Sober Reader Gets The Ax

by admin on August 20, 2012

I had a friend in college, and although we were very different, we became close and always got along very well. We wanted very different things after college (she was kind of a serial monogamous, hopping from long-term relationship to long-term relationship, hoping to find her future husband, I was totally clueless about boys and was solely focused on grad school) but we found a lot of common ground anyway.

After college, we did grow apart, but we would still see each other every few months or so and catch up. I wasn’t surprised when she called me one day to say she was engaged. I was very happy for her, and I had met her fiancee and he seemed like a great guy. I knew she was going to have a huge traditional Italian-Catholic wedding, and we had a very frank discussion about the idea of me being one of her bridesmaids. We both knew that she would be obsessive about picking the perfect dresses and flowers, and that I am absolutely useless on that front (show me two centerpieces and ask me which one is better and I will honestly say ‘they both seem fine’ – I just don’t have an eye for those things). She also knows I can be painfully shy – so we mutually decided I would do a reading at the ceremony. We picked out a piece together and we’re happy with the decision.

They had a very long engagement. I didn’t participate in the wedding planning, and we fell out of touch, but of course I attended her engagement party and bridal shower. During this time, I was having struggles in my personal life. I had known for a long time that I drank far too much, and it really accelerated over the course of a year. Finally, I did admit I was an alcoholic and needed serious help.

This was about a month before the wedding – I knew the reception was going to be a booze-fest of sorts. I also would not know anyone there besides the bride, her sister, and her parents (who would obviously be occupied.) I knew it would be a really bad idea to attend the reception so early in sobriety. So I called my friend, and I told her what was going on what I’d been struggling with – I told her I was really looking forward to her wedding, but because of my precarious sobriety, I didn’t feel comfortable attending the reception. I said I still would attend the ceremony and do the reading, because I was genuinely happy about their marriage and wanted to be there to support her.

She freaked out. She said there was no point in me attending the ceremony if I wasn’t going to come to the reception and celebrate with them. I was shocked. I know it’s generally poor etiquette to INVITE someone to the ceremony and not the reception, but I thought the ceremony WAS the most important part of the wedding. I hadn’t even RSVP’ed yet, so it wasn’t as if I was messing up her headcount. I was very hurt and stammered out an apology. She said that if I wasn’t going to come to the reception to not bother coming to the ceremony and she would find someone else to do the reading. I thought she was a good friend, and we had been through a lot together in the past, and that she would understand. Then she hung up on me. For some reason, I still felt the need to send a gift, and wrote a nice card. I never got a thank you note.

That was over three years ago. I’ve been sober for over three years. She still hasn’t spoken to me.   0817-12

{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

StephM August 20, 2012 at 4:12 am

I have no words for how cruelly she treated you. She doesn’t deserve to have such a strong, caring person in her life. I’m glad that you didn’t give in and attend the reception – your health is way more important. Congratulations on your sobriety, and never give her anything more than the iciest smile you can muster should you ever see her again.

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lkb August 20, 2012 at 5:27 am

First OP, congratulations on your sobriety! It’s quite a challenge and you are to be commended for recognizing what a struggle the reception would be! You are also to be commended for following through these three years.

However, while I understand your struggle with the reception, I can sort of see where the bride is coming from — one month before the big day, she learns that one of her attendants will only be at the first half of the events (the most important half to be sure but still…). I’m sure she was thinking of the other (albeit minor) things at the reception — the receiving line, the head table, the wedding party dance, pictures etc. Also, you “weren’t in on the wedding planning” — did you offer to help the bride in any of it? A wedding attendant who’s only there for the 1-hour Mass doesn’t seem like much of an attendant.

It seems to me a better idea would have been to clue the bride in to your struggle but ask to be excused after the receiving line, the dinner and the wedding party dance. And also bring an escort who could help keep you on the straight and narrow. (You were allowed to bring one according to the invitation, right?)

Granted, I have not had to struggle with alcohol, so maybe I’m not qualified to comment on it, but it seems to be where the bride was coming from. I don’t mean to sound harsh, just attempting to look at it from the bride’s point of view.

Again, congratulations and best wishes on your continued sobriety.

