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Dear Annie: How to Help a Friend with a Problem Adult Son

Dear Annie: I am writing to you about the adult son of a friend of mine. This young man, “Dwayne,” has had a bad couple of years. He was kicked out of the military, divorced and had terrible child custody problems.

My friend loves her son very much, but he is rather lazy. He has had several jobs but doesn’t keep them, mainly because he is too lazy to get to work on time or even go on a regular basis.

Dwayne is addicted to sleeping pills. My friend wants to kick her son out with no car, no money and no place to go, but she is afraid that if she were to do this, he might not survive.

I do not know what to say to her. It is very easy being on the outside looking in with advice. I have told her that Dwayne sounds depressed. She has taken him to a doctor to be put on medication, but after a few weeks, he stopped taking it.

What is my friend to do? Please do not suggest counseling, as he won’t go.

— Afraid for My Friend

Dear Afraid: As much as your friend is trying to help her son, her efforts are most likely getting in the way of his truly hitting rock bottom and learning how to help himself. Kicking Dwayne out would be the healthiest decision for both of them. It might be what spurs him to seek help — though your friend can’t hold herself responsible for that either way.

For parents watching their adult children struggle with addiction, the idea of letting go often seems crazy and impossible. It’s for this reason that I recommend seeking the strength, solidarity and guidance that support groups such as Al-Anon, Nar-Anon, LifeRing and SMART Recovery offer. Encourage your friend to attend a few meetings.

                                                               •        •        •

Dear Annie: In response to “Love to Read,” who is upset at seeing the F-word appear in contemporary novels, you sided with her and said, “Usually, anything said with the F-word could be better said without it. More than anything, it’s lazy.”

I think this stance is a bit too harsh. As a person, I avoid profanity and completely agree that such words are a lazy means of expressing oneself, but as a writer, I try to represent my characters and who they are as people. And some people swear — so in dialogue, I must represent such characters truthfully.

Although there are many book genres that are more prone to violence and profanity — suspense and crime novels, for example — many book genres are less prone to profanity, such as women’s lit and inspirational romance.

I suggest that “Love to Read” be a little more selective in her genre choice when reading. Not every genre is for every reader, but there are so many genres to choose from that I’m sure she will find novels more suited to her taste.

— Love to Write

Dear Love to Write: A fair point, and I’m happy to have a novelist’s take on this issue. Thank you for writing.

                                                               •        •        •

— A native Californian, Annie Lane writes her Dear Annie advice columns from her home outside New York City, where she lives with her husband, two kids and two dogs. Her debut book, Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie, features favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette. Email your Dear Annie questions to [email protected]. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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