DEAR HARRIETTE: I live with my mother and stepfather. They are both extremely religious and abstain from alcohol. When I went away for a weekend, my mom went into my room and found empty wine bottles under my bed. I admit that when I come home from work, I like to drink a glass of wine while watching a show before going to bed. She has told my entire family I am an alcoholic because I drink alone.
I am over the legal drinking age and have consumed five bottles of wine since August -- that is only 25 servings of wine. Am I right to be angry with my mother? She embarrassed me in front of the whole family. -- She's Confused, Salt Lake City
DEAR SHE'S CONFUSED: The bottom line for you is that if you want to drink alcohol at home, you need to live in your own home -- not that of your parents. You know that they shun alcohol. They probably think it is a sin and have articulated that they believe you drink too much.
Your alcohol consumption is something for you to evaluate, potentially with the help of your doctor. But as far as family mores and household expectations, you have definitely crossed a line that your parents consider a violation. Suck up the embarrassment part. Apologize to your parents for drinking in their home. While you live there, don't trip on the premises. Seriously consider your next steps as far as independence. Chances are, there are many things you would prefer to do, but your hands are tied until you have your own place.