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July 31, 2014

Ask Amy: Friend has drinking problem

Dear Amy: My friend of over 50 years was always a heavy drinker. Recently his drinking has become a problem. He becomes very loud and opinionated. He has ruined the last four or five times we have been out with our wives, once even getting in a fight. We are both in our 70s.

Dear Amy: My friend of over 50 years was always a heavy drinker. Recently his drinking has become a problem. He becomes very loud and opinionated. He has ruined the last four or five times we have been out with our wives, once even getting in a fight. We are both in our 70s.

Another longtime friend and I ran an intervention in which we told him of our concerns. His wife is co-dependent and fears she will have to change, too. Partly because of her, the intervention didn't work.

Now my friend has turned on me.

We still value this friend but are stymied.

— Sad

Dear Sad: First, a word about interventions. Friends and family use interventions as a last-ditch effort to confront an addict, but these confrontations only work when there is unanimity among the group about the non-negotiable consequences if an addict refuses to seek help. In this case, your friend's wife is the key player, and as long as she continues to deny and enable her husband's drinking, an intervention will not work.

Now that you have told your friend the truth, there is some hope that he will finally seek help, but unfortunately alcoholism is an insidious disease. He would benefit from Alcoholics Anonymous (aa.org) and she from Al-anon (al-anon.alateen.org). Both organizations host local meetings and have helped countless people battling addiction.

Dear Amy: I live with my husband and nephew, who both do not work because they can't find work in their respective fields. I couldn't find work in my field, either, but decided to take a menial job because we had to survive.

I have footed the bills for six years now, and both men do not seem to feel the pinch because they live comfortably. I am considering getting a divorce and kicking out my nephew. Have I waited too long?

— Conflicted

Dear Conflicted: I don't know if you've waited too long to take action, but there is no time like the present to take steps to re-balance your marriage. Kicking out your nephew might be a good first step. Without a male playmate at home, your husband might feel the urge to step up and rededicate himself to being a productive member of the family.

 

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About Amy Dickinson

Amy Dickinson

@AskingAmy

Amy Dickinson is a syndicated columnist. Email: askamy@tribune.com.

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