DEAR HARRIETTE: My fiance is a recovering drug addict. When I say those words out loud, it still scares me, but he has been sober for more than two years now, and we have a great relationship.
The past couple of months, my boyfriend has been expressing to me that he wants to drink alcohol again. He never had a problem with alcohol, but when becoming sober, he cut out all toxic things in his life, including alcohol. He says he thinks he’s at a place in his life where he can control his drinking, and he wants to be able enjoy a glass of wine at dinner with me. I don’t have a problem with that, but it scares me that he may relapse with drugs if he starts drinking again. Do you think alcohol can be a “gateway drug” in the sense that it would open a door to my fiance using drugs again? -- Concerned About Fiance Relapsing, Atlanta
DEAR CONCERNED ABOUT FIANCE RELAPSING: You should be concerned about your fiance possibly relapsing if he decides to drink alcohol. While you cannot control your boyfriend, you can recommend that he speak to an addiction counselor. If he has a sponsor from his drug addiction therapy, he should speak to that person about his thoughts.
You may want to curb your own drinking so that your boyfriend isn’t tempted to have a glass of wine with you.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I live in Boston with three other roommates in a great apartment in the middle of the city. My grandparents are coming into town next weekend from Ohio. I haven’t seen them in a couple of years, so I am excited. They have planned a dinner with my roommates and me one of nights they are here. The problem I am having is that my grandfather is old-fashioned in the sense he is extremely homophobic, and one of my roommates is gay.
I want my roommate to feel proud of who he is when introducing himself to my grandfather, and I don’t want him to feel hurt by whatever comments my grandfather may make at dinner. What do you think I should do about these two people attending a dinner together? -- Scared for the Meeting, Boston
DEAR SCARED FOR THE MEETING: The best thing you can do is to prep your roommate. Make sure he is aware of your grandfather’s views on homosexuality and that he often speaks his mind. Chances are, your roommate has had his share of people giving their opinions about his sexual orientation. That doesn’t mean he will like the way your grandfather may behave, but it does mean it will likely not be a shock to him. Be prepared that your roommate may choose not to attend the dinner, knowing that your grandfather may be rude to him.
Apologize in advance for any inappropriate comments that your grandfather may make. As far as your grandfather goes, ask him to be kind to your roommates. Tell him how much you enjoy sharing the apartment with them and that you are proud to invite him to get to know them. I wouldn’t tell him that one of your roommates is gay. Just encourage him to be kind.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)