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by Abigail Van Buren

Woman Drowns in Sorrow of Man's Drinking Binges

DEAR ABBY: My ex and I have been dating since our divorce in 2000, trying to put things back together. But every six months or so, he comes to my house drunk and raises Cain in front of the kids.

He never says he's sorry for anything he does or says, and it causes fights that could be avoided if he just would not drink. If he could only see how it makes him act! He does not drink all the time. But when he does, he passes out on my couch.

I have told him time and time again not to come to the house if he has been drinking. If I try to make him leave, he does more in front of the kids, and he has been known to hit. How can I make it clear to him I have had enough? I love him, but I'm very tired of this every-six-months thing. I have called the law before. That just makes matters worse.

Should I get away from him altogether? I want my family back together so badly. I have prayed about this for a long time. I have tried talking to him –- nothing works. Please give me some advice. -– "TINA" IN TRINITY, ALA.

DEAR "TINA": Perhaps it's time to face the fact that as much as your ex-husband says he loves you and the children, he loves his bottle more. You divorced him for a reason, and he isn't going to change. If he shows up at your house after he has been drinking, do not open the door. If he creates a disturbance, call the police and let them handle him.

When a parent acts out the way your husband does when he gets loaded, it damages the children who are exposed to it. They never know when the father they love -– and presumably trust -– will turn into a monster, and they are always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Even worse, they may grow up thinking his behavior is normal or acceptable and marry someone just like Daddy.

Much as you might like, you cannot rescue your ex-husband from his alcohol addiction. Some literature that might give you insight is a booklet published by Al-Anon titled, "Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism 2009." It is available online in English, Spanish and French, and can be downloaded at www.Al-AnonFamilyGroups.net. For a free printed copy, e-mail wso(at)al-anon.org, fax (757) 563-1655, or write: Al-Anon Family Groups, 1600 Corporate Landing Parkway, Virginia Beach, VA 23454-5617.