DEAR ABBY: I am a former drama queen and addict now enjoying long-term sobriety, or trying to. What's missing in my life is my family. Since returning from rehab, I have been "going it alone" -- and I'm not sure why.
My kids are the only grandchildren in the family. I work and go to school. I am pleasant. There have been some rough spots I have had to deal with, and when I have needed to, I have called my mom or sister, but they don't call me or visit. They have expressed no love for me through all of this. When I call, I feel like I'm intruding.
Aren't I entitled to their love and caring? I feel abandoned. It's hard doing things on my own. My family lives close by, so distance isn't the issue. What am I missing?
I want my kids and me to have a family, but when I try to reach out, I end up hurt by their lack of interest. Should I just get on with my life? I have been going through this for years. -- MOVING ON IN FLORIDA
DEAR MOVING ON: It's possible that the "drama" and turmoil you put your family through while in the throes of your addiction is the reason your mother and sister avoid you. They may be reluctant to take a chance again.
Because they have made it plain that they aren't interested in a closer relationship with you and your children, you should absolutely get on with your life. Sobriety isn't easy to attain, and you have every right to enjoy yours to the fullest.
It would be healthier for you to stop courting rejection and "create" a caring family for yourself and your children. Many people do this for a variety of reasons. It's not unusual for people in recovery to socialize with others like themselves. Start there, because it would be better for all of you to spend your time with people who welcome and appreciate you.
DEAR ABBY: My fiance, "Bryan," is a mama's boy. There's nothing wrong with loving your parents and being close to them, but his family takes it to the extreme. Bryan must see them multiple times a week, call and text them all the time, and they still don't get enough. Then they usually call wanting something or needing our help.
Bryan and I have worked hard to get where we are, and we can't always be at their beck and call. His sister says I have "changed him" because he doesn't come around as often anymore.
I'm 21 and Bryan is 24. I don't think he realizes that growing up means leaving the nest and detaching from the family a bit. I understand closeness, but if I'm going to be his wife, I'm scared I won't come first. What happens if we have a child who needs him, but Bryan has to bail his mama out of something? -- GETTING WORRIED IN GEORGIA
DEAR GETTING WORRIED: Do not wait until you have a child to find out that the two of you will never agree on this. Find out now. Sometimes the most important conversations are the most difficult to engage in. You and Bryan need to have a serious talk about how you feel about his relationship with his parents and sister, because unless you come to a mutual understanding, it will become a source of constant irritation after you two are married, and you will both be unhappy.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)