Dear Annie: My teenage son, 22-year-old daughter and I live with my elderly mother in order to help take care of her.
My daughter, Vanna, used to be a fun-loving person who enjoyed going out to clubs, meeting new people and helping those in need.
I don’t like Vanna’s boyfriend. When they first got together, he drank from morning till night and I realized he was an alcoholic.
He quit his job because he didn’t like his salary, and since Vanna was working part time, she supplied him with beer and cigarettes.
I hoped they would break up, but instead, Grandma gave permission for the boyfriend to move in.
I told Vanna her boyfriend has to get a job and stop drinking. To his credit, I haven’t seen him take a sip in the last two weeks.
He’s also working full time. The problem is, he’s supposed to give Grandma $300 a month.
He never has enough money for that, but somehow finds the cash to buy weed so he can get stoned. He doesn’t even buy food or attempt to chip in.
Vanna still confides in me, but we don’t get along as well as we used to because I can’t understand how she lets him treat her like this, and when I say so, she gets angry. I told her I didn’t invest all this time and love for her to be someone’s doormat.
It’s like I don’t even know her. I know I’m overprotective and am trying to leave her alone.
Her father (we’re divorced) told me to let her learn the hard way, but it’s so difficult. Can you help me understand this? — A Mom Who Really Feels Hated
Dear Mom: If the house belongs to Grandma and she is mentally capable, she gets to decide who stays there and how much they contribute. Don’t say one word against Vanna’s boyfriend.
Instead, befriend him so your daughter doesn’t feel forced to defend him.
Encourage him to be more responsible, while letting Vanna make up for his shortcomings. Don’t make it your fight. You can’t win.
When Vanna becomes tired of the situation, she will change it.
Dear Annie: What is the correct amount of time to wait before calling to see why someone is late meeting you for lunch?
If you do call, what should you say? I don’t want to sound impatient. —Waiting
Dear Waiting: Give the person 15 minutes before calling to say in a friendly voice, “Hi. I was just wondering if you’re still planning to meet me for lunch.”
The person should then let you know how much longer they will be. If it’s too long, you have the choice of waiting, canceling or rescheduling for another time.
Dear Annie: This is for “His Wife,” who worried that her husband might be addicted to painkillers.
I am a family practitioner and sometimes prescribe OxyContin for chronic, refractory noncancerous pain. Addiction is the physical and/or psychological craving for a substance despite documented damage to one’s health and well-being.
A person will beg, borrow or steal to get that substance. Her husband is not addicted. He appears to have chronic pain for which there is no surgical cure. He is under treatment for a bona fide medical condition.
I wear glasses. Am I addicted to them? No. Am I dependent on them?
Yes. I am also a diabetic. The medication on which I am dependent has a specific purpose to control a medical condition.
The same goes for the OxyContin. If it is prescribed by a physician and his condition is monitored regularly for the purpose of improving function and maximizing his potential, it is legal and beneficial.
If I cannot cure my patient, my next goal is to alleviate suffering. For too many years, patients have suffered in pain because we doctors were afraid of “causing” addiction. — A Doctor in California
Dear Doctor: Thanks for the lunch-bucket lingo explanation. Our readers will appreciate it.
Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.