Daugh­ter’s drink­ing is out of con­trol

The Washington Post Sunday - - DIVERSIONS - AMY DICKINSON Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribpub.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tri­bune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

Dear Amy: I’m the mother of a won­der­ful 27yearold woman who has ev­ery­thing go­ing for her — looks, in­tel­li­gence, a great per­son­al­ity and com­pas­sion. She’s gain­fully em­ployed and has many friends.

Dur­ing the week she sticks to a strict rou­tine, but on the week­ends she of­ten en­gages in binge drink­ing. Her friends think she’s the life of the party. While drunk, she’s lost things, done things she can’t re­mem­ber and in­jured her­self. Since she’s al­ways able to re­cover, she doesn’t think she has a prob­lem.

I think she has a HUGE prob­lem, but I don’t know what to do about it. Ex­press­ing dis­ap­proval and con­cern seems to only have a short­term ef­fect.

She lives far away from us now and we don’t want to sever con­tact with her. Sug­ges­tions?

Mom Who’s Los­ing Sleep

Of course you don’t want to sever con­tact with your daugh­ter. Hon­est, non­judg­men­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tion is ex­actly what your re­la­tion­ship needs, even if this pro­duces chal­lenges on both sides.

You should not be afraid to voice your con­cern, but she is an adult and she is mak­ing her own choices. Her be­hav­ior has many risks as­so­ci­ated with it — and she is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing some of these con­se­quences al­ready.

You and your hus­band could ben­e­fit from at­tend­ing AlAnon meet­ings (al-anon.org), to help you to cope with your anx­i­ety and to ac­cept your pow­er­less­ness to con­trol her, even if you con­tinue to worry about her.

Dear Amy: Years ago when I was in my early 30s, I landed a great job with an ex­cel­lent com­pany. I’ve been very happy here all this time, ex­cept in the past 15 months or so.

My good friend re­tired and a young woman in her mid20s was hired to take her place. When she’s in the of­fice, she has all of our co­work­ers ral­ly­ing around her, try­ing to prop her up and help her with ev­ery lit­tle thing, from us­ing the com­puter to cov­er­ing for her many sick days.

Most of the time she’s out of the of­fice, claim­ing some hor­ri­ble ill­ness or re­cov­ery from surgery. My co­work­ers are nice peo­ple but from my van­tage point, they are a bunch of suck­ers and she’s laugh­ing at their gulli­bil­ity while they cover for her.

Re­cently, my frus­tra­tion got the bet­ter of me and I started com­plain­ing about her ab­sences. Some­one over­heard me and clued her in. I apol­o­gized and promised I wouldn’t talk about her again, but now it’s tense with her and I’m even more un­happy.

This un­for­tu­nate break­down of mine turned me into a “mean girl” and she is the vic­tim. It’s so frus­trat­ing I don’t know how to han­dle it. I don’t re­ally have proof that she’s ly­ing about her ill­nesses; it’s just a hunch.

I don’t have to deal with her di­rectly and her ex­cuses and ab­sences don’t re­ally af­fect my work. Any sug­ges­tions?

(Not Re­ally a) Mean Girl

Your re­tired friend might be a good per­son to talk to about this; she knows you and un­der­stands the per­son­al­i­ties and dy­namic at work. I’m also go­ing to sug­gest a brave and rad­i­cal op­tion, which has helped many a “mean girl” turn things around: Get to know this co-worker bet­ter. Would she be will­ing to have cof­fee with you? Who knows, you might see what the fuss is all about. Re­gard­less of the out­come, you will have done ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to make this right. I think you will be hap­pier if you do.

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