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Why are Weddings Triggers for Alcoholics?

Why are Weddings Triggers for Alcoholics?

Why are Weddings Triggers for Alcoholics?

Remember the movie where Sandra Bullock gets drunk at her sister’s wedding, steals the limo and crashes into a house? I am going to a wedding today, and I do not intend to do that. Nor do I expect to drink up the dregs of liquor left by tablemates when they get up to dance. I won’t go to the bathroom and apply black eyeliner as lip liner or pass out sitting on a toilet. I will not throw up in the chocolate fountain.

 

There will be no interruptions of the speeches on my part. I won’t clang my champers glass with such vigor it shatters all over my endive salad. No “flirting” with someone else’s spouse in a broom closet. And when my polite neighbor pulls out my chair, I will notice. I won’t sit in the empty space and fall, legs akimbo, beneath the table (yanking the linens from under the china like a bad magician).*

 

Weddings Are Triggers for Everyone

As I think about going to the wedding, I feel nothing except anticipation. But I hear from people all the time that weddings are a trigger to their alcoholism. In meetings and group sessions across the land, someone is telling a story about their bad behavior at an erstwhile wedding. Or they are talking about how scared they are to turn up at the nuptuals of a loved one.

 

I think those of us in recovery should give ourselves a break. Weddings are triggers for everyone on the planet. The single, those who are 20 pounds overweight, the black sheep uncle from Down Under, the long-time married and people with jobs they loath, to name a few.

 

Here’s why weddings trigger us:

  • Family – Who pushes buttons more than far flung family? Who do you want most to impress? The old saying springs to mind – “Don’t shame the name!”
  • Alcohol – Open bar – need I say more?
  • That Band – The Bunny Hop is not something you break out on a Wednesday night – silly begets silly.
  • Look at the Time – At weddings you spend long, unstructured time with people you normally have more structured relationships with.
  • (Don’t) Show me the Love – They are so happy. Everyone is so happy. Why aren’t I that happy?

 

I don’t mean to be insensitive, but this isn’t about you. In the Sandra Bullock movie (28 Days), the worst part about her behavior was not her alcoholism (which was bad). It was the fact she ruined her sister’s wedding. That’s the point – alcohol makes those of us with SUDs insensitive, boobs.

 

If you are a recovering alcoholic and you go to a wedding, by all means prepare. Your sobriety is incredibly important. Have a sober friend at the ready. Or if you think it will be too difficult, respectfully decline. If you are on a diet that has been going well, watch the cake intake. Hate your job? Lie. Your marriage might be going through a rough patch, but try not to compare it to the bride and groom…

 

This is their day, after all – one glorious event to declare the love and commitment.

 

 

Remember that. Have a good time. Stay away from the limo. And keep your head down.

 

Today I’m not drinking because I am packing my party purse – no eyeliner, only lip gloss…

 

How come you’re not drinking?

 

*I have only done one of these ghastly things, but they are all true stories from others…

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Comments (9)

  1. Kim
    Aug 6, 2016

    Weddings are also for new beginnings, joy, and great anticipation of a glorious future. I hope everyone in attendance has a wonderful day .

    Great post Mare!

    • Marilyn
      Marilyn
      Aug 11, 2016

      Per usual, you make a good point. And as I figured out, all this angst is misplaced. It is (for once) not about all of us alkies…
      Love,
      Mare

  2. Sheryl Moerdyk
    Aug 6, 2016

    So great to see you post today! I’ve been thinking about the wedding today A LOT! I won’t be there but my brother, his wife & daughter will be there. Actually their daughter Emma is still asleep here in my house before she heads to GR. Emma & I talked yesterday about what it must be like to throw a wedding with such a big “party” when you are running a recovery facility. An interesting conversation for sure. I could not stand to be witness to the drunkenness that will be displayed….cringing thinking about it! But Dave & Rae are much more gracious than I.

    They are amazing people. I hope today is the wedding that everyone is hoping for. I hope you have a fabulous time as I’m sure you will. Can’t wait to see pictures.

    • Marilyn
      Marilyn
      Aug 11, 2016

      Great to know them and great wedding!
      XXXOOO
      M

  3. Natasha
    Aug 6, 2016

    How come you're not drinking?
    I'm a sad sad drunk.
    You posted this at the perfect time!!! I’m getting married September 18th and am sober and it it totally freaking me out. I’m trying to prepare myself somehow and someway. Reminding myself this is MY day and I don’t need to be sloppy drunk to enjoy it. But it’s still terrifying. What if my wedding is ruined? What if I can’t have fun? The even scarier prospect what if I drink?

    Trying to take it one day at a time but any excitement I had for the damn thing has been sucked out.

    Love your blog.

    • Marilyn
      Marilyn
      Aug 11, 2016

      I hear you. And I love the “sad sad drunk” thing. Me too. You know what? It’s your day. Make it your wonderful day and try not to freak out too much. I’m happy for you. You are in love and sober – try to have fun with it all. But I understand your dismay – the world drinks and we do not.
      XXXOOO
      M

  4. Candace
    Aug 6, 2016

    Always loved that movie. “Confront me if I don’t ask for help.” I could have used that sign many times in my life.

    • Marilyn
      Marilyn
      Aug 11, 2016

      Yes. We all could. So many people I have spoken with say they wish someone had initiated the tough talk with them about their using. We don’t ask for help because we are too busy hiding what we are doing (and hoping lamely that something will happen to save us).
      XXXOOO
      M

  5. Stacy Kratowicz
    Aug 25, 2016

    For people with depression, who tend to withdraw from their friends and families anyway, it may be harder to make new, sober friends. Start with friends from your support groups and then go from there. Psych Central does not provide medical, mental illness, or psychological advice, diagnosis or treatment. Learn more .

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