Dear Annie: My in-laws have a small business out of their home, where I work for them. Because I am there every week, I notice a lot. For instance, I knew my father-in-law drank every day and then drove his car on errands. I made it clear that my son was never to be in the car if Grandpa was driving.
A year ago, my husband caught his father drinking in the middle of the day. When he attempted to discuss it, my father-in-law became angry and told him it was none of his business. Soon after, Dad’s doctor told him he had almost destroyed his liver and would have to stop drinking or die. My mother-in-law claimed she had no idea Dad had a drinking problem, and she has no interest in giving up her daily glass of wine to be supportive.
For a couple of weeks, Dad took pills to help him stop drinking, but he didn’t attend any rehab programs or meetings. Meanwhile, my mother-in-law continues to drink wine every night until she slurs her speech.
A few months ago, my toddler found several bottles of alcohol in Grandpa’s car, and lately, I have smelled alcohol on his breath. He’s also gone back to taking long naps (meaning he’s passed out). I finally told my husband and he asked his brothers to talk to Dad together, but they are afraid it will create a rift.
Dad does not have any follow-up appointments scheduled with his doctor, whom I do not know. What can we do? — Daughter-in-Law
Dear Daughter-in-Law: Your father-in-law knows he has a drinking problem and prefers not to address it. His wife also has a drinking problem, so she does nothing to discourage her husband’s alcohol abuse. A family intervention might help, but not unless your husband’s siblings are willing to participate. All you can do right now is see that your child does not visit his grandparents unless another sober adult is present and that he never rides in a car with either of them behind the wheel. You also should contact Al-Anon (al-anon-alateen.org) at 1-888-4-AL-ANON (1-888-425-2666).
Dear Annie: I work in an office that is mostly female. Three months ago, we hired a guy who constantly tells us personal information about all the board members, past employees and current applicants whom he has Googled. In one case, he did extensive research on a past employee who just came into the office to say hello.
One can only assume he has looked all of us up as well, although he has not admitted it. As time goes on, I find him to be just plain creepy, but he has not done anything to indicate he is dangerous. Is there a red flag I am missing? Is this just a case of obsessive snooping, or should I be more worried? — Just Want To Do My Work and Go Home
Dear Just Want to Work: If all the guy is doing is looking up whatever information is available on the Internet, he’s a busybody, but he isn’t dangerous. If he starts checking out your house, you have cause to worry. Tell him the constant snooping is rude and a little frightening and you’d like him to stop.
Dear Annie: You printed a letter from “In a Quandary,” who asked what kind of host gift to give to a man. He said he felt funny giving flowers and the guy didn’t drink.
All of your alternate suggestions were excellent, but I’d like him to know that some males do like getting flowers — especially those of us who grow them. We may not be as fond of the frilly pink varieties as we are of the bold reds, oranges and bronzes, but we still enjoy receiving them. — Mike in Holland, Mich., Home of the Tulips
Dear Mike: There are plenty of men who garden and grow flowers and would surely appreciate a bouquet. Thanks for saying so.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. E-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 1.25.08