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You can help without enabling

Kathy Mitchell/Marcy Sugar

Dear Annie: My 24-year-old nephew is an alcoholic and a drug addict. He is currently in his sixth rehab facility, which just happens to be in my hometown.

I am a loving, nurturing person and want to help. Since he’s been here, I’ve visited and given him bus fare so he can get to his job. My husband and others say he is never going to get better until all of us who love him just completely ignore him. Everyone says he needs to hit rock bottom.

He has since been kicked out of rehab and spent the other night in the emergency room because he had no place to stay and was out of money. He is barely holding on to his job, but that is what is keeping him here. He is trying to get into another facility. What’s a caring and confused auntie to do? – Bewildered on the Bayou

Dear Bewildered: Here’s what you should not do: Do not give him money or open your home for him to stay with you. You can, however, help him get to his job, work with him to get into another rehab facility and encourage him to see the counselors on staff. It’s good for him to know you love and care about him, but please watch out that you don’t unintentionally enable his drug habit. For information on the best way to deal with your nephew, contact Nar-Anon Family Groups (nar-anon.org) at 22527 Crenshaw Blvd., Ste. 200B, Torrance, CA 90505-3071 or Families Anonymous (familiesanonymous.org) at (800) 736-9805.

Dear Readers: Tomorrow, Dec. 13, 2009, is the 13th anniversary of the Worldwide Candle Lighting. At 7 p.m. local time, anyone who wishes can light a candle for one hour in remembrance of all the children who have died. Those who would like more information can contact the Compassionate Friends (compassionate friends.org) at (877) 969-0010.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@ comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.
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