#181 – Episode 181 – We Answer Your Questions: Dealing With Family Members


Chip is back and we are answering questions on how to deal with family members. From family members who don’t support your sobriety to partners who still drink we cover it all.

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about this episode

I’ve never met anyone who has a completely lovely, functional family. I don’t think they exist.

Most of us have experienced dysfunction in our families in one way or another and it really disturbs the status quo once we get sober.

So how do you deal with family members who don’t take your sobriety seriously? What about heavy-drinking relatives? What’s the right response for well-meaning oversharers who use your recovery as a signal for oversharing?

In this episode, Chip is back and we’re answering your questions about dealing with family members in sobriety.

key highlights

Here are some of the questions we cover in the episode.

Sobriety Sabotage

How do I get through to my mother who, after almost two years, continues to offer me a glass of wine when I visit and will say, “Oh, you’re still not drinking?” and after I say no. It infuriates me that she doesn’t take it seriously.

This is a very common situation and it is extremely infuriating.

Very often, our decision to stop drinking shines a light on the drinking behavior of those around us. It puts a spotlight on a topic that nobody wanted to talk about.

People don’t like the unknown, they want things to be the same. – Chip Somers

Obviously, not drinking is a huge change and people often sabotage that process in order not to maintain the status quo.

It’s important to recognize that the reactions you might be receiving are all about that person and have nothing to do with you.

It took me a long time to learn how to handle that kind of situation and the best way to deal with it is to practice acceptance. Go in with the expectation that it’s going to happen.

Don’t accept the invitation to that bullshit. – Veronica Valli

The less that is said, the better.

Hold your place as an adult, respond calmly, and let them do their thing. This is about them, not you.


Heavy Drinking In-Laws

How do I have my husband’s side of the family be respectful in my home when they are invited guests? I don’t mind moderate drinking but they are on vacation mode which means they chomp at the bit at noon time and do not stop till sundown or they pass out, whichever comes first.

It can be difficult to set boundaries with parents.

In an ideal world, once you and your partner recognize that his parents don’t respect your situation, they would be staying in a hotel instead of in your home.

For various reasons, that might not be possible.

If you have to have them in your home, having as many boundaries as possible is the only way forward.

If you know that their drinking is likely going to be a problem, have a discussion with your partner before they arrive and talk about what you’re going to do when the inevitable happens.

Try to be out of the house a lot. Don’t clean up their mess. Be friendly and spend time with them but if they’re just drinking, it’s probably better if you’re not there.

This is a life or death issue for you, it’s not personal. You have to put your sobriety first.

resources mentioned

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