DEAR ABBY: I went to lunch with "Anita," who proceeded to question me about how I know my friend "Gail." It seems like an innocent question, but Gail and I met in Alcoholics Anonymous. I didn't tell Anita we met in AA because it would've destroyed Gail's anonymity, so I said we met through mutual friends.
I didn't mind one question, but Anita kept probing about "mutual friends." I wound up fibbing and saying, "folks at my church." It managed to change the direction of the conversation, but I wish people wouldn't pry like that. This also happens when I'm at a party and someone asks me why I'm not drinking. It's easy to respond to one question with a general answer, but a lot of times I encounter folks who keep pushing.
I would like to encourage your readers to be sensitive to these kinds of situations and to allow people their privacy. Thanks, Abby. -- ANONYMOUS AND SOBER IN THE SOUTH
DEAR ANONYMOUS: So would I, and you're welcome. There is no shortage of nosy questions that people don't hesitate to ask these days, as anyone who has read this column is aware. However, to many people, membership in AA is a badge of honor. When "pushed" to answer why they are not drinking alcohol they are upfront about the fact they are in AA. Of course, one does not have to have a drinking problem to avoid alcohol. Some people refrain because they don't feel well when they drink; others do it because they are taking antibiotics or want to live a healthier lifestyle. The bottom line is, you do not have to answer every question that's asked of you.