Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: MADD and Sad Mother

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: I have three daughters, the youngest of whom is 45. "Susan" has not been in a relationship for five years, and she has a severe drinking problem. She has had two DWI convictions and lost her license for a year. She received the usual counseling, did public service, paid a hefty fine and felt the embarrassment of seeing her name published in the local newspaper.

Susan doesn't seem to understand the problems she has created within the family. When she drinks, she becomes a different person, and I almost don't recognize her. She ruined my grandson's college graduation party, and my daughter-in-law still holds a grudge.

Recently, her older sister had a 50th birthday celebration. Susan arrived sober, but drank a bottle of wine and then searched the cupboards for more when she thought no one was watching. After we left, I was told that she was loud and belligerent and kept drinking long after everyone else had gone to bed. People searched for her car keys, but she left them in the glove box and ended up driving herself home at 3 a.m. No one wanted to call the police for fear that Susan would lose her license, her job and her apartment, but they were worried sick.

Susan has been to AA, but doesn't stick with it. She thinks her friends find her amusing, but she's lost a lot of friends. I've been to Al-Anon and know the rest is up to her. My question is: Do we continue to invite her to family functions? I hate to see her destroying her health and reputation. -- MADD and Sad Mother

Dear Mother: Like many alcoholics, Susan needs to hit rock bottom before she will admit she needs help. And even then, we suspect an underlying depression is interfering with her sobriety. Susan may be more willing to address that aspect of her illness, so please urge her to talk to her doctor and get a referral to a therapist. Whether to invite her to family functions is up to you, but we recommend she turn over her car keys as soon as she arrives. Otherwise, call the police if she drives drunk. Better she loses her job than her life -- or causes someone else to lose theirs.

Dear Annie: I've been with my boyfriend for three years. When we first met, he was working on his GED. That was fine because I knew he had a learning disability. But he is now 23 and making little progress toward his GED.

I don't want to push him because that only frustrates him, and besides, anything I say goes in one ear and out the other. He has a janitorial job two nights a week, and with his GED, he could do so much better.


I want him to get this done so we can properly start our lives together. How do I convince him? -- California Girl

Dear California: Your boyfriend has to want this for himself and be prepared to do the necessary hard work. Right now, he isn't willing. The best you can do is ask about his feelings on the subject and see where he stands. Being a janitor is a perfectly respectable job, although he should aim for full-time employment. Decide whether this is good enough for you, because it may be what you get.

Dear Annie: We rarely get a response from grandchildren to whom we send carefully selected gifts. I have concluded that it is mostly due to a pathetic lack of manners.

Children need to be trained to express appreciation for what is given to them, and the irony is that emailing is so quick and easy. The pervasive disappearance of even the most basic manners and consideration for others is cheapening our quality of life and sadly breeding some low-class citizens. Good manners are nothing more than the oil that lubricates human interaction. -- Disgusted in Florida


"Annie's Mailbox" is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2016. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at




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