How to ask AH not to drink around my family

Old 07-01-2011, 10:13 AM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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I just asked him politely and he said he will not drink. Lets keep our fingers crossed!
I did this for about 15 years. Don't be surprised if he drinks anyways, apologizes and tells you either it's your fault or promises to not do it again.

There is nothing humanly possible that you, me or anyone else can do to convince an A to not drink. You'd have an easier time hopping to the moon.

It seems like at this point, you're searching for ways to control his drinking, rather than focus on yourself and your recover.

Let us know what happens. We're crossing our fingers!
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Old 07-01-2011, 01:32 PM
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What a perfect way to handle it...

...Well done!

OP, here's your anwer.


Originally Posted by Smallsteps View Post
This is a slightly different take on the situation.

I told AH last Thanksgiving that I won't be his designated driver anymore. So if he wanted to come to my family's Thanksgiving dinner and drink, he needed to be responsible for getting himself there and back. Same with any other event where he wants to drink. And by drink, I mean have so much as a single sip of alcohol.

He accepted this boundary and I haven't had to remind him about it since the initial awkward conversations over the holidays.

He stayed home last Thanksgiving but has participated without drinking in a few other family events. And my family knows about the situation, which helps.

If we go out somewhere and he drinks, I'm prepared to drive off without him or get a cab for myself and the kids. I haven't had to do this yet, but I will if I need to. If he gets drunk and acts like a fool, it's not my problem. And if he gets smashed and hops in his car, I'll call 911. This would have terrified me a year ago, but not now.

So instead of asking him not to drink when we visit family or go out, I made it about my needs (i.e., not being his taxi service or babysitter). I just wish I'd done it years ago.

Take care.
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Old 07-01-2011, 02:06 PM
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I agree with Cyranoak: SmallSteps, your answer is great--and congratulations for sticking to it.

As for the embarrassment part: IF he does drink in front of your family, don't let it be a reflection on you. It's not! My AH called our minister a pr*ck and I guess I'm getting pretty good, because it didn't even bother me. Why should it--I didn't say it.

The first thing is to make your boundaries and stick with them--the second thing is, recognize what you can't control. Don't live your life with your fingers crossed--it's no fun.
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Old 07-01-2011, 02:43 PM
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Wow, I'm awed by the wisdom in these posts.

I had a slightly different experience - I'm the ONLY non-drinker that is in my ABF's inner circle. I had to figure out a way to tell him and his family that I wouldn't be going to family events where people got drunk. He was so embarrassed - he thought I was being incedibly rude to put qualifications on my hosts. Well, yeah, I can see that. But I don't think anyone wants a wet blanket at their party, and I was really, really uncomfortable. He told his mom, and she said to me (jokingly), "So all we have to do to keep you away is to get drunk?!" And they actually started cutting way back on the alcohol. Sometimes I stayed away. Sometimes I left early.

The whole thing was so much easier once I started talking about it.

- Sylvie
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Old 07-01-2011, 05:12 PM
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The last time I asked my AH not to drink at or before a specific event, he ended up drinking double just to spite me for even asking such an absurd question. When my cousin's wedding rolled around I'd learned my lesson, it was, "There are three RAs in this wedding, and anyone who has been drinking gets left home." That went over better, believe it or not -- I wasn't trying to control him, and they're not trying to control him, this is just the way it is if you want to go. It was the first event in a long time that I had a husband beside me who was NOT swaying -- for a whole weekend, your mileage will no doubt vary.
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Old 07-06-2011, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by SoloMio View Post
The first thing is to make your boundaries and stick with them--the second thing is, recognize what you can't control. Don't live your life with your fingers crossed--it's no fun.
What are some good boundaries to make?
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Old 07-06-2011, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Lunakim View Post
What are some good boundaries to make?
Here's an example:
Clearly communicate that you will not tolerate his drinking around your family, don't ask and don't say it mean. If he can't respect that then he will no longer be invited to your family gatherings. But, you must be prepared to enforce ANY boundary you put in place. Boundries are not meant to control, they are ment to allow you (as much as possible) to have a normal life regardless of his active addiction, which you have a right to.
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Old 07-06-2011, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Lunakim View Post
What are some good boundaries to make?
That is up to you. For example one could be you don't want to be around him when he's drinking. If he is drinking you leave the room and go someplace else in the house, it's about you not being around him not about him drinking. You don't have to say anything, just leave the room or house if necessary.

