In this holiday post on Reddit a man is asked to make accommodations for his wife's family during Thanksgiving–they'd like no alcohol served. He's fine compromising, but doesn't want to completely give in. Here's his story...
My wife and I are hosting her family for Thanksgiving this year. In total, we are expecting 15 people for dinner, but 6 of them are staying with us for a couple nights. Two of my wife's family members are in recovery for alcoholism. Her uncle has been sober for almost 6 years.
But one of her cousins from a different uncle has only recently started his recovery. He was in treatment for a couple months and finished that maybe 2-3 months ago. Everything I've heard is that he's doing much better and hasn't had any setbacks. Her cousin and his mom are 2 of the people staying with us.
My wife's mom and aunt (cousin's mom) told my wife that we should make sure there is no alcohol for Thanksgiving. Not asked, told. My wife apparently agreed without discussing it with me. She only told me about this plan this past weekend.
We were out shopping and stopped at a liquor store and I mentioned getting a few things for Thanksgiving. She said she 'forgot' to tell me, but we are having an alcohol-free Thanksgiving.
When I asked why, she explained about her family members in recovery and that her mom and aunt think we should do this out of 'solidarity' with them. I told her that I understand that, but I also don't necessarily agree with forcing everyone else to change for 2 people. She said that I can make this sacrifice for a few days and that it's not that big of a deal.
I am the one who is going to be doing most of the cooking. Neither my wife nor anyone in her family is great in the kitchen. My wife is OK as a sous chef if I need her to be, but that's about it. When I cook, I like to enjoy a glass of wine, a beer, or a cocktail. Especially if I'm going to be in the kitchen for a long time cooking a huge meal for over a dozen people.
I told her that if she wants me to cook an entire Thanksgiving dinner for her family, then I should be able to dictate how I cook that meal, including having a drink while I do it. She thinks that her request for a dry Thanksgiving is entirely reasonable and that I'm making this into a big deal when it doesn't have to be.
It's not like I'm going to start drinking at 9am, nor do I intend on getting drunk. But I'm going to be spending a lot of hours in the kitchen and I want to be able to cook the way I enjoy cooking. I would even be ok without having a drink with dinner, but this compromise is not acceptable to my wife. It has to be 100% alcohol free.
I understand wanting to make sure that her family members feel comfortable, especially her cousin since this is so new for him. But this is my house too and I'm going to be the one doing the majority of the heavy lifting. I don't feel like me having a few drinks in my own home while I'm cooking a huge meal is too much to ask.
Yes, I know it's only a few days and not drinking during that time is not going to kill me. But I also feel like if I'm going to be spending hours cooking for these people, me having a few drinks would be a reasonable concession.
Here's what people had to say in the comments:
YTA. I think you're unable to see the other side because you have no idea what addiction is and how much it can destroy people's lives/families. It is extremely hard to quit addiction and most people will relapse. But the time from being sober to relapsing is probably the only respite the addict's families get from the utter madness that is addiction.
Once you bring alcohol to the table, there might be very little they can do. It's a disease, they don't have control over it when the addiction crosses a threshold. You do have control over yourself. Alcohol is not as essential part of TG.
I understand that it's important to you, but giving it up so that your guests feel better and more comfortable is prolly the essence of Thanksgiving spirit anyways.
If you don't want to cook without drinking, don't cook. Order from outside. But when you're hosting you can't be selfish and only think about your own needs. If you did not want to accommodate people, you should have cooked for yourself and your wife.
P.S your wife not being able to cook or her family for that matter has nothing to do with the issue. Made you sounds like an ass.
teatotalledaita OP responds:
Actually lost a few friends to addiction. H & Fent can kiss my a**. I've seen firsthand what it can do to people. But those friends, even in recovery before their relapses took their lives, told me many times that their addictions are not my problem to solve, nor my responsibility to cater to.
NTA. Edit! I changed my mind from this:'Yta. And you sound like you have a drinking problem if you care that much about it.' While well- meaning, family members are making decisions for OP and for the people in recovery without discussing it with them. There are better ways to plan.
teatotalledaita OP responds:
I care more about being told what I can and can't do in my own home than I care about having a glass of wine.
So it’s a power trip?
teatotalledaita OP responds:
If my sister, who is vegan, comes over to visit, I don't tell my wife she can't have bacon for breakfast. Or that she can only have a PB&J for lunch, not the turkey club that she wanted. Because I don't tell my wife what she can and can't do in her own home in order to placate my family.
1. Being a recovering alcoholic includes learning how to say no and not impact other people with your addictions.
2. You have every right to drink in your own home if you want to.
3. They have every right to not attend if that is a problem for them.
4. If your wife's relatives are so weak-willed that seeing you having a glass of wine while cooking will spin them back into substance abuse, then they aren't actually in recovery.
NTA, this is unreasonable. But, that said, if you choose to die on this hill it's going to make your life super rough for a while. Pick your battles carefully. I would fight this, not for the drink but for the principal of other people policing what I can do in my own home. That's a big red flag for me.
As a recovering addict - THIS IS IT EXACTLY!