How has your difficult child's addiction problems affected your views on alcohol

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Nancy, Dec 10, 2011.

  1. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I know for us while difficult child was living here we had no alcohol at all in the house, because obviously we didn't want her drinking it and also we wanted to support her sobriety, if she couldn't drink neither would we. We are not big drinkers to begin with. I may have one drink a week if I meet husband for dinner after work, husband may have two. But since difficult child's problem with alcohol neither of us enjoys alcohol very much at all, it brings up such negative feelings.

    I never give alcohol as gifts to anyone for any reason and was surprised when husband's business partner brought us a bottle of wine when he came for thanksgiving dinner. He knows our story with difficult child and I think he just didn't think it through, but we immediately put it out of sight of difficult child.

    We do not drink at all in front of difficult child and we avoid any situation where there will be drinking if we are with her.

    I think more than anything though I am sick of society revolving around alcohol so much and am more aware of how difficult it is for her to keep her sobriety when it is all around her and in the media constantly.

  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Nancy - in our home, alcohol doesn't exist, never has - its part of the life we choose to live.
    But... your statement about society revolving around alcohol really strikes a chord.
    For us, its not because of addiction. But it doesn't really make it any easier.
    Staff meetings - held at a bar.
    Staff functions - not starting until 8 pm, because there's no point in serving supper, everyone just wants the party.
    Every celebration, every event... it seems its all about alcohol.
    Until... we really don't even want to be "out there" any more.

    Prohibition doesn't work. But back in those days, social life was an afternoon thing - "come for tea" - or mid-morning/early-evening - "come for coffee"... everybody was home by "sundown". The discussions were more intellegent, the relationships were real... Now? its hard to find people who want intellegent conversations and real relationships.
  3. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    As a French raised woman, I find this an interesting dilemma. We never considered wine as a problem. No one I met was an obvious alcoholic. Wine paired with food was an art form. Our excesses in this current society are a heartbreak for me. I know that this is not a popular opinion. This makes me sad. Why do those who have no control color what we do?
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Personally I think wine with food isnt even in the same ballpark because look at how the Italians and the French have worked this through for centuries without putting out millions of alcoholics every year. Now am not so sure about the

    I have found this whole concept of addiction to color my views on alcohol and drugs color my world in many ways even though I dont have any addicts.

    I havent had alcohol in years and Tony has rarely drank at all. I mean for the most part he is one of those who might drink a beer after cutting the grass on a hot summer day and a 6 pack will last 6 weeks. Well, I was really surprised one weekend about 2 years ago when he brought home some Sam Adams beer in the flavors pack. He drank it in 4 days. Now he has bought 2 more in the last two years so I dont think that makes a problem but it was enough that I noticed since we dont have beer in the

    I notice how many folks cant have a good time unless they are in the bar area and have more than one mixed drink. And why is it if you are the designated driver the drinks you order are as high or higher than the drinks that the drunks are drinking? I hate parties anymore. I dont drink, I dont do drugs. What in heavens name do I have in common with any of these people? Do I stand at the side of the room and video the whole thing for utube? I dont know most of them because I am mostly antisocial and stay at home.

    On the flip side, I almost feel I have to defend myself for taking my medications. Especially my narcotics. Every time I hear about people abusing oxycodone or oxycontin, percocets or vicodin I almost cringe. Having been on all of them at one time or another I just react rather poorly because my answer is that if you are using those drugs for something other than what they are prescribed for then yes, you are abusing the drugs. I take my medications as prescribed. That isnt abuse. But I feel like I have to constantly defend myself against a tide of moral outrage that doctors prescribe these medications to anyone. Its like they lump everyone into one same category and paint us all with the same brush...addicts.
  5. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I have the occasional drink, we're talking like one or two every decade or so. husband used to be a fairly heavy drinker until I helped wean him off believing that one has to be half in the bag to have a good time. (and until he lost it with Travis after one too many drinks, uh no not happening)

    I've never been one for parties because they seem to center around drinking.......and then guest tend to get sloshed and do a bunch of stupid things they either don't remember later or regret. (what's the point?)

