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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR READERS: Yesterday my column was composed of letters I received in just one day about alcoholism. Today, for readers who may be concerned about their drinking, I am printing a wake-up call:


1. Have you ever decided to stop drinking for a week or so, but lasted only a couple of days?

2. Do you wish people would stop nagging you about your drinking?

3. Have you ever switched from one kind of drink to another hoping that would keep you from getting drunk?

4. Have you had a drink in the morning during the past year?

5. Do you envy people who can drink without getting into trouble?

6. Have you had problems connected with drinking during the past year?

7. Has your drinking caused you trouble at home?

8. Do you ever try to get extra drinks at a party because you did not get enough to drink?

9. Do you tell yourself you can stop drinking any time you want, even though you keep getting drunk?

10. Have you missed days at work because of the drinking?

11. Do you have blackouts?

12. Have you ever felt that your life would be better if you did not drink?

13. When you take one or two drinks, can you stop and walk away?

14. Have you ever embarrassed yourself or someone else when drinking?

15. Do you drink every day?

16. How many times in the last month have you awakened with a hangover?

17. Do you spend money you don't have on alcohol?

18. Has this affected your sleeping habits? (Do you pass out, get a drink in the middle of the night, or wet the bed when you sleep because of alcohol?)

If you have answered yes to four or more of these questions, you are either an alcoholic or on your way to becoming one.

So, now what do you do? For openers, go to your telephone directory and look up the listing for Alcoholics Anonymous. It is listed under "A." They charge no dues and you need not identify yourself unless you want to.

Another excellent group, Women for Sobriety Inc., was mentioned in my column yesterday. If a 12-step program is not for you, talk to your doctor about a referral for other treatment options.

DEAR ABBY: I work in an office with 10 people. One of my co-workers is being married next month. He invited the president of our small company and the vice president, but excluded everyone else, even though we all work shoulder-to-shoulder and have been exposed to every nauseating detail about the wedding.

Should the rest of us feel obligated to buy a gift for him? -- UNINVITED COLLEAGUE IN CHICAGO

DEAR UNINVITED: Certainly not. Shower him with good wishes, but a wedding gift is required only if one is attending the wedding, so you're all off the hook.

To order "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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