Sis­ter wres­tles with ad­dic­tion and home­less­ness

The Daily Press (Timmins) - - LIFE - AMY DICKINSON

Dear Amy: i al­lowed my sis­ter, her dog and her friend to stay at my house in­stead of be­ing home­less and sleep­ing on the street. The prob­lem is, they are both al­co­holics and will not try to get help or try to get a job to pay some kind of rent.

i asked them both to make other liv­ing ar­range­ments. They de­cided to sleep out­side my house on the ground. This breaks my heart and makes me an­gry at the same time. What can i do to solve this is­sue with­out call­ing in the po­lice?

— SAD AND MAD IN CAL­I­FOR­NIA

Dear Sad and Mad: loved ones of peo­ple in the throes of ad­dic­tion draft on hope, but look­ing for a sure­fire so­lu­tion to this will test the strength of that hope. if your sis­ter was ba­si­cally home­less when she landed with you, i won­der how re­al­is­tic it was for you to ex­pect some sort of turn­around.

There is no real so­lu­tion here, but only a process of you de­cid­ing what you can and will tol­er­ate. When the prospect of los­ing shel­ter pro­vides no in­cen­tive to grasp at re­cov­ery, you know that things are about as bad as they can get.

if you want these peo­ple off of your prop­erty, you will have to ask them ex­plic­itly to leave and give them a cer­tain dead­line. if they won’t leave, then you will have to call the po­lice. There might be a shel­ter nearby where they could find beds (al­though the drink­ing and the dog might pre­clude this).

one al­ter­na­tive might be for you to get them a tent or a sec­ond-hand camper, to at least shield them from the weather. how­ever, you should look into any pos­si­ble li­a­bil­ity re­gard­ing hav­ing these campers liv­ing on your prop­erty.

This is a very tough and sad sit­u­a­tion for all of you. you are not in a po­si­tion to po­lice their drink­ing, and you don’t seem to have enough lever­age to force your sis­ter into re­cov­ery. This does not mean that you should be forced to watch her heart­break­ing downslide, how­ever. how your sis­ter chooses to live is up to her. you gave her an op­por­tu­nity, and now she will have to scram­ble to find an­other.

i hope you will get your­self to a “friends and fam­ily” sup­port group. be­ing around oth­ers who are walk­ing this path will help.

Dear Amy: i just moved in with my boyfriend and i’m kind of start­ing to feel like maybe it was a bad idea. he is al­ways at work, and i only get to see him for a cou­ple of hours when he gets off work; but then he’s ex­hausted.

now he’s try­ing to get a sec­ond job, and i’ll never see him. i feel like he doesn’t care if he sees me or not. i feel like i’m not im­por­tant to him, and that he couldn’t care less if he sees me. i’ve tried to tell him this but his an­swer is, “i gotta make money, bills need to be paid!” What should i do? — lonely Girl­friend Dear Lonely Girl­friend: i have the per­fect so­lu­tion to both your lone­li­ness and the fi­nan­cial needs in your house­hold: you need to get a job.

you don’t men­tion whether you work, but it sounds as if this re­la­tion­ship is more or less your full-time oc­cu­pa­tion. if you stepped up more, your part­ner might be able to pull back more.

Ul­ti­mately, liv­ing to­gether might not be the an­swer for you. if it feels like a bad idea, then maybe it is.

Email: askamy@tri­bune.com Twit­ter: @ask­ingamy

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