Posted: Thursday, July 14, 2011 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: My best friend, “Bob,” has struggled with alcoholism for many years, and has been in and out of rehabilitation programs. Two years ago, he found a program that worked. He went into a men’s halfway house, where he received counseling, attended A.A. meetings and got a job. After 18 months, he was promoted and even set a goal of becoming an addiction counselor.
Bob seemed on top of the world until two weeks ago, when he started drinking again. He was kicked out of his residence and is now staying with me. He may also have lost his job. His employers are willing to give him another chance, but he refuses to call them. He is now drunk or sleeping all the time, spending whatever money is left in his bank account.
This situation is not new. I have put up with it before. If I kick him out, he may end up passed out in an alley, a hospital, jail or worse. At least he is safe here, but I can’t do this forever. The local detox center offers emergency protective custody, but all they can do is hold him until he is sober.
Even though many people care about Bob and are willing to help him, he seems to have given up hope. I think he has unresolved mental health issues. I have tried contacting his former counselor and even urged him to go to a priest. Friends tell me I am “enabling” him by letting him stay, but I don’t want him on the streets. What can I do? — Up a Creek
Dear Creek: You are a kind friend, but you cannot help Bob until he wants to be helped. And yes, it’s possible he has some underlying depression that sabotages his efforts to remain sober. We strongly urge you to find suggestions and support through Al-Anon (al-anon.alateen.org) and Sober Recovery (soberrecovery.com), which offer forums for family and friends of alcoholics.
Dear Annie: I have a female friend who’s never been to Disneyland. I offered to take her this summer, my treat. We are excited, but now I’m a little less thrilled because she insists on bringing her 1-year-old baby girl with us. I told her we are not going to have much fun if the baby comes, but she is adamant.
I like children, but would it be wrong of me to cancel the trip and risk ruining our friendship? Or do I just bite the bullet and see if we can enjoy ourselves with the baby? — D.T.
Dear D.T.: You are very generous, but not all mothers are willing to take vacations and leave their infants behind. While a year-old child is a bit young for Disneyland, it is possible to have a good time with a child in tow. In fact, there are some delights that are only possible when seen through the eyes of a child. But you must understand the limitations and set the rules in advance. Are you willing to help care for the baby? Does the child wake up in the middle of the night? Will a large Mickey Mouse frighten her? Will your friend take advantage of available babysitting services?
It is not unreasonable to cancel, but keep in mind that your friend may be equally unwilling to leave the child with a caregiver for the next 10 years. If you ever plan to take her to Disneyland, this may be as good a time as any.
Dear Annie: Please tell “Kuttawa, Ky.” to get a wireless headphone set for her husband, who can’t hear the TV. They are comfortable and allow the listener to walk around the house. I can hear much better with mine than I could with my hearing aids. And other family members are thrilled that I no longer ask them to turn up the volume. — Pennsylvania
Dear Pennsylvania: Many readers suggested headphones, wireless or otherwise. Our thanks to all who wrote.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. 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 7.14.11