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Kathryn August 20, 2012 at 7:33 am

Although it isn’t clear, I was under the impression that the OP was NOT an attendant. The OP admits she’d be no help planning as she doesn’t have the eye for it, and is painfully shy. So instead of being an attendant, she does a reading. Also, the fact that she attends the shower and hen’s night but takes NO planning role indicates that she’s not an attendance.

But I readily admit that’s my take on it and the OP is not clear.

But from that perspective, it makes the Bride’s action less excusable 🙂

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Puzzled August 20, 2012 at 7:43 am

She wasn’t an attendant, she was doing a reading. The bride’s reaction was totally out of order, especially considering the circumstances.

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Elizabeth August 20, 2012 at 7:52 am

Read more carefully – the OP wasn’t an attendant/bridesmaid but a reader in the ceremony, and therefore unlikely to have been included in the receiving line or dance, or to have say at the head table.

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Sarah Jane August 20, 2012 at 8:14 am

Perhaps I misunderstood the story, but I thought the OP and the bride had agreed that OP would do the reading instead of acting as a bridesmaid…?

That being the case, OP had no duties to fulfill at the reception. Bride mistreated a dear friend, someone who was important enough to perform a reading at her ceremony, and guilted her for looking after her own best interests.

Bride is a selfish brat.

I’m sorry, OP.

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Jay August 20, 2012 at 9:23 am

She wasn’t an attendant, she was still performing all the functions she’d agreed to, and the bride’s reaction was completely ridiculous.

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Ultra Venia August 23, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Sometimes the OP is actually in the right. I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true.

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Bint August 20, 2012 at 5:41 am

Congratulations on staying sober for three years – and commiserations on having such a self-centred, stupid friend with such messed-up priorities. I strongly hope that one day she is deeply ashamed of herself.

One of my friends has just been freaked at and ranted at by her best friend for being unable to attend her wedding. She cannot go because she is flying to Africa to work with a medical charity, something she has dreamed of doing for years. Like you, she had not yet RSVPd if she’d even got the invitation. The bride is not speaking to her. Unlike you, my friend will not be giving her anything.

People! A wedding is a *one-day* event. You are not the centre of the universe because you are getting married. Get over yourselves, get some perspective, and if you’re hurt then keep it away from that person. Have some maturity.

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Dorothy Brucre August 20, 2012 at 6:08 am

It takes someone with the maturity to recognize that they have a problem to be able to start dealing with it. Congradulations. You also recognized a situation where you may possibly relapse which is also a good thing.

Regarding your friend, I think she may have been afraid that you would have gotten on a soapbox at her reception to denounce all the people drinking alcohol at her wedding. It may have been best not to tell her anything, do your thing at the ceremony and just fade away.

I don’t know if you went the AA route, but talking with your sponsor might have given you ideas on how to handle this discussion. I’ve know people who are in AA who either quietly say they don’t drink or will get in your face about their decision not to drink. Your sponsor can help.

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Elizabeth August 20, 2012 at 7:54 am

What ?? Why would the bride have thought that?? The op was letting her know that she didn’t want to attend the ceremony, and tried to force her into it.

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confused August 20, 2012 at 11:29 am

I honestly don’t think that was the reason… the bride was a spoiled brat is all. The OP didn’t want to go to the reception and it is highly unlikely that she would have been given the chance to turn a church reading into a lecture on the dangers of booze.
OP, congratulations for getting past this problem and for your continuing sobriety. All the best to you.

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Lisahhh August 28, 2012 at 3:10 am

Bride and OP decided early on that the OP would serve as a reader, NOT an attendant. Thus, her formal responsibilities began and ended with the reading alone. Subsequent to this decision, OP, having taken the First Step, admitted she is “powerless over alcohol,” ton quote the AA Big Book, and realize that attending an event where alcohol would be served could possibly present a threat to her sobriety, upon which her LIFE depends. (Yes, I am a 12-stepper). Many non-alcoholics aren’t able to see the situation in such dramatic terms, but this is a very common relapse scenario, particularly for those with little sobriety under their belts.

I commend the OP for putting her sobriety first. Given the circumstances, I think the OP handled it to the best of her ability, presenting the bride with a win-win compromise. (I would hope that OP’s sponsor was supportive of this approach.) Unfortunately, the bride overreacted; her response was
hers to have and the OP had no control over it. I think a reading of the Serenity Prayer is in order.

