Editor's Note: Hundreds of Ann Landers' loyal readers have requested that newspapers continue to publish her columns. These letters originally appeared in 1999.
Dear Ann Landers: Twenty years ago, when I was in my early 20s, you printed a column about marijuana. You expressed concern that marijuana may have "taken a generation of doers and turned them into a generation of dreamers." That single sentence was my wake-up call.
I used to smoke pot daily. I somehow managed to get through college (barely) and hold down a job, but I didn't feel connected to anything, and I wasn't getting anywhere. Every night, I would get high and write down in a journal all the things I planned to do. After reading your column, I realized I had been doing the same thing year after year, getting nowhere. I decided I had to quit smoking pot.
I can't begin to tell you how my life changed. I became bored with my party animal boyfriend and later married a wonderful man I wouldn't have looked at twice while I was hanging out with the doper crowd. I went back to school, earned a master's degree and got an excellent position with a Fortune 500 company. I also developed some badly needed self-esteem. It was your column on marijuana that helped me turn my life around, and I want to write a belated thank-you. — Margie in Tennessee
Dear Tennessee: I very much appreciate your generous letter. Please keep reading for one that should be of special interest to you:
Dear Ann Landers: Last fall, my teenage son began smoking marijuana and was soon totally out of control. I sent him away to a special program for a short period of time. He is much better now, but I was heartsick at the time and could not understand how my son got into so much trouble.
Two weeks ago, the truth came out, and I am furious.
Last summer, I sent my two teenagers to visit their uncle and aunt across the country. I decided it would be a good way for my brother and his wife to get to know their niece and nephew. I also believed that my brother would be a good role model. I was mistaken. He and his wife smoked pot in front of my kids, offered it to them and made them promise not to tell me.
My brother believes marijuana is not harmful, even though their oldest daughter has been in trouble with the law because of cocaine. I remember reading in your column that most cocaine addicts start with pot. My brother and his wife insist there is no connection between their casual use of pot and their child's current problems. I am so angry about this that I am considering a break with the entire family. — A Canadian Mom
Dear Mom: A pox on your brother and his wife for introducing your son to marijuana. Be thankful the "special program" was a success and forget about becoming estranged from the entire family. Next summer, see that your son has a local job and keep your eye on the companions he hangs out with. This is the best insurance that he will not go down that disastrous road again. Good luck.
To find out more about Ann Landers and read her past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.
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