Dear Annie: I have been married to “Bart” for 21 years. I knew he had issues with alcohol. He has a pattern of getting sober for a few years and then relapsing over and over. He is truly a wonderful guy, but when he drinks, he’s like a different man. I feel as if I am living with Jekyll and Hyde.
I’ve talked to him, cried, begged and threatened separation, to no avail. We recently had what I thought was a good weekend. After a productive Sunday morning, I spent the afternoon cleaning, and he went to his local hangout. He came home with a friend in tow and barely spoke to me.
After dinner, Bart went back to the bar “for a few.” I wasn’t surprised, but I couldn’t kiss him goodbye, so I just waved him off and kept my feelings to myself. When he returned a couple of hours later, he was very upset. He called me names and claimed I wasn’t cordial to our dinner guest. I normally don’t argue with him when he’s inebriated, but I finally snapped and told him to get out of my room.
He said he was going to leave, and the next day, he did, although I didn’t find out until his brother called me at work. So, Bart’s left me, and I don’t know whether our marriage is over. He didn’t take all of his belongings, so I’m sure I will hear from him.
I don’t know if this is the alcohol or if he has someone else on the side. Either way, he’s a mess, and so am I. I’m worried about him and about what would happen if he gets drunk on the job or drives while impaired. I admit that the thought of cutting our ties makes me feel a little relieved, but after 21 years, I’m also sad. What do I do?
— Heartbroken in New York
Dear New York: It’s also possible that Bart is allowing his drinking to sabotage his marriage because he thinks you deserve better. And you do, as would anyone in your situation. Please contact Al-Anon (al-anon-alateen.org) and get some counseling — with or without Bart. There are low-cost options through your church, local hospitals, university psychology departments, United Way and the YMCA.
Dear Annie: Today in the mail I received a large envelope from a well-known charity. It contained a vinyl folder with a solar calculator, ballpoint pen, scratch pad and small appointment book. In addition, there was a check for me in the amount of $2.50. Of course, they also included an appeal for a donation.
This is the sixth calculator we’ve received, to say nothing of the scratch pads and calendars. I stopped keeping track of the return address labels at the 500 mark. And any charity that sends us money is marked off our donation list.
If a reputable charity simply sent a letter explaining what the donation would be used for, we would consider responding. Those that can afford to send out envelopes like the one I got today to thousands of potential donors don’t need my money, and they won’t get it, either.
Dear Disgusted: We know that some charities believe sending small items will guilt recipients into making donations. And it obviously works, because they continue to do it, regardless of how wasteful it seems. But we cannot comprehend the justification for sending $2.50.
Dear Annie: I have a surefire method of getting rid of davenport-bound guests. I play a classical music CD. Within a minute, they usually yawn and make an excuse to leave. If they’ve had too much to drink, I sometimes have to put on an opera CD and turn up the volume.
— A South Dakota Host
Dear Host: Some people enjoy classical music and opera. Putting on such a recording might guarantee they remain until the last aria is sung. But whatever works for you.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
— Creators Syndicate Inc.