January 1, 2022

DEAR READERS: Welcome to 2022! A new year has arrived, and we leave the last one behind. As always, this new year brings with it our hopes for a new beginning.

Advertisement
Today presents an opportunity to discard destructive old habits for healthy new ones, and with that in mind, I will share Dear Abby's often-requested list of New Year's Resolutions -- which were adapted by my late mother, Pauline Phillips, from the original credo of Al-Anon:

JUST FOR TODAY: I will live through this day only. I will not brood about yesterday or obsess about tomorrow. I will not set far-reaching goals or try to overcome all of my problems at once. I know that I can do something for 24 hours that would overwhelm me if I had to keep it up for a lifetime.

JUST FOR TODAY: I will decide to be happy. I will not dwell on thoughts that depress me. If my mind fills with clouds, I will chase them away and fill it with sunshine.

JUST FOR TODAY: I will accept what is. I will face reality. I will correct those things that I can correct and accept those I cannot.

JUST FOR TODAY: I will improve my mind. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration. I will not be a mental loafer.

JUST FOR TODAY: I will make a conscious effort to be agreeable. I will be kind and courteous to those who cross my path, and I'll not speak ill of others. I will improve my appearance, speak softly and not interrupt when someone else is talking. Just for today, I will refrain from improving anybody but myself.

JUST FOR TODAY: I will do something positive to improve my health. If I'm a smoker, I'll quit. And I will get off the couch and take a brisk walk, even if it's only around the block.

JUST FOR TODAY: I will gather the courage to do what is right and take responsibility for my own actions.

And now, Dear Readers, allow me to share an item that was sent to me by L.J. Bhatia, a reader from New Delhi, India:

DEAR ABBY: This year, no resolutions, only some guidelines. The Holy Vedas say, "Man has subjected himself to thousands of self-inflicted bondages. Wisdom comes to a man who lives according to the true eternal laws of nature."

The prayer of St. Francis (of which there are several versions) contains a powerful message:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
And so, Dear Readers, may 2022 bring with it good health, peace and joy to all of us. 
-- LOVE, ABBY

WOMAN IS HURT TO BE KEPT  AT ARM'S LENGTH BY SISTER
Jan 2, 2021

DEAR ABBY: I have spent years trying to have a close relationship with my older sister, but it is clearly not a priority for her. We are very different people, but I was hoping our shared history and family bond would be enough for her to prioritize me and my son. We come from a very small family on both sides and, one day, we will be some of the few remaining family members.

I haven't heard from her in months during the pandemic, which has been hurtful. I'm a working single mother, trying to take care of my son during this dark time, and she hasn't bothered to check on us even once.

She once told me that the only things she cares about are her own son and her dogs. I don't understand how she can have such a loving heart for animals but no concern for her own family. She can be very selfish and has had no close girlfriends during her adulthood.

Growing up, she was jealous of me, but I thought things would be different after I struggled with a divorce and other life stressors. I received no support from her during my divorce. In fact, she seemed to take my ex's side despite his having emotionally abused me for years. Should I expect that we will ever have a closer relationship or just accept that it won't happen? -- HURT IN ALABAMA

DEAR HURT: If your description of your sister is accurate, she has drawn a tight circle around herself that she doesn't want breached. You stated that the two of you are very different people, but on some level you haven't allowed yourself to accept what that means. You will be hurt less once you accept that your fantasy of closeness with her will never happen.

For whatever reasons, she isn't capable of giving you what you need. You will find the closeness you crave by developing stronger relationships with your friends. Sadly, for your sister, she won't give herself the gift of these important and rewarding kinds of experiences.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O.Box 69440 Los Angeles, CA 90069.
LOST IN THE SOUTH
March 21, 2021

DEAR ABBY: I have been married to a functioning alcoholic for more than 30 years. He was once funny and nice and a good dad. But over the years he has become unbearable to live with. He doesn't shower or brush his teeth. He was always mainly a beer drinker, but now he is drinking hard liquor and stays drunk most of the time he is awake.
    I told him I thought he was depressed and a severe alcoholic, and he should talk to his doctor, but he refuses. I am pretty sure he is drinking on the job, and I'm scared he will hurt himself. I am ready to leave him, but afraid that if I do, he will be completely lost.

DEAR LOST: You don't need me to tell you that your husband is in bad shape. I don't know what his job involves, but if he's interacting with others, I am surprised he can get away with having such poor hygiene and being stoned on alcohol.
    Because he refuses to talk to his doctor about this, you should. I hope you are beginning to realize that you cannot "save" him.  I have mentioned Al-Anon many times in my column. The organization is an offshoot of Alcoholics Anonymous and was started to help families and friends of individuals who are unable to control their drinking. Find one by going to al-anon.org/info.
There are many more Dear Abby articles dealing with alcoholism.
HomeWelcomePublicationsMeetingsProfessionalsDearAbbyEventsAlateenSocialNetworksAA

Lubbock Al-Anon Information Service
[email protected]
   Questions?     Comments?
Welcome to Al-Anon Family Groups
​MOM REMAINS CHUMMY WITH SON'S EX
January 9, 2022

The challenge is our mom, who is a daily drinker. She misses her drinking buddy and continues to hang out with Jenny. My brother has told Mom it makes it harder for him to make a clean break, but she continues to meet regularly with Jenny.

I told Mom I have chosen not to contact Jenny because it hurts my brother. Mom responded that she will continue to see her, and that they don't talk about my brother (not true), so she can't understand the problem. Are we unfair for preferring a clean break for everyone? -- GOING FORWARD IN THE WEST

DEAR GOING FORWARD: You are not unfair, but this isn't your decision. It is your brother's and your mother's. Of course she doesn't want to give up her drinking buddy! You stated that she drinks every day. One of the warning signs of alcoholism is when someone's drinking disrupts relationships. Your mother's drinking is now negatively affecting her relationship with her husband, her son and you.

Because it appears she's unwilling to give up her drinking and gossip sessions with Jenny, it might be helpful for the rest of you to attend some Al-Anon meetings and learn to cope with this. You will find meetings are available online and almost everywhere if you visit al-anon.org/info.