Should I invite my loved one to Thanksgiving

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Should I invite my loved one to Thanksgiving 2014-11-17T20:37:31+00:00
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  • Beth
    Post count: 3
    #1640 |

    My family had an intervention on my LO almost 2 years ago, guided by addiction specialists, LO did not agree to get help. We have very limited contact with her, she mainly initiates. We have heard from other relatives that she is still using and driving drunk with her 3 young children. None of us really feel like rekindling a relationship with her and her drama and there is still a lot of anger about her poor choices and addictions. Some of the family think to invite her may be our only chance at “influencing” her to change for the better.  Others are kind of uncertain about inviting her, and don’t really feel like talking to her if she does come. All agree it will be an uncomfortable Thanksgiving if she does come, but every holiday she threatens to crash the party and come uninvited and this causes drama. She called in September to ask where Thanksgiving would be this year and that she misses the family. I don’t miss her or the drama at all. I feel like I have done everything to help her and she is on her own by her choice. Any thoughts about inviting her back? Should we serve alcohol if she comes?


  • mousemouse
    Post count: 8

    Hi Beth:

    I’m sorry to hear about this situation with your Loved One.  This has been going on for some time and clearly yours is a caring family to have gone to the effort of an intervention.

    Unfortunately  there is no “right answer” to your question (no hard and fast rules and no crystal balls!)

    I think it’s always helpful to just lay out the situation in writing as you have done, this often makes things more clear for me.  Sometimes when I come back to what I wrote a day later and re-read it, the situation will seem a lot more clear and my decision will be easier.

    Some things that came to my mind in reading your post:

    What are your personal goals for this holiday?  (Joyful family time? Happy memories? Good food? Fostering a sense of gratitude in the kids?  etc)

    How is your LO’s presence likely to impact your chances of achieving your goals?

    The answers to these two questions may make it easier to decide whether or not to invite her.

    You mentioned that some in your family have expressed the thought that this may be the only chance for influencing her to change.

    In my experience (in my life and with CRAFT) influencing change is not a one-shot deal, it’s more of a loooong-term project.  The good news is that this means that there are many chances.  And more often that not, it is the sum of what we do with those many chances, over a period of time, that makes the difference in the end.  Often each of those many chances consists of a kind word, or kind gesture, or a willingness to listen without judgment. In other words, the power of the small, positive interactions we have with a LO over time can be much more effective than one holiday meal or one intervention (at least this has been my experience and seems to be the message of CRAFT)

    Is there a way for your family to achieve your goals for the holiday (whatever you determine them to be) and still make some progress toward helping your LO?  If  the majority of the family does not feel like inviting her to the holiday meal is a good idea, is there some other way that one or two concerned family members can reach out to her?  It can be a very small thing (meeting for coffee, for example, or inviting her children over to play with the cousins).    It’s ok to start small and work on ‘influencing’ over a long period of time. 🙂

    One more thought:  If you think there is a chance that she will crash the holiday, it might be a good idea to have a plan in place for what you (and other family members) will do.  If everyone has discussed it and is in agreement, things will go much more smoothly if she does show up uninvited and impaired.

    I hope you and your family will have a wonderful holiday.

    PS: CMC talk about alcohol+holidays+addiction:

    PPS: I’ve heard sometimes after an  intervention that the LO wants  nothing more to do with the family, so I think it’s good news that your Loved One is still in contact. People recovery every day — don’t give up hope!

  • Beth
    Post count: 3

    Thanks so much for your reply.  The advice you give is insightful and helpful.


  • Beth
    Post count: 3

    Hi Mouse,

    So I shared your response with other family members and we all appreciate your insight and it made us come up with more questions which I hope you can help with.

    Some perspective: Our LO is a relative one we only saw for a couple of hours on holidays and even then we didn’t talk much. Then she moved close by and we started interacting more to help babysit her kids and became embroiled in her problems and we always tried to help her out although it was draining.  Eventually 3 yrs later we learned of her substance abuse and addictions. This brings me to the intervention we performed at the time, we believed if she didn’t get help Child Services would take her children away.

    The addiction specialist had us write a consequence letter if she refused to go get help. In that letter we stated we would no longer enable her  in any way to include by babysitting so she could go out and use and the specialist insisted we also state that she would no longer be welcome in our homes while she was still using and not seeking help. Only 1 person really objected to this last consequence, but ceded to the team and specialist. Now that we are considering inviting her for the holidays we want to know how to address this particular consequence of not inviting her over while she is still using and not seem like we are backpeddling or going back on our word. We want to address the intervention and consequences when inviting her back and not just invite her back like nothing has happened. How should we proceed ?

    Post count: 7

    Hello Beth. Thank you for sharing this. With regards to your question, inviting your LO to Thanksgiving is not enabling them to use, nor is it necessarily misaligned with your statement of consequences. I would recommend that you address all of it though. For example, you could say something like, “we would love to have you join us for Thanksgiving if you are able to be sober for it. We really love spending time with you when you are sober, and want you to be a part of these family events.”

    In this way, you are inviting her for the holiday, and you are stating that the invitation is based on her ability/willingness to be sober for it (that you don’t endorse her using). That way, you are in fact holding (loosely) to the idea that she is not welcome in your while while using. In this way, you’re neither enabling her to continue using (see this page for some information on enabling) nor are you backpedaling on your expressed desire that she not engage with you while she is using.


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