Wedding Woes

"I will not discuss with you."

Dear Prudence,

My parents both were alcoholics, and both died of illnesses connected to alcoholism. My older siblings did their best to shield me from the impacts of their parenting in childhood and while it was rough, I think they succeeded at giving me an easier experience. At 29, I drink the occasional beer at a party or a work event, but never more than one and never more than once a week. I don’t consume any other substances or have issues with moderation in general. I know genetics plays a huge role in addiction, but I think I won the lottery and missed this specific bullet. I’m definitely my mother’s daughter but there’s also a degree of family belief that I might not be my father’s, given my mom’s history during my early years.

Both of my siblings are non-drinkers. My sister is a lifelong teetotaler because she discovered compulsive behaviors early on and is trying hard to reduce her risks. My brother went through AA when he was barely 20. We live in the same area so my occasional drinking isn’t hidden. My sister confided recently that she’s deeply jealous—a lot of the horrible family stuff that hit both her and my brother seems to have swerved around me. She also longs to feel completely disconnected from our dad. My brother is constantly trying to get me to quit drinking and is angry that he basically raised me and I still do drink. He’s very strong for quitting but he definitely is a thrill seeker in other ways—dangerous motorcycle, high adrenaline/risk career, etc., so it’s not like he’s above us. I love both my siblings a lot and what they survived is unfair. I got so lucky, mostly because of them! But also, I want to make my own choices here. How do I approach this with them? Honestly, if they weren’t so pushy, I probably wouldn’t even be interested in it.

—Youngest

Re: "I will not discuss with you."

  • "This isn't up for discussion." 

    I get the fear that something is so prevalent but that's not the issue.  

    And you can't make people stop something because you can't have it.  FFS it's hard enough telling my kid that people are going to eat popcorn and she can't have it but has to get over it. 
  • Totally agree the LW needs to put a hard line that they aren't going to talk about it anymore.  They should point out that they have made different choices in life about alcohol and there's nothing wrong with that.

    With that said, the LW should be sensitive and not drink alcohol around their siblings.  Both siblings have recognized they have an issue with alcohol, so its understandable they don't want it around them.  The LW might already be doing that. 
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  • It is really hard for drinkers to understand "take it or leave" folx.  I cannot rely on myself to moderate successfully at any point in time or consistently.  I'm literally wide eyed at people who can just have one drink and be like, that was yummy, I'm finished.  It's mind blowing to me.

    I think LW just needs to bean dip when the converation comes up.  I hope to all that is sacred, LW doesn't drink in front of their siblings, for myriad of reasons.  And uh, knock it off with the high and mighty attitude about their other behaviors.  Everyone in this family needs to be keeping their eyes on their own plate.
  • VarunaTT said:
    It is really hard for drinkers to understand "take it or leave" folx.  I cannot rely on myself to moderate successfully at any point in time or consistently.  I'm literally wide eyed at people who can just have one drink and be like, that was yummy, I'm finished.  It's mind blowing to me.

    I think LW just needs to bean dip when the converation comes up.  I hope to all that is sacred, LW doesn't drink in front of their siblings, for myriad of reasons.  And uh, knock it off with the high and mighty attitude about their other behaviors.  Everyone in this family needs to be keeping their eyes on their own plate.
    This is an eye opening paragraph for me!  I'm definitely a "take it or leave it" kind of drinker and am surprised, outside of alcoholism, that there are "all or nothing" drinkers also.

    I definitely don't mean that in any kind of judgmental way at all.  I appreciate the perspective!

    I've occasionally had friends who I purposely only do non-alcoholic outings with because, if alcohol was involved, they wouldn't regulate themselves and I'd inevitably turn into a babysitter at some point in the evening.  I always assumed it was choices they were making the whole time, because that is how it is for me, but perhaps it wasn't as simple as that.

    I've also always found it interesting that being drunk/tipsy usually changes a person's personality, but not in the same way and almost in the opposite directions.  It's like people seem to become either happier or angrier.
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  • VarunaTTVarunaTT member
    First Anniversary First Comment 5 Love Its First Answer
    What's really funny, @short+sassy is that when I was first starting out, it was eye-opening to see them called "take it or leave it drinkers".  LIke, I just assumed everyone drank like me (binge drinker about once a week and starting to accelerate) or a teetotaller.  I just never imagined any different, mainly b/c my social circle/family dynamic wasn't any different.
  • VarunaTT said:
    What's really funny, @short+sassy is that when I was first starting out, it was eye-opening to see them called "take it or leave it drinkers".  LIke, I just assumed everyone drank like me (binge drinker about once a week and starting to accelerate) or a teetotaller.  I just never imagined any different, mainly b/c my social circle/family dynamic wasn't any different.
    This whole conversation reminds me of Leo from the West Wing describing drinking scotch; not understanding how other people don’t feel like he does when it drinks. 


    (Around the 1:55 mark)
  • VarunaTTVarunaTT member
    First Anniversary First Comment 5 Love Its First Answer
    @charlotte989875 I love that scene, b/c I knew exactly what he meant in that moment.

    I don't use the term alcoholic for myriad of reasons that I can go into if people want.  But I am a binge drinker and my binge drinking was going from every now and then to more often.  So, to me, there is no turn off after the first one.  If I take the first one, more likely than not, I'm taking the next, and the next, etc.  I tried moderation and it's just not something I can do successfully.  So rather than beat myself up, I just never have #1.
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