Dear Annie: My husband and I have been trying to help our 35-year-old daughter get off drugs and put her life back together since her divorce.
For six years, "Nadine" has been in and out of our home, and in and out of jobs, mostly out. She's had two different boyfriends who also were on drugs. We have gone through all the problems that face families with addicts: lies and more lies, as well as having our things stolen. We had to lock up the valuables.
We have repeatedly taken Nadine back into our home, kept her in cigarettes, provided transportation, paid for her drug treatment programs, etc. When she moved back several months ago, we told her this would be her final chance. Last week, we learned she was back on unprescribed tranquilizers, spending almost an entire paycheck in three days. She is often somnolent and dopey and blames this on other things. She has missed a lot of days at her new job and is close to being fired.
My husband and I just retired, but can't take vacations or even leave the house for an extended period without worrying that Nadine will steal everything. We have spent thousands of dollars on her. We are broke. I am a wreck and physically sick. Instead of enjoying his retirement, my husband is anxious and depressed. What can we do? How have your readers handled such problems? Stressed-Out Parents in Virginia
Dear Stressed-Out Parents: Many parents who care for a drug-addicted child, even an adult child, do not realize that families, too, need help and support. Please contact Because I Love You (becauseiloveyou.org) at P.O. Box 2062, Winnetka, CA 91396-2062; and Nar-Anon (nar-anon.org), 22527 Crenshaw Blvd., Suite 200 B, Torrance, CA 90505. We know our readers will have other helpful suggestions, and we will be glad to print them.
Dear Annie: My girlfriend is usually late with her period. Sometimes it is a day late, other times it is three days, and once it was two weeks late. I was wondering if this is normal. She might start on birth control pills to regulate her cycle. What do you think? We are both virgins. Worried Boyfriend of Two Years
Dear Worried Boyfriend: We wonder why you know so much about your girlfriend's menstrual cycle. It is not unusual for some women to have irregular cycles, particularly during times of stress or if a woman exercises excessively. And although birth control pills can help regulate your girlfriend's cycle, they also come with risks and side effects. She should discuss this with her doctor and get a complete checkup.
Dear Annie: As a 30-year-old female, I could certainly identify with "Lost and Lonely," the 36-year-old man who is frustrated trying to find someone reasonably attractive, with a good sense of humor and some level of intelligence. I am in the same boat and at times feel like it is sinking.
I have tried the online route only to be told I am too "energetic, goal-driven, have too good of a job," among other excuses. "Lost and Lonely" says women are looking for a "Brad Pitt" clone, but I see men looking for a Barbie doll. I am in good shape but have curves, an obvious flaw for some men. I stopped posting a picture online because I wanted to see how many men were truly interested in getting to know me. I had surprising success.
As I get older, I find that people are less tolerant of imperfection and want someone to enjoy all the same things they do. That sounds rather boring to me. Tell "Lost and Lonely" there are indeed single women who are reasonably attractive, have a good sense of humor and are intelligent. Don't give up. Hopeful in the Midwest
Dear Hopeful: Too bad we don't run a dating service. We hope you each find what you are looking for.
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