Life Advice



Ask Amy: Two perspectives on addiction and recovery

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

You could – at the very least – tell her how sorry you are that she is coping with this, remind her to do her very best to take good care of herself and to keep the children safe, and offer her ideas and resources where SHE can get help.

She may use blame and shame as a way to share her pain with you, but you don’t need to accept responsibility for your son’s relapses.

Do not continue to offer advice to your son. Only offer help if it supports his recovery.

Do not ask your daughter-in-law to stop contacting you. Let her know that her and the boys’ safety and well-being are extremely important to you.

I highly recommend a “friends and family” support group (like Al-anon) for all of you.

I also hope you will all read the immensely helpful book: “Addict in the House (A No-Nonsense Family Guide Through Addiction and Recovery),” by Robin Barnett (2016, New Harbinger).


Dear Amy: I had my last drink on March 17, 1981 and had quit drugs five years prior.

The subsequent years have been spent with recovery, discovering and treating the mental health issues, and hours of meetings and service.

It is my observation that addicts and alcoholics very often are self-medicating for mental health issues. Since these are family disorders, very many of us show signs of PTSD.

You might want to caution those who reach out to you in early recovery that part of the process can be violent mood swings and periods of rage as the body detoxes. Insomnia and nightmares can also be troubling. Fortunately, the worst is over within a few months.


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