Abby: Teen struggles to reconnect to alcoholic mom

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: My mom is a recovering alcoholic. Her alcoholism has caused emotional distress and damaged our relationship to the point that I am aloof and terse toward her.

She’s six months sober now, receiving help and making an effort to repair the hurt and pain she has caused. But I’m struggling in moving forward.

My mom is generous, kind, loving, and has always been supportive. I feel guilty for the part of me that could care less about fixing issues SHE caused in our relationship. It saddens both of us that I have a hard time being kind and loving toward her. Any advice?

Stubborn Teen in

South Carolina

Dear Teen: Alcoholism is a disease that affects not only the drinker, but also those close to her (or him). That your mother is getting help and working to remain sober means she is trying to get better and remain that way.

Forgiveness isn’t automatic. It is a conscious choice on the part of the injured party. To think you are alone in this situation would be a mistake. There’s a support group for younger family members of alcoholics called Alateen. If you attend some of the meetings, it may help you to be kinder and more loving toward your mother. Alateen groups are everywhere. To find one visit

Dear Abby: Recently I was late to work because I slept in and my boss was upset about it. But the thing is — it’s really none of his business, is it? What I do on my own time isn’t the business of my employer. I don’t ask him what he does when he isn’t here.

This has happened a few times and I know it might present a problem, but I don’t think it’s his place to tell me what to do outside of work. How is that legal?

I need extra sleep in the mornings because I like to stay out late at night, which is my right as an American. If I need extra sleep to perform my job at a higher level, then isn’t it better for the firm that I sleep in? I’m hearing blame when I should be hearing thank you.

My Business in Indiana

Dear My Business: Forgive me if this seems harsh, but your boss’s business IS his business. Businesses have regular hours of operation, which are usually stated in the employee handbook you should have read when you were being hired. It’s the duty of an employee to show up on time AND in condition to perform his/her job.

I’m not surprised your boss is upset. It’s a natural response when an employee who’s relied upon acts irresponsibly, which is what you have been doing. Because you prioritize your social life above your work life, consider looking for a job that starts later or has flexible hours. You may need it.

Dear Abby: Is it too late for me, a 53-year-old, to go back to school and get a degree and pursue a career I would enjoy?

Too Old 4 New Tricks?

Dear Too Old?: Contact the nearest university or college and ask if it offers career counseling and aptitude testing to determine what you would need to complete your education and find a career you’d be suited for.

Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.