DEAR ABBY: I am being married this summer. It will be a fairly large wedding with 185 guests. My fiance's parents and grandparents are very supportive. The problem is my mother. She's an alcoholic.
When she drinks she can't stop, and usually becomes angry and belligerent. She will cause a scene and beg people for money. If she doesn't get exactly what she wants when she wants, she throws temper tantrums and has been known to become violent.
Mom has promised me she'll refrain from drinking at my reception, but neither my fiance nor I believe her. What are my options at this point? Should I allow her to come, with the risk that she'll ruin our big day? Or should I bar her from the reception?
Keep in mind that Mother was drunk during my entire high school graduation party. My friends and teachers who were there could see her bloodshot eyes and smell the alcohol on her breath. She was rude to everyone. I had a collage of their pictures on display, and she spent most of her time at the party coloring over their faces. It was the most embarrassing experience of my life. I am terrified of what she'll do at my reception. -- BRIDE IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR BRIDE: You should not have to spend your wedding day worrying about what your mother might do. If you allow her to attend the ceremony with the understanding that she will not be able to drink at the reception, what is to prevent her from having a couple before the ceremony -- with all that that implies? The definition of the disease of alcoholism is that the sufferer cannot control his or her drinking.
Talk to your mother NOW. Explain that she will not be invited to your wedding and why. Alcoholics try to find reasons to celebrate by drinking, and your wedding would be too much of a temptation for someone who isn't already involved in an alcohol treatment program. And nowhere in your letter did you say that this woman has even attempted to help herself.