Life Advice



Ask Amy: Spouse worries about husband’s drinking

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Your husband has alcohol use disorder, and – as with other serious medical disorders (his cancer, for instance) – in order for him to get well, he requires treatment and follow-up care.

If you want to continue to help him, it might be wisest for you to focus on his cancer diagnosis and treatment. Make sure his physicians know about his alcoholism. I’m assuming that alcohol could prove extremely toxic along with other drugs he might be prescribed for cancer treatment. His team might prescribe a medication to assist him in staying off of alcohol (several medications have FDA approval for treating alcohol use disorder).

Sometimes ultimatums (“Stop drinking or I’ll leave”) do work, but I believe it might be more powerful and useful for you to make a choice based on your own needs and capacities – and so an alternative would be for you to simply separate with no strings attached while you focus on your own self-care. You can then continue to make choices about the relationship, based on your own judgment and non-negotiables, as well as his needs.

And – as always – when coping with the addiction disorder of a loved one, Al-Anon could be a game-changer for you.

This is how Al-Anon defines detachment: “Separating ourselves from the adverse effects of another person’s alcoholism can be a means of detaching: this does not necessarily require physical separation. Detachment can help us look at our situations realistically and objectively.” Check for more.

Dear Amy: My boyfriend and I play tennis at a local park.


We disagree on how to handle the following: A man used the court's back fence as a practice soccer goal. He lined up his shot and kicked the ball into the fence directly behind where we were playing.

He did this over and over again as if we were not there.

I wanted to talk to him. My boyfriend objected, stating that I should be aware of and sensitive to perception.

The man happened to be Hispanic, while we happen to be white. I would talk to anyone who exhibited this type of intrusive behavior to our playing regardless of race/ethnicity, in a pleasant way.


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