Amy: Controlling alcoholic about to lose last friend

  • Article by: AMY DICKINSON
  • October 5, 2013 - 2:00 PM

Dear Amy: We have a friend who is a controlling alcoholic. Her husband of more than 25 years divorced her seven years ago due to her abusive behavior. The only one surprised was her. Her own adult children knew it was only a matter of time.

My friend denies she has a drinking problem, partly because she is able to function at her job. She is so controlling that she will tell you how to drive, demand you lower the radio and tell you where to park the car, where to sit, what to order in a restaurant, how to pay the bill — and will scold you if you do things different from how she wants.

I am the last remaining friend in our once happy group of four.

I guess I feel sorry for her because deep down inside I feel she is a caring, nice person. She brings up the other friends who don’t see her any more. I don’t want to be the one to say to her that at our age she is just too much work to be friends with. What do you suggest?

Amy says: In addition to this friendship being very frustrating for you, it must also be heartbreaking. Now is the time to be a very brave friend — and tell her she has a drinking problem.

Let her know, “Your drinking is killing you, and it is killing our friendship. Please get help.” Write your own script, and practice it. Talk to her in person, when she is sober. Expect her to respond in anger. And repeat: “I care about you. Please get help.” You can point her toward AA meetings and offer to meet her for coffee afterward. But she is responsible for making the commitment to sobriety.

Advice for grieving dad

Dear Amy: My heart goes out to the reader who was left to raise three teenagers while struggling with his own grief.

My mom died suddenly, leaving behind 15- and 13-year-old daughters with a shocked dad who couldn’t boil water or relate to girls. In hindsight, we may have benefited by counseling, but instead we pushed through with the help of extended family and friends. My father showed his strength by working and providing financial stability.

Tell the reader to build healthy relationships with his children and make new family memories. Share stories of their mom. Be patient, as things will get better over time. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss my mom, but I’m grateful she chose the mate she did. I say: Be strong, have faith and courage. Take life day by day. You can do it.

Amy says: Many readers responded to this grief-stricken father. I hope he reads this response and takes heart. Thank you.

Send questions via e-mail to Amy Dickinson at

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