Al­co­holic friend should ab­stain from camp­ing

The Daily Observer - - LIFE - AMY DICKINSON Email: askamy@tri­bune.com Twit­ter: @ask­ingamyt

Dear Amy: I have a friend whom I have known since high school. He has re­cently been in re­cov­ery for drink­ing.

He is about six weeks into an out­pa­tient sys­tem and has been do­ing well.

A group of friends (in­clud­ing my friend in re­cov­ery) has been go­ing on two camp­ing trips a year together. We have been do­ing this for over 20 years.

I have asked ev­ery­one that at­tends our camp­ing trip to make this next trip (which is in two weeks,) al­co­hol-free.

I ex­plained to them that I know he will have to deal with friends drink­ing in front of him even­tu­ally, but that it is too soon.

The re­ac­tion from some of the group is that I am be­ing un­rea­son­able and I should not be dic­tat­ing what takes place on the camp­ing trip. What should I do? — CAMPMASTER Dear Campmaster: You are not re­spon­si­ble for your friend’s re­cov­ery. He is.

I ap­plaud your sup­port­ive at­ti­tude and de­sire to help him through this, but the sim­ple fact is that he should prob­a­bly not at­tend the camp­ing trip this cy­cle. It is prob­a­bly too soon in his re­cov­ery for him to leave town and at­tend an event that will sup­ply all sorts of trig­gers for him.

You can­not count on oth­ers ab­stain­ing from al­co­hol, and — if they are more at­tached to their re­la­tion­ship to al­co­hol than their re­la­tion­ship with him — they will choose to drink.

The most re­spon­si­ble thing is to tell your re­cov­er­ing friend that you have tried, but can­not guar­an­tee that oth­ers will not drink. En­cour­age him to con­nect with his spon­sor and per­haps at­tend sup­port meet­ings in­stead of camp­ing, but (of course) leave the final de­ci­sion up to him.

Dear Amy: I have an oth­er­wise lovely co-worker who con­stantly whis­tles in our open­con­cept of­fice. At our pre­vi­ous lo­ca­tion, there were cu­bi­cle walls that ab­sorbed some of the sound, but in our cur­rent space there is nowhere to hide.

I tried men­tion­ing it to our mu­tual su­per­vi­sor, who said, “Oh, I like the whistling!”

I have no problem men­tion­ing to other co-work­ers that their mu­sic is dis­turb­ing or that they aren’t us­ing their in­side voice and I can’t hear my tele­phone con­ver­sa­tion.

How­ever, I don’t want to be the of­fice Grinch. If she is do­ing some­thing many think of as “joy­ful,” I don’t want to ad­mit that it is mak­ing concentration dif­fi­cult for me. Ideas? — WHIS­TLED OUT Dear Whis­tled: This sit­u­a­tion re­minds me of The Of­fice, where char­ac­ter Michael Scott’s mu­si­cal stylings were so dis­rup­tive.

Lis­ten­ing to some­one whis­tle through­out the day would be tor­tur­ous for many. For me, whistling is the au­ral equiv­a­lent of be­ing tied to a chair with a swing­ing bare light­bulb over­head — I would con­fess to any­thing to have it stop.

Your su­per­vi­sor should not an­swer a le­git­i­mate com­plaint by say­ing, “Oh, but I like it!” That is the essence of shut­ting you down.

Your lovely of­fice mate might not re­al­ize that she whis­tles while she works as of­ten as she does. Be­cause her ac­tions have an im­pact on many oth­ers, you should not hes­i­tate to give her a heads up that you find it dis­rup­tive. You say, “Now that we’re in an open-plan of­fice, I’m find­ing it hard to con­cen­trate and take my calls when you’re whistling. I ad­mire your skill, but it’s pretty dis­tract­ing for me.”

Ear­buds can also help.

Dear Amy: “Still Stand­ing ” de­scribed wed­ding of­fi­ciants who get cer­ti­fied via the in­ter­net as “flyby-night” of­fi­ciants. Many times th­ese peo­ple have spe­cial con­nec­tions to the mar­ry­ing cou­ple. You should have chal­lenged this. — DIS­AP­POINTED Dear Dis­ap­pointed: “Fly-by-night” means “un­re­li­able.” You are cor­rect that this is a mis­nomer.

How­ever, “Still Stand­ing ’s” point was that their lack of ex­pe­ri­ence can cause un­in­tended con­se­quences.

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