    I don't like wine period. So none with the food.

    I'm more than a little worried that Nichole's husband who was just a short while ago a tea totaler is suddenly on some big adventure to try every alcoholic beverage known to man. Not a good thing when his dad is a functional alcoholic and that is the reason he used to be a tea totaler. It's now nearly all he talks about. Red flag anyone?

    easy child and her husband have the rare drink with friends. They stopped the party scene after HS.

    I don't notice the advertisements I guess. I mean I know they're there......I guess I just don't pay any mind to them because I really don't have an interest. But I can see where it would make it harder on someone trying to stay sober.
  6. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    That's what I mean Hound dog. I think we see the red flags earlier. I think people who don't have adiction in their family don't see the red flags like we do. I guess I'm hypersensitive. For most people having a glass of wine with dinner is nothing. For us that could spell disaster for a person in recovery and recovery involves the whole family. I can see red flags in people long before anyone else mentions it. I no longer enjoy having a glass of wine with dinner. And if difficult child is with us it would not even be an option.

  7. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Seems pretty natural and a good thing that you would see those warning signs for self protection and for your loved ones. I am like Hound, maybe once or twice a decade, I remember throwing up in the middle of the night after half a bottle of beer at my cousins house in my late 20's. Just doesn't sit well with me but I have no problem with people drinking around me.... UNLESS they are drunk. I just dont like being around it. I went to some parties in high school and college and I was always silly and people assumed I was drunk, but I NEVER was. I have no problem going places where people drink and I guess I dont really really get too sensitive about it, BUT if my dad had not stopped drinking when we were young, I am sure I would think differently. I remember one therapist asking him if he thought he was a dry drunk when we went to therapy.

    No one in my immediate family has addiction issues, but I have worried about two sisters when they went thru typical college phases. We do have a serious addict in my cousins hubby, and when she died, my sister actually ended up dating him (after of course... it was a grief response, my sister helped thru the whole illness) and he had stolen her pain medications etc. When they dated he stole my medications, my son's medications and my sister stood up for him. She was so stupid and she knows it now. But we are still so attached to their kids and he just took the youngest one, who is a junior, to Ohio to care for his ill mother, or should I say to steal medications from his mother which he has done many times. His son crashed his car into my sister's house and has had many accidents and uses pot to "sleep" (and according to my niece, to go to school, to hang out with friends etc.... ) and the dad says... well what can I do?? umm take the cell phone, do the normal parent thigs once and for all . this kid is amazing and other than the drugs, really no behavior issues in terms of violence or whatever, but of course he doesn't have many rules to break in the first place (dad just got out of prison before Christmas last year...uggg and they got a big settlement from my cousin's illness and now that he has burned thru his part--he never has a job--he is telling his sons that they OWE him so should share their money) my sister and I lived together so I did have to live with this awful stuff and I got a taste of it. (by the way, this car salesman personality guy.... ended up taking over 14 thousand dollars from my sister and even his fiscal manager wouldn't help her get repaid, and she had it in writing.... after this time, I told her to write it off in her mind...she had moved on and years have gone by and it is not worth the stress....) so much pain.

    That is why when I read all of your posts, I think wow I barely could live with what I had to go through. I just can't imagine how you all do it. As I said, the things you say and do to advise eachother are amazing and I think much of it teaches general good boundaries and good family mental-health hygiene. That's why I read any "new post" that cycles thru, I am inspired by all of you who are traveling this journey.
  8. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thankfully neither of my difficult children appears to have an alcohol addiction, although there have been times I've wondered. Their father was (is) an alcoholic. My mother was an alcoholic. My 2nd husband and two of my ex boyfriends were also alcoholics (one recovering who never relapsed, but still). So, I know about alcoholism, and the havoc it causes, all too well. However, I still drink socially. If someone looked at my Facebook page, they'd probably think I drink a lot more than I do, because many of my pictures are from outings with friends that show drinking.. not to mention I run a craft beer club. (I love craft beer.) But the truth is I never drink at home unless I have people over, and when out, I rarely drink more than a couple because I'm usually driving. I also don't like to be drunk. A buzz, maybe, but I've never understood the urge to get totally out of control. I'm extremely sensitive to red flags for alcoholism, because of my history, and I won't date someone or be close friends with anyone who has alcohol issues. However, I don't want to date someone who doesn't drink, either. A bit of a conflict, I suppose.

