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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I have never written you before, but I have a big problem.

My best friend of 26 years got drunk at my 50th birthday party. I begged and pleaded with her, asked her for her keys, and offered to have her spend the night at my house -- or let me drive her home. The only alternative was to get physical and forcibly take her keys. That wasn't an option.

My friend is 61 years old and a great-grandmother. She got a DUI that night. She blames the DUI on me! I offered to loan her $2,000 for the lawyer because we have been friends for such a long time. One day I was her best friend and received a beautiful birthday card and gifts. The next day I was the world's biggest heel.

My friend reads your column. Please comment on this. I decided not to talk to her anymore because I feel betrayed. This isn't the first time she has gotten drunk and driven her car. It's just the first time she got caught. I am very hurt. -- BEST-FRIENDLESS

DEAR BEST-FRIENDLESS: There is a term for your former best friend's behavior. It's called "displaced anger." What it means is that your friend is unable to direct her anger at what happened where it belongs -- at herself for her foolish judgment and refusal to admit she has a problem with alcohol. Therefore she is aiming it at you. For the sake of a 26-year friendship, I hope she recognizes the unfairness of her actions. Right now it's easier for her to blame you than to blame herself. You have my sympathy.

DEAR ABBY: This has been bothering me for many months. I am a senior citizen member of a musical group that presents a major concert during the holiday season.

Many of our members have sons, daughters and grandchildren. Sometimes not one family member will come to the concert. They are all "too busy."

Yet Grandma and Grandpa are expected to attend ALL sports events, glee club performances, pageants, cheerleading contests -- nursery school through college graduations, etc. Believe me, some of those events are boring, too. But Grandma and Grandpa sit through them proudly.

My question to all is, "Is sitting through a concert too much of a sacrifice?" -- HURT IN CONNECTICUT

DEAR HURT: In the interest of family solidarity, it shouldn't be. Everybody needs positive strokes at one time or another.

DEAR ABBY: I have been living with my fiance for more than three years. My parents are upset and show their disapproval when they send us letters or cards on various occasions.

They address the mail to us as "Mr. and Mrs. John Doe, C.L." The letters mean "common law." The postman has asked what the letters represent. I answered, "It's a joke between mother and me."

How can I get my parents to stop using the letters on correspondence and greeting cards? -- UNHAPPY PEGGY, FULTONDALE, ALA.


Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a 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, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600