Dear Abby: My brother is my best friend. He is also an alcoholic. It runs in our family, and he has been addicted for years. His drinking has affected me in several (minor) ways over the years, but I have always taken a hands-off approach, knowing I can’t force him to get help.
Well, his drinking is starting to affect my life in a more severe way now. I joined the local police force. I am afraid that my brother’s behavior could cost me my job if I’m seen with him while he acts out, or if I try to defend him.
I love my brother fiercely, and I don’t know what to do anymore. I feel like I need to avoid him, but I love him. Please help. — Challenged In The East
Dear Challenged: Establish some ground rules by explaining to your brother that although you love him, you cannot be seen with him if he has been drinking, for fear it will jeopardize your job. It’s a valid concern. Make clear that if he breaks the law, you will be unable to intercede for him.
You are not responsible for his addiction or for what he does when he’s under the influence. I’m not saying this will be emotionally easy for you, but you must let your brother suffer the consequences for his behavior if he acts out.
Dear Abby: I have severe asthma and allergies, and I’m particularly sensitive to bug sprays. If I’m exposed to them, my lips and tongue tingle for hours.
Every time my husband of 30 years sees a bug or even a small ant in our house, he reaches for the bug spray and saturates the house with it. Given the length of our marriage, he is well aware of how it affects me. I have asked him many times to please not use spray in the house, particularly when I am home, to no avail.
He did it again yesterday and got angry with me when I asked why. He reads your column, so I know he will see your response to my inquiry. What is your advice? — Fed Up In Florida
Dear Fed Up: Stop asking your husband not to use bug spray while you are in the house. Be proactive and throw it out! You clearly have a severe allergy to something in it, and for him to persist in spraying while you are on the premises strikes me as not only selfish but also as a form of assault that’s potentially very serious. Call an exterminator to have it professionally done. There are other, less toxic ways to get rid of pests, and you should go online and explore them.
Dear Abby: I asked a woman I know professionally if she’d be interested in having lunch. She said she would, and we had a lovely lunch — until the bill came. When I suggested we split it, she suggested I make it a business expense. I told her I couldn’t do that because it wasn’t a business lunch.
I know if you invite someone to lunch, you pay, but I didn’t think that’s what I did. I have done this before — and since — and everyone pays for themselves. Do I owe this woman an apology? — Everyone Pays In Texas
Dear Everyone: Not unless she became defensive. However, because you did the inviting, you should have paid the bill. If you want to lunch with her again, you should specify, “Let’s split it.”