    That being said, when my kids were living at home, I didn't keep much in the house at all. I had parties occasionally where adults drank, and once when Youngest was a teenager she stole some tequila someone had left in my freezer. I took all the alcohol out of my house after that and gave it away. I do believe that it's important to model responsible drinking to young folks, in general... they need to see that not all alcohol consumption leads to alcoholism. But if a kid is showing an issue with it? Nope, not in my house while they're there.

    So, in some ways, dealing with addiction has made me hypersensitive, especially when it comes to dating... but it hasn't caused me to be a tee-totaller, either. The alcoholics I know in recovery, would never expect someone not to drink in front of them. That doesn't mean they hang out in bars with drinking all around them, but they know that someone ordering a glass of wine at dinner is "normal," and that they have to learn to live with that, and to deal with it. That may be why your friend giving you the bottle of wine didn't think it was a big deal. Everyone's "normal" is different.
  9. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Yup. I do think we see the red flags earlier, the same way we see them earlier for potential mental illness too. Experience is a hard teacher but those lessons are not easily forgotten.....even if we work hard at trying to forget.
  10. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Ugh I replied to this yesterday and then had internet problems and lost my post. Anyway I am not much of a drinker, maybe 2 or 3 drinks a year.... I will have a drink on special occasions but not often. My husband used to regularly have a drink, either a beer, a glass of wine or some amaretto... most nights he would have something but only one and it was not a problem at all. When we started discovering beer missing we would then hide the alchol.... which was such a hassle. Then my husband developed a condition that alcohol made worse (was not the cause) and he stopped drinking all together. So now we don't have any alcohol in the house and neither of us drink really.

    I too would not have any alcohol around my difficult child... too tempting I think.

    One way I have changed is my attitude towards drug legalization. I used to be very liberal on this issue and philosophically probably still am. However the practical issues really worry me.... because I think with legalization there is more available and more access and so that is a problem for young teens and for addicts. Look at the problems we are now having with OTC medications that kids are abusing? I just wish there were tighter controls on access to all drugs... of course addicts get illegal drugs too but I know my difficult child has really abused the OTC stuff and lately Spice.

    I am really wondering how bad prohibiition really was. I know my dad talks about it and he felt for a long time that pot should be legalized for the reasons of prohibition.

    Anyway I end up feeling confused by the whole issue.

    And yes I am much more sensitive to the issues of drug use/addiction than I would be otherwise. I know that plenty of kids smoke pot once in a while and it is not a huge problem for them but I still think it is a very slippery slope. And the whole issue of parents looking the other way at kids drinking or smoking pot now kind of drives me nuts when i might have understood before.

  11. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    My difficult child (knock on wood) is not showing signs of addiction to anything but attention so far. She was actually fairly late to start drinking (19-20ish)...she was smoking pot around 18-19. It's hard to tell how much of either she does as she does not live with me and she's smart enough to not post drinking photos on FB, even if they do exist.

    I love wine -esp, with food, and I do indulge. I've long since aged out of the drink-to-get-drunk party phase but I did actually get rather intoxicated this weekend at my Godson's wedding. He is my X brother in law's son, the wedding was out of town & I was staying at the hotel - not driving - and, quite frankly, enduring an entire wedding AND reception with my X and his family (he and I get along ok and I love his family,but still....) seemed an atmosphere conducive to having a few drinks.

