DEAR ABBY: Last year, my husband, "Steve," was scheduled for bypass surgery. He told everyone -- all our friends and relatives -- that he planned to stop smoking afterward. It has now been nine months, and as recently as last week Steve and I were discussing his amazing willpower with friends.
Several times over the past few weeks, I had remarked to my husband that his clothes smelled of smoke. He said, "I don't know why they would." I have also told Steve I was concerned because he has developed a deep, productive cough and urged him to see his doctor about it. Last night he became angry with me and told me I am always "borrowing trouble."
This morning I moved his bathrobe and found a pack of cigarettes in the pocket. I'm a retired nurse. I know how dangerous the game he's playing is. It's as if he doesn't care.
Not only do I not want to lose my husband, our finances are very stressed right now. Steve says this is none of my business. How can I make him see what a dangerous game he's playing? Or do I just shut up and start planning his funeral? -- HURT AND DISGUSTED, WOODBURY, TENN.
DEAR HURT AND DISGUSTED: Face it, your husband is addicted to nicotine. You can order printed materials from the Heart Association, the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society about the dangers of smoking, but unless he is willing to give up tobacco, nothing will get through to him.
By all means start planning his funeral. By starting now you will have a better chance of managing the costs. In addition, talk to your insurance agent about increasing his life insurance, if that's possible. It might also be a good idea to explore part-time employment opportunities, should the need arise.
Believe me, you have my sympathy. If one life-threatening health scare wasn't enough to convince your husband to quit smoking, then nothing will.