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DEAR ABBY: I'm a 56-year-old man who made some bad decisions when I was 16. I stole items from a close family member to pay for a drug habit. After 30 years of sobriety, what I did continues to cause me grief and torment.

I am torn over confessing to this family member because I know that when I do, any relationship between us will end. Do I confess to clear my conscience, or do I remain silent and tormented by what I did? -- DISTRAUGHT IN TEXAS

DEAR DISTRAUGHT: I think, deep down, you already know the answer to that question, so I'll give you the final push you're asking for to do the right thing. One of the 12 steps in AA is to make amends to the people you have hurt. You are no longer the person you were at 16, so apologize and show you are willing to take responsibility for what you did. It will end your torment -- and you may find that the revelation is nowhere near as shocking as you think it will be.

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