Amy: Pals say drinking is a problem

  • Article by: AMY DICKINSON
  • January 19, 2013 - 2:06 PM

Dear Amy: Once a week a group of my friends gathers at one of our houses for dessert and to watch a popular television show. I hosted last week, and I had a glass of wine before people showed up.

I have a 1930s house and an old-style TV, whereas everyone else is in a new house with the biggest and best of everything. A friend's husband and I got onto the topic of old houses. It was not a friendly conversation. Frankly, I was buzzed. I can have a short temper, and I was seething during the conversation.

We managed to make it to the end of the show, but this friend's wife made a disparaging remark about my being drunk. I blew it out of proportion. I caught another close friend looking at me like "Who are you?"

Since this incident I have called both friends to see if they would talk this out. I don't drink daily or even weekly, but I did come from a house full of alcoholics. Mom could get verbally nasty when she drank. Is that where I get my temper? You read about people with Irish tempers throwing plates at each other (I'm Irish) -- is it genetic or learned behavior?

What should I do?

Amy says: Your behavior on this night, which you describe so honestly, is not specific to a particular ethnicity or culture. It's the booze talking, and this type of drunken rage is as common in a John Cheever story as it is in a Frank McCourt memoir.

These close friends are telling you that your drinking is a problem. You must believe them -- and admit it to yourself. It doesn't matter how often or how much you drink; your relationships are suffering, so you need to stop.

Because you have alcoholism in your family, you should not drink at all. You could pursue recovery, get information and find support through Alcoholics Anonymous. Go to to find a local meeting.

Bullying teacher

Dear Amy: A teen who wrote didn't know how to react to a teacher who demeaned and bullied her.

I can still remember my seventh-grade homeroom teacher, who I now realize was a genuine bully. I wish I had gone to my parents about this because I think they might have done something about it.

Amy says: I've heard from many readers with long-standing memories of teacher-bullies. I hope that current awareness is helping bullied kids find their voice.

Send questions via e-mail to Amy Dickinson at

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