Dear Annie: My wife has been on pain medication for almost a decade, and it has turned into a serious addiction. I have to monitor her pills weekly — though, recently, it’s been daily. She hasn’t worked at all the last decade, ever since she started getting prescribed the painkillers. She lays in bed all day long, sleeping or watching TV. I’ve bought several safes to lock away her pills in so that I can only administer to her what she needs. She’s broken into all of them. I keep the pills with me at all times so that I can make sure she doesn’t take too much. She’s constantly deriding me, blaming me for her not having enough pills. She always pleads, “Just give me tomorrow’s pills tonight.” She has now brought our adult children into this mess by trying to make them pick sides in this ongoing fight, but the kids know she has a problem! I have brought up rehab several times, but she dismisses the idea and claims she doesn’t need it. This past year, I got her an appointment with a therapist. It was just online, through videoconference, and my wife completely blew it off, barely paying attention to the therapist. After 25 years of marriage, I’m about ready to file for divorce. Help! — Tired of Mother’s Little Helper
Dear Tired: Of course you’re exhausted. You’re living in the tides of addiction, but you don’t have to be subject to the constant push and pull. To find some grounding, I strongly encourage you to check out Nar-Anon (https://www.nar-anon.org) or SMART Recovery Family and Friends (https://www.smartrecovery.org/family). You cannot neglect your own mental health.
As for your wife, she clearly has a severe opioid addiction and needs professional help. You and your adult children may choose to do an intervention in order to make the strongest possible case to get her into an in-patient treatment facility. She will need the supervision of medical professionals if she’s going to detox. Call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at 800-662-4357 for guidance and to be referred to resources in your area.
Dear Annie: I have been working at the same company for 12 years, and I haven’t gotten a raise in five years. I never got in the habit of asking for them, because they used to give me a small salary bump every other year. But that petered out when a new CEO took over.
A few months ago, I was at lunch with two co-workers when the subject of salaries came up. I asked them if they’d received any pay bumps in the past few years, and they both said that they had. This gave me the guts I needed to ask my supervisor to meet with me. I presented a list of my accomplishments over the past four years and said that I believed I had earned a raise. He said that pretty much no one was getting raises anymore, at which point I tentatively mentioned (without naming names) that I’d heard some other employees had received raises. He got visibly angry and told me that I should never discuss my salary with another employee at the company and asked me to leave his office immediately. After that, I dropped the issue. But now I’m wishing I’d pushed back and am considering asking him for another meeting. Am I crazy? — Taken for Granted
Dear Taken: It’s a violation of the National Labor Relations Act for employers to forbid employees from discussing their wages. Contact the National Labor Relations Board at 1-844-762-6572 for guidance on what recourse you may have. Whatever comes of that, it might be time to dust off that resume. Because, beyond being illegal, your boss’s behavior is just plain old disrespectful. You’d be better off working for a company that recognizes your worth.
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]