Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Young Teenager Is Perplexed by Up and Down Disposition

DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Mack," and I have seven children. I was a stay-at-home mom while they were growing up. Mack worked in the oil fields. An accident in the fields put him in a wheelchair and now I work while he stays home.

Mack was told he would never again feel anything from the waist down, but he has been fortunate to have regained the use of everything except his left leg.

My problem is, while I am at work, Mack gets drunk and trashes the house. I have tried talking to him about it, but he gets defensive. He says I don't tell him what needs to be done so he doesn't do it. I feel he should look around and do what he knows needs to be done. How do I get him to cooperate? -- STUCK IN TEXAS

DEAR STUCK: Before your husband can do an effective job around the house, he will have to sober up. Please encourage him to get help for his drinking. The cause might be depression, frustration or anger that he is no longer the primary wage earner and is stuck at home doing what he perceives to be "woman's work." Counseling can help. And an AA meeting is as near as the phone book.

Once Mack has dried out enough to be lucid during your working hours, I recommend you give him a list of the things that need to be done around the house. It's a lot more helpful than giving him an argument later.