DR. WALLACE: I'm 19 and dating an older guy who is very good to me, but he has one flaw that really worries me. He is a recreational user of cocaine, and he says he is not addicted to it and only uses it when he is at home in his apartment and does not have to drive anywhere. Luke says that he can stop anytime he wants to, or if I feel strongly about it and want him to stop. I really would rather he quits completely, but I don't want to sound like I'm trying to run his life by demanding that he stop using it. What should I do? — Kelly, Las Vegas.
KELLY: If there's anything to be "demanding" about, it's the cessation of cocaine use. The drug is a life-destroyer. It's as addictive as they come and causes the physical, emotional and spiritual deterioration of the user. For many addicts, the only way out is death.
So by all means, ask — demand — that Luke stop using cocaine immediately. I hope he will, but I fear, despite his assurances to the contrary, that he's already hooked and unable to quit on his own. Most regular users need special assistance to become cocaine-free. Insist that he do what's necessary to get off this substance, and don't stay with him if he gives you excuses instead of immediate action.
STAY WITH MOM
DR. WALLACE: My parents are divorced. My dad is re-marrying in a few weeks, and my mom is also in a couple of months.
My mom told me that after she gets married we will move to another town. My best friend wants me to stay here and live with my dad because she will miss me. I know I will miss my friends, but my mom wants me to live with her and I want to. Besides this, my dad never mentioned that he wanted me to live with him.
I tried to explain things to my friend, but she says I'm just giving up and not trying. I really don't want my parents to get into a hassle over this, but my friend means a lot to me. What do you think I should do? — Nameless, St. Paul, Minn.
NAMELESS: In your letter you stated, "Mom wants me to live with her and I want to." I agree! Stay with your mom.
DID I SAY SOMETHING WRONG?
DR. WALLACE: My best friend and I are both 15, and we have always spent a lot of time together. That is, we did before this new boyfriend entered her life. We used to be super close and talked on the phone every night. But now this boy takes up all her time, and about the only time I get to see her is once a week in church.
Last Sunday, I was feeling really out of sorts, and I told her I was tired of playing second fiddle to some guy. I told her she didn't need to spend every waking moment talking to him on the phone or seeing him. This leaves no time for her to see or talk to me, her best friend.
She never answered me. She got mad and just turned on her heel and walked away. Was I wrong to tell her this? — Paula, Oakland, Calif.
PAULA: Yes, you were. What you said was self-centered and confrontational, hardly the way a friend would act. You gave your friend an ultimatum: "Choose me or your boyfriend." This sort of challenge usually backfires. In your case, it was a good way to lose a best friend.
You owe your friend an apology. Call her and let her know you still want to be friends, and say you are sorry for your poor choice of words.
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.