Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Early-Morning Drinking Is Sure Sign of Trouble

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a friend who I believe has a drinking problem. My friend has been through a divorce, and his parents moved into his house after theirs burnt down. At first he drank only when he went to parties, but as of late, my friend is drinking at all times of the day. He takes a shot before he brushes his teeth in the morning. I am concerned about my friend. I saw it with my own eyes. I stayed over at his house one night and saw him drinking at like 7 a.m. How can I help him through this time of transition? -- Being a Friend, Memphis, TN

DEAR BEING A FRIEND: Of course you know that drinking will not make your friend's problems go away. Unfortunately, you can't make them disappear, either. Bring this up to your friend. When you witnessed him drink before brushing his teeth, you could have said, "What are you doing, man? Do you know what time it is?" That may have jarred him into reality.

In as sober a time as you can find him, tell him that you are concerned about him. Be honest and upfront about your observation of his drinking. Ask him if he would be willing to go to Alcoholics Anonymous to get support to stop. You can introduce the idea, but he has to take the step.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I'm writing about the woman who is with an overly frugal guy who made her pay when they went to an expensive restaurant. This man will never splurge. The woman must be prepared to carry her own weight if she continues this relationship. I married a man like this. He is not only frugal, but is a taker. He loves to receive gifts and have people do things for him, but he never reciprocates. He has never given me a nice gift.

If I had not been able to financially carry my own weight, the marriage would not have lasted 31 years. He is easy to get along with as long as I pay my own way. I choose to continue this marriage because I've been married twice before. In other words, I can't be picky. -- Don't Do It, Jackson, Miss.

DEAR DON'T DO IT: Thank you for your candor. I think you are right in pointing out that people are the way they are. If you are a person who does not spend a lot of money, especially not on others, that behavior probably won't change after you get married. So, as the spouse, it is wise to accept that and figure out how to create your own joy where it is lacking in your relationship or teach him little things that will be fulfilling for you.

In your case, I hope that you have found joy in your 31 years of marriage. I happen to think that regardless of how many failures you may have experienced in life, you still deserve to be loved the way that you want and need to be loved.