Editor's Note: "Dear Annie," by Annie Lane, is the successor column to "Annie's Mailbox," whose writers, Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, have retired.
Dear Annie: I'm a 21-year-old college junior. I love college for every reason you would think.
I love the autonomy to select my own classes and study the things that interest me. I love the freedom to make my own schedule. I love being treated like an adult, in that nobody is making sure I go to class or do my schoolwork.
I also love college for the parties. Though I am by no means a lush, I go out and drink heavily Thursday, Friday and Saturday night almost every week. Most of those nights, I cannot remember chunks of the evening. I know that this might be jarring to hear, but it's the norm in college. The joke around campus is to ask your friends the next morning, "Did we see each other last night?"
I'm sure most doctors or alcohol treatment professionals would say that I (or a large percentage of American college kids) have a drinking problem, but it really doesn't feel that way. I have a cumulative 3.4 GPA, and I am telling you, everyone drinks and blacks out. It's not a big deal. So my question is: What's all the fuss about when it comes to blacking out? Isn't it just a rite of passage? — Fuzzy Student
Dear Fuzzy: Blacking out is not normal. Let me repeat: Blacking out is not normal. It might seem as if everyone is doing it, but people with drinking problems have a way of conveniently overestimating how much everyone else is drinking.
I would be willing to wager that your peers aren't blacking out so much as you think. If they are, you may be seeking out heavy drinkers to normalize your behavior.
I won't try to scare you out of drinking — mostly because that wouldn't work but also because drinking in moderation can be fine, if you can do it. So try it. Slow way down, and stop earlier. If you can't, then you have a problem. And the fact that you're writing to me indicates that on some level, you already know.
Dear Annie: My husband is obsessed with fantasy sports leagues. Right now, it's baseball. It's the first thing he does when he wakes up in the morning and the last thing he does before he goes to sleep at night, and it takes up a lot of the time in between. I am so sick of coming downstairs to see him glued to his iPad, checking scores and doing whatever else people do for fantasy leagues. I really don't understand any of it.
He's retired, so he has plenty of free time to waste on this stuff. He does have other hobbies. He plays golf and tennis and occasionally volunteers at the soup kitchen. But as soon as he gets home, it's right back to his iPad. When we go out to eat, he's constantly checking his phone. I feel invisible. Do you have any tips on how I can get him to spend more time in the real world? — Tired of Fantasy
Dear Tired: You are not alone. Often referred to as "fantasy widows" or "sports widows," the wives of men who are obsessed with fantasy leagues share the same complaints. Their husbands seem utterly possessed, spending countless hours in front of the TV or computer and paying very little attention to their families.
If you're at all interested in sports, you could try participating in a league with him. This could help you understand what he's so passionate about. And who knows? It might even be fun.
If that doesn't appeal to you, then tell your husband how you feel — without harshly judging the hobby he cares so much about. Remember, you're on the same team.
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Photo credit: Kurt Bauschardt