DR. WALLACE: I'm a 20-year-old woman, and I'd like to use your column to warn other young women that drugs and pregnancy don't mix.
My husband and I were married four months after we graduated from high school. At that time, I smoked a little pot, and that was all. A "friend," who was also a co-worker, later introduced me to cocaine. Two months after I took my first hit, I became a heavy user.
When we found out I was pregnant, my husband was thrilled. He started buying toys and baby furniture for our new addition.
Well, our new addition didn't come at all. I lost my baby because I continued using cocaine. To make a long, painful story very short, my husband soon left me, my parents disowned me and my close friends deserted me. Why? They all disowned me because I was still addicted and was still using this powerful drug.
My life is close to being totally ruined. I pray every night that something or somebody will help me kick this killer habit.
Teens, please listen to what I'm telling you. Please don't fall into a horrible trap like I did. — Addicted and Abandoned
ADDICTED AND ABANDONED: Thanks for sharing and for caring enough to give words of wisdom to impressionable teens. Please know that by reaching out to help others, you may have taken the first step in saving yourself.
There is still hope for you. Addictions can be overcome, but in a case like yours, you must get support and treatment immediately. If you have nowhere else to turn, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration hotline at (800) 662-HELP, or (800) 662-4357. You appear to truly wish to escape the predicament that you find yourself in, and contacting this organization will provide you with a great first step toward taking control of your future.
Remember, it all starts with you. It's up to you to fight for yourself and take the necessary steps to make critical changes in your life. Thank you for being proactive enough to write to our column here. Now be similarly proactive and call this organization immediately so that they can help you. Please know that our readers, plus my team and I, are all rooting for you. We hear your cry for help, and we want you to immediately reach out to get the help you need.
WE FEED AND PAY OUR BABYSITTERS WELL
DR. WALLACE: I'm a mother responding to babysitters who claim they are underpaid and who are being asked to bring their own snacks. In my case, I have three children, and I pay my sitters $14 per hour — plus a little extra if I'm out later than expected or if the toys are all picked up and the house is tidy when I get home.
When my children beg me to call a certain babysitter, I know that she will do a good job and that she should be rewarded. I always make sure there are plenty of snacks available in our home, and I tell her where they are. In this crazy world we live in, when I find someone to trust my children, I treat her well. I think a lot of other mothers out there likely agree with my perspective on this topic. — Grateful Mom, via email
GRATEFUL MOM: Thank you for your feedback. The great majority of parents feel the same way when it comes to someone caring for their children. I trust many babysitters in this country are treated well by the parents of the children they babysit for.
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.