Posted: Tuesday, November 10, 2009 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: My parents had been married 25 years when my father died at age 45. With her world crashing down around her, Mom began drinking. Dad has been gone six years, and my mother has become a full-blown alcoholic.
Mom is a mean and hateful drunk. Worse, she gets behind the wheel of her car and doesn’t remember things afterward. I’m scared she is going to hurt herself or someone else.
I know she is stronger than she is choosing to be, but how do I help her realize that? She reads your column, and I hope if you print this, she will recognize herself and know I love her and want to keep her around longer. — Worried Daughter in Homosassa, Fla.
Dear Worried: Loving her is not enough. Alcoholism is a disease. Mom must want to stop and take the steps to do so. You should contact Al-Anon (al-anon.alateen.org) at 1-800-4AL-ANON (1-800-425-2666) for support and information. More importantly, you need to notify the police that she is driving drunk. You have an obligation to protect others from your mother’s reckless behavior, and if it means she gets arrested, so be it. It could save her life and the lives of innocent people on the road.
Dear Annie: My friend “Lucy” was like a sister to me. She doesn’t drive, so I took her to all her hair appointments, doctor’s visits, shopping, etc. She hated bad weather, so when it rained, I would sit with her. After her surgeries, I was the one who stayed overnight, helped her bathe and did her housework.
I let it pass when she complained about the way I hung the toilet paper and said I didn’t know how to properly fold a blanket. I have a chronic pain illness, which Lucy has never acknowledged. Recently, she was angry when I went out with friends from my support group and accused me of not caring about her. She yelled that I never took her anyplace. Later that day, my husband was admitted to the hospital, and Lucy never once called to see how he was. My grandson moved in last week, and when Lucy didn’t recognize his car, she started rumors that we must be taking in boarders.
She did e-mail to say her door is always open, but there was no apology. I no longer feel welcome around her. Still, I miss the friendship I thought we had, even though it was apparently one-sided. How do I get over this? — Hurt and in Pain
Dear Hurt: Lucy is one of those people who thinks the world revolves around her. This makes her a selfish friend, but it doesn’t mean you can’t periodically enjoy her company. If you want the friendship, you have to understand its limitations. Don’t put yourself out so much, and don’t expect anything in return. We think, however, that you ought to make an effort to find new friends who know how to reciprocate.
Dear Annie: I do not agree with your advice to “Stewing in the West,” whose sister-in-law left money after a visit. She should not send the money back.
Many years ago, my father sent a very generous Christmas check to me, and the same to my three brothers. I knew how limited his income was so I returned the check with a kind note. His feelings were hurt, and he returned it to me.
Who was I to tell him what he could or couldn’t do with his money? It’s rude to return a gift. “Stewing” should appreciate her generous sister-in-law and hope she comes to visit again soon. I learned just to say thank you graciously. — Been There
Dear Been: There is a huge difference between parents giving their children money as a Christmas gift and guests leaving a “tip,” especially if it insults the hostess. But you are right that things that cannot be changed should be accepted graciously.
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 11.10.09