Daughter’s drinking is out of control
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.