My husband and I are recovering alcoholics and have been sober for 15 years. We still serve booze to our guests.

My husband and I are recovering alcoholics and have been sober for 15 years. We still serve booze to our guests.
The couple have been sober for 15 years but still have alcohol at home for their guests.Courtesy of Colleen Thomas
  • My husband and I have four children and have been sober for 15 years.
  • We wouldn't be at this milestone without our friends and family, but we don't expect them to be sober.

My husband and I are both recovering alcoholics raising four children. Together, we have been sober for nearly 15 years. It is a comforting yet humbling feeling to have made it this far.

It certainly would not have been possible without the support of our family and friends. They have taken our decision not to drink seriously and respect it. And we don't cast aspersions on them for imbibing. As a matter of fact, in our home, we encourage it.

Some people think it's strange — our ability to abstain from alcohol when others around us are drinking isn't typical of most in recovery. I sometimes wonder if people trust or believe that we don't drink.

This may seem paradoxical, but I know what's good for me. I understand what my limitations are in life, and I can control my urges. I understand that alcohol causes me to make bad decisions, and I'm not a good version of myself when I drink. So I don't. This might not be a possibility for everyone recovering from alcoholism, but it works for us.

For both of us, quitting alcohol was about being better parents. I quit when I became pregnant for the first time, and never went back. It was never my intention at the beginning, but the longer I went without alcohol, the better I felt and the more I realized how much of a problem I had. With children, there was no place for booze in my life if I was going to be the best mom I can be.


We have alcohol at home for our guests to enjoy

My husband and I share some camaraderie by abstaining from alcohol. Oftentimes we are the only ones at the party without a cocktail in hand. That doesn't bother me.

When you come to my home for a visit, I'll be drinking Diet Coke, but I don't care what you choose to drink. My home has a variety of beer, wine, and spirits on hand at any given time. My husband was always a fan of seasonal and craft beers, so he still purchases those that he thinks others might enjoy.

We are able to teach our children that alcohol is OK to have. It just isn't OK for their dad and me.

It can be challenging trying to teach your children that something is fine in moderation, when you can't moderate it yourself. We are extremely open about our past lives and what it was like when we were drinkers. It isn't a pretty picture.

We want to be transparent with our children

But they need to know. It's in their blood. We want them to be educated and empowered to make healthy decisions for themselves. There are also plenty of people in our families who are social drinkers. Thankfully, they don't struggle as we do. Our kids see that too and might be those people one day. Only time will tell.


My personal alcoholism doesn't define me, just as a person who has a glass of wine from time to time shouldn't be labeled because of their choice to have red or white with dinner. These are decisions that we have all made and we try to live our best lives by these decisions. If you are a person who can enjoy alcohol without the demon that my husband and I face, I am happy for you.

We all live our best lives differently, and when you come to my house, I won't judge you for what you're drinking, whether that's vodka or a glass of water.