Annie's Mailbox: Into the Light
Dear Annie: We are the future. It may sound cheesy, but that's the motto I live by, and it's one of the reasons I believe so strongly in the need to prevent and reduce tobacco use among teens and kids. My passion for tobacco-use prevention started when I saw the harm that tobacco use caused my older sister. She started smoking at age 13 and ...Read more
Annie's Mailbox: Too Old for Hate
Dear Annie: I grew up in an extremely dysfunctional family. I have an older sibling who has hated the rest of us for the past 45 years. Family gatherings are extremely uncomfortable events. Inappropriate barbs lead to physical fights, young children cry while the adults pretend nothing is amiss, family members spy on one another, there is lots ...Read more
Annie's Mailbox: Feeling Helpless
Dear Annie: I have been friends with "Missy" for a long time. She hates her husband's sister and hasn't allowed them to speak to each other for years. The sister is not allowed to come anywhere near Missy's house. Last year, things got worse.
Missy has five grown children. Four of them remain in touch with "Aunt Martha." As a result, three ...Read more
Annie's Mailbox: Awkward for Life
Dear Annie: I'm a sophomore in high school. I never had much social stability as a child because my family moved around a lot and I was often in a different school every semester. I've always been that pretty girl who becomes an outcast as soon as she speaks or says something stupid.
I thought high school would be different, but it's not. As ...Read more
Annie's Mailbox: Dead at 17
Dear Annie: My 17-year-old son has his beginner's driver permit and thinks he knows it all. If I mention something he did wrong behind the wheel, I'm being "mean." I can't seem to get through to him the dangers that can happen in a split second. Can you please run the essay ''Please, God, I'm Only 17'' again? Maybe it will open his eyes. -- ...Read more
Annie's Mailbox: At My Wits' End
Dear Annie: My sister, "Suzie," has always been a bit of a flower child, and my parents think it's funny. Suzie dropped out of high school to pursue her "career" in something -- art, music, dance, yoga, whatever. I usually gave her a place to stay when she got evicted and didn't want our parents to know, which was pretty often.
Suzie and her ...Read more
Annie's Mailbox: Dirty Mess in South Carolina
Dear Annie: I work for a small family-owned company, and there are fewer than 10 employees. There is no office cleaning service. For years, one of the employees has been compensated for cleaning the building after hours. This person was recently promoted, but continues to be in charge of the cleaning. That's the problem. For months now, the ...Read more
Annie's Mailbox: Wife of the Plumber with Leaky Pipes at Home
Dear Annie: I have been married to "Dennis" for eight years. Early on, Dennis couldn't do enough for me. Now, if my car won't start, he yells at me and says to call a tow truck. If I ask him to spend time with me, he always has other things to do. On the rare occasion when we attend a social event together, he abandons me so he can "work the ...Read more
Annie's Mailbox: Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired
Dear Annie: I wanted to share a bit of what it's like to be the family member of a person who drinks too much. I know. I had more than 40 years of experience by the time I finally sought answers. I studied brain- and addiction-related research to assess my loved one's drinking patterns in order to protect myself from secondhand drinking. ...Read more
Annie's Mailbox: Lonely and Still in Love
Dear Annie: I am a 44-year-old guy who wears his heart on his sleeve. I met "Lisa" two years ago. I was fresh out of a divorce. Lisa was in terrible shape. Her mother had just died, and shortly after, she lost her fiance in a traffic accident. Then she moved back home to take care of her ailing father.
It was love at first sight for me. But ...Read more
Annie's Mailbox: Worried Sick in Connecticut
Dear Annie: My 17-year-old daughter, "Kylie," has had behavioral problems since she was 14. I am a single mother. I work full time and also have two sons, one of whom lives with his dad. Kylie was in a hospital for three months for various evaluations and recently lived in a residential home. She was released last October on the condition that ...Read more
Annie's Mailbox: Fed Up with Grandparents
Dear Annie: I've always had a problem with my mother and sister. When I was a child, I often stayed with my grandfather. I loved this man fiercely. He died recently, and the last 10 years of his life were terrible. My mother and aunts rescinded his DNR and disregarded his wishes about life support, forcing him to remain in a partially vegetative...Read more
Annie's Mailbox: Not Yet Official
Dear Annie: I've been a widow for 15 years. I moved to another state to be with my kids and met "Jerry." We've been dating for nine months.
Jerry has been divorced for two years and has two adult children. His ex-wife was his childhood sweetheart and the only woman he'd ever been with. The problem is, I have never been to Jerry's house. He says...Read more
Annie's Mailbox: No Explanation Given
Dear Annie: Recently, I invited my best friend, "Evan," and his family of four to join my family at a popular out-of-state theme park. Our children are similar ages, and we have always gotten along well even though we live in different states.
My wife and I are members of a vacation program and offered to use our hotel points to save Evan a ...Read more
Annie's Mailbox: Confused and a Little Sad
Dear Annie: I have been dating my boyfriend for four years. We both have children from our previous relationships and share custody with our exes. Until recently, we had our kids on the same weekends. Then my boyfriend's ex decided that her children cannot be here when my 11-year-old son is staying over.
Because my son is the oldest, he tends ...Read more
Annie's Mailbox: Not Grieving That Much
Dear Annie: My father, my brothers and I all served during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Only my father and I deployed to combat areas.
Dad retired five years ago and is showing drastic symptoms of PTSD. He is stockpiling food and medical supplies and keeps trying to get my wife and me to "prepare" for when "it all hits the fan." He spends hours a ...Read more
Annie's Mailbox: Worried Teacher
Dear Annie: I am an elementary school teacher. This year I have two 7-year-old students with major behavior issues. Both of them have threatened to bring a gun to school and shoot me and their classmates. As shocking as it is to hear this from such young children, the response from the people in charge is worse.
I reported these threats ...Read more
Annie's Mailbox: Lonely Old Fool
Dear Annie: My wife and I have been married 42 years, and she plans to retire in a few months. I am unemployed, cannot find a job and consider myself retired already.
I do the grocery shopping and have dinner on the table by the time my wife returns from work, except two days a week when we go out to eat. However, my wife won't let me touch the...Read more
Annie's Mailbox: At the Crossroads
Dear Annie: I'm 20 and attending college near my parents' home. Despite what my Catholic family wants, I've been exploring other religions for the past five years and have decided that Judaism is the right road for me. I want to let my family in on this process, but I'm afraid they'll react badly and insist that my Jewish fiance is swaying my ...Read more