Category Archives: addiction

Advice by moonlight

It’s 12:47 at night on Monday (Tuesday?).   Mondays are Mondays, which means it’s hard to get up in the morning, and they are long days, full of meetings, catching up on email, figuring out what I said I’d do over the weekend and didn’t, regular work, and then the highlight of my week, an hour with the kiddles at 826Michigan, followed by pub trivia.

This Monday was enhanced by a ribbon cutting ceremony at the library (a rather moving one at that), the excitement of losing my purse (I think/hope I know where I left it), and a young writer more interested in bolting out the door than crafting his personal nemesis.  So the columns, all in all, were left by the wayside until 12:47 or, by now, 12:50, when I’m tired but not sleepy.

And thus I offer a quick drive-by-fruiting (Mrs. Doubtfire?  Anyone?) of Prudence’s Monday live chat–which I always forget about until 12:47, or, by now, 12:51 on Monday (Tuesday?).

As Prudence says each week, (except, of course, this week when I want to quote it): Let’s get to it!


Yikes.  After reading the first three chat participants, I’m not sure “drive by fruiting” is the best approach after all.  Some pretty heavy stuff in this week’s chat.  Here’s a rundown, anyway, with key quotes included and sassy commentary withheld.  Have a look, if you want to read about:

  • “One of my close friends just announced his engagement to a woman he’s been dating for a few years. We’re happy for him, but many of us can’t shake the feeling that he’s making a mistake. In essence, the woman makes fun of him a lot in front of his friends, and not in a loving way.”
  • “A few months ago, my husband raped me in the middle of the night. He was asleep during the attack, and he believes that it is a disorder called sexsomnia…I feel like I will never be able to get over this and I will live in constant fear for the rest of my life…To make matters worse, I have recently started having an affair, because I needed someone to take away all of the pain….I still care about my husband, and I want to honor the commitment I made to him, but when I look at him all I see is a monster. Is there any hope that I can fall in love with him again, or should I cut ties and move on?”
  • “If you have done whatever you can to get any kind of income and you haven’t been able to find a stable job, do you take it as a sign that perhaps you’re supposed to be unemployed? I’m at my wits’ end, and this is how I’m thinking, more to save my sanity than anything else. What do you think?”
  • I work in a small, close-knit office. There is one “boss” to speak of, but we all work mostly independently. Most of our staff have advanced college degrees. My problem occurs during lunchtime. There have been quite a few times that the “boss” reaches on my plate and takes some food.

Thank God!  Something petty, at last!  From that point on, the chat is all over the map, with the nasty relatives, nosy friends, speech disorders, adultery, boozing, housekeeping (and lack thereof) and lazy co-workers we all like to see.

Not much cheery or inspirational in Prudence this week, I’m afraid.  Tell your friends not to marry jerks, ignore the jerks in your own lives, and do your jobs, everyone!  Happy Tuesday.  Since it’s now 1:08.


Show off and Tell

When I read this letter to Abby, I worried that I was guilty of the same thing as this sister:

DEAR ABBY: I am a 35-year-old recovering addict currently 23 months clean and sober. I have worked hard to get to where I am today.

My problem concerns my sister. She constantly brings my addiction up to other people around me. I almost feel like she’s trying to make a spectacle of me. I know I’m an addict, and I am dealing with it. I work my steps, my program and my recovery every day. I have learned much about this terrible disease, and I am tired of feeling like a sideshow freak when my sister brings it up. Any suggestions on how to handle this? — RECOVERING BIG SIS

The writer is right of course–this is her personal, private matter to deal with, and it is not the sister’s place to make it public against her will. However, I think it’s likely that the sister is not trying to make the writer uncomfortable or embarrassed–rather, it may be that she is thrilled about her recovery and proud of her hard work to overcome addition.

I have friends who have overcome immense personal challenges with great success, and when people ask what they’re up to or how they’re doing, I’m usually delighted to report all the great things they’ve accomplished. I don’t make reference to ancient history, but usually the person asking the question was aware of it to begin with–which is why they’re asking for an update. Sometimes, I guess, celebrating triumph can imply that previously there was a lack of it.

It never even occurred to me that I might be embarrassing my friends by violating their privacy, and this letter really brought that to my attention and made me think hard about it. It’s something I will keep in mind in the future.

In this particular situation, an important difference seems to be that the sister is bringing it up to a third party with the writer present. In other words, in conversation the writer opts not to bring up her addiction when the opportunity presents itself, and then the sister jumps in and does it. That’s definitely terribly inappropriate, and Abby said as much:

DEAR BIG SIS: First, ask your sister why she feels compelled to bring up such a private matter with others. Then explain that when she talks about it, it makes you uncomfortable, and ask her to please stop. If she doesn’t comply, limit your time with her.