DEAR ABBY: I am in middle school and have been helping my friend, "Heidi," with her schoolwork. When Heidi first asked for help, I didn't mind. But now she expects me to do all her assignments.
Yesterday after school, I tried to help Heidi with her homework in the library, but she kept wandering off to talk to friends. Abby, I don't want to help someone who doesn't make an effort, but I feel responsible because Heidi's grades are falling fast. What should I do? -- BOY WITH A BIG PROBLEM ON HIS HANDS
DEAR BOY: First of all, stop shouldering burdens that are not your own. If your friend fails a subject because she has not completed her assignment, the responsibility is hers -- not yours. It was kind of you to try to share your own good study habits with your friend. But the time has come for her to take what you have taught her and fly on her own.
DEAR ABBY: I am writing to warn "Afraid in Calgary, Canada," about what she's in for. She's the woman who was scared because her husband is manufacturing an illegal drug.
Two years ago, my boyfriend, "Otis," and I were turned on to methamphetamine by an "old friend." It quickly consumed our lives. We suddenly became paranoid and no longer trusted each other. Soon we began selling it so we could get high for free. Selling led Otis to manufacturing it himself -- all for free drugs and easy money.
I left Otis because I knew what he was doing was wrong. However, three months later -- after he promised that he had quit using, selling and manufacturing -- I returned. The temptation was too great. We both got hooked again. Otis was raking in the dough, and he kept kidding himself, saying he'd only make and sell it "one more time" or until he saved a big enough nest egg. It was never enough. I told him no amount of money would be worth it if we were caught, and I was right. It wasn't.
So far, we've paid our lawyer $16,000 plus $10,000 for my bail money. We've lost $13,000 in confiscated cash, and Otis' children refuse to speak to him or visit him in jail. Otis faces 120 years in prison. I was arrested just for being in his home. I'm charged with five felonies and could also get a long prison sentence.
Abby, it may seem hard to believe, but Otis and I are decent people. He is a wonderful father. But because of weakness and greed, we have lost everything, including the respect of friends and family. Otis' teenage daughter is now ridiculed and picked on every day at school.
"Afraid," if you are reading this, please INSIST that your husband stop manufacturing and selling drugs. If you need money, take a second job. You may not have all the money you think you need, but you'll still have your family, your life and your freedom. We don't. -- IN A BIND/OUT ON BOND
DEAR OUT ON BOND: Thank you for an important letter. Drugs are prevalent. Temptation is great. I hope your experience will serve as a warning to those who need one. What happened to you can easily happen to them.
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