DEAR ABBY: I'm a widowed senior who has been dating a very kind man, "Ben," for three years. He's retired; I am not. He does things for and with me, and we enjoy traveling together.
The problem is, Ben usually starts drinking about 3 p.m. at the neighborhood bar. I'm welcome to join him, but I prefer to work at my job or volunteer in the community. By the grace of God, Ben has made it home safely every night, but I'm afraid he will eventually hurt someone.
My son came home for a month because of a job change, and tonight he found Ben passed out in the front yard. I told my son I was sorry, and he said not to be, but he does not want his family -- my grandchildren -- around when Ben is like this.
I am so embarrassed. I would miss this relationship, but I'm wondering if you think I should end it. -- MISSING THE GOOD IN HIM
DEAR MISSING THE GOOD: It must have been clear to you for some time that Ben has a serious drinking problem that needs to be addressed. Whether you should end the relationship depends upon whether he is willing to admit that he has a problem and is willing to do something about it.
Because Ben's drinking is now affecting you and, by extension, your family, it's time to confront him and give him a choice -- get help or find another lady friend. There are Alcoholics Anonymous groups worldwide and in almost every community. Steer Ben in that direction, and while you're at it, locate the nearest Al-Anon group for yourself. You will find it both sympathetic and helpful. These groups are as close as your phone directory or your computer. Visit al-anon.org.