Dear Annie: My sister’s 50th birthday is coming up, and I would like to acknowledge it in some way.
However, due to years of her heavy drinking, lying, self-pity, verbal abuse and the resulting toxic personality, she has managed to lose her career, condo, dog, friends, family and health.
I finally followed Al-Anon’s advice and suspended our relationship four months ago. It was difficult but necessary.
But, Annie, I don’t want this monumental birthday to pass without recognizing it and wishing my sister a future recovery.
Perhaps this could be the turning point for her and she will seek help, ask forgiveness and try to start over with all the people she has hurt.
I want to let her know I will support her if she decides to admit she is an alcoholic and stop drinking. Do you have any suggestions?
— Mourning in Massachusetts
Dear Massachusetts: We appreciate your optimism, but turning 50 is no guarantee that your sister will reevaluate her life or come to the conclusions you have.
She could simply become depressed and alleviate it by drinking. But by all means, send her a birthday card. Include a message that you miss her and think of her often, and suggest she contact AA.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Worried Mom in the Midwest.”
As a high school teacher, I often hear students say that as long as they are earning a “D,” they are happy they are passing.
My observations about this prevalent behavior indicate that there is a definite lack of motivation. One reason is that the child has zero consequences at home.
“Worried Mom” said her son confessed that he passed a test by cheating. Did she go to the school and ask the teacher to re-administer the test or flunk him?
Yes, he could have learning disabilities. However, I am inclined to believe his parents are simply enabling him.
They need to make it clear that privileges, such as driving, will be taken away unless the grades improve. If necessary, hire a tutor.
I hope “Worried Mom” will take action when her son tells her he passed a test by cheating and will not allow him the responsibility of a driver’s license until he acts responsibly.
— Concerned and Caring California Teacher
Dear Teacher: Every child is different, and some don’t respond to anything, but we appreciate your sage advice.