DR. WALLACE: I'm 15 and live with my mother, who is divorced from my father and also from her second husband. During the week, when my mother works, she tells me how good I am, how much she loves me and how proud she is of me.
But on the weekends, she turns into a monster. Mom is an alcoholic. She has a good job and rarely misses work because she only drinks on the weekends. When she is drinking, she is a different person. She says she hates me and wishes I were never born.
I try to tell her to stop drinking, but she just says to mind my own business. She never hits me, but she threatens to. Sometimes I wonder if, deep down, she really does hate me. What should I do when she is drinking? I would rather have no mother than one who drinks. — Nameless, Brunswick, Ga.
NAMELESS: You need to join Alateen. Look up Al-Anon Family Groups in your local telephone book and call to ask where the nearest Alateen group meets, or write to Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, 1600 Corporate Landing Parkway, Virginia Beach, Va. 233454-5617.
Alateen is a fellowship of teenagers who are relatives and friends of alcoholics. Your mother does love her daughter, but her love is trumped by drinking. Alcoholics usually hate themselves, which causes them to act as though they hate everyone around them. Because they can't face their self-loathing, they take their hostility out on others. Don't argue with Mom when she's drinking; indeed, whenever possible, avoid being around her at all when she's in that state.
You will learn in Alateen that alcoholism is a disease. Though it cannot be cured, alcoholics can choose to stop hating themselves, stop drinking alcohol and begin leading happy, productive and loving lives. I know this is what you want for your mom. With courage, perseverance and support from Alateen, you can help bring this about.
TAKE YOUR PROFESSOR'S ADVICE
DR. WALLACE: I'm in my first year of college and required to pass two semesters of a foreign language. I decided to take French, but I'm having a tough time. I took three years of Spanish in high school and didn't have one problem. That's probably because my parents and I speak Spanish at home.
My professor advised me to drop French with no grade and take Spanish next semester. I really wanted to learn another language, but not at the expense of my grade point average. What do you think I should do? — Lupe, El Paso, Tex.
LUPE: Take your professor's advice. It is very difficult and time-consuming to learn a foreign language at the college level without prior classwork at the secondary-school level. Fulfill your foreign language requirement by taking Spanish. If you want to learn French, inquire if you can audit the class (take it without getting a grade) next year.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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