The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH)

Addiction becomes whole family disease

- Contact Amy Dickinson via email at askamy@ amydickins­

DEAR AMY >> My husband’s daughter is addicted to drugs — namely, Fentanyl.

When she randomly contacts us, he allows her to play a game where it’s everyone’s fault but hers.

She recently committed a serious crime and instead of confrontin­g her and putting the responsibi­lity onto her, he allowed her to drag him into the rabbit hole of believing it was someone else’s fault.

It doesn’t seem healthy to me. She should be held responsibl­e for her own actions.

It may not be our place to confront her, but I don’t think he should say that she is not responsibl­e for what she did.

What do you think? - Upset Stepparent DEAR UPSET >> I agree with you. But you are not this daughter’s parent.

Your position as a stepparent is both an asset and an impediment.

On the one hand, you are in an ideal position to identify the enabling structure of your husband’s relationsh­ip with her. On the other, you lack empathy for this particular parent. Your frustratio­n has gotten in the way of your compassion.

Both of you should urge your daughter toward rehab and recovery. That’s it. Everything else is just noise: her noise (excuses, blaming, self-hatred), his noise (buying her flimsy cover-ups) - and yours.

Change might happen when both you and your husband simply stay quiet. He needs to stop filling in his daughter’s sentences.

You should be supportive and compassion­ate toward him, while guarding your own life, home, and bank account.

I highly recommend a “friends and family” support group for you. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administra­tion runs a very useful “help line,” connecting family members to local groups for help. Check

DEAR AMY >> Due to an undiagnose­d learning disability, I graduated from college with a couple of C’s and one D on my undergradu­ate transcript. Hardly a picture-perfect finish.

Fast-forward a few years and I realized that I wanted to become a science teacher.

I approached College A to begin a teacher licensing program and was accepted with the caveat that I meet with the department head.

The meeting was one of the most degrading experience­s I’ve ever had. He was aggressive, rude, and condescend­ing to me. He told me: “You will never be a good science teacher with a grade like this.”

He made it clear that he would not work with me. I left feeling that I would never escape the failures of my past.

I later approached College B and was accepted on a probationa­ry basis.

One year later, not only did I graduate the teacher licensing program with flying colors, but I returned to that school for my master’s degree and graduated with a 3.9 GPA.

I have worked as a highly qualified teacher for almost a decade now, working with low-income students. I helped to improve our school science scores on state standardiz­ed tests, and families tell me their students are excited about science.

As a teacher, I cannot imagine putting my students through a degrading experience like the one I had with the department head at College A. He still works there.

I feel strongly that this man should know how his words and actions could affect an aspiring student.

Should I write to him (or the college) and let them know of this experience?

- Wondering Teacher DEAR TEACHER >> You deserve a lot of credit for perseverin­g through discouragi­ng challenges and achieving your goals. Your students are lucky to have you as their teacher.

I think you should go ahead and write a letter to this professor. Frame your experience as a “lesson.” Give him credit for inspiring you to prove him wrong, and for providing you with a great example regarding the kind of teacher you have been determined to be.

Keep it respectful­ly worded. I suspect that after you write this letter, you may decide not to send it. Writing it will make you feel better. You will see that you’ve already conquered this long-ago demeaning encounter - and you will feel less of a need to prove it.

DEAR AMY >> Regarding “Old Messy House Dweller,” the website for the National Associatio­n of Senior and Specialty Move Managers lists profession­als who assist people with downsizing, selling, moving, etc., in terms of culling and disposing of possession­s.

A search by an individual’s ZIP code will provide local consultant­s.

- Helpful Hinter

DEAR HELPFUL >> Yes! Here’s the website:

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