Featured Short Letter

This Week - A Life To Live

Our daughter is 27 and has a severe alcohol problem. The last two years have been nightmarish. At last she is in a flat so we have a peaceful home, although my husband and I still brace ourselves waiting to hear of an accident or some other tragedy involving our daughter. Thank God she has no children.

The pattern has deteriorated into her drinking 11 or 12 days and then being hospitalized when her body can't take any more and she goes into withdrawal. We take her to hospital as she has fits when she withdraws, and these fits can be dangerous.

My husband and I are feeling low and know no end. We try and keep each other up. Others have come off the alcohol. She doesn't find AA helpful, and the alcohol services here are depleted in resources and personnel. We have joined a family group and are helping to restructure it to make a difference in the help drinkers and their families get.

Victoria

Victoria, the power you wish you had--the power to keep her from drinking--is the power you do not have. The power is in your daughter's hands.

The power you do have is the power not to let your daughter's problem destroy you and your husband. So far it hasn't. But why do you feel so defeated? Because trying to stop her from drinking is like trying to stop it from raining. How long can you try to stop the rain before you are worn out?

You can't help but feel overwhelmed when trying to stop something you have no power to stop.

If something happens, you will want to think that the one time you didn't show up for a meeting, the one time you didn't check on her flat, makes you responsible for what happened. But you are wrong. It won't be what you didn't do, it will be what your daughter did. She is her own destroyer, not you. If a man drives too fast, who is responsible for the accident? He is.

Your daughter knows what happens when she drinks. When she is sober, she chooses to drink. She is in control of her own life. You will want to say, "No, she isn't." But she is. You know why she is? Because neither you, nor your husband, nor anyone else can stop her from drinking. Perhaps one day she will choose to stop drinking, but given her current actions, that day may never come.

You and your husband still have to live your life. That is what you are here for. Create the best possible life you can for yourselves.

Tragedies happen. They are not on our calendar of wants. But no matter what the tragedy, we go on living the best we can.

Wayne & Tamara

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Last Week - Why?

I met Sean a year and a half ago in a crowd of 50,000 people. We struck up a conversation and really hit it off. He gave me his number, which I forgot. I thought about tracking him down, but figured if it was meant to be we would meet again. Three weeks later I got a phone call from him, and we have been together ever since, until about a month ago.

I left my friends and my life that I was used to. Everything was fantastic, we were in love, we thought we were going to get married. We just mentioned it a few times, but it wasn't really a topic of conversation. Anyway, something changed in Sean two months ago.

He didn't cheat that I know of, but in a week's time he broke up with me, demoted himself from a high ranked position at his job, and became depressed. He went to the doctor and is doing better now, but I am confused. How can everything be so great and all of a sudden he changes his mind about everything in his life?

He still likes to have sex and hang out with me sometimes, but doesn't have any interest in getting back together. I need to stop showing interest in him, I think, and get on with my life, but I am having a hard time doing this. Why is he acting this way, and is there any way we will be together again?

Jessica

Jessica, most people never find out the true why behind another's actions. Everyone wants the imaginary "closure," but the closure they want is to have what they want. That is why almost no one gets closure.

As a psychological concept, closure doesn't work. When a relationship ends, people don't want to learn why, they want to learn why not. They want to fix it. But if a man used a woman for sex, how will learning the truth give her closure? If a woman never loved the man, how can that truth give him closure?

You are not in a relationship with Sean, but he is having sex with you. He sounds like somebody with a plan for himself. Friendship sex is not in your best interest. You need to stop having sex with him and move on. Asking why only traps you.

Wayne & Tamara

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Two Weeks Ago - Personal Finance

I'm usually good at deciding things, but this one's got me. I recently landed a good job that pays even more than my mother makes. My mom advised that I open a bank account jointly with her. Is this necessary? I mean, I'm 24. I live at home, but I contribute substantially.

Sophia

Sophia, in some circumstances it might be advantageous to share an account with your mother. For example, if she were elderly or infirm, adding your name to her account would allow you to bank for her. But there is no such reason here.

Whoever controls your purse controls your life. You are an adult woman fully capable of managing your own affairs. That is what you should do.

Wayne

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