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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Don," took a construction job with some friends he's worked with before. Almost every night after work, they sit at the site and drink beer.

The commute from our house is about 12 miles, and I have pointed out to Don that his drinking and driving is unwise. He agreed. One beer here and there doesn't bother me, but Don has been coming home pretty drunk every other night. I'm really concerned.

Last night, Don promised to come home right after work this evening and spend some time with me. He pulled in about 8:00 with a buddy from work. Both of them were drunk.

Don claimed he didn't remember the promise, and he and his buddy proceeded to eat the special supper I had prepared for US. I am hurt, angry and probably stupid, because I let Don leave so he could drive his friend home. When he returned 15 minutes later, he came in and went straight to bed. No "goodnight," no "I love you."

I wouldn't be so upset if it had been any other night. But he had promised me tonight would be special because it's our anniversary. Do you think I'm overreacting? I don't want a husband who's a drunk. -- HURT IN OHIO

DEAR HURT: You may not want one, but you appear to have one. You would be doing all concerned a favor if you quietly let his boss know there's drinking going on after hours at the job site, because should an accident occur, the company may be liable.

If the anniversary incident isn't enough to embarrass your husband into getting help, the alternative is for you to look in the phone book for Al-Anon meetings and attend them. There you will learn how not to be an enabler, and that no one can "save" a drinker except the drinker. I wish you luck, dear lady, because you're about to get one heck of an education.

DEAR ABBY: "Denny" and I have been married about a year. Everything was great -- we are very much alike. My problem is we both have water jugs that we use for our spare change. I started taking money out of Denny's and spending it. I was planning to replace it as soon as I got a little ahead.

Well, Denny came home one night and counted his savings and saw that I had taken more than $250 out of his jug. I am paying him back -- and he has sort of forgiven me -- but every chance he gets, he lashes out. He calls me a thief and curses at me.

I know it's a lot of money, but I'm his wife. I want to cry whenever I think about it. Will he ever get over this and let things go back to normal?

I'm depressed and angry at myself for what I did. I just don't know if things will ever be the way they were. Your thoughts will be greatly appreciated. -- THE UNFORGIVEN IN N.H.

DEAR UNFORGIVEN: OK -- the honeymoon is over and the illusions are tarnished. What you did was wrong, but so is cursing one's spouse and nursing a grudge. Since you are repaying the money, it's time to ask your husband why he seems unable to forgive.

One of the secrets to a happy marriage is learning to forgive each other. If yours is going to work, the two of you must accept that neither of you is perfect and learn to negotiate beyond your disagreements. Some sessions with the clergyperson who married you could be helpful. If that doesn't resolve the conflict, consult a marriage counselor.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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