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Bride Balks After Sober Friend Accuses Her Of Wanting Her To Relapse Due To Open Bar Wedding

groom and bride sitting at a bar with cocktails
Andreua/Getty Images

Alcohol is very prevalent in social settings in the United States.

I remember when one of my cousins had a dry wedding. You’d think they asked guests to wade through sewage to get to the reception.

Some people live in alcohol laden society without issues while others struggle with binging or addiction.

For people who do struggle, is it reasonable for them to ask others to change their lifestyles to remove their temptations?

A bride-to-be struggling with that question turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.

Crisprfailedme asked:

“WIBTA for not cancelling the open bar at my wedding to accommodate my sober friend?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“My (27, female) wedding to my fiancé (28,  male) is in 6 months. We’re having a medium-small wedding in my hometown (80 people) and I couldn’t be more excited to be marrying the love of my life with all of my family and friends with us.”

“We aren’t doing anything crazy at the wedding. It’s going to be an outdoor venue with buffet-style food and an open bar, like a lot of weddings have.”

“One of my friends has raised a problem with the open bar though. She—we’ll call her C—is 6 months sober from alcohol.”

“She isn’t by any means my closest friend, and isn’t in the bridal party, but I care about her and have been there for her through her recovery. She’s an old friend from college who lives about 2 hours away from my hometown.”

“I don’t know everything about her recovery journey, but I know she lived in a sober living facility for around 2 months after she lost her job due to drinking on the job. She’s doing really well from what I know, no relapses, goes to AA, and has found a new job.”

“I invited C to my wedding 2 months ago and she was so excited to come and celebrate with me and my college friend group. I didn’t really think about the open bar when I invited her.”

“For the wedding planning, I was mainly focused on the big picture, not individual concerns aside from allergies and things along those lines.”

“I guess someone raised an issue with C coming to the wedding with my open bar because she called me last week and asked me if it was true that there would be an open bar. I said yes, and she blew up.”

“It almost sounded like she was accusing me of trying to make her relapse, and I had no idea how to respond. I told her that I just didn’t think about it in reference to her recovery.”

“I told her that I love her and respect her recovery, and that I wouldn’t be offended if she chose not to come to avoid being around people drinking. That wasn’t a good enough solution for her.”

“She said something along the lines of ‘well, can you get your deposit back?’.”

“This caught me off guard and I told her that I didn’t think so. I said that I wouldn’t be cancelling the open bar at my wedding just so she could attend.”

“I tried to give her other options, like only staying for the ceremony or even bringing her sponsor as a plus one, but none of my options were adequate for her. Some of my friends are calling me the a**hole, but some of them agree with me.”

“My wedding is supposed to be about me and my fiancé and I hate feeling like an a**hole for having the wedding that we want.”

“So WIBTA for not cancelling the open bar at my wedding so she can attend?”

The OP added:

“Forgot to mention this in the post and to C, but we have a few minors who will be coming and we do have a mocktail menu planned.”

“I’m going to call C later today and give more suggestions.”

The OP summed up their predicament.

“My sober friend is calling me the a**hole for not cancelling the open bar at my wedding so she won’t have to be around alcohol.”

“I gave her several options, like only coming to the ceremony, bringing her sponsor, or just not coming, but she’s basically calling me an a**hole for not fully cancelling the open bar for everyone.”

“I don’t want to cause her to spiral, or god forbid relapse, but I also don’t want to have an alcohol-free wedding just to accommodate one person who isn’t family and isn’t in the bridal party.”

“My friends are split, and I can see both sides, but I feel like she’s being a little harsh. I don’t really think I’m fully the a-hole, but I’d like more opinions.”

“Maybe someone has more experience with sobriety rules than I do.”

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

Redditors declared the OP was not the a**hole (NTA).

“You are not responsible for your friend’s sobriety… period, NTA. As a recovering addict, I know it is not reasonable for my friends to change their entire event so that I can arrive to a dry venue.”

“If her program is solid, then she shouldn’t have any issues and have pre-arranged support should she be triggered.”

“Maybe suggest she bring a sober friend if she feels she needs help. Otherwise, she should decline the invitation to the reception and be there for the actual ceremony.” ~ MascDenPnPBttm

“That’s some main character energy from C.”

“When people are going through recovery, weird stuff happens and it’s hard, but you don’t make those kinds of demands on people, especially with regard to their wedding. NTA.” ~ SuggestionIll2192

“You are NTA and your ‘friend’ is a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic. Her sobriety is HER responsibility, not yours!”

“If she cannot safely drink, she needs to find ways to cope with that because everyone else in the world will not forego alcohol to cater to her.” ~ DancesWithFlax

The OP added an update that opened a brand-new can of worms.

“I called her. Long story short, she doesn’t think she can attend the wedding and stay sober because she has ‘fallen in love’ with my fiancé.”

