What to say to family

Old 10-15-2010, 04:32 PM
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What to say to family

With the holidays coming up, I think that our usual extended family celebrations with my husband's side of the family will be painful/awkward since our AD is currently homeless and her whereabouts are unknown. Most of his immediate family knows that she has had problems but not to this extent. Most of his extended family do not know and we will be seeing them this year for sure.

I am really at a loss as to what I should say when my husband's family asks about her. The last thing I want to do is to be breaking bad news at a party especially when a few people don't know anything about it at all.

Is there anything I can say that would be honest and deter more questions? It is going to be a hard enough holiday season with her gone.
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Old 10-15-2010, 04:45 PM
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How's your daughter?

she's hanging in there.

What's your daughter up too?

She's doing her own thing right now.

Why isn't your daughter here?

She's doing her own thing right now.
And then quickly deflect with a question....

How ARE YOU? How are your kids? How about that traffic? What do you think of the new space program?
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Old 10-15-2010, 06:51 PM
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Thanks. I may have to practice those.
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Old 10-15-2010, 10:36 PM
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she is sick. that's what I told my family beacause its the truth.
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Old 10-16-2010, 07:20 AM
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Thanks but I am sure they'd want to know all about it. Close family would understand if I said, "She is sick," though. This year is going to be hard too because my husband's uncle (same age as us) has just been diagnosed with terminal cancer so it is just going to be a tough holiday season regardless.
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Old 10-16-2010, 09:10 AM
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It's hard because alot of people don't really understand addiction the way have been forced into! I personally was not good at hiding what was going on nor did I want to. When people would ask me, I would just say that she had relapsed and wasn't doing well. I actually got alot of good support that way.People are often more helpful and less judgemental than we imagine they will be. If you beleive that she is sick, there shouldn't be any shame in it. You can state the facts and say, we are hoping for the best, but i would prefer not to dwell on it right now. You obviously know your family and how that may work for you. It has been fine for me..there really is no easy way. I'm sorry you are concerned about the holidays..last year was that way for me. I really wanted to go out of the country this year!
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Old 10-16-2010, 09:48 AM
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Answering questions about our addicted loved ones is sometimes a little tricky. Some people ask because they want to gossip. Some people ask because they already have an inkling that something isn't good and they want to know details. Some ask because they want to provide support.

Most of the time, I simply elect not to bring up my AS with anyone except those closest to me or with people who have experienced severe addiction personally. I am also concerned about the upcoming holidays.........

Perhaps turning everything over to our higher power is the right way to approach it? Perhaps our HP will give us the words we need when we need them. Perhaps we should stay in the "today" and not dwell on what may or may not happen in the future.

gentle hugs
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Old 10-16-2010, 10:10 AM
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I've also been dealing with what to tell people about my AS. I've told the close family the truth, that he is in a long term sober or recovery house. But others I've just told that he's moved out of the area and is working. He is working on his recovery, but I just don't feel it's my place to tell people, neighbors and other people that we are aquainted with, that he is working on his sobriety. When they ask I stumble with the right words to say. I think some people might understand but other might not and I'm not prepared for that type of ridicule right now and I also feel it might just end up as batter for gossip. His car is parked in front of my house and the neighbors know he's not living here so they probably already think that something is wrong. At our neighborhood Christmas party I'll have to decide what I want to say. I've just been telling neighbors he's out of the area working and doesn't need his car. One neighbor commented about him not needing his car as a question. I just ignored it.

I do appreciate this post and look forward to reading what others have found works for them.
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Old 10-16-2010, 06:12 PM
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Actually I live in a small town where everyone knows your business and lots of people judge. However, we have been here 20 years and are blessed with some very kind/understanding neighbors who are easier to talk to than some of our relatives.

My next door neighbor just asked about my D the other day and I told her that my D had not been doing well and was not living with us. She got it right away without my having to elaborate. She just said, "I'm so sorry," and gave me hug. I was glad she could be supportive/sympathetic without pressing for details or pushing her opinions/suggestions/views on me. Living next door, she might not have had a front row seat to my daughter's addiciton, but she was definirely in the balcony.
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Old 10-16-2010, 10:19 PM
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Sorry to hear your daughter is not doing well.
Hopefully you will be reunited with her before long.
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Old 10-17-2010, 08:46 AM
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It's hard knowing what to say to people. At my son's new school, people know that I am a single mom and, since he attends a private, small, catholic school, that's a bit of a rarity. It's hard to know what to say and WHO to say it too. Because it's hard to tell the nosey-parkers from the people who are friendly and want to be supportive.

