Dear Annie: I enjoy reading your column and agree with most of your advice, including your recommendations when it comes to handling alcohol addictions and binge drinking.
I do not work in this field, but I’ve seen alternatives to AA that may be more palatable to some who are seeking assistance. Would you print this information, too?
— Albany N.Y.
Dear Albany: We actually have printed alternatives to AA in the past and are happy to do so again. Whatever helps. We recognize that some people are not comfortable with 12-step programs or those mentioning a “higher power,” and others are searching for something more specifically tailored to their needs. So here are a few suggestions:
Moderation Management (moderation.org); Hams (Harm Reduction, Abstinence and Moderation Support) at hamsnetwork.org; Smart Recovery (Self-Management and Recovery Training) at smartrecovery.org; Rational Recovery (rational.org); Sober Recovery (soberrecovery.com); SOS (Secular Organizations for Sobriety) at sossobriety.org; LifeRing (lifering.org); Women for Sobriety (womenforsobriety.org).
We realize this list doesn’t include everything, so readers can find more resources through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (samhsa.gov) at 1-800-662-HELP (1-800-662-4357).
Dear Annie: We are friends with “George and Helen,” a couple with whom my husband went to college 40 years ago. We used to see them several times a year, but we now winter with them in the same complex and see them almost daily. We love the husband, and I have developed a close relationship with his wife.
However, his wife seems to be a rather insecure person, as evidenced by her comments regarding her weight and the fact that we purchased our condo and they rent theirs. I believe this is the reason she never compliments us on anything we buy unless she had a part in picking it out.
I ignore her comments about the way things “should” look (when clearly I did the opposite) and her little remarks that could be construed as digs. She never has a positive comment unless pushed.
I want to keep the relationship on good terms, but her attitude is wearing me down. Is it wise to have an honest conversation about this? I am not very good with confrontation or diplomacy, and it would be devastating if I damaged this friendship.
— Undernourished Friend
Dear Friend: Since you know her criticisms are due to insecurities, please be kind. These comments (or lack thereof) do not reflect on you or your taste, and there is no harm in continuing to ignore them. Friends don’t have to like the same things. However, if you need more aesthetic support from her, try a lighthearted approach. When she insults your new dress, simply smile and say, “Hortense, I know it kills you to give me a compliment, but I love you anyway.”
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Blue-Collar Grandparents,” who are concerned about their grandchildren’s trichotillomania. I am 62 and have had trich my entire life. It never goes away. We just learn how to hide it. It is not something one can control any more than we can control how tall we are. You would not berate your grandchild for his height.
Help them deal with the trich with hats and concealing hairstyles. Please do not ever in any way blame your grandchildren or their parents for this malady. Accept them the way they are.
— One of Many
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please 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.
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