ASK AMY

Oc­to­ge­nar­ian de­fends right to drink

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - ENTERTAINM­ENT -

Dear Amy: I’m 88 years old. I live alone and am in­de­pen­dent.

Can fam­ily mem­bers re­strict an 88-year-old wid­owed mother’s wine con­sump­tion (mainly to sleep), just be­cause a doc­tor says it might cause a liver prob­lem some­day?

I have never had a car ac­ci­dent. I pre­fer not to drive, but I do drive a lit­tle, to pick up gro­ceries.

Should I see a lawyer?

Dear Up­set: You have the le­gal right to harm your­self with al­co­hol use, although dy­ing of liver disease is ex­cep­tion­ally painful.

You don’t say how your fam­ily mem­bers know how much wine you con­sume, or how they might be able to re­strict the amount you drink each day. Maybe they help take out your re­cy­cling and no­tice the num­ber of emp­ties, or call or visit you at night and no­tice that you are im­paired. Per­haps you are ask­ing them to pick up wine for you. They have the right to refuse to do this.

My take is that, un­less your fam­ily mem­bers are ex­cep­tion­ally con­trol­ling, your drink­ing has caused prob­lems for them. I’m go­ing to as­sume that they are not overly con­trol­ling, be­cause you live alone and still drive.

I as­sume they are wor­ried about your health and safety. In ad­di­tion to pos­si­ble liver dam­age, al­co­hol use ac­tu­ally dis­rupts a per­son’s sleep pat­terns. It is a de­pres­sant. Al­co­hol could in­ter­act with med­i­ca­tion you are tak­ing. Al­co­hol use also in­hibits your bal­ance and sig­nif­i­cantly in­creases your risk of fall­ing.

Gen­er­ally, when peo­ple get de­fen­sive about their drink­ing, it is be­cause they are push­ing back against the pos­si­bil­ity of ad­mit­ting to hav­ing a prob­lem.

If your kids asked me, I’d sug­gest that they at­tend Al-Anon meet­ings (alanon.org) as a way to man­age their stress over your drink­ing. Per­haps you could pass this sug­ges­tion along to them.

Dear Amy: My daugh­ter is 30, lives about seven hours from us and works full time. Her step­fa­ther and I visit her at least once a year, and she vis­its us on hol­i­days and spe­cial days.

When we visit we stay in an Airbnb. While we are there, we take her out for all of our meals. She calls me sev­eral times a week, and I feel like our re­la­tion­ship is close.

Months ago, she in­di­cated she was go­ing to make her fa­vorite meal for us. I told her we were quite ex­cited. Then she said she wanted me to pay for the gro­ceries. This felt like a slap in the face.

I am won­der­ing what I did wrong that she is behaving like she is still a col­lege stu­dent?

Her fa­ther and I paid for her un­der­grad­u­ate de­gree and sub­si­dized her while she earned her grad­u­ate de­gree. I also re­cently gave her a large sum of money to pay off most of her grad­u­ate de­gree debt.

I was speech­less when she told me she wanted us to pur­chase gro­ceries for this meal, but I told her, “Well, we can just go out to eat.” Af­ter we got off the phone, she texted me about how ex­cited she is for our visit.

Should I tell her I’m hurt by this self­ish be­hav­ior, or just let it go?

Dear Mom: Why does your daugh­ter get to say ex­actly what she wants but you don’t get to re­spond hon­estly? Are you so afraid of re­jec­tion that you don’t dare draw a very rea­son­able line?

Ask her, “Are you hurt­ing fi­nan­cially? Hon­estly, at this stage of your life, I am be­wil­dered, and I be­lieve you should be em­bar­rassed, by ask­ing us to pay for gro­ceries for one meal dur­ing our visit. What is up with that?”

Yes, I do be­lieve you have en­abled this be­hav­ior. And now you will have to find a way to re­bal­ance your re­la­tion­ship so that she can start to be­have like a grown-up.

Dear Amy: “Crys­tal­ized” made a joke when a guest tipped over her good crystal: “You broke it, you buy it! Just kid­ding.” Then her guests went crazy!

Amy, she was jok­ing. I am so sick of peo­ple who can’t take a joke! I thought it was hi­lar­i­ous.

Dear Funny: “Crys­tal­ized’s” guests took her com­ment as a jump­ing-off point for a lively dis­cus­sion re­gard­ing who should pay for break­age.

This seemed to of­fend “Crys­tal­ized,” who stated that she was “hor­ri­fied by their com­ments.” She seemed the overly sen­si­tive one, to me.

Copy­right 2019 by Amy Dickinson

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