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by Abigail Van Buren

Don't Wait for an Invitation to Help Someone in Need

DEAR ABBY: Concerning people who are hooked on drugs and/or alcohol, I just read a letter in the San Diego Union from the woman who signed herself, "Broke the Cycle in Dallas." I agree with the writer wholeheartedly, and with your response as well. However, I would like to go one step further: Family members CAN help "someone who doesn't want help" -- someone who is in denial. Denial, and that "false sense of control" we call delusional thinking, creates havoc in relationships. However, this denial can be broken through with a process called Intervention.

I recommend Intervention to anyone who is frustrated by another person's drinking or using. You don't have to wait for someone to "hit bottom," which could ultimately be death.

I am a professional counselor at The McDonald Center for Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Treatment at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, Calif. To learn more about Intervention, call a local treatment center -- or call our 24-hour Parent and Teen Helpline: 1-619-458-4357. -- JOHN C. SEAMAN, M.A.

DEAR MR. SEAMAN: Thanks for a potentially lifesaving letter for the thousands of people who are hooked on alcohol and/or drugs but insist they can handle it -- which they cannot.

DEAR ABBY: We have a daughter who is a senior in college. She was very popular in high school. She was homecoming queen, a cheerleader and an "A" student.

In her second year of college, she started dating guys with long hair. None of them were druggies, but they were all long-hair types. We would have called them "hippies" in my day. Her latest boyfriend has a tattoo on his arm. Well, last week our daughter came home with an ugly tattoo of an eye on her ankle!

Abby, we are decent people, but I feel as though our daughter has betrayed us and all our teachings and beliefs. I know that tattoos are fashionable right now, but I am sure the day will come when she will be sorry and embarrassed about that tattoo on her ankle. I am humiliated and would like to know how much parents are supposed to take. -- UNHAPPY DOWN SOUTH

DEAR UNHAPPY: You are taking this too personally; keep in mind that the ankle with the tattoo is your daughter's, not yours. Your daughter sounds like a bright, responsible young woman. Don't worry about her tattoo. Should she ever feel sorry and embarrassed, the tattoo can be covered with a cosmetic. Two of the best -- Covermark or Dermablend -- can be found in most department stores and some pharmacies.

This one's for everybody, from teens to seniors! To purchase Abby's new booklet, "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It," send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054. (Postage is included.)

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