How can I manage a group of active alcholics at a wedding without losing my mind?
May 19, 2012 8:11 AM Subscribe
My brother is a problem drinker at best, probably an alcoholic. We're heading to our small home town to watch my alcoholic father marry his prescription drug addict girlfriend. oh, the snowflakes. I'm trying to figure out how bad this is going to be, and if there is anything I can do to keep it smooth for the wedding.
I would like to hear other people's experiences to help me think positive.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (23 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
First- I'd like confirmation that I am not being crazy. I think my brother (Alan) is in over his head. He lives in another state, and we talk regularly. I suspect he's been out drinking at least four nights this week- and I suspect he's blacked out at least twice- probably three times. He's been making drunken phone calls at five am, and then either not remembering or lying about "pocket dialing by accident." Last winter he quit drinking the hard stuff to try to slow down. He lost his phone on Saturday night, and lost his bag last night. Alan says he's fine- and that he's just been getting lit because of the recent stress. I think his ass is self-destructing. I'm not crazy, right? Other than try to directly confront him on it, is there anything else I should be doing? I'll be doing that after the wedding.
Second- the wedding.
My other brother (Alden) is living in small town, and going through a rough time. He's depressed, and angry at his recent lack of success. When he's not depressed- he can be a mean sonofabitch, holding grudges and being incredibly judgmental. He likes to bait Alan, because Alan desperately wants to be friends. Alden thinks he is a pathetic fuck-up- and constantly makes cutting, loaded statements in order to "teach us lessons." His mean-spiritedness is directed mostly at Alan when he's around, but he's happy to teach me (or anyone, really) a lesson or two when needed.
My father and soon-to-be stepmom are going to be manageable. My father is a functioning alcoholic- and has already made plans for a taxi for the whole evening, as well as making sure anyone who might be too uncomfortable with the level of inebriation will be gone before he becomes too much of a mess. He doesn't get violent or aggressive, and his fiancee will most likely be blissed out or passed out before ten. Dad won't, however, be in a position to calm anyone down if Alan and Alden get riled up.
The plan is this so far- I'll (obviously) not be drinking in order to be on top of the game. Keep Alan and Alden away from each other as much as possible. Alan has promised to stay dry in order to babysit the happy couple and to dodge the daggers from Alden. If Alan starts drinking and Alan and Alden get into any altercations- I have a relative on stand-by to take me to a hotel. If there seems to be a cease-fire I'll be staying to make sure no one chokes on their own vomit, since I am the only one who will be sober for sure.
Right now I'm trying to think of any other thing I can do to make this run smoothly- I'm pretty experienced when it comes this kind of harm-reduction, but the last time there was a fist-fight after I had left- so I am a little nervous.
Other pertinent information:
1. Alden has been a problem drinker in the past, but has seemed to be fine for the last five years. He is, however, enabling Dad.
2. Dad and Alan are both "don't get me started" drinkers, able to go for months as long as they don't have the first beer, but Dad has been drinking nightly for at least six months- Alan for who knows how long.
3. I suspect my dad's brain is getting to the point where he has diminished capacity even when he is sober. is there anything to do about that?
4. Dad and Alan both believe that they just like to get drunk, and there isn't anything wrong with that. Though of course each believes the other probably should quit. sigh.
5. Dad's Fiancee is fragile emotionally and gets hurt easily- so I'd like to try to keep her out of the loop as much as possible since she would become another thing to manage if she realized that there could be trouble.
6. The three children are all around thirty years old.
7. This will be my only opportunity to see any of them for possibly a year or more, and I'd really, really, really like to have this be a pleasant experience.
8. All this worrying could be for nothing- we've had family get-together in past years where everyone just happily passes out.
9. The other relatives that will be attending are elderly. They don't know about Alan, and can't help with Dad. They will be keeping their phone on in case of emergencies, but that's it when it comes to support from other people.
...so anybody got any advice?
please don't bother saying I shouldn't go. I love my family very much and a possible bad outcome isn't going to keep me from my dad's wedding. They are all good people.