I am concerned about my mother-in-law’s drinking. Every social gathering is ruined by her having too much alcohol and starting arguments. She even ruined our wedding two years ago with her behaviour. Whenever we visit her, there’s always a bottle of wine or brandy out, no matter what time of the day it is.
I get nowhere when I bring it up with my husband because he just laughs it off and says that the whole family is like that. I know full well there’s a difference between someone enjoying a drink and actually having a problem and I’m convinced she falls into the latter category. How can I get my husband to wake up and see what’s happening to his mother?
DeduD, by e-mail.
Having a drink problem can be a difficult topic to discuss with someone because what one person sees as a problem, others may see differently. You can give someone help and support all you want, but ultimately, they need to want to change their behaviour with alcohol themselves, otherwise your efforts will all be for nothing.
People drink for lots of reasons – being lonely, worrying, stress and feeling overwhelmed are just a few. Stopping your mother-en-law from drinking is not your responsibility or your husband’s, and neither is her behaviour. There can be a lot of shame and guilt around drinking that can cause a reaction, so try not to criticise or pass judgement. Let her know you’re concerned and ask her if she needs support rather than telling her what to do.