It all depends on what you are willing to put up with. Those things you can't you set your boundary and plan your response for when the boundary is broken. Its all about you. It's not an ultimatum or anything like that. You're not demanding that he behave in any particular manner, you're just preparing yourself for when he is acting in a way that you won't put up with.

Good luck and I hope that helps.

Your friend,
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Old 07-06-2011, 12:30 PM
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Here's an example of one of my boundaries in action... (My boundary is that I will not allow my life activities to revolve around or be ruined by anyone's drinking, or the consequences of their drinking.)

I was at party on Sunday evening with the kids and AH. We were all getting ready to leave, everybody loaded in the car, car started (I was driving)... and about to drive away. In that fleeting moment, AH decided he wasn't drunk enough yet... and wanted to stay. "Ok!" I said, "We'll see you later! Have a good night!" and I drove away. About 2/3rds of the way home, I see his wallet in my cup holder - "OH well. Not my problem!". The kids and I got home, made a giant fort, climbed in it and went to sleep! The next day, we had planned to go to the beach so the kids could chill out... and that's just what the 3 of us did. AH called around noon, all pissy because he had no money and he wanted to come home, and no one would drive. I said, "Well, we're busy right now and will get to you as soon as we can." And that was the end of the conversation.

Before I set my boundary... the whole thing would have played out something like this...

AH says he wants to stay - I would try to reason with him why that was a bad idea and when that didn't work - scream at him to get in the car and come home - and if that didn't work, drive off in a fit of rage... only to get more mad when I saw his wallet... which I would then turn around to drive it back to him, only to start the argument up again, or *gasp* play the role of the savior for bringing him his wallet. And then I'd go home at night, not sleep, and stew about how insensitive, irresponsible, lazy, unappreciative (get the picture?!?!) he was! Only to wake up the next morning, tired and hungover from overindulging MY emotions... and then begrudgingly re-arrange my day because we have to go get Daddy.... and then throw it in his face that our day was ruined because of his lousy choices.

For me, my boudnary means realizing that people around me are not an extension of me. I don't have to let their choices ruin my life - I can make choices to protect me. I can choose to participate... and if the situation gets to a point where I am no longer comfortable/enjoying myself - I can choose to stop participating!! I don't have to rearrange my plans to save/rescue/caretake for another human being. I can choose to carry on with whatever it is that I WANT to do, or whatever is good/safe for ME.

Thanks for letting me share my experience!
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Old 07-06-2011, 12:58 PM
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Shannon what a great description of detachment and boundaries w/in a relationship. I have trouble with the middle - the spot where you still interact with people. It helps me so much to see a specific situation played out both ways. :
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Old 07-06-2011, 01:54 PM
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I'm with you GettingBy (at least on my strong days)!! I'm still working on setting boundaries with myself, but here is one from last night I'm quite proud of

Last night I suspected mine of drinking. He took a long afternoon nap and then went into the basement to play video games. Normally I would have gone down into the basement, smelled every cup down there, and searched all his hiding spots looking for any trace of alcohol to prove that I'm right. (don't ask me how that makes me the winner or makes me feel good, but its what I'm trying NOT to do anymore). Anyways, I put on a girly movie and at 8pm still no sign of him. I make myself dinner, just enough for me. Around 9pm he comes back upstairs and is hurt that I ate dinner without him. I just kept saying in my head that I'm not his mother, it's not my job to cook for him, not my job to make sure he eats, and if he wants to be alone in his basement thats his choice too. It felt great and I went to bed happy and full He cooked a frozen pizza that I heard him throw up later that night...
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