Alcohol is a legal addictive drug with few restrictions beyond age.
Social drinking—even to excess—is a fairly mainstream activity in the culture of the United States and many other places around the world.
But when a person has issues not having free, unfettered, continuous access to alcohol, it might be time to face the reality that—legal or not—alcohol is a drug and some people are addicted to it.
The issue of drinking in the home came up when a family of four moved in with the husband’s parents during renovations at their own house. The parents’ house rules included no alcohol in the home.
After violating the rule and getting caught, the son and his wife lashed out. Now the parents are wondering if they did anything wrong.
So the patriarch turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.
“AITA for making it clear that if [my son] keeps the grandkids away then he will not be getting an inheritance?”
The original poster (OP) explained:
“I will try to keep this short, my son and his wife’s home needed repairs. Before living together we had a good relationship, the problem came when his wife wouldn’t follow our house rules.”
“They are pretty simple, like clean up after yourself, don’t be loud at night, and the big one was no drinking in our home. No alcohol in our home.”
“We were fine with them going out to drink. The problem is alcohol in our home.”
“We made this really clear, and my son knows his mother has trauma related to alcohol. We informed daughter-in-law (DIL) in general terms also.”
“The first few months seemed fine but it turned worse when the weather got cold. We couldn’t prove it at the time, but we were sure they were drinking, and it was setting my wife off.”
“She did go through therapy—it’s much, much better than it was when I met her. Sometimes scars don’t fade all the way though.”
“Does it matter? Trauma is trauma. Not to mention, it’s a really long story.”
“It shouldn’t be hard not to have alcohol in the home of someone doing you a favor.”
“My wife started to have nightmares again due to their behavior. We don’t have a breathalyzer—it’s not like we could prove they were drinking unless we caught them.”
“It came to a head when, while cleaning, my wife found wine in the attic. She was cleaning because we were trying to make space for a new Christmas tree to fit in storage.”
“In mid-October, we bought a new tree for this Christmas. It needed to go into storage since it was Halloween time, not Christmas time. She wasn’t going through DIL’s stuff in the guest room—this was the attic.”
“My wife was pissed and poured the bottle out.”
“The bottle was open—our attic is cold, so I assume they were using it to keep it cold. Like a fridge.”
“They refused to apologize when it happened. They were really pissed she threw out the wine—that one thing they have brought up multiple times.”
“From my understanding, nothing horrible was said to either party. They claimed it was a 300-dollar bottle of wine, and it caused a huge fight between her and DIL.”
“They confirmed they were drinking in our home during the argument.”
“The huge disrespect of breaking that rule when we made it clear. The disrespect of completely ignoring a rule when we let them stay for free, and we’re doing a huge favor for them.”
“We let them stay until the renovations were done and they moved out two weeks ago. The relationship has been tense, and I figured we just need time apart.”
“Our relationship was good before the wine incident about a month and a half ago. If our relationship was bad, we wouldn’t have let them stay with us, and I don’t think they would have wanted to stay.”
“My son met up with me and told us we can’t see our grandkids (ages 9 and 11, one girl and one boy) anymore. That the incident made him rethink our relationship.”
“I told him that was bullsh*t, he knew the one big rule in the home and caused stress to his mother (my wife).”
“He told me it was final, and I told him if he goes through with this, he will be out of the will.”
“This started another argument and he is pissed at me.”
The OP summed up their predicament.
“I told my son he would be out of the will if we can’t see the grandkids.”
“I may have gone too far which makes me a jerk.”
After Redditors questioned the price of the wine, the OP did some sleuthing.
“I called my sister and asked her to help me to track down the price of the wine. My wife sent a picture of the bottle to me when the incident happened.”
“It wasn’t $300, but around $25. I need to talk to my son and find out why his wife lied about that.”
In a second update, the OP added:
“We had a conversation after I sent a text saying that the bottle was only $25.”
“During the argument when that price came out our DIL thought my wife poured out all of her wine—there was a case up there worth $300.”
“My son removed it when he realized his mother just found the one bottle left out and he went with the price his wife gave during the argument instead of informing us there had been more wine in our attic.”
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Most Redditors decided the OP was not the a**hole (NTA).
“NTA. You know what costs more than a $300? Paying rent on an apartment or short-term rental (STR) while your home is getting repaired.”
“They stayed with you, and the only cost was abiding by a few simple rules. They could have gone elsewhere to drink.” ~ JeepersCreepers74
“The whole case was 300$ at 25$/bottle. Son rescued the remaining case and let his parents still believe the bottle costs 300$? NTA!” ~ Turtlelarke
“NTA. Don’t know why anyone thinks it’s acceptable to be so dependent on alcohol that being asked to not drink it for a little while is a crime.”
