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Sober Family Wedding

I’m invited to a family wedding this May and am currently 60 days sober. What’s your advice on attending while maintaining my sobriety? Alcohol consumption has historically played a role in most of my family’s large celebrations and I am not the only alcoholic in my family.

Answer:

When May comes, you are the only one able to decide if you are strong enough to attend and stay sober. You say there is alcoholism in your family, so chances are you learned some negative behavioral patterns in that environment. If drinking is part of your family dynamic, can you resist joining in?

May is 1 month away and you’ll be at 3 months of sobriety. Three months is not a long time. Being in social situations where alcohol is readily available is one of the common triggers for a relapse. Anyone invested in a successful recovery, must recognize triggers for falling back into old patterns of addiction and find the strength to either resist those triggers or avoid them altogether. At this stage of your recovery, I would recommend that you avoid putting yourself in any situation likely to encourage relapse. Having said that, your family may not understand your absence.

Whether you decide to attend or not, I want to point out that I read a note of anxiety that things are going well now and you are working your program. Being on guard seems to be the right emotion and means that you are taking your sobriety seriously. It appears that you have made a searching and fearless moral inventory of yourself and have probably found one or more of those four major parts of the alcoholic makeup: resentment, fear, selfishness, and dishonesty. Since these are not fully resolved in a few months, there is often work left on these issues. Many of these issues tend to be a fertile ground at family events and one should take great caution.

If you choose to attend this family event, I would recommend that you develop a clear plan for yourself. This will include knowing where the local AA meetings are and the specific times they meet, taking an inventory of your triggers and make an action plan if you begin experiencing these triggers. It may be helpful to develop your plan with your sponsor, your support group or a trusted friend who knows about addiction.



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