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'AITA for refusing to remove all alcohol from our house so that my SIL can move in?' 'I spent a lot of money.'

'AITA for refusing to remove all alcohol from our house so that my SIL can move in?' 'I spent a lot of money.'


"AITA for refusing to remove all alcohol from our house so that my SIL can move in?"

My wife's younger sister, Beth (26F), is in recovery for alcoholism. She is currently living in a sober house after getting out of rehab. My wife wants Beth to move in with us after the sober house so that she has a support system. Both Beth and my wife feel like living with us would be good for her until she feels comfortable enough to live on her own. My MIL and FIL passed away during the pandemic, which was a big catalyst for Beth's drinking. So, my wife and I are the only family that Beth has left.

I am not totally against the idea of Beth living with us. I agree that she should have supportive people around her. But what I don't agree with is my wife's insistence that we remove all alcohol from our house. My wife isn't saying that we have to stop drinking so show solidarity with Beth, but that we should remove all alcohol from the house, at least at first.

It's not like I'm an alcoholic, too. I maybe have a drink 2-3 nights a week. But, when we bought our house it had an unfinished basement. Which I turned into a bar/game room. It's pretty fully stocked. Like, stocked enough that we don't have room anywhere else in the house to store all of it.

Also stocked enough that dumping all of it would be a huge waste of money. And drinking all of it would require multiple fraternities from the local college and multiple parties. I'd have to get a storage unit to keep it all and it's just not really a feasible option in my opinion.

This has become a point of contention between my wife and I. I feel like we do have some options. Like maybe Beth just never goes into the basement. I could put a new lock on the door and only I have the key.

My wife thinks I am being unsupportive and that I care more about the bar and alcohol than Beth's health and sobriety. Which, I obviously care about Beth's health and want the best for her. But I put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into that basement. And I spent a lot of money over the years stocking it to this point.

My wife thinks that if I am not willing to dump the alcohol that I should start asking friends if they want anything and give it away. I told my wife that if we need to have our house be 100% alcohol free for Beth, then maybe she isn't ready to live with us and maybe she never will be.

None of the options I've suggested have been acceptable to my wife. To her it has to be all the alcohol gone. She told me it will be temporary until Beth feels more comfortable and we can all take baby steps towards having alcohol in the house again.

I told my wife that I understand her desire/need to support her sister, but that I feel like she is taking this too far in trying to change how we live our lives to accommodate Beth. I want to be supportive of Beth too, but I also don't want to completely change how I live just because Beth is an alcoholic. My wife thinks I am being an ahole and that if I can't get rid of the alcohol that maybe I have a problem, too.

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

Scary_Progress_8858 said:

You need a family meeting with her sober house/ sponsor to discuss living arrangements and boundaries. Your wife is identifying a solution without professional support. She is communicating emotionally instead of practically.

Emotional-Pilot-4811 said:

NTA. Your wife is asking for a lot of accommodations but isn’t willing to negotiate for your comfort in your home. I don’t understand why locking the basement door with a hidden key isn’t considered acceptable, as it will prevent access to alcohol.

Smooth_Papaya_1839 said:

NTA. Your wife and Beth are still very much in an addiction mindest/codependency. Treating Beth like she’s super fragile is the wrong way and nobody’s doing her any favors by doing so. Staying sober is difficult and she’ll need to learn to be tough and take responsibility for her own actions because not everything will always evolve around her needs.

Otherwise she’ll relapse with a certainty of 100%. If the door is locked there’s still plenty of safety. It’s a great compromise. Is Beth (and maybe even your wife too) in a support group? That could help. My support group would definitely set me straight if I started demands like that…

draynaccarato said:

NTA I feel like a lock on the door is an excellent compromise. And honestly, very kind of you to allow your SIL move in on the first place for who knows how long.

Foreverforgettable said:

NTA. I come from a family with drug addicts and alcoholics on both sides. Not having alcohol in the house is not going stop her from drinking if she decides to. Does your wife also want to get rid of any and all mouth wash that has alcohol in it? Does she want to get rid of any compressed air or paint cans you have because her sister may decide to start huffing to get high? You would be surprised what some people can do to get drunk/high.

The lock on the basement door is a great compromise. Her sister is the alcoholic not you. Your life shouldn’t be expected to change so drastically because she’s trying to stay sober. Alcohol is everywhere, is she going to lock herself away to avoid it? Her sobriety is a choice she is going to have to choose daily. When she grocery shops and goes near the liquor aisle she will have to choose. When she goes to a restaurant she will have to choose.

I get that home should be a safe space for her but the alcohol is contained to the basement. A lock is more than enough to provide the sense of security. And if it isn’t then she needs to stay at her sober living house.

BlueGreen_1956 said:

NTA. This is a hill you should die on. I would not allow Beth to move in AT ALL. If you think getting rid of the alcohol will be the last of your wife's demands, you are deluding yourself. Advice: Put your foot down. If you wife won't take the compromise you offered, refuse to allow Beth to move in at all.

Everyone was on OP's side for this one. What's your advice for this situation?

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