Wedding Woes

Keep saying 'no thanks'?

Dear Prudence,
I recently made the personal decision to become sober. While my substance use never became life-threatening, it was very quietly taking its toll on my mental health. I tried unsuccessfully to limit my drinking and realized that the only way for me to do this was to stop altogether. I’m not ready to tell my family about sobriety. Our relationship is already a little strained, and their views on mental health make it difficult for me to talk about anything I struggle with. They tend to view mental health issues as character flaws or personal failings, and that in turn makes me shut down.

There’s also the issue of how my parents treat each other. My dad cut way back on his drinking after losing family members to addiction, and he calls my mother a “drunk” when she goes out to drink with her friends or siblings. My mom in turn thinks of him as a killjoy. I don’t want my own personal decisions to be leveraged in this ongoing argument. So far my strategy has been to politely refuse whenever I’m offered a drink at a family event and to leave early, but when I’m repeatedly offered drinks throughout the night (say five or six times), it gets exhausting. I’m not sure when or how or even if I want to tell them about my sobriety. Please help me navigate the family reunion.

—No Thanks

Re: Keep saying 'no thanks'?

  • short+sassyshort+sassy member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited May 2017

    I'd suggest some of the old "stand bys".  If a person already has a drink in their hand, nobody will offer them one.  It can be non-alcoholic.  A plain Coke or OJ looks the same as a similar mixed cocktail.

    If the person offering wouldn't know, maybe a little white lie.  "Oh, thanks, but I've already had a couple and I'm driving home later."

    But, really.  Unless people are getting pushy or asking "why", a simple, "Thanks for offering!  But I'm fine," is really all that is needed.

    If I'm hosting a party and filling/preparing people's drinks, I'd probably ask a guest a few times over the course of the event.  Not to be obnoxious, but just to make sure they're "still good".

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Becoming sober is always hard, considering how much alcohol is in society.

    Friend of mine doesn't drink anymore. Multiple reasons. She has mentioned at the beginning it wasn't easy because she use to hang out at a bar to play pool, but after refusing drinks enough people got the point.

    Tbh sounds like LW's parents aren't in a good place and just using alcohol as an insult because it's easy. That's a while different issue.
  • Always have a drink in your hand (soda water, lemonade, whatever). Then if people ask you if you need a drink, you can say "I have one, thanks." 

    Oh and also, enroll in therapy to talk through family issues that plague your ability to handle simple situations.

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