“They’ve only hung out in group settings—with me—aside from a ‘hi’ on FaceTime or a social media like. Is there something else going on?”

“Is this due to her recovery or mental state in some way? Safe to say she’s uninvited, but what questions should I ask?”

“My fiancé denies leading her on in any way. What do I do?”

Redditors responded, with some thinking the love confession was just retaliation…

“Sounds like she is upset you didn’t start changing everything at the last minute, so she’s just trying to start some crap. You need a new friend.”

“As far as her being in recovery. Alcohol is everywhere.”

“Addicts have to learn to be sober in spite of it being part of people’s lives—not be sober because of its absence in the world.” ~ finitetime2

“Sounds like she’s making stuff up now to stop your wedding. What a sh!tty person.” ~ AGirlInTheCityy

“NTA Hosts arrange the party and invite guests. Guests accept or refuse. They don’t get to dictate the party arrangements.”

“She’s told you she’s in love with the groom? Good thing she’s not coming then. Stop accusing the groom of encouraging your troublemaker (ex)friend.” ~ Holiday_Trainer_2657

“The comment about being in love with your fiancé sounds like she’s trying to get into your head and mess with you because she’s pissed at you. She’s being spiteful.” ~ BlueJeanGenie24

“I think she is using the ‘fallen in love with your fiancé’ as a way to get back at you for not canceling the open bar. NTA.” ~ adorableexplosion

…while others considered it might be true, putting the responsibility on the friend and not OP or her fiancé.

“NTA at all. You tried to be compassionate and gave suggestions. She has to do what’s good for her sobriety, and that is to not attend. After reading your update, I’m glad you didn’t try to cancel the open bar.”

“Her being ‘in love’ with your fiancé and even attempting to attend the wedding makes her no longer your friend.”

“I would ask my fiancé to no longer like or communicate with her through social media. It will just lead her to think he is interested in her too.”

“Neither of you should contact her. She needs to work on herself and figure her life out. Latching onto someone else’s partner isn’t the way.” ~ FaithCA79

“NTA. Your newly sober friend is crazy. She can’t possibly be in love with someone she has never interacted with one-on-one.”

“And on top of it, she’s a sh*t friend for entertaining those thoughts about your partner, let alone telling you. Cut her loose, she’s full blown irrational.” ~ Em4Tango

“What my brain is trying to wrap around is…. you offered great alternatives and were very kind about everything….. then she says she has fallen in love with your fiancé‽‽‽”

“I find that so messed up. The fact C even allowed herself to have thoughts about your fiancé in that way is wrong.”

“I’m sorry OP, but this person doesn’t seem like she is worth getting upset over. She didn’t consider your feelings at all when she was having these dirty thoughts about your FUTURE SPOUSE so you shouldn’t be stressing out about how she is struggling with being around alcohol!”

“In AA they teach you how to navigate things like that. I really hope she is still in a recovery program that teaches her that what she has done is not OK.”

“My guess is she was afraid to be around alcohol as she watched her (love) marry someone else. This is frustrating because she has obviously never thought once about you if she has totally fallen in love with your fiancé.”

“To get to that point means it’s been in her head for a while. You’re a very kind person to still be worried about her attending after hearing her confession.” ~ hiddenempath

Numerous people in recovery offered insights.

“As a recovering alcoholic, I recognize it’s my issue. I actually attended a wedding about three weeks after I quit drinking. I brought a bottle of nonalcoholic bourbon and then left when I started feeling uncomfortable.”

“As far as the ‘in love with your fiancé’ thing, I think most addicts have other mental health issues. That’s a whole different thing. I think you should stop being her friend.”

“It’s insane that some of your friends support not having an open bar because one person is an alcoholic.”

“Chances are, between yours and your financé’s friends and family, there is probably at least one other person who is recovering too and handled it like a normal person.” ~ thegreatbrah

“NTA. As a recovering alcoholic myself I can tell you that the program (AA) would never advise changing your plans for her or buying into her demands, she is the one with the problem and it’s fully up to her to manage that.”

“Allowing her a +1 sober buddy is a great option, but ultimately, she is responsible for her choices, and if she doesn’t feel she can resist the urge or be around an open bar, she should pass on the event.”

“OP should not change plans for her. She must deal with life on life’s terms, and this is part of the deal. She will have a full year sober by the time of the wedding (if she stays the course).”

“Tell her she has 3 options: attend, don’t attend, or attend with a sober buddy, but that no other changes or accommodations will be made. If she told her sponsor she was demanding the wedding cancel an open bar, she would be told to get a grip.”

“I know I’d laugh at a sponsee who told me that and then set them straight.” ~ mortgage_gurl

The OP certainly has plenty of feedback to draw on.

Hopefully she can find a solution that works for her and her fiancé while preserving her peace of mind.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metís Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.