Dear Annie: I want to share a personal story that I decided to be very public about: I'm a recovering alcoholic. The irony of my situation is that I made a successful career out of writing about using alcohol to cope with the stresses of parenthood in books and in my Web column.
Then one morning I woke up with the hangover from hell (I actually ended up in the emergency room), and that was literally the turning point: I got the message loud and clear that my life was a mess, and alcohol was making it that way. I remember when I "'fessed up" to the readers of my blog, "Baby on Bored." I was terrified that they'd think I was this enormous hypocrite. Instead, I got countless responses from women thanking me and recounting their own stories about their secret drinking.
April 5, 2012, is National Alcohol Screening Day(r) (NASD). Thousands of colleges, community-based organizations and military installations participate in NASD. One element of the day that people should know about is the free and anonymous screenings available online. The screenings help individuals assess whether they should visit a clinician or take a similar course of action to get a handle on their drinking. The screenings can be accessed anytime at howdoyouscore.org.
Alcohol is a problem for more people than one might think — including the "cocktail moms" I've written about. It's a health issue that's treatable, but it needs to be brought out into the open. National Alcohol Screening Day plays a big part in doing this. Sincerely — Stefanie Wilder-Taylor
Dear Stefanie Wilder-Taylor: Thank you for sharing your story and underscoring the importance of screening for alcoholism. Our readers have told us in heartbreaking letters how alcohol has destroyed their lives and those of their loved ones. Once again, those who wish to be screened can do so at howdoyouscore.org
Dear Annie: My daughter is getting married this summer, and my husband and I are upset about the informality of the groomsmen's attire. They are planning to wear only tuxedo pants, shirts and vests. No tie, no jacket.
This is going to be a formal church wedding, and I have spent a lot of money on my daughter's dress. My husband feels this shows a lack of respect for my daughter. What is the best way to handle this without issuing an ultimatum? — Bride's Parents
Dear Parents: If you are not footing the bill, you don't have much say. Not to mention, this could be a way for the groomsmen to save money. If you are paying for everything, you should ask your daughter how she feels about it, and let her talk to her fiance. Otherwise, please stay out of it. What the groomsmen wear is of little importance to the rest of the day, and once they start dancing, the jackets and ties come off anyway. Creating ill-will before the wedding, however, will last a very long time.
Dear Annie: I didn't care for your response to "Senior Citizen Who Respects Women." You said: "Many readers pointed out that these women may not wish to have sex outside of marriage, a perfectly respectable position. If that's the case, however, they should tell him so he understands the ground rules and doesn't keep badgering them."
Why should the women have to explain themselves? Even if everyone else is having premarital sex, a lady doesn't have to give reasons for being inaccessible. And it's insulting to assume she would otherwise crawl in the sack. — Lois
Dear Lois: As a matter of etiquette, no woman is required to explain a refusal to become intimate. As a practical matter, however, if you want to keep dating a man who keeps asking about sex, it helps to explain your position.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.