Annie's Mailbox for Feb. 16, 2011: Worried about husband's drug use

Dear Annie: My husband and I are in our early 40s. We've been married for 13 years and have two young, beautiful, healthy children that I thank God for every day.

After many years of marriage, I found out quite unexpectedly that my husband has been a drug user on and off for a long time. It came out when he finally went for help. Due to the drugs, we lost everything. We had to uproot our children from the only home they've known in order to find a more affordable place to live. His drug use has put the family in a lot of pain and turmoil, and he vowed he would never use again. For a while, everything seemed good. But it didn't last.

We are a month behind in our rent, and I fear my husband is using again. He does not come home for days at a time and forgets to call. When he shows up, there's always some lame excuse about where he's been and where the money went.

I will not argue in front of the children, and talking to him hasn't helped. I am scared for our security and his health. I can't take the lies anymore. He refuses help and insists he's not using. I have no other family and cannot support us on my own. I fear for our future and don't know what to do.

— Desperate

Dear Desperate: First contact Nar-Anon (nar-anon.org) for families and friends of drug users. If you belong to a church or synagogue, talk to your clergy about counseling and community programs. You may need government assistance temporarily, and also look into job training and housing opportunities through state and city agencies. Whatever your husband is doing, he is not reliable as a father or partner, and you will have to step up to the plate as best you can.

Dear Annie: My son showed me the Facebook page of a 20-year-old acquaintance who is expecting a baby with her boyfriend. An ultrasound showed that the baby was seriously brain damaged and would likely die at birth.

This gal named her unborn baby and created a website journal of her pregnancy. Some of the entries were about her doctor appointments and shopping for a funeral home. Others were rants about fights with her boyfriend and his forays with other women. Her page includes professionally taken photographs of her lifting her shirt to expose her very pregnant belly.

I was appalled at the publicizing of such a heart-wrenching, private situation. Am I just old-fashioned?

— A Private Person

Dear Private: The fact that something so personal is put into cyberspace and broadcast to everyone is, unfortunately, a common occurrence these days among young people who have no concept of privacy (or good taste). What used to go into a locked diary is now fodder for the world. However, this girl is going through a sad and difficult time, and sharing her story undoubtedly brings her comfort.

Dear Annie: The letter from "Did Something Wrong Raising My Kids" infuriated me. She became disabled, and her grown children, who live with her rent-free, whine about helping out and expect to be paid to do it.

I am an only child. When I was stricken with a brain aneurysm, Mom and Dad were there every day. When my Dad developed Alzheimer's and my mom had various medical conditions necessitating a nursing home, I returned the favor. I visited Mom every day. I did Dad's shopping, cooking, laundry and errands. There was no hesitation on my part.

Shame on children who abuse those who gave them so much. Get paid for doing Mom's laundry? How much did she pay Mom to wash her clothes before? Hopefully, those kids will mature, apologize and give Mom the love and support she needs and deserves — while she's still around to accept it.

— Infuriated in Connecticut

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