    Both my extended family and my X's have alcohol at family gatherings. When I have friends over, I have wine and/or beer available. Among thse families, only X exhibits a problem with drinking. Anyone who is driving stops before it is an issue and the non-drivers have a good time, but nobody prances around wearing lampshades on their heads ...yet!

    When difficult child was living here as a teen, I kept only wine (I knew exactly how much I had) and, the few bottles of hard liquor that were around (vodka and tequilla as I recall), had the labels carefully marked ...on the inside. She never touched them. I also went through the trash after she'd had a sleepover, as she'd shared with me that kids smuggle vodka in by pouring it in water bottles. Never found a thing. If they were bringing it in, they were taking it out ...and nobody ever appeared intoxicated.

    If having wine were a trigger or temptation for her, I wouldn't have it in the house. I do drink in her presence at gatherings (she was at the wedding), but I'm usually driving so I stop at one or two depending on how long the night is. I don't order it in restaurants with her except on rare occassions and always, then, in a group.
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Someone said something on here that made sense to me...about alcoholics in families. I can trace back my entire family on both sides and there is not one person who I know has issues with alcohol. Yes many have drinks on occasions but none are what I would call alcoholics. My Dad's family is chock full of Boston Catholics who act more like Italian's because of the area they live in. Wake's and weddings are drinking affairs. I had my first cocktails at my uncle's funeral, then again 15 days later at another uncles wedding! But no one had drinks at other times. My dad didnt drink constantly. Sure he had a drink from time to time. He liked a gin and tonic or Brass Monkeys. He might have one or two a week. If that. None of my cousins have issues. They are all successful adults. I am the black sheep of the family.
  13. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I began to think differently about alcohol when the daughter of a good friend was killed by a drunk driver.
    Then, even moreso, when I worked (as a counselor) at a court mandated DUI counseling facility.
    husband and I have always drank VERY little. Perhaps once or twice a glass at a major event...perhaps one for New Years and one for a wedding.
    Since that job at the DUI place, I would say it's down to once a year. I suppose we are about as close to non drinkers as one could get.
    We've always had very little in the house and kept an eye on what we did have, particularly when difficult child was living at home.
    It's very sad that people can't enjoy one another's company without the use of alcohol. There is so much abuse involved. And the sorrows associated with alcoholism is mind boggling.
  14. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Nomad that's what I thinking, that because of difficult child's addiction my feelings on alcohol have changed from tollerance to disgust almost. I still enjoy "A" drink once in a while but I am so conscious now of how pervasive it is in society and that no social function can occur where it is not the focus. I don't think most people feel this way unless they have had alcohol negatively affect their lives in some manner. I can't help but think we would never think it was ok to use drugs in front of addicts (if it were legal that is) because of the temptation, yet there are many more alcoholics in the world and they have to face it square on every single day.

  15. Star*

    Star* call 911

    My tolerance due to my x-marriage...had ALWAYS been disgust. I never had it in the house, never even allowed a beer in the fridge. Then DF came along, and respected my wishes and put his beer in the fridge in the shop. He drank outside,and never did the "Go get me a beer." That infuriates me with adults and children.

    The one thing DF did do I was unaware of, and glad he did was sit and explain to Dude that if he did drink, and did sneak, and did get drunk or high - To call HIM - NOT ME....and he would come get him, any time, any place, any where - no questions - just bring him home safely, and the talk would come later. At first when I found out I was livid, then I realized my zero tolerance was ridiculous to expect a teen to keep, -hopeful, but ridiculous so I was glad DF and Dude had their pact.

