DR. WALLACE: I enjoy your column, and I agree with your principles, especially when you encourage people to seek counseling, as you recently did to a young woman who wrote to you.
I had always rolled my eyes at counseling until our son got involved with drugs and alcohol when he was in his teens. I wouldn't wish that anyone have to go through this type of excruciating ordeal. I remember waiting up until all hours of the night for him to come home — pacing the floor, driving all over town trying to find him or even following him when he went out. But in the end, none of it helped.
Finally, in an act of desperation, my wife confided in a close friend and discovered her son was doing the same thing, but she and her husband joined an Al-Anon Group for parents of children who are using drugs and/or alcohol.
We both went to a meeting. There were 26 parents, mostly couples. I still felt this group would do us no good, but after several meetings, we started regaining control of our lives. There was little we could do at that particular point for our son, but we needed to educate ourselves before we could expect to help our son.
In time, we gained back the control of our lives, and miraculously, our son started to come around as well. We ended up going to counseling for two years without him, and over time, our words, attitude and household rules actually rubbed off on him. Now he is working and in control of his life. He is once again a positive member of our family.
So, to those readers who may scoff at counseling as I once did, think again! We swallowed our pride, and now we have a healthy, happy family. — Happy Father, via email
HAPPY FATHER: Thank you for sharing your story with our readers and with many other parents who can relate to what you went through. I'm sure there are many parents who currently feel as isolated and helpless as you did back in the early days of your own family's ordeal.
Your letter will help them understand that they are not alone and that there are things family members can do to help turn a bleak situation around.
BOYFRIEND IS ADDICTED TO JUNK FOOD
DR. WALLACE: Please tell me what to do about my unique situation. My boyfriend is literally a junk food junkie! All he ever eats is fast food, candy or salty snacks from the local convenience stores like 7-Eleven.
When we go out, I often suggest we eat some healthy food at the many local places that offer it. Many places have healthy, reasonably priced takeout sandwiches and salads available that I'd love to eat!
I don't ever eat junk food, but when we go out together to get something to eat, it always seems we go to a fast food restaurant. I find a salad or something I can choke down there, even though the quality is usually lacking. I've asked him to go to a healthy restaurant with me a few times. He always says, "Next time," but when "next time" comes, he always does and says the same thing.
What can I do about this? I'm sick and tired of the same old, same old. — Healthy Eater, via email
HEALTHY EATER: Well, you could bring some food with you when you go out with him in the future, but that kind of defeats the purpose. Tell him that any good relationship involves compromise and mutual respect and that you expect him to be flexible with your reasonable requests. If you can get him to at least try a few healthy meals with you, he may find that he can enjoy healthier food.
If, however, he continues to insist on doing everything his way 100% of the time, consider that to be an important indicator of the overall health and stability of your relationship. After all, it's not as if you're asking to drag him to women's clothing stores for hours at a time!
Your requests here are more than reasonable; his actions and excuses are not. Get him to focus on compromise — or find another guy who cares enough about you to consider your wishes to eat healthy food for least every other date.
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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