDD
  9. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    I'm really sorry to hear that she's relapsed, Nancy. It's such a tough time of year to get through. Our difficult child 1 isn't wanting to be over at our place for very long at a time
    this holiday; one reason he's done that in the past was so he could go home and drink without us knowing. I'm just sorry you're facing this. {{{hugs}}}
  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I dont have the problem with alcohol but I do know that with smoking, its next to impossible for me to attempt to stop smoking if I have people around me who are smoking. It completely sabotages my efforts. I need to be in a tobacco free environment. Now I know from when I quit for 6 years that eventually I got to the place that I could be socially around tobacco but I still didnt want to live with it or be out with the smokers at breaks. In fact, it was the fact that I started sitting with the smokers, holding a cigarette for another person so they could do something and then actually lighting one for someone...that caused me to start back. What a fool. I thought I could just have a few a day. Yeah right. Within a month I was back to two packs a day like I was when I quit.

    I have yet to be able to quit like I did that first time. I just cant do it. I have gone 2 months twice but no one will stay away from me with cigarettes. This last time I have Cory and Mandy actually smoking in my house so that simply isnt going to work in any way at all. I have told them if they will quit, I will. Ha. Nope.