Recovery s a time when you find out who your friends truly are… And sometimes you’re surprised over the ones you find aren’t… Well done, OP!

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Erin August 20, 2012 at 7:28 am

lkb- She wasn’t an attendant; she was just doing a reading.

The bride had absolutely no reason or justification for her behavior.

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--Lia August 20, 2012 at 7:36 am

She shouldn’t have freaked out on you, but alcoholism is a complicated disease. Not everyone knows everything about it or the right way to treat it. From her point of view, a guest called demanding special accommodation at the last minute, or it sounded to her like you were condemning her choice to drink and serve alcohol. Besides, you weren’t on the scene for the months leading up to the wedding. You were growing apart anyway.

Have you tried contacting her in the last 3 years? I’d send her a nice letter updating what I’d been doing and tell her how much you miss her and how much your friendship meant to you. I’d apologize again for not being able to be there for her on her wedding day (nevermind the specifics about how you did mean to be there for the ceremony) and assure her that you’re a changed person with your sobriety (congratulations). Suggest that you’d like to get together for coffee. Then the ball is her court. See what happens. (There’s no guarantee that your friendship will be renewed, but at least you will have tried.)

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Belly August 20, 2012 at 8:06 am

I respectfully disagree. She has sent a gift and a lovely card, and did not receive so much as a thank you. The ball has been in bridezilla’s court for three years.

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jena rogers August 20, 2012 at 11:04 am

Ditto.

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Tracy August 20, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Declining to attend the reception, and announcing it one month before the reception, isn’t exactly “demanding special accommodation at the last minute.” The OP did the right thing, IMHO, and was slapped in the face as a reward.

However, I’m confused by the OP’s comment that the bride “hopped” from long-term monogamous relationship to long-term monogamous relationship. Using the word “hopped” makes absolutely no sense in this context.

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LovleAnjel August 21, 2012 at 11:27 am

I interpret the “hopping” as starting a new multi-year relationship just days after the old one ended.

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Angela2 August 20, 2012 at 7:55 am

OP: congrats on your sobriety and sensible decision.

StephM: OP wasn’t actually an attendant. She discussed it with the bride, but ultimately agreed to just do a reading. She had no obligations for wedding planning or reception activities.

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Angela2 August 20, 2012 at 7:56 am

Oops – I meant to respond to lkb

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Libby August 20, 2012 at 8:23 am

You handled it exactly the way you should have handled it and your “friend” was completely out of line. You have to put your sobriety first before everything else, just like you used to put your drinking before everything else. They tell you when you’re trying to stay sober that you shouldn’t go where alcohol is being served early in your sobriety because it is just too difficult to be around. Someone who isn’t an alcoholic won’t understand that but you have to stay strong. You were right to accept for the wedding and to decline for the reception and if the bride can’t understand that it’s too bad, but you have to stay true to yourself. KISS from a friend of Bill W.

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Jildo August 20, 2012 at 9:55 am

ITA Libby! In order to get sober and stay sober, you have to be selfish. Just as selfish as you were when you were drinking. It is unfortunate that OPs friend wasn’t even slightly concerned when a friend told her she was an alcoholic. Things happen for a reason, perhaps this was a sign to OP that the bride wasn’t a good friend to have in her newly sober life.

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RedDevil August 20, 2012 at 9:40 pm

Whoa ladies, don’t assume that just because the OP was an alcoholic that she was selfish in her drinking, or that she put alcohol before everything else. She didn’t say that in her story.

There is such a thing as a fully functioning alcoholic; maintaining a full time job, keeping friends, and a happy family, all whilst having an unhealthy reliance on alcohol. That doesn’t make it any less of a problem, but we shouldn’t assume that all alcoholics are like what is portrayed on tv.

OP, well done on three years of sobriety, it’s certainly no easy feat in today’s booze-fuelled society! You certainly do not need “friends” like the bride who was more concerned about a single day of her life than the health of every day of yours. Good riddence to bad friendships, I say.

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Jildo August 21, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Red Devil, I respectfully disagree. All alcoholics are selfish in the sense they put alcohol first. If you say you are an alcoholic-you are putting alcohol before other things and need help. Even if you are functioning. You can only function for a period of time before it changes… Being selfish for your sobriety is healthy. Ask any addiction specialist or person in recovery. I myself didn’t mean OP was selfish as she dropped/ruined her job, friends, family for a bottle-just that she let her afflication negatively affect her life to the point where she saw she had a problem. And she had to worry about herself first/be selfish before her “friend’s” wedding (by asking to just go to the ceremony and ultimately not going at all.)

