Dear Annie: I am a married man and the father of two wonderful children. I have a past of drug dependency, but have been clean and sober for more than a decade. However, in the last few years, my stress level has gone through the roof. My doctor gave me an antidepressant and things got worse.
Here’s my question. During my drug years, among much other substance abuse, I smoked pot. In an effort to feel better about my current stress, I tried pot again, and, in very low doses, it helps tremendously.
I have been unable to get a doctor to prescribe it. I am not interested in getting high. I just want to keep my anxiety under control, and the pot also seems to help me with anger issues. Of course, pot is illegal and I do NOT want to take risky chances purchasing it.
So, Annie, am I merely a druggie who went back to the pipe, or could this be an acceptable form of controlling stress? Should I tell my wife and see what she says and risk my entire marriage and family? She has noticed a positive change in me since I started using. If she finds out and wants me to quit, I certainly will. — Stressed in Georgia
Dear Georgia: Your pot smoking is drug use, period. Not only is it illegal, but it feeds your prior habit. Antidepressants sometimes take a bit of trial-and-error before finding one that works, although those, too, are drugs, albeit legal ones. You obviously have a dependency problem, and it would be better if you could find a way to control your stress and anger through behavioral therapy. But yes, please discuss this with your wife. She should know what’s going on and what is being risked.
Dear Annie: My husband and I have skyrocketing credit card bills and our financial situation is a little shaky. We have a mortgage to pay off, and our children need clothes and school supplies. My sister is having a baby, and I am giving her a shower.
How do I politely tell people that I don’t have the extra money to buy Christmas presents for everyone? I especially do not want people stopping by with gifts when I can’t reciprocate. — Financially Depressed
Dear Depressed: First of all, you do not need to reciprocate with people who drop by with unexpected presents. As for the others, call or e-mail and let them know that holiday gift giving has become so unwieldy that you have decided to buy only for your immediate family. Or you can say that instead of gifts, you will be making a donation to charity and you hope they will do the same. How much you give is entirely up to you.
Dear Annie: Once upon a time, my wife could have written the letter from “Robbed in Michigan,” whose husband died. She also lost her husband at the young age of 32. He also had been her soulmate.
We met at a mutual friend’s party (which she had to be talked into attending). Over time, she was able to cope and even learned to love again. After we married, her 3-year-old became “our” daughter. She now calls me “Dad,” and her biological father is “Angel Daddy.”
My wife still has bad times on the anniversary of her husband’s death, but I have learned to support her through these periods. I want “Robbed” to know that time will heal her pain and eventually she will also be able to love again. Her past and future are separate moments in time, and both should be cherished. Please print this so she can have some hope beyond today. — S.
Dear S.: You sound like a real gem, and your letter is sure to make a difference. Thank you so much for taking the time to write.
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 on 10.25.07