Dysfunctional Family Bingo

ok, so here’s the bingo game. Instead of getting all involved in everyone’s business (“i take care of me, you take care of you”), instead of feeling personally wounded at each critique (“what do you mean you don’t like homemade cranberry sauce and you prefer canned”), and instead of getting all twisted around in family dynamics (“she sits beside him because he ignores how much she drinks”)… yes, instead of all that, how about we go into these events as an observer.

Thanksgiving Dinner. You’re only there for a short time, and your job is to take notes, observe, and record behaviours (like a social anthropologist).

To make it fun, during your Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday, see how many of these items you can spot during the meal.

Resetting the table because it’s not done right
“My pie isn’t like this…” (food critique)
Bragging about money, bonus, or expensive vacation
“So when are you going to get married?”
Feeding the dog from the dinner table

Unannounced vegetarian suddenly mentions they don’t eat meat

“Are you pregnant yet?”
Asleep in the chair (bonus points if it’s at the dinner table)

Spilled alcohol

Nose picking
“I don’t eat that”
Illegal drug use
Leaving table to smoke while others are still eating
Racial slur

Swearing in front of children

Heated religious discussion
Texting at the table
Something gets broken

For one day only (Thursday, November 28th), you can post here any time you see any of these bingo items. Post a comment here or send me an email. Don’t get caught posting, though, or you’ll have to check off one of the boxes for yourself. You might only witness 3 or 4 of these, but you might see all 20 depending on the size of the gathering. Happy Turkey Day.



I want to put this online, to hold myself accountable. I want to document the noise in my head. I'm tired of thinking about drinking. date of last drink: june 30, 2012

  • I have to admit, I giggled and thought of Belle’s Bingo when at 10 am Thursday my 12 yo son (great, my kid) tried to tell a funny joke that was totally politically incorrect and I thought, wait is this on the bingo? I was the only one to be home at the time for his joke telling…. I have to admit we didn’t have any of in these categories but for the next holiday we should maybe add: being cornered by a relative to listen to an insane story or leave the room to avoid a relative. There was ton of that yesterday… we even joked to one another, its your turn to take one for the team now when one would hurry and leave the room b/c the crazy relative was coming. lol

    Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving or a great Thursday!

  • I had an amazing Thanksgiving! Everyone was kind, helped out, nice to each other, the food came out wonderful and we laughed and laughed. What was different this year from the previous ones? Oh that’s right – I wasn’t drinking….maybe, just maybe all those dysfunctional previous get together were my doing – WTF! Lol…..Thank you Belle for giving me back my sanity, my sense of humor, my life!!

    • I’m kind of disappointed still–my extended family–dare i say it–almost lost the “dys” in “dysfunctional” today. The only ones who picked their noses, farted, cried, fell asleep or said I don’t eat that are under the age of four–I don’t think they count.

  • I just found thus site by accident. I’m glad I did. Good stuff in here. 5 Thanksgivings ago I confessed to my family I had a drinking problem. Lol! Told them all. And it wasn’t my immediate family. But I felt that if I told them I had to be accountable for my sobriety. Holidays are tough but it does get easier. In the early years I distracted myself by taking lots of pictures, cleaning the dishes, serving coffee, pretending like I cared how people made certain dishes ( small talk). Distract! Thanks for this topic!

  • I laughed so hard as I read this list! What a perfect idea, Belle! This will be a wonderful distraction from the booze. I will enjoy this game while sipping a lovely cranberry & tonic. You are so sweet to think of us~

    Happy Thanksgiving to you all! CHEERS! (With NA drinks, of course)

  • Fabulous! We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia but this will be perfect for Christmas lunch. Am already assigning things to people. It will be great to see if I am right about who will do what!

    I could add a few too –
    “Surely you can have just one? It’s Christmas!”
    Someone reopening an old wound/airing an old grievance.
    Any sentence starting with “In my day …”

    Having said that – what a great holiday (in principle) for sober people because so long as you make it to the end you have one of the best things in the word to be grateful for!!

    Best wishes to all 🙂


  • Tx Belle – in my home, we always call the meals with extended family the dysfunctional buffet and now we have the game to match! The call is a really generous gift even for those not dealing with the American Tradition of Txgiving. Will call in! Best to all.

  • Tomorrow is going to be so much fun with this list. Can’t wait! Great idea for the phone call. Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating.

  • Sure makes tomorrow something more to look forward to. I do it all, cook, clean, and clean up after. This will be my secret fun for ME tomorrow! Thank you Belle:)

  • I would love to call but will be at work. Our Thanksgiving was in October. I wish you and whoever else is celebrating this Thanksgiving all the best! I’m very grateful to have connected with you Belle.

  • Oh this will be fun….. Since I’m the hostess. Hope I get time to post! Wish I could participate too tomorrow in. The open call, great idea that belle. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family & friends! Happy thanksgiving to all my new sober friends. I’m blessed this year to have you all in my life.

  • i might take it as a personal challenge to DO/SAY as many of these as possible–now THAT would liven up the day. Hehe..can’t wait to play–I can guarantee I will be making a few posts.