He ain't heavy...
March 21, 2014 7:28 PM Subscribe
How do I deal with an immediate family member with substance abuse problems at my upcoming wedding? When do I put my foot down?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (38 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My brother is 33 and has a history of alcohol abuse and substance abuse problems. In the past, he's pulled stunts that have required me spending multiple nights in the ER and flying across the country. He is currently staying with my parents, and I was just informed that he is (once again) going through severe withdrawl and has been stealing from our parents in order to buy alcohol. This has been going on for almost 10 years. I am getting married in a few months and the reception will have an open bar. My parents write a lot of his behavior off as "isolated incidents" and "he's trying." I, quite frankly, am 200% done with this. I have told my parents that if he is stealing and drinking, he is no longer invited to the wedding. I do not want myself (or them) to have to babysit him the entire night. We're not a particularly close family, and while his absence would be felt, I don't find myself feeling particularly broken up about it.
My fiance and I have already decided to inform the bartenders not to serve him under any circumstances. I want to give him a chance (he is my brother after all, and my only sibling). He is not a loud or aggressive drunk, and he's not violent or prone to fights. He just drinks to excess and experiences crippling withdrawl. The stealing is what is bothering me the most. I don't want to be side-eyeing my own brother at the gift table.
My question is, at what point to I make the call to ban him? And how do I go about that? Approaching him directly has never yielded great results (he simply shuts down and uses the confrontation as an excuse to drink again), and my parents seem incredibly blind to the severity of his behavior. My relationship with my parents is already strained and I don't want to push it further, but I also don't want to have to worry about this on my wedding day. They have also contributed a lot of money towards this wedding, and I don't want to appear ungrateful. I'm sort of at the end of my emotional rope.
FWIW, I have a history of addiction myself (8 years recovered), so I am not unsympathetic to what he's going through, but I am also frustrated that he is only making face value efforts to recover.
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