I try to stick with the same story, His dad isn't in his life. I have sole custody. But invariable, the conversation turns to "Does he live nearby." Then when I tell people, I'm not sure where he is, it gets very confusing and they ask for clarification and I end up telling them he has drug and alcohol problems and he hasn't seen our son since may and blah blah blah. I can't stop myself.

That is not good. I wish I could figure out an honest answer that doesn't seem defensive and doesn't delve into the sordid details of what a loser my son's father is.

"His dad isn't in his life right now. He moved out last May and we haven't heard from him since."

Mostly I just have a hard time keeping my mouth shut.
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Old 10-17-2010, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by EJG123 View Post
blessed with some very kind/understanding neighbors who are easier to talk to than some of our relatives.
I must say AMEN to that!!! Relatives are too emotional, in my case .... and also evasive about their own situations. My nephew was at "private boarding school" during his treatment...so this is a definite problem with some families. Sad.
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Old 10-17-2010, 10:29 AM
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My gd went through this. She's a busgirl at the same place her mom waitressed until mom got fired. Customers would ask her "where's your mom we don't see her here anymore" gd would say she has a diferent job now (jail) but I'll tell her you say hello. She wouldnt tell them she was in jail but let the conversation drop and offer to get them more coffee or etc.when people would ask me I just said she's ok but working on some issues at the time. They were people who didnt know the facts. the ones who did know usually asked how I was doing along with kind words.
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Old 10-17-2010, 11:02 AM
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I can usually stop any prying by saying with raised eyebrows, "You'd have to ask her/him." in a firm statement voice.

This wouldn't work with hello-kitties situation obviously.
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Old 10-17-2010, 06:53 PM
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Hello-kitty - I know how you feel. Sometimes I say too much because I want to get it off my chest or have people know enough that I don't have to dance around it anymore. I agree it is not a good idea to put out too much info though.

msmom - Some members of our family are exactly like that- It would be fine for me to talk about my AD's problems but they would never admit it to me if their kid had the same problem. It is awkward.

Katie - I wish my AD was in jail so I could say she was okay/working on issues, but I really don't have any idea of where she is or if she is okay/working on her issues or not. I can only hope.

Live - "You'd have to ask her" would suffice for some people but other relatives only know that she was an honors student in college the last time they saw her. Some may have heard something through the grapevine by now and they won't press. I am hoping I can just tell the clueless ones that she could not make it to the event/party/whatever. If they ask why not, I hope they will give up if I tell them she just could not make it. I plan to avoid those that are obnoxious/dense/insensitive so that I won't end up bursting into tears.
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Old 10-17-2010, 08:11 PM
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I feel like there is so much shame and I had that at first. People used to talk about cancer like this..the big C in whispered voices. Your daughter is an active addict and I bet more people know that than you know. It is not shameful...it is what is happening. I for one am done hiding and secret keeping. If people..your family want to judge her..that's their problem. Chances are they know/suspect something anyway. Until people are open and honest about addiction its gonna remain the deep , dark secret that no one talks about..how does this help anybody. I realize I am clearly in the minority here as most people feel its private and nobody's business. If its' a disease why in 2010 are we still so ashamed?
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Old 10-17-2010, 09:51 PM
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Personally, I am not so much ashamed as sensitive about discussing her situation. She may be an addict but she is still a person, so how much right do I have to talk about her negatively to friends/family even if what I am saying is true? I would rather not say negative things about anyone for no good reason.
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Old 10-18-2010, 09:04 AM
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I don't see it as any more negative than if she was sick with something else, like cancer. When I statred getting honest, 95% of the responses were completely positive and supportive. If she did have cancer, chances are you would also get prying and unwelcome advice in a small % of people as well.You are not the first person to bring up this topic on this site and I am very much in the minority with my opinion. My husbands family doesn't speak to each other due to the craziness that surrounded my SIL's addiction. If someone had talked about it, acknowledged it, I feel that the siblings may have had a chance to remain in contact. There was so much secret keeping. My SIL has 12 years clean now and is living her life, but the collateral damage is tremendous. What I have found is when people ask and I told them she was homeless and addicted to heroin that the judgy people were so stunned they shut up.
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