Al­co­holic friend should ab­stain from camp­ing

The London Free Press - - LIFE - AMY DICK­IN­SON

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 camp­ing trips twice a year to­gether for more than 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, 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 to ab­stain from al­co­hol.

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


I have an oth­er­wise lovely co-worker who con­stantly whis­tles in our open-con­cept 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 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.

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 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.


How sad that the writer of “Ball Catcher in Illi­nois” is both­ered be­cause kids step on their lawn. No com­plaint of van­dal­ism or us­ing pro­fan­ity or any­thing else, just us­ing their lawn.

I am thrilled when the neigh­bour kids ride their bikes down my drive­way. It takes a vil­lage to raise a child.

They should be happy the kids are out­side and not glued to video screens. Those kids will be grown up in no time. Wouldn’t it be great for all in­volved for a re­la­tion­ship to form be­tween neigh­bours?

Maybe some­day the writer will need help with some­thing and the kids or their fam­i­lies could help out.

I love my neigh­bours be­cause of the bonds we’ve formed. Ball Catcher should con­sider the gift of be­ing neigh­bourly. He might find it feels good. — A GOOD NEIGH­BOUR

Dear Neigh­bour:

Sev­eral peo­ple ad­mon­ished me for not en­cour­ag­ing “Ball Catcher” to be a bet­ter and more in­volved neigh­bour. I was too fo­cused on the idea that the kids weren’t aware of, or re­spect­ing, bound­aries.

I do think it’s pos­si­ble to show kids how to re­spect bound­aries, while still be­ing a good neigh­bour, but I take your point. askamy@tri­

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