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9 Conversations You’ll Likely Have With a Drunk Relative About Your Recovery During the Holidays

Whether you like it or not, your recovery will likely end up part of the conversation at the holiday table. Here are the most likely topics of conversation and how to best handle them with compassion, a little bit of sass, and confidence.

  • If you remember that one time that one year: Alcoholism in advanced stages can include losing moments of memory and recall. Alcoholics are prone to blacking out, or losing large chunks of time in their memory. You might have had some particularly intoxicated moment during holidays past that everyone else seems to remember but you. There is always that one family member who loves to bring that up. Look at it as a humbling reminder of how important it is you are sober today.
  • If AA is a religious cult: Alcoholics Anonymous is one of the most common components of recovery people have in their personal recovery programs. Anonymity is, of course, important. However, family members and friends might ask if you go to AA and what AA is like. Unfortunately, there is vast misinformation about Alcoholics Anonymous. Take time to explain the steps, traditions, and organization or simply say you’ve drank the Kool-Aid, clink their glass, and walk away.
  • If you are really satisfied not drinking: One of the most difficult things for someone to understand who is an alcoholic, abuses alcohol, or who is currently intoxicated, is how you can be happy and fulfilled in life without alcohol. You, too, once doubted whether or not it was possible. Thankfully, you have found that it is, and you wouldn’t trade it for anything.
  • If you miss drinking: Cravings are part of the mental and physical chemical dependency the body develops with alcohol. To say you don’t miss drinking at all, would be a bit of a lie. Most alcoholics experience cravings every now and then. You might be able to admit that you miss certain elements of drinking, that you realize now, through therapy and treatment, really had nothing to do with the drink itself.  
  • If you could have just one or go back to drinking normally: We can get easily annoyed by this conversation or realize we’ve been given an opportunity to educate and advocate. Most people do not understand how complex and deadly serious alcoholism is. It could be possible to have just one and drink ‘normally’. Relapse could also lead to more severe alcoholism than we’ve experienced before and possibly death. Since we don’t miss drinking that much, we don’t feel the need to find out.
  • If you have any fun in sobriety: We may not be having the same kind of drunken debauchery we did when we were drinking, but we are definitely having fun in sobriety- more fun than we could have imagined. It turns out, getting really sick, going through withdrawals, and needing alcohol to survive isn’t all that fun.
  • How it feels to be sober: See #6.
  • Why you aren’t drinking: Our friends and family might not know about our recovery. The best answer we can give them is “I’m not drinking tonight”. Recovery is taken one day at a time. You aren’t lying.
  • How do you know if you’re an alcoholic: Alcoholism can be genetic. Family members may wonder if they are prone to develop a chemical dependency on alcohol as well. Unless you are a professional, you are not in a position to be diagnosing everyone. Encourage family members to seek consultation from a professional treatment provider and remind them, there is nothing to be ashamed of.



Give them something to talk about this holiday, the gift and miracle of your recovery. Villa Tranquil offers women the unique opportunity to continue structured, supportive care after primary treatment in a transitional living environment. Call us today for information on our beautiful estate in Jupiter Farms, Florida, and our custom program for developing compassionate, authentic, serene women of sobriety.  214-799-3080