Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Mom's Final Wishes Come With a Threat of Haunting

DEAR ABBY: My son "Pete," who is in his late 20s, has had a battle with drugs since he was 17. After numerous trips to rehab, thousands of dollars and too many heartbreaks to number, his dad and I decided to tell him he is no longer welcome in our home.

We did not reach this decision lightly. We have other children and grandchildren to consider.

We have lived in this small town all our lives. I don't know how to answer people's questions about why we have no contact with Pete or why we haven't tried other solutions. I have cried myself to sleep many nights over careless comments that have been made.

We love our son dearly, but we can no longer be his crutch to lean on. Please tell me how to answer these people without being rude and hurtful. -- DESPERATE MOM IN LOUISIANA

DEAR MOM: The thoughts you conveyed in your letter are excellent replies to thoughtless people who question your decision. You DID try "other solutions." They didn't work, and there are other relatives who must be considered.

Sometimes addicts must hit bottom before they finally accept that -- in the final analysis -- they have to help themselves recover. If you are questioned more than once, tell the person plainly that this was a painful decision for you and your husband and to please not raise the subject again.