Dip­so­ma­ni­a­cal ten­den­cies not ap­pre­ci­ated

The China Post - - LIFE -

DEAR AN­NIE: I have been mar­ried to “Tom” for 30 years, and we’ve raised two suc­cess­ful chil­dren. Tom is a nice guy, but he is a binge drinker and has been all the years I have known him.

I didn’t rec­og­nize this as al­co­holism un­til 10 years ago. Tom has been in ther­apy ever since. It has in­creased his aware­ness, but hasn’t stopped the bing­ing. It seems to hap­pen sev­eral times a year at so­cial events. He drinks so much that he blacks out, falls, vom­its on him­self, dis­plays other in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­ior and suf­fers count­less hu­mil­i­a­tions.

As al­ways, Tom is shocked when I tell him what he did the night be­fore and prom­ises never to drink again. Slowly things get bet­ter, I for­give him, and then it hap­pens again. This also hap­pens when he goes away with his friends, but I don’t know the de­tails, so there is a trust is­sue, as well. I have been go­ing to Al-Anon for years and am tak­ing great care of my­self. But I do feel sad some­times.

Now that the chil­dren

are grown, I could leave him, but the vows “through sick­ness and health” stop me. And, of course, many peo­ple would be up­set, in­clud­ing our kids. Any ad­vice?

— T.

Dear T.: Worry less about what oth­ers will think and more about what you can live with. Is Tom a good can­di­date for med­i­ca­tion to cur­tail his drink­ing? Would he be will­ing to do it? Talk to his doc­tor. Would it make a big­ger im­pres­sion if you video­taped him when he’s drunk so he could see for him­self how he be­haves? Do it. Would he co­op­er­ate with your set­ting a time limit on how long he spends at th­ese so­cial events in the hope that you could get him out be­fore it’s too late? (We un­der­stand that this would be dif­fi­cult.)

If Tom re­fuses to do any of th­ese things, or if it makes no dif­fer­ence in his drink­ing, you need to de­ter­mine whether it hap­pens of­ten enough that you can no longer tol­er­ate it. You may ben­e­fit from some coun­sel­ing to help you fig­ure it out.

DEAR AN­NIE: You printed a lot of re­sponses about peo­ple whose nick­name is “Dick.” But how does one get that out of Richard?

— K. in Hot Springs, Arkansas

Dear K.: It is hu­man na­ture to shorten names, both when speak­ing and when writ­ing. Short­ened ver­sions of Richard have been com­mon for cen­turies, likely start­ing with “Rick” or “Rich,” which then pro­duced nick­names of their own, such as “Richie.” In Eng­land, where Richard has been a familiar moniker since the Nor­man Con­quest, peo­ple liked to rhyme names, which is prob­a­bly how “Rick” be­came “Dick.” (Ap­par­ently, there used to be an­other rhyming nick­name, “Hick,” which has since dropped from its early pop­u­lar­ity in the 13th cen­tury.)

Here’s a lit­tle ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion for you: Richard de­rives from the old Ger­man and means “brave power” or “brave ruler,” which could ex­plain why Eng­land had three kings named Richard, the last of whom was re­cently given a royal burial in Le­ices­ter Cathe­dral af­ter his re­mains were dis­cov­ered un­der­neath a mu­nic­i­pal park­ing lot. An­nie’s Mail­box is writ­ten by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, long­time ed­i­tors of the Ann Lan­ders col­umn. Please email your ques­tions to an­nies­mail­box@ cre­ators.com, or write to: An­nie’s Mail­box, c/o Cre­ators Syn­di­cate, 737 3rd Street, Her­mosa Beach, CA, USA.

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