Dear Annie: “Rick,” my best friend and significant other, likes his beer. Before we started dating, it was normal for him to be drunk every weekend and once in a while during the week, as well. He never drinks during the workday.
I told Rick that if we were going to have a relationship, he needed to slow down his drinking significantly, though I don’t expect him to stop entirely. He now gets drunk only occasionally and only with his friends. Rick recognizes that he still has a problem and wants to change. He was raised in a family where people drank heavily.
I hate it when Rick gets drunk because I get angry and we fight. He recently told me he hates how he treats me when he’s smashed. I suggested he learn to pace himself, but he says that’s harder than it sounds.
We plan to marry, and he is well aware that I refuse to raise my children in a house where a parent drinks excessively. He wants to cut back, and I want to support and encourage him as much as possible. How do we do this?
— Baltimore Barb
Dear Barb: If Rick comes from a family of heavy drinkers and has difficulty pacing himself and staying sober, he may be an alcoholic. If that’s the case, he may have to give up beer entirely. The fact that he is willing to work on this, however, is a very good sign. Suggest he contact A.A. (aa.org). They are in the phone book. Even if Rick doesn’t believe he is an alcoholic, he could benefit from their assistance. And you should contact Al-Anon (al-anon.alateen.org) to find out how best to respond to his drinking.
Dear Annie: My daughter, “Chloe,” is 21 and expecting her first child. She works full time and lives with her father (we are divorced).
Chloe is still seeing the father of the child — a convicted felon who was released from prison last year and within a month was charged with shoplifting. He has no car or job and lives with a friend.
I recently found out he has three new court appearances pending in the next month (one for possession of marijuana, one for possession of a counterfeit instrument and the third for trespassing). He may end up back in prison before the baby is born.
I don’t think my daughter knows about the new charges. Should I tell her or let sleeping dogs lie?
— Desperate Mom in Arizona
Dear Mom: Chloe deserves to know, but try not to criticize while you tell her. Simply give her the information, saying you thought she’d want to be aware of her boyfriend’s problems. She is likely to become defensive and claim she knew all along, in which case, say nothing more about him. But do offer your support to her.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Cornered in California,” about the couple whose entire paycheck goes to cover the high cost of the husband’s prescription medications. Your advice was excellent. My guess, however, is the couple has already applied for social services.
There may also be assistance from the drug manufacturer. As an attorney, I have assisted clients in filling out the application required by the drug maker to learn whether the patient qualifies for free or reduced rates for much-needed medication. Some drug manufacturers post the application for assistance on their websites. In two instances, my clients — both impoverished — were able to receive free medication directly from the manufacturer.
This couple should learn whether the drug maker has set up a charity for such a purpose.
— Attorney in Louisville, Ky.
Dear Attorney: Thank you for your expert suggestions. Anyone interested should first try contacting the drug manufacturer. They are often quite helpful. Here are a few other places: Needy Meds (needymeds.com); Partnership for Prescription Assistance (pparx.org); RxAssist and Rx Outreach Patient Assistance Programs (rxassist.org); Rx Hope (rxhope.com); and Together Rx Access (togetherrxaccess.com).