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Libby August 21, 2012 at 6:59 pm

RedDevil, there is no such thing as a fully functioning alcoholic. They may think they are functioning but they aren’t. What you describe is a problem drinker. If you are alcoholic, you put alcohol first. Always. Period. And I’m speaking as an alcoholic with 31 years of sobriety, not from what you see on TV.

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youngchick68 August 20, 2012 at 9:43 am

To the OP – – Congratulations on your sobriety! To recognize that the reception will be a difficult situation shows a lot of forsight on your part. If you were the MOH or a bridesmaid I can see where the bride would be freaked out if you couldn’t attend the reception but with you doing a reading I belive she is completely being unreasonable. I’m saying this not as just a devoted reader of EH (which I am) but as a bride whose own wedding is less than 2 weeks away.

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KarenK August 20, 2012 at 10:10 am

I know that the people who frequent this website are, on the whole, kind-hearted people who always try to see the best in others. That’s what I like about it! But, sometimes, I think we bend over backwards a little too much trying to see the other side of a particular poster’s story, when in fact, the offending party does not have a leg to stand on. Such is the case here. She showed no compassion or understanding of the OP’s current physical and emotional situation, and was thinking only about herself, although I’m still not sure how the OP not coming to the reception affects her in any way. Chances are, she would have barely had enough time to say, “Thanks for coming! You did a great job on the reading!” before having to move on to the next guest.

I have to say, the OP was more gracious than I would have been. I would have never sent her a gift had she treated me that way.

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Library Diva August 20, 2012 at 10:56 am

Agree, KarenK. This is the rare story where it’s completely one-sided: one person being awful to another with absolutely no justification. The only way I can explain the bride’s behavior is that she got so overwrought with the planning that she completely lost all perspective to the point where minor changes seemed like major catastrophes, and that after she came to her senses, she was too ashamed of herself to reach out and apologize, or reach out at all, and had just decided that her deserved punishment for being a crazy bridezilla was to lose a valued friend forever. That’s the kindest interpretation I can come up with.

To the OP, I’m sorry you went through this, and congratulations not only on three years’ sobriety, but on admitting early on that you had a problem and addressing it before it truly destroyed your life.

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Ultra Venia August 23, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Believe it or not, undeserved bad etiquette isn’t that rare. And really, so-called “deserved” bad etiquette (your two sided story) should never be condoned.

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Katie August 20, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Well said- totally agreed with this!

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Stacey Frith-Smith August 20, 2012 at 10:22 am

This is a difficult situation. On the one hand the OP would have been expected to attend the reception, her personal problems notwithstanding. On the other, maintaining her sobriety was a rational and ethical choice in the realm of self-care and integrity. Maybe this one isn’t about right and wrong but about perspective and context. OP could surely understand where her friend was coming from in terms of expecting her to be there for her and we can certainly see where OP needed to have the freedom to care for herself. So in this case, I would say “no harm, no foul” in that neither party tried intentionally to harm the other and the circumstances were exceptional. The collateral damage sustained to the OP’s friendship isn’t fully the fault of, or the responsibility of, either party. For OP to have expected her friend to say “oh, of course! Your absence from the reception won’t bother me- good for you for working on your sobriety!” would have been wishful thinking. Our friends are only human too and OP did let her friend down. The critical thing here, though, OP, is that you did not let yourself down- you chose your sobriety and that’s a higher ethical consideration. Unfortunately, it doesn’t translate directly into a better etiquette paradigm- it’s just the messy fallout of healing from alcoholism and its habituation to drink and choosing instead to be different.

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confused August 21, 2012 at 3:05 am

How did OP let the bride down? By not wanting to eat an expensive plate of salmon? By giving her a full month’s notice? An invitation to a wedding is not a summons to attend. OP was prepared to keep the promise of doing the reading at the ceremony. I don’t understand why someone with valid personal problems (or even problems which may seem invalid but cause them pain) is “expected” to turn up to the reception. Sure, the bride might have missed her friend for a few minutes, but she would have got past it quickly enough IMO, what with all of the things that keep a bride busy on her big day. I respectfully hold to my opinion that the damage was indeed the fault of the bride and not of the OP.

