DEAR ABBY: "Lost in San Mateo" asked how she should deal with her longtime friend, "Heather." The two of them had been drinking, and Heather, who was driving, got into a car accident. Now Heather refuses to discuss the accident, and "Lost" asked you, "Don't you think I'm the victim?"
Although you counseled "Lost" well in how to deal with her friend, you failed to point out her own responsibility in that accident. Although Heather was at the wheel, they were both responsible for not arranging their outing to include a designated driver. Therefore, they should equally share the blame for what happened.
In my opinion, not starting out the night with a clear plan of who would remain sober was a mistake made by both of them. -- OFTEN THE DESIGNATED DRIVER, WINTERS, CALIF.
DEAR DESIGNATED DRIVER: That's true. (And it's an all-too-common mistake.) You are one of many readers who felt that "Lost" had a hand in her own fate. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: "Lost" refers to herself as a "victim." She is only the victim of her own stupidity! She was drunk and got into a car with another drunk, so she's just as guilty as her friend. The other girl feels guilty. That's the reason she didn't come to visit. Would you want to look at your busted-up friend while you had no visible injuries? The anger that "Lost" is feeling is only because she got hurt and her friend didn't. -- SEEN IT BEFORE, YUKON, OKLA.
DEAR ABBY: "Lost" got into the car. She was willing to let her friend shoulder the responsibility of driving, and now claims she was too drunk to know how smashed her friend was. Baloney! If that is the case, she should allow her friend to use the same excuse. What would have happened if "Lost" had not been injured? Would she have helped with the fines, jail time, damaged car or raised insurance rates? Her friend probably does feel guilty, but there were two "victims" here, and both are equally to blame. Now "Lost" is willing to end a 20-year friendship because she can't own up to her own part in all of this? Some friend! -- TIRED OF EXCUSES, HELENA, MONT.
DEAR ABBY: Rather than being angry and resentful against her friend, "Lost in San Mateo" should thank the Lord that she's still alive and vow not to get herself into that situation again. A responsible adult does not allow herself to become incapacitated. No one forced alcohol down her throat against her will.
I am an ER nurse. We see these drunk party girls all the time, and it's typical for everything to be someone else's fault. What they fail to realize is that when they become that impaired, they are prime targets not only for car accidents, but for carjackers, purse thieves, date rapists, and worse.
Those two got by easy this time. I hope they regard it as a wake-up call! -- SHERRILL IN SAN JOSE, CALIF.
DEAR ABBY: Both girls should take a hard look in the mirror and admit their own guilt. They are both lucky to be alive and that no innocent people were maimed or killed because of their foolishness. -- RECOVERING IN MINNESOTA