I am the parent of a 23 year old who is in early recovery (she has about 3 months clean). With Thanksgiving approaching, my husband and I are looking forward to our daughter coming home for the holiday – she is living out of state in a halfway house – but we have our concerns. I realize that it is still very early on and I am afraid that her coming home will be difficult for her, that she’ll want to see her “old” friends and just not knowing what to expect. Other family will be here, too, and we all usually have wine with dinner. Can we drink in front of her? Do I have to hide the alcohol? How do I tell the other family members if we suddenly decide not to provide wine? And what if our daughter decides she wants to stay for good?
A Concerned Mom in NJ
This is certainly a bit of a tough situation. My first suggestion would be to switch things up and go visit your daughter for the holiday instead of having her come home so early on in her recovery. That way, you can handle all of your concerns with one simple solution. I know that it is your family’s tradition to have Thanksgiving dinner at your house but, perhaps you can do things differently this time. And you can tell the rest of your family the truth or whatever you are comfortable with telling them. When I was in early recovery, my mom was constantly “covering” for me with family and friends who were asking where I was. Once I felt more comfortable about being in recovery, I “came clean” with everyone. I didn’t like that my mom had to be dishonest with people, especially on my behalf. And furthermore, I realized that being a recovering addict is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, I am quite proud of what I have accomplished by getting and staying clean.
If you all decide to have your daughter visit, as originally planned, I would suggest doing whatever it takes to make sure she is safe – meaning, not giving her too much freedom, such as borrowing the car, so that she can’t go visit “old” friends and hiding/getting rid of the alcohol in the house. Whatever it is you have to do when it comes to the visiting family members, do it so that you can be sure no one brings bottles of wine or any other alcohol. As far as your daughter moving back home, I wouldn’t recommend it so early on in sobriety. She is an adult but, you don’t have to be the ones to enable her by letting her move back home. I suggest going to Al-Anon meetings in your area – it is a support group for the friends and family members of alcoholics and addicts. At the meetings, you will meet others in your situation or who have been in your situation, or something similar. You will get support, input, and even find out resources from others at the meetings. You can find meetings in your area by going online.