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by Abigail Van Buren

Gal Pal Dreams of Being More Than Just a Friend

DEAR ABBY: Our daughter is 33 and living in another state. We haven't seen her in three years. Her life has been going steadily downhill since high school, her periods of employment are becoming shorter and less frequent. She calls more often than before because she needs money.

We have urged her to get therapy (we have no idea what her problems are) and have offered to pay for it.

My wife and I know we can't influence our daughter to change her life, but we agonize when we think about her wasted life. We have mourned loved ones who have died and have been able to move on, but every morning I think about my daughter, and my heart breaks a little more each time. Is there help for parents like us who need to let go? -- ANGUISHED DAD IN VIRGINIA

DEAR DAD: My heart goes out to you. Yes, there is help, and it is the same kind of help you offered to your daughter. As much as you love her, until she is ready to accept that she needs professional help to get back on track there is nothing you or anyone can do.

Alcoholics Anonymous meetings close with something called the Serenity Prayer. It applies to many people in many situations, and it may bring some comfort to you. It reads: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."