Dear Amy: My daughter is two years sober from her heroin addiction, and she lives at home with us. She moved home after hitting rock bottom and agreeing to enter recovery. It has been a difficult process, but it is an extraordinary accomplishment, and we are very proud of her!
She deals with anxiety, depression, ADHD, LD, OCD and an eating disorder. She has lost all of her friends, a nice boyfriend and the respect of many family members. Her father and I are all she has left.
The thing is I can't stand living with her anymore. I actually dislike her much of the time. At certain times of the day, before her meds kick in, she can be a really wretched person, and even on a good day, she can be negative and unpleasant.
We have been to counseling and NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), but can't find a workable solution. She is not physically and emotionally able to work more than a part-time job, and we can't afford to support her in her own place.
I feel that we are stuck with her forever, and I resent coming home after a long day at work to her in the house.
She is my child and I am supposed to love her, but I don't feel any compassion anymore. What to do?
Amy says: I wonder if there is a (relatively) inexpensive way you can perhaps modify your home so that you and your spouse have more privacy, while still maintaining a supportive proximity to your daughter. Some drywall and a small kitchen unit (available for less than $1,000) might transform her living space into an efficiency.
Continuing her recovery with a goal of perhaps transitioning to a sober living house might give all of you something to aim for — her drug counselor or therapist might have additional ideas.
It is vital that you find ways to take care of yourselves during this very stressful time. Getting together with other caregivers through a "friends and family" support group such as Nar-Anon (nar-anon.org) will connect you with other caregivers who can also offer strategies and support.
Business class or bust
Dear Amy: My wife (67) and I (73) have worked and saved long and hard so we could enjoy business-class travel in our retirement. One of the benefits is being able to spend long layovers in the airline's lounge, rather than in a crowded concourse.
Another couple recently decided to join us on a trip to Europe. Even though they have more money than we do, they are so cheap they won't even buy an upgraded economy-class ticket.
Now my wife says we should not use the business-class lounge privileges because our companions are so cheap.
We've all agreed that we don't need to be joined at the hip, so why do I need to babysit them in a crowded airport when I've paid good money to use the lounge?
Amy says: Your friends aren't banging on the door of the business lounge, insisting that you let them in. So don't blame them for traveling the way they want to travel.
Your wife might genuinely want to hang out with this other couple. When you're with friends on an adventure, crowded airport terminals don't matter as much.
If skipping this quieter experience means that you are going to be grumpy and unpleasant, then by all means kick back in the business lounge and tell your wife and friends that you'll meet them at the gate.
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