I’ve got a challenge ahead of me this weekend. I’m travelling 2000km to inland, regional Australia see my Dad and Brother for both of their birthdays. It’s a rough, hard-drinking part of the world – a bit like a modern day Wild West… and then there’s also my family!
I’ll have to ‘come out’ as sober this weekend because both of them drink like fish. My Dad is an argumentative old man (even when he was younger) so I’m expecting a “Pah – that’s stupid. Why would you do that?” response. Even if I deflect it with my “It’s because of the cancer” routine, he’ll still try & push boundaries & argue that a couple won’t hurt.
My brother will be easier – he’ll probably say “Uhhh OK” with a confused ‘does not compute’ expression. The only issue will be that we don’t get to talk (beyond surface stuff) and bond unless he’s a little bit lubricated with alcohol. He’s had some rough stuff going on lately, which has been made worse by alcohol, and I can no longer rely on a drinking session to get him to open up. This time I’ll have to rely on charm and panache!
Both my Dad’s and Brother’s social routines are limited to activities involving alcohol. I’m completely confident that I won’t drink but I’m imagining scenarios like going out for dinner & sitting at a bar with them as they slowly get drunk… while I sip on my Coke Zero feeling like a prudish third wheel.
I’m aware that my Dad is getting older and is quite unwell for his age – so I want to have a warm, quality, enjoyable time…
Actually forget most of what I just wrote:
- I’ve been more unwell than both of them
- I’ve been ‘going through stuff’ as well
- I’m travelling 2000km & spending hundreds of dollars to see them
I don’t have to take responsibility for bonding with them. It takes two to tango – and I’m doing my bit. How they respond is up to them.