How Do You Deal W/ Family Members Who Choose to Get Drunk Every Event?

Updated on November 24, 2012
C.L. asks from Indianapolis, IN
8 answers

I have a grandparent who will consume 14-16 drinks or more in one sitting-for example from 2 pm-9pm and then gets drunk. The conversation get very boring quickly, and they talk about everyone and then the start repeating themselves non stop. My husband and I try to get out of the situation by leaving early -we try not to offend them -prior to this person getting drunk. We are concerned about our young boy and what he observes and do not want him to know what is going on. I need suggestions on how to approach the problem.

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answers from Cleveland on

Stick to your guns (my husband's catch phrase). If you do not condone irresponsible drinking and want your son to understand that getting drunk is unacceptable, then you are doing the right thing by leaving before things get out of hand. Five-year olds definitely pick up on slurred speech and drunken behavior. Now is the age to begin talking about responsible drinking. If the questions about alcohol have not begun yet, they will shortly. Alcoholics and people who drink until drunk are not necessarily bad people, but they may exhibit behaviors that we don't want our children exposed to and again, your choice to leave is perfectly proper.


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answers from Cincinnati on

Has your grandparent ever sought treatment for alcoholism? Has he/she been drinking this much for a long time? I would be really concerned about their liver among other potential health problems. Has your family ever considered doing an intervention to try to get your grandparent to get help to stop drinking? If you are interested, here is some info about family interventions: An intervention is a well orchestrated meeting where family members and friends confront the individual with the alcohol problem, in a loving, caring, non-judgmental manner. Each participant in the intervention takes a turn expressing their concerns and how they see the problem person’s behavior is affecting them and this person. The goal of an intervention is to get the person with the problem to agree to go and complete a rehab program. There needs to be a rehab facility already lined up and prepared to admit the person with the problem immediately upon completion of the intervention. You can call a 24 hr toll-free, family help line to learn more: 1-800-567-5986 or 1-888-750-0911 or 1-866-888-4911. If you prefer to handle it one-on-one, start by talking to your grandparent when they're sober and just sharing how their drinking is affecting your relationship with them. Tell them that you aren't comfortable around them when they're drinking that much and you don't want your children around them. Tell them that you are concerned about their health(I assume you are). I hope that helps.

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answers from Cleveland on

it beign family makes it hard but i think you are doing the right thing, i personally don't let my children be around those who are drunk and we don't drink in our home. My family does drink at all special events, but no one gets sloppy drunk, and we use the kids and thier routines and young age to make sure we get out of their long before things get out of hand, and even my children know what alcohol is and that it is ok sometimes in small amounts when you are an adult but that in general drinkingis bad, and being in those situations has actually given me nice oppertunities to bring it up with my kids and talk about something that can be hard to talk about. you can't change your family and you need to teach tolerance as well as drinking rules to your child, but there is nothing wrong with avoiding the situation. good luck.

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answers from Cincinnati on

A:If this is a small gathering where you can not distance yourself from the drunk family member-don't go if it bothers you that much. As for you child, some people can be used as bad example for bad behaving.

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answers from Mansfield on

I think your trying to do the right thing. I would not expose my child to a situation where someone is drunk, or has a drinking problem. In our children's young minds it must be so confusing for them to understand why does this person drink even if you tell them they have a drinking problem.
I would set rules for your family in the best interest of your child behalf. That in which your not putting anyone down. that if anyone is drinking, and/or is drunk for any reason you as the responsible adult dont care to place your young child in that situation.
If they love their grandchild and their son and you, then they will abide by your wishes. Tht is what I would do not in a heated argument but when things are calm I would express your feelings to them in a way that it is not demeaning, as well as placing your foot down. I am a recovered Alcholic and have not drank for 22 yrs. Alcohol does not discriminate, and does not choose who or what it will hurt or damage in its way. Even if the person drinking has a heart of Gold. The drinking in my very own opinion when it becomes a problem it destorys everything. God bless you.

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answers from Canton on

Have you thought about finding an Al-Anon group? It's like AA for alcoholics but it is a support group for family members and friends of people who have addiction problems. People there could help you deal with this and give you some great suugestions on handling your relatives.


answers from Columbus on

You know how smells are such a big trigger to memory? Well, your son will associate those "smells" (stale beer, alcohol breath, etc.) with those "outings". He will remember what it was like and hopefully not like it. However, why take the risk? It's something he will always remember, especially if you keep taking him to these functions. I sooooo feel for you, cuz that's not an easy thing to quit being around family. You could tell them you will be happy to hang out and be with them until the alcohol comes out, then you have to leave. You have one chance with your kids to stick up for them and do the right thing. YOU are their barriers against these types of outside influences. I have kids 9,7 and 6 and I am just really realizing how much power we have as parents....geesh! No matter how uncomfortable you feel, expalining your values, it's improtant..especially if you consider there may be some genetic predisposition to alcoholism. Good luck and let us know how things are going!



answers from Los Angeles on

I have a similar problem with a cousin. She was totally reckless and in a rage on Thanksgiving during dinner, berating her daughter in law. Thank goodness they were not able to attend. However, it made all of us so uncomfortable. More importantly, her husband just sat there like an ostrich!

I spoke to her today, and she did not recall anything. How do you suggest that in the future we, as family members handle this uncomfortable situation. I know that if I asked her to leave the room, she would have turned on me, but my husband says, that it was in our home, and therefore, I have a right to ask that she leave.

Did I mention that she cusses profusely!

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