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Dear Annie

Worried about enabling alcoholic friend

Annie Lane, syndicated columnist

Dear Annie: This is another letter about an alcoholic woman. I believe the people around her are enabling her drinking. They don’t catch on because she has convinced them and herself that her drinking is cool and sophisticated. Drinking liberates her, makes her the life of the party and the center of attention, which she craves. She says she handles life’s stress with humor, but in reality, she handles life’s stress with alcohol. She is not real anymore. I don’t know who she is, and I worry about the effect on her children.

She denies she has a problem and drinks all the more to prove herself right. And they laugh and devour her all the more. To those people, I say please, if you are truly her friend, look closely at the symptoms: Does she always have a glass of wine in her hand? Does she drink every day, and at every chance? Does she constantly joke about having a drink during times of stress? Look closely at her posts on social media, for they are very telling.

Please don’t ignore her need for help just so you can be one of her friends. Stop laughing and sharing jokes about her drinking. Stop covering up for her when she turns into a beast after the party is over. Stop treating her as though you are stepping on eggshells. Stop trying to hide it. Stop walking around the elephant in the room. Stop enabling her.

If you can’t find the words to question her, put this message in a letter, and send it anonymously, along with your love. Maybe, just maybe, our messages will end her denial. Please be a true friend. — Concerned

Dear Concerned: While you do sound like a concerned friend, you also sound like a very judgmental one. At this point, the best way to be a friend is to listen with compassionate ears.

Consider going to an Al-Anon meeting for friends and family members of alcoholics. When your friend is ready, she will hopefully start attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. The next letter offers a message of hope.

Editor’s note: “Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.

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