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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: You recently reprinted the test for alcoholism. Some time back, when I found myself involved with a man I suspected had a drinking problem, I reviewed the test that I had seen in your column. Since the answers to only three questions were yes (you stated that a "yes" answer to four of them pointed to alcoholism), I felt comfortable marrying him.

However, in the past year, research has been done regarding binge drinking vs. full-blown alcoholism. The study found equal problems among both groups. I think your danger-signal list should be updated to reflect the following:

-- Do you have family members with addictive behavior, i.e., gambling, drugs, drinking?

-- If you have minor children, have they frequently seen you drunk?

-- If you have adult children, do you get drunk with them?

-- Are you able to drink more than most other people before getting drunk because you are "used to it"?

-- When you reminisce about the "good times," are they almost exclusively drinking stories?

-- Do you seek recreational activities that revolve around drinking?

-- When you are in a group, are you ever the only one drinking?

-- Do you frequently drink so much you are unable to perform sexually?

-- Have you been told that you become obnoxious when you've been drinking?

-- Do you drink and drive?

Abby, tell your readers to select as many "yes" answers as they can live with, then prepare to play second fiddle to the Almighty Beer Can during most of their leisure time. -- BETRAYED

DEAR BETRAYED: Those are excellent additions to the test for alcoholism. Readers and spouses or loved ones of those who drink, if the test for alcoholism was not conclusive, consider the above questions. They may indicate a problem with alcohol in spite of the earlier passing grade.

DEAR ABBY: My husband is 42 and I am 36. When we married five years ago, he was a widower with a young daughter. His first wife had died shortly after giving birth to their second child. The baby was premature and died a week later. We are raising his daughter, whom I love very much.

The problem is that he refuses to remove his old wedding band. He wears the ring from his first marriage on his right hand and the one I gave him on his left. I have asked him many times to please remove the ring. He says that his first wife will always be a part of his life. (They met in the eighth grade.)

Abby, I understand that, and I have always been sympathetic to his tragedy. However, I am hurt and insulted. I am his LIVING wife, and it is abnormal for a man to wear two wedding bands. We are unable to resolve this.

Please give me your opinion. -- LONGTIME READER, NEW YORK STATE

DEAR LONGTIME READER: I agree, it is unusual. But there is no timetable for grief, and your husband has made it clear that he is unwilling to give up the "connection" to his first wife that is symbolized by their wedding band.

Look at it this way: You have the WHOLE man, minus one not very important digit.

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