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Michelle August 23, 2012 at 2:12 pm

@stacey – I wouldn’t have expected her friend to say, “oh, of course! Your absence from the reception won’t bother me”, because that just sounds like you couldn’t care less if she was there or not. I would expect her to say, “I’ll miss seeing you there, but I completely understand.” That’s what I would have said; no wishful thinking about it.

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noph August 20, 2012 at 10:42 am

OP-
congrats on 3 years. Like you, a few years ago I recognized I had a serious problem with drinking.
I will not go into the awful things “friends” (ex drinking buddies really) said to me when I first made the decision to change my life. Even kind (drinking) friends assumed this meant they had a regular dd. Unlike you, at first I didn’t stay away from old people places things that could be triggers. “Friends” at gatherings/shows/parties would insist “come on Nophie, just have ONE beer! it won’t hurtcha!” No one understood the pandora’s box one beer could open. Eventually I lost interest in going to those places or being around those people. Which meant for a long time I had no friends, and I am still very picky about close friends.
You have a bigger heart than I. I would have seen no reason to send a gift. It can be hard to see, but “friends” like this bride are not people you need in your life. They do not understand that drinking can be life and death for some people. Try to find the good in no longer having some one in your life that does not care about your well being.

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Lerah August 20, 2012 at 10:51 am

In general I don’t drink. But if I tell people “No thank you, I don’t drink” when offered an alcoholic beverage to toast with, the reaction I most often receive is the other person suddenly defending the amount of alcohol they consume. Something along the lines of “Oh, I don’t really drink either. Just on special occasions like this….”

It is the same thing that happens of you tell people you don’t own a tv. Suddenly their reaction is “I don’t really watch a lot of tv. Just some PBS or the History Channel…”

From what I can tell, instead of hearing “I don’t drink” or “I don’t own a tv” the other person hears “YOU shouldn’t drink” or “YOU shouldn’t watch tv.” It is as if my personal habits are a condemnation of them if they happen to have other habits.

I believe what the OP experienced was an EXTREME reaction from the bride.
Instead of hearing “For my sobriety, it is vital that I pass on the reception,” the bride heard, “I don’t want to be seen with your drunken friends and family. I am judging you all for drinking.”

It is obvious that the bride was immature and self centered in her reactions. OP, I’m sorry she added one more piece of drama to an already difficult period in your life.

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Mary August 20, 2012 at 10:43 pm

I do not drink either. I detest the taste of alcohol and don’t want to waste my money or calories on it. I also don’t like the effects of alcohol. However, all I have to do is politely refuse an alcoholic drink and say “I don’t drink” and they either get offended or try and convince me why I should have a drink. Or say, “but you can’t taste the alcohol in this particular drink!” Then why should I even drink it?

OP, you did exactly the right thing. The bride was rude.

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Angela August 21, 2012 at 9:26 am

ha ha I didn’t own a TV for years. The response I got from “I don’t own a TV” was similar to “I don’t have indoor plumbing”…people would offer the names of friends who were selling a TV, or name stores that had good prices. Surely no one would lack a TV because she wasn’t into TV!!! I get more of your response if I mention that I cook or bake…”I would cook but I don’t have time, etc”. I didn’t say you have to cook! I like homemade food and so does my family. I don’t do it to make you feel guilty.

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Angela August 20, 2012 at 11:44 am

I’m floored. A true friend would have been supportive…maybe a little disappointed but much more happy that you were stepping up to the plate and doing something about your alcoholism. Knowing what can happen at a reception, I’m in disbelief that she would try to force you into a situation where you might lapse.
Is it possible that the bride might have a drinking problem herself but is denying it to herself? A person in that situation might see your admission and your effort to change as a threat to her own self-perception.
Regardless, you did the right thing.

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Hal August 20, 2012 at 12:50 pm

I have been sober for four years and the outlook is very good that I will be for the rest of my life. It is so good living without alcohol. It is much more important than doing a reading at one of these overblown self-centered events. I had a person say to me early on in my sobriety that he liked me a lot more when I was drinking. I told him I liked him a lot more when I was drinking, too. Enjoy your time with the recovered hours you now have.