“You were kind enough to offer them to stay in your home and gave them some rules to follow. When they didn’t follow them, you didn’t even kick them out.”
“If there was some special reason for them to be keeping that expensive wine in the house, such as ‘we didn’t want it to get stolen during the renovations’ then they should have discussed that with you rather than hiding it.”
“They resorted to punishing you because they refused to follow a couple of simple rules. Your son and his wife are being massively entitled here.” ~ NZafe
“They weren’t even asked to not drink alcohol at all for a while. They were just asked to keep it out of the home. Pretty simple. NTA.” ~ ultravisitor2000
“That’s my thing. If they wanted to drink, they could have gone to a bar or restaurant or even a friend’s house.”
“I’m assuming they’re both of legal drinking age, so that shouldn’t be a problem. The rule might be kind of annoying, but it isn’t unreasonable or impossible to keep. NTA.” ~ LingonberryRum
“Totally agree on your point: sure, it IS a little annoying! But, if someone is letting you stay in their house for months on end for free, it falls within a reasonable accommodation.” ~ FancyPigeonIsFancy
“When I lived with my mom, if she set a rule that was reasonable, I would always follow it.”
“OP and his wife’s rules were perfectly reasonable. Especially with her past history with alcohol.”
“If they wanted to drink they could just go to a bar. NTA.” ~ Larcya
“Like seriously, if you want a drink so badly go out to dinner and have a nice bottle at the restaurant! If you can afford $300 for wine, you can surely afford a decent dinner out. NTA.” ~ ladyrockess
“Apparently, staying at someone’s home rent-free for months entitled them to treat their hosts as garbage.” ~ dystopianpirate
“If only there were businesses that sold alcohol so it could be enjoyed outside the home if they felt the need… NTA!” ~ 2legit2camel
“NTA. I drink. My parents don’t. We didn’t have it in the house growing up; they still don’t have it in THEIR house.”
“When I go visit for a weekend, even after driving to get to them, even for the longer holidays…I just don’t drink.”
“Just like when they come to visit, they have to see my wine/beer hutch. It’s not that hard.”
“Why are people dependent on drinking enough that this is an issue?” ~ EllisDee_4Doyin
“Sounds like the DIL has a drinking problem.” ~ FLsurveyor561
Several Redditors picked up on some red flags.
“To be honest it sounds like DIL has an alcohol problem if she can’t go weeks/months without having it (which wasn’t even the rule—just not in the home).”
“NTA, and definitely something to express concern over.” ~ BabyYodaTM
“Only alcoholics and teenagers stash alcohol around the house like a squirrel storing nuts.”
“Update from OP shows that when they tracked the brand it was $25. Son and DIL lied about the price.”
“They hid alcohol, couldn’t just go to a bar or restaurant and lied to guilt the parents when confronted.”
“Again, only teens and alcoholics feel the need to have hidden stashes.” ~ waxonwaxoff87
“People who aren’t alcoholics don’t hide open bottles of wine in their in-law’s attics. They’re behaving exactly like alcoholics behave.” ~ pingpongtits
“NTA. But [OP] your daughter-in-law is alcohol dependent and your son is either also alcohol dependent or is enabling and covering up his wife’s addiction. This comes from someone with plenty of experience with functioning alcoholics.”
“She has to have alcohol at her fingertips 24/7. She (and he?) was sneaking into your attic to drink in hiding. They squirreled alcohol away in your home. They had an outsized reaction when they got caught. They’ve gone on the offensive by taking away access to your grandkids. They were willing to lie and repeat the lie ($25 versus $300) rather than admit how much alcohol they had stashed.”
“These aren’t red flags—they’re red billboards.”
“Tell your son you know his wife has a drinking problem, and maybe he does too, but he can stop overcompensating and gaslighting you to hide it.”
“Punishing you after you opened your home to his family, rent-free for months, because of his and his wife’s guilt and embarrassment is unfair to his father and mother.”
“If they want to seek help for their addiction, you can offer support if you feel you can.”
“But if he wants to play this game to hide it instead, you can sue him for the cost of rent for however many months for a family of 4 under breach of contract. You agreed to the free living arrangement with certain requirements which they violated.”
“So they either owe you thousands of dollars or a continued relationship with your grandkids.” ~ Reddit
The OP hasn’t offered any further updates, but hopefully, they will see the support and advice offered.
With luck, it can help resolve this issue enough so he and his wife aren’t cut out of their grandkids’ lives over a $25 bottle of wine.