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Dear Abby 3/31

Drug addiction affects more people than just the abuser

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Posted: March 30, 2007 3:40 p.m.
Updated: April 14, 2007 5:00 a.m.
DEAR ABBY: I just went through a horrible experience -- a drug intervention with my sister, who is now in rehab. When I returned from the rehab center the other day, my precious niece handed me a letter to give to her mother.
    If anyone reading this is "dabbling" in drugs, thinking it will only hurt him- or herself, read on:
    "Dear Mom, these are questions I need answers to.
    "Why are you doing this to us?
    "What were you thinking about?
    "Will you get the help you need?
    "Will you come back?
    "When are you going to stop running away?
    "Do you know how worried we are?
    "P.S. PLEASE come back! We all love you."
    That was her letter, verbatim. By the way, my niece is 9. -- DISTRESSED SISTER, FORT PAYNE, ALA.
    DEAR SISTER: From the mouths of babes ... I'm sure that most individuals who "dabble" in drugs do so thinking they won't become dependent. However, your niece's letter is a reminder that many people do, and I hope it has the desired effect on your sister. That sad little girl is clearly in pain, and her letter highlights the fact that addiction is never just one person's problem. It affects not only the users, but also everyone who cares about them.
    DEAR ABBY: For the entire seven years that I have been married to "Chris," I have been the breadwinner. Chris is to be the stay-at-home parent -- which would be all right if we had kids. Chris has worked only two months since our wedding. He always has one reason or another why he can't look for a job. Instead, he stays at home all day and does a few things around the house. Then he makes it sound like it took him all day and expects praise for it.
    If that weren't enough, his parents live with us, and they don't do anything either. Sometimes I want to leave Chris, but then I get scared because he tells me he will make sure I would have to pay him since I have "accustomed him to a lifestyle" where money is involved.
    Abby, I have worked extremely hard to educate myself so that I could make the most of every opportunity available to me, and now I'm almost regretting that I made that choice. I have a great job that affords me the lifestyle I want, but I don't want a life where I'm supporting everyone. When I try to talk to Chris about this, he gets angry and ignores me. Please help me. I don't know what to do. -- BEAST OF BURDEN IN CHICAGO
    DEAR BEAST OF BURDEN: Of course Chris gets angry when you try to talk to him about the unfairness of the situation. He is living the life of Riley while you support him and his parents -- three able-bodied adults! And when you point out the unfairness of the situation, he threatens you with spousal support in perpetuity? Outrageous.
    The time has come to make an appointment with an attorney and discuss your options. Please do not put it off, because in some states the length of a marriage determines how long spousal support is in effect. In other words, you might have to pay Chris for a while -- but not nearly as long as you fear, nor as long as he would have you believe.
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