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Ann August 20, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Dear OP — Good riddance to that so-called friend! You sound like a lovely person, and I congratulate you on your sobriety. Take care of yourself.

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Lillie82 August 20, 2012 at 1:32 pm

And how many stories do we read on Ehell, and (anywhere else where people complain about wedding behavior) about outrageous behavior at a reception by a guest who is outrageously drunk? Check this one (non-Ehell example): http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2003-08-15/features/0308140380_1_simone-dear-abby-music-soars

Would the bride have preferred that? (And I’m not saying the OP would definitely have ‘relapsed’ had she gone to the reception, but obviously, she did think there was a risk of it.)

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June First August 20, 2012 at 1:55 pm

I’ve gone through a few times in my life when my drinking got out of control.
When I was in college, and when I was in my mid-twenties, I’d be out every weekend, closing down the bars with my friends and spending the entirety of Sunday recovering. A few times, I decided I needed to stop. On the occasions when I stopped drinking altogether (due to medication, to exert willpower, etc) it was awful. I’d go out with my friends, but they’d all try to convince me to have “just one”. Plus, it’s not really that much fun being the only sober person.
Thankfully, this behavior is behind me.
I just wanted to point out that temptations don’t always come from within, but from other people OP might have encountered at the wedding reception. I probably would have just sent a card to that beast of a bride. I wonder if they’re still married, since the reception is the most important part.

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Pam August 20, 2012 at 2:00 pm

It would be nice to think that the stress of the wedding caused your friend to overreact, but if that were the case, she’d have called and apologized. That was very a rude, insensitive and completely self-centered reaction on the bride’s part. Sending a gift was the right thing to do – it extended the hand of friendship and lets you remove yourself from the friendship knowing that you acted above reproach. The bride could have been supportive and even planned a date to get together after the honeymoon…. That would have been the gracious way to respond!

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lkb August 20, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Thanks one and all for correcting me — somehow my brain did not register that the OP was not to be an attendant but only a reader. (In my neck of the woods the readers tend to be members of the bridal party, hence my mistake.) I am sorry.

I do wonder if the bride had intended to include the OP in parts of the reception festivities. Or perhaps, the bride just did not like to be told that a person to whom she gave a “featured part” (so to speak) at her wedding ceremony “couldn’t be bothered” to attend the reception “at her daaaayyyy” for whatever reason, legitimate or not (and the OP’s case was). I can see a bride feeling that way.

Personally, I think it is a good idea to try to see the other side of a poster’s story in order to “assume good will” as another ehellion put it elsewhere on this site. There are always at least two sides to every story and other factors that an original post may not consider that could put an issue in a completely different light.

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Miss Raven August 20, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Agree, agree, agree. OP, it sounds like, though it may hurt, you are just better off without this toxic friendship.

The strangest thing seems to happen to some women when they plan weddings. We’ve all read the stories here… brides who kick out pregnant bridesmaids, brides who ask bridesmaids to dye their hair or cover their tattoos, brides who reduce perfectly nice vendors to tears, brides who short-sightedly launch family feuds that will last for years. You have to wonder. Did these women start out this way but didn’t have occasion to show their true colors until this point? Or did something happen along the way?

Whether she had always been or not, OP’s friend became a selfish nit. If your good friend comes to you and says, “I believe I am an alcoholic, I am seeking treatment, and I would rather not risk relapsing/making a fool of myself/spoiling your reception,” and your reaction is, “BUT WHAT ABOUT MEEEEEEEEE?” then you need to seriously re-evaluate your priorities.

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Ruby August 20, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Congratulations on your sobriety, it’s a wonderful accomplishment and a great spiritual victory. Congratulations also on how you handled this very difficult challenge so early in your sobriety, you handled the whole thing beautifully from start to finish. It’s unfortunate that your former friend was not able to give you the understanding and support that you needed and deserved. Many people who haven’t had to contend with the struggles of recovery don’t really comprehend the difficulties and issues involved, and I suspect that was the case with her. But even at that, her reaction seems self-centered and lacking in empathy, not the reaction of a true friend. Thanks for sharing this experience, it’s helpful to me, as I have had similar episodes in my own life.

