DEAR ABBY: I am a 22-year-old inmate. Two years ago, one of my best friends was killed by a drunk driver. When I was sentenced for theft and incarcerated here, I learned that the guy who killed my buddy is also doing time in this correction center.
For the longest time, I hated the guy who killed my pal. But after a while I started feeling bad for him. He has to live for the rest of his life with the fact that he killed someone because he got behind the wheel when he was wasted.
At first, all I wanted to know was what happened that night. But after time went by, I ended up wanting to forgive him. When I told my friend's wife, "Trisha," that I was getting to know this guy, she got really angry.
I understand how Trisha feels, but she's not the only one whose life was wrecked that night. I lost a good buddy and I'm trying to forgive the man who's responsible. Am I on the right track here, Abby? -- ONE-DAY-AT-A-TIMER IN MASSACHUSETTS
DEAR ONE-DAY-AT-A-TIMER: I think you are. However, to forgive -- or not to forgive -- is a personal decision. I understand the widow's pain and anger, but she should not judge you for choosing to divest yourself of the burden of hate. Hate corrodes the vessel that carries it.
DEAR ABBY: I am a 32-year-old single female whose past has been filled with physical, emotional and sexual abuse that began when I was 5.
Even though my past was horrendous, I've always felt that my life would get better. Well, two marriages and several long-term relationships later, I am STILL being abused. It seems I attract only men who are physically abusive, emotionally unavailable -- or both.
Do you think there is something in my character that tells abusive men I am an easy target? I am so sad and lonely that I've found myself thinking more and more about killing myself. I know I have something to live for -- I just don't know what it is. -- LOST AND UNLOVED IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR LOST AND UNLOVED: If you have a plan to kill yourself, I urge you to pick up the phone, speak to the operator and ask to be connected to the suicide hotline. Please get the help you deserve so you can lead the happy, healthy life you want. That road begins with counseling to rid yourself of the baggage from your childhood. With professional help, you'll learn to break unhealthy and unhappy patterns and "reprogram" your expectations about what is normal and acceptable in relationships. Please don't wait.
DEAR ABBY: About eight years ago, I ordered your two cookbooklets and I loved the recipes, especially the Spicy Shrimp or Lobster Appetizer and the Gourmet Rice Pudding you offered. I loaned one booklet out -- and never got it back -- and misplaced the other. Are they still available? If so, how can I get copies of them? -- J.P. IN ALBANY, N.Y.
DEAR J.P.: My cookbooklet set is frequently requested and it's still available. It contains some wonderful family favorite recipes and can be ordered by sending a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $10 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Cookbooklets, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, MO 64111; (816) 932-6600