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Published December 10, 2010, 12:00 AM

Annie's Mailbox: Free drug treatment centers exist

Dear Annie: I am a 27-year-old man living with a girlfriend and our 3-year-old daughter. I have a serious problem with drugs, mainly prescription pills.

By: Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, INFORUM

Dear Annie: I am a 27-year-old man living with a girlfriend and our 3-year-old daughter. I have a serious problem with drugs, mainly prescription pills. I have tried to quit many times, unsuccessfully. When I don’t have any drugs for 12 hours, I get very sick. I don’t have the money to pay for rehab.

Are there inexpensive places that work with struggling addicts? If I don’t stop, I’m going to destroy the relationship I have with my daughter, and I could end up losing my life. If you have any information, my family and I would greatly appreciate it. – Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired in Tennessee

Dear Tennessee: The fact that you are seeking help is a good sign, and we have confidence you can be successful in getting through the withdrawal symptoms with a little assistance. Your local hospitals should be your first step in locating help. You also can find community-based services through the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (csat.samhsa.gov) at (800) 662-4357 and the online recovery resource soberrecovery.com, which has listings of free treatment centers in your state.


Dear Annie: My husband is a very generous man. Most of our friends reciprocate in some way, but one person takes advantage. “Tony” lets my husband pay his way everywhere. He even brings people with him. He showed up at our rented vacation condo with his grown son and daughter. When he comes to our home for dinner, he brings uninvited guests with him. Tony never offers to treat us to a meal or anything else.

When Tony was out of work, I put up with it, but he’s employed now and makes good money. He recently purchased a pair of $300 sunglasses. How do I tell him this is not right? It doesn’t seem to bother my husband at all. He considers Tony his best friend. Help me, Annie. He is making me not like him. – Mooch for a Friend

Dear Friend: Don’t talk to Tony. Talk to your husband, and explain that Tony’s freeloading habits are getting on your nerves. However, this is your husband’s best friend, and he may be unwilling to treat him differently. Register your complaint, but don’t issue any ultimatums.


Dear Annie: My heart goes out to “Need Patience,” the woman who is the caregiver for her rude 92-year-old mother. You told her to ignore her mother’s nasty comments and criticisms because “it is unlikely you are going to change her.”

I disagree. Unless her mother has a personality-altering disease, there is no reason she cannot behave courteously toward her daughter.

I am not advocating that the daughter respond in kind, but there is nothing wrong in saying gently, “Mom, you probably don’t realize it, but when you say things like that to me, it really hurts. I love you, but you make me feel like you don’t love or respect me.” Unless the daughter bluntly tells her mother how she feels, nothing will change. What a sad legacy.

I went through the same thing with my mother but refused to accept her nasty behavior. It wasn’t easy, but it was absolutely worth it – for both of us. I’m glad I didn’t listen to those who told me, “She’s old. She won’t change.” They were wrong. I followed my heart instead. Now my memories are of the love and good times we shared at the end of her life instead of remembering the hurtful behavior. I wish the same joy to “Needs Patience.” – Been There, Done That, Have the T-Shirt

Dear Been There: We commend you for finding a way to get through to your mother and modify her behavior. “Needs Patience” spoke to her mother and asked her to stop making nasty comments, but it didn’t help. Perhaps if she sees your letter, she will try again.


Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net or write to Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Suite 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.

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