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WillyNilly August 20, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Of course you did nothing wrong and you needed to look out for your health and well being. But its important to recognize that for many people the ceremony is *not* the most important part. it is for many people the technical part. As in ‘lets get these technicalities out of the way so we can celebrate!’ You mention she was having a big Catholic wedding but don’t mention if she was particularly religious. I have been to more full mass Italian-Irish Catholic weddings where the couple don’t give a hoot about the church then ones where the couple does care.
Yes people care about the marriage commitment, and aren’t taking their vows lightly – but to them that’s totally just between them – that church full of people just doesn’t exist and its just the two of them committing to one another.
Its the reception where the social blessings are giving, the reception is the part its important for other people to attend – only the bride and groom need to attend the ceremony.
So while you think you were agreeing to attend the “important part” to her it very well could come across as you weren’t planning on attending much of anything… one month before the wedding.

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Ellie August 20, 2012 at 6:12 pm

This sounds to me simply that the bride did not fully understand what it means to be an alcoholic (nor the immense courage it takes to admit it and fight it), and had the idea that everything should revolve around her. Yes, it’s her day, but that’s no excuse for not being understanding and supportive of her loved ones. Not to mention the fact that she is still holding that grudge.

I have alcoholic loved ones, and I respect you and applaud you for your decision! What you did was amazing. It makes me so sad that your decision caused suffering when it was the right thing to do.

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TimeLady August 20, 2012 at 7:21 pm

Holy cow, that is one heck of a bridezilla! OP, I am *so* sorry you had to deal with that nightmare! Congratulations are well-deserved for the sobriety, and also for the fact you were good-hearted enough to send her a gift and card. I can’t say I’d’ve been as good as you, but I also understand that it hurts to lose people, and I imagine that’s the last thing you would have wanted on top of everything else you were going through.
Stay strong, OP. You might not have felt it (or, even feel it right now) but you are way, way better than she is.

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Kate August 21, 2012 at 6:24 am

OP, congratulations on your ongoing sobriety.

This is remarkably selfish behaviour on Bride’s part. Even if she was thinking purely of herself and her day, wouldn’t you rather *not* have a recovering alcoholic at risk of relapse at a party where the alcohol will be flowing?
OP’s health is far more important than a wedding and one would hope that a friend would recognise that.

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Cat August 22, 2012 at 4:19 pm

I am sorry you were treated this way. I cannot understand why some people think that they have the right to force you to do something you are not ready/want to do.

I also had a problem with alcohol when I was living in a dorm while in college. I don’t drink alcohol, and it is not because I think it is wrong, sinful, expensive, or that I am an alcoholic. I just cannot stand the taste. I don’t eat stewed okra for exactly the same reason. You can eat all the stewed okra you want. I don’t eat it, and I am not going to eat it to make you comfortable/because everyone else does it.

The women in my dorm were highly offended by the fact that I didn’t join them in drinking parties. They planned to put vodka in my Coke to try to get me high, but a friend told me what they were planning.

I knew to watch my back at frat parties, but in a dorm with other women? What joy would they get out of trying to fool me into intoxication? Did they think a hangover would introduce me to the hidden joys of alcohol consumption?

I have since heard of people who think it’s fun to try to make a vegetarian eat meat and then laughingly say, “You ate meat so you must really like it. You’re just being silly in not eating it
and are trying to make more work for other people to feed you.”

It would save a lot of annoyance if we could all cut other folks enough slack to let them make their own choices without having to explain why they chose to do something or not to do something that is no one else’s business.

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Angel August 23, 2012 at 10:40 am

I am so sorry, OP. That is awful. On the flip side, at least now you know where your friend’s priorities are.

I can understand her being disappointed, but a real friend would be a lot more understanding. And if she is worried about how it looks to the other guests that you are not attending the reception, she could always say, that you had a previous engagement that you couldn’t get out of. Problem solved. But I think most of the other guests probably wouldn’t even notice.

That being said, congrats on your sobriety 🙂 And good for you for not caving in and attending the reception anyway. I have known many a recovering alcoholic in my time and know that attending a function like that so early in the treatment process can indeed be detrimental to recovery. It can even cause a setback–which is the last thing that you want. You are a good friend to try and talk to bridezilla beforehand, and to send her a gift anyway. I am sorry she treated you so badly.

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Enna September 25, 2012 at 7:09 am

Well done OP – I wouldn’t have sent a gift if she was going to be that ungreatful.

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