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Annie’s Mailbox: Son needs your support after prison

Dear Annie: My 27-year-old son was just released from prison after serving 18 months on drug charges. While there, he was enthusiastic about turning his life around, saying he’d find a job and attend Narcotics Anonymous meetings when he got out.

Since his release, however, he has not attended a single meeting and has done very little to find work. He lives with his mother, consuming caffeine and mooching off of her. My heart breaks that my son had such a positive attitude toward changing his life while in prison and, except for the drugs, is now back to his old behavior.

While he was incarcerated, I spoke to him every week. But now he rarely calls or visits, and we live only a few miles apart. I am devastated that he doesn’t want to help himself. What can I do? – Bummed Out in Bradenton, Fla.

Dear Bradenton: Your son may be depressed. He may have given up on finding work when he noticed jobs are scarce and most employers are reluctant to hire ex-cons. Don’t wait for him to call or visit. Go see him. He needs your emotional support and encouragement. Check city hall or the governor’s office to see whether there are programs to help ex-offenders. Goodwill Industries does some job training and placement, and the military also accepts some enlistees who have a criminal record. Offer to go with him to NA meetings. And you should look into Nar-Anon ( for families and friends of drug addicts. Good luck.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.