    I think it's important for any kid, any age (within reason) to know that if they do expose themselves to things like this? There will be someone there to make sure they get home safely - NOT that it's accepted - but that they have a safety net and won't get in a car with other drunk kids, or stoned kids - or go missing. But when ads say "please drink responsibly" they really don't encompass that for underage people and adults should already KNOW these things.
  16. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Star... What a wise person your DF is/was... yet, in some ways, it is the combination of both of you that makes the most powerful statement. No grey areas on what is expected, but... if you happen to really blow it, there is a safety plan, and that is crucial too.
  17. Ephchap

    Ephchap Active Member


    Ditto, ditto, ditto. lol. Seriously, everything you said certainly applies to me, to husband and to our situation with our son. First of all, I watched my difficult child brother, who is an alcoholic, become so seriously drunk that it was just uncomfortable to watch. That was at the beginning stages and as time went on, I watched him lose everything and become a burden on my parents, which is all encompassing - so it affected my brother and I, my husband, my kids, etc. They saw my brother living as an older adult living with my parents and his son being over there a lot more than they were. My mom would watch his son while I was paying a fortune in childcare. It's something that stays with you and you never entirely forget. Those circumstances definitely changed my view on alchol.

    Fast forward to what we've gone through with my son, and no, we still don't keep any alcohol in our home. When my daughter got married and we had extended family over the evening before for a buffet type meal and get together, I made it known that it was going to be a "dry" event. I let them know ahead of time so they'd all know, and they all respected our decision. There was alcohol (and plenty of it, lol) the next day at the wedding, but that was not in our home.

    My husband and I are not big drinkers and really never have been. As I said, I think my views on it came to the forefront years ago because of my difficult child brother and then more recently because of my son. It does change how you view alcohol. It is difficult to be a young alcoholic, because alcohol is literally everywhere. You're so right that many social events actually revolve around alcohol. It's hard.

    My son is still sober, thank God and typed while knocking on wood. His two year mark will be January 24th. It still is and will always be, one day at a time.

    All you can do is what works for you and for your family. I can sympathize with your feelings, as we feel the same.

  18. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I've hesitated to respond to your question because, obviously, the ideal answer is to say we have no alcohol in our home etc. When difficult child was diagnosis'd as a drug using alcoholic ten years ago I not only didn't have alcohol in the house I didn't have any cold tablets or Rx's around for years. Slowly I came to believe that having a Cutty a few times a week or not having a Cutty a few times a week was not impacting his choices in any way. He did not trigger his addictions from his home life. Subsequently I found out that in addition to peers his bioDad & sm, the boyfriend of GFGmom and GFGmom were sharing with him at a very young age. They all treated him like a young adult when he was in fact a young teen. Early alcohol use is a dominant factor in the activation of alcoholism. Innocently I didn't know. His behavior in our home is appropriate (with only a few exceptions over ten years). When he is with peers or others he makes poor choices. So...we don't have bottles in the house and don't serve liquor on the rare occasions when we have company but I still have a Cutty when I want one and have no regrets. In
    our case I don't think it matters one way or the other. Obviously I am not a heavy drinker and husband doesn't drink at all. I feel comfortable with the way things are. DDD
  19. DrPepper

    DrPepper New Member

    Many people close to me, family members and friends, are alcoholics, so you might say it's a topic that hits close to home. My mother is an alcoholic and memories of her worst days have caused great shame and embarrasment. That said, my husband and I will have the occasional beer or glass of wine when we feel like it. We have only recently realized the extent of my son's addiction and don't know how we will handle having liquor in the house going forward or even if our difficult child will ever live at home again after the Residential Treatment Center (RTC).

    I'm un peu (a little) familiar with the French culture and their view of food and wine drinking and do admire this aspect. I have always thought that the more you restrict something, the more you will want it in excess, and fewer people have cars in France so fewer drinking related accidents. Just my thoughts.

    Over the summer, I "unveiled" a stash of empty alcohol bottles in my difficult child's bedroom that still haunts me. I will never get that image out of my mind because it was so unexpected. Thinking of that makes me never want to drink again.
  20. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    We always had that standing conversation with my kids that if they ever found themselves in a compromising situation that they could call us no matter what time it was and no matter what time it was and we would come get them. Talk would come later.

    IC...that is part of the drivers contract.