Annie’s Mailbox: Offer adult child love, support, help
Dear Annie: We have three adult children in their 30s. The oldest two are married and have good lives. The youngest, “Moira,” is a nurse and lives with her fiance, “Bud,” in a town not far away. Moira and Bud like to drink. Bud hasn’t had a full-time job in nearly five years. He dresses poorly, and I don’t think his hygiene is particularly good. He doesn’t speak to his father because Dad keeps telling Bud to get a job. Bud’s parents and siblings do not behave like this, and I know it hurts them as much as it hurts us to see Moira and Bud wasting their lives.
As long as the two of them live together, we believe they will keep drinking themselves into a state of deterioration. We keep hoping Moira will wake up and leave him. She is smart and good-looking. But time is slipping by. We are sick about the situation and can’t sleep. Any ideas? – Mom Out West
Dear Mom: There’s not much you can do about a grown child who descends into drug or alcohol abuse, especially when she is attached to a partner who is equally addicted. Even if Moira would prefer to stop drinking, she may feel obligated to continue or tolerate Bud’s drinking because she mistakenly believes this is being “supportive.” It is not. It is enabling.
Let Moira know you love her and that she can come to you if she decides she wants help. We doubt she is ready to admit this. She still has a job and undoubtedly believes that the two of them are doing OK. Addicts rarely recognize a downward spiral until they hit bottom. In the meantime, please contact Al-Anon (al-anon.alateen.org) for support and information.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@ comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.