DEAR ABBY: My brother is my best friend. He is also an alcoholic. It runs in our family, and he has been addicted for years. His drinking has affected me in several (minor) ways over the years, but I have always taken a hands-off approach, knowing I can't force him to get help.
Well, his drinking is starting to affect my life in a more severe way now. I joined the local police force. I am afraid that my brother's behavior could cost me my job if I'm seen with him while he acts out, or if I try to defend him.
I love my brother fiercely, and I don't know what to do anymore. I feel like I need to avoid him, but I love him. Please help. -- CHALLENGED IN THE EAST
DEAR CHALLENGED: Establish some ground rules by explaining to your brother that although you love him, you cannot be seen with him if he has been drinking, for fear it will jeopardize your job. It's a valid concern. Make clear that if he breaks the law, you will be unable to intercede for him.
You are not responsible for his addiction or for what he does when he's under the influence. I'm not saying this will be emotionally easy for you, but you must let your brother suffer the consequences for his behavior if he acts out.