Posted: Wednesday, March 4, 2009 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: I am a 48-year-old woman who has struggled with alcoholism for almost 30 years. My drinking was the cause of my two divorces, and my child was made a ward of the state. I lost a promising career because I showed up to work drunk. I have been in jail, homeless shelters, detox centers and hospitals. I’ve wrecked cars and been injured due to falls. I’ve lost friends, and many of my relatives no longer speak to me. Those who do are worried that I will end up dead.
I have tried every method imaginable to stop drinking — Alcoholics Anonymous, rehabilitation centers, group and individual therapy, Antabuse, pastoral counseling, halfway houses, even hypnosis — all without success. I cannot seem to stay sober for more than a couple of weeks at a time. Each day I get up in the morning resolving not to drink, but the first thing I do is go to the store to get beer and drink all day.
I’m never able to carry through with even the simplest plans. People have told me I must be self-destructive and have a death wish. I have heard of those who successfully stopped drinking, so I know it can be done, but it seems beyond my reach. Please help. — Desperate Alcoholic
Dear Desperate: You recognize the problem and want help, but you seem to have difficulty staying on track. First see your doctor and be tested for Adult Attention Deficit Disorder and clinical depression. Either of these could be hampering your efforts.
Many current alcohol programs rely on a combination of psychosocial and behavioral therapy, and there are newer drugs that may be more effective for you.
It also may help to check yourself into a rehab facility for a longer period of time so you can break some of the habits that sustain your drinking. Please don’t give up.
Dear Annie: My husband and I are both in our 60s. I recently found out he has been e-mailing his old high-school sweetheart. She is also married.
The e-mails I have seen are very innocent, about what’s happening in their lives, etc. My husband claims he started corresponding with her after the last high-school reunion, which was in 2005, but I found earlier e-mails.
I told him I thought it was odd to be corresponding with an old girlfriend. I don’t think it’s appropriate. What do you say? Is it some kind of midlife crisis thing? — Puzzled
Dear Puzzled: If the correspondence is still innocent after three or four years, chances are your husband is simply keeping in touch with an old friend. The fact that she’s an old girlfriend is what’s raising your hackles and why he kept the e-mails a secret. So we recommend you enjoy them together. Add your own postscript to his messages so she knows you see them. You may even gain a friend in the process.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “No Hayseeds Here,” who is having second thoughts about retiring to her husband’s hometown where she feels out of place. I would advise they not sell their present house until they have rented and lived in her husband’s hometown for at least six months. By then, they should know whether they can live there happily.
My experience is the opposite of hers. I came from the “progressive states” to live for 30 years in the hayseed ones. I prefer the hayseeds. My children find their progressive cousins abrasive. There really is a difference in attitudes and manners. I would hate to have to move back. — Proud To Be a Hayseed
Dear Proud: People should live where they are comfortable, emotionally and financially. Some like a quieter, relaxed environment, and others prefer more activity. What you call “abrasive,” someone else would call “stimulating.” Whatever floats your boat.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 3.4.09