My Step-mom started drinking heavily. So much that it made family gatherings unbearable. Traditionally all of our family gatherings took place in their home. Each event Beverly would get drunk and ruin the evening for me. I was so angry with her and I stopped coming over for family dinners. Christmas was coming and I knew that was one dinner I would not be able to avoid. I didn’t know what to do. I explained the situation to Jude and she helped me figure out what I COULD do about it.
The plan was to tell my step-mom ahead of time that when she drinks a lot it makes me very uncomfortable. It was her house and she could do what she wanted. If she did choose to drink a lot and make me feel uncomfortable on Christmas, then I would need to leave. Jude and I scripted out what I wanted to say. I picked a good time to meet Beverly (on her day off, not after a long stressful day at work). I felt a little sick to my stomach on my way to her house and I REALLY didn’t want to do it, but I knew I couldn’t take another drunken family Christmas. I delivered my message and Beverly was very responsive. She apologized for making me uncomfortable. She promised not to drink a lot on Christmas and she didn’t! She was a little standoffish that night, but it was much better than previous dinners. We were all able to talk and enjoy each others company. Having that talk didn’t just make that one night better. It brought us back together, when my instinct before had been to pull away. Instead of being mad at Beverly, I had the chance to love her again. And, I had yet another tool in my kit to handle the situation in the future. I was able to have a similar talk/check in before the next family event to avoid an unpleasant evening and be in charge of creating love, peace, and joy for myself. Being bold and having a conversation that I was afraid to have has made my relationship with Beverly better. I thought she would be mad at me and not want to see me, but the opposite was true.