Dear Annie: My wife and I have been married for 10 years. We have three children who mean the world to me. I’m sure that, on the outside looking in, people think everything is great. However, my wife has developed a drinking problem.
She says it isn’t a problem, but I have to disagree. Every night she will drink between six and eight drinks. It starts right after she gets home and continues until she goes to bed.
She will often go downstairs to be alone and drink while “working” on her computer, or go “run an errand.” I’ll later find the cans in her car or the basement. This is all while I get the kids ready for bed and read to them, which I don’t mind at all. But we have three small children, and sometimes it’s not easy handling all of them on my own every night. But I love spending time with them.
I’ve tried to talk to her and see if there is anything personal going on, anything at work, that may make her feel stressed to feel the need to drink this much every day. But she insists she’s fine. It’s ended up in many fights. I’ve tried just not buying alcohol. I’ve tried limiting it. I’ve tried to not even care and just let her drink as much as she wants (as long as she isn’t driving our kids anywhere). It has gotten to the point now where I’ve become numb to it and feel like it’s a battle not worth my time.
I want to help her, but she thinks she doesn’t need help. — Helpless Husband
Dear Helpless Husband: Get in touch with Al-Anon today. You sound like a wonderful husband and father. Your wife’s alcoholism is a disease — not a lack of willpower or a moral failing on her part. But until she admits she has a problem, she will stay in denial and drunk.
If you have to hire babysitters so you can attend Al-Anon meetings, so be it. You will discover that you are not alone, and you will be given support and suggestions for coping.
Dear Annie: I’d like to share something with the high school senior struggling with financial aid for college. There are myriad resources available to help! Since she is planning to start at the community college, the college’s financial aid office should have counselors available to help her complete the FAFSA (Federal Aid for Student Assistance), which is mostly online now. Yes, it can be very overwhelming when one has not experienced it.
They can also let her know about potential scholarships, if eligible for grants, and walk her through the student loan process. They also may have on-campus jobs available, usually called work study. These jobs were a vital part of my college education, and they were great because often I was able to study or do homework while on the job (working in the library and at the desk of the student center). And while student loans sound scary, repayments don’t start until six months after you have completed school. Then the lender can work out a repayment option that may take longer but at an amount you can afford.
Education is a fabulous investment in one’s self that no one can ever take away. If “E and O” is determined, then the financial concern should not be as huge a barrier as it seems right now. Good luck! — Been There
Dear Been There: Thank you for sharing your experience. Your letter offers some wonderful suggestions for students. Congrats on your success.
“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]