Dear Annie: I’m worried that my boyfriend is abusing his prescription drugs. He goes for days without taking them and then takes several times the recommended doses all at once. He says he likes the intense rush he feels when he takes them this way. (They’re stimulants.) I’ve expressed concern repeatedly. Every few months, things get really bad, and he vows to cut back. But after a couple of weeks, it’s back to the same scary routine. It makes me so sad to see him treating his body and mind this way. The past six months has been exhausting for me, and I’m about ready to give up. Is there anything I can do to help him stop, or is he a lost cause? I’ve been thinking about issuing an ultimatum: It’s me or the drugs.
— Very Worried in Virginia
Dear Very Worried: Your boyfriend is definitely abusing his prescription drugs. He is deliberately taking them in a way that is inconsistent with the way his doctor prescribed them to achieve a high. That is textbook abuse. He needs to seek help for his problem. You can encourage him to do so, but you can’t make him. Nothing you do can control his addiction, not even an ultimatum — though you can certainly still give him one, for your own sake. It should be said more as a statement of fact than as a threat: “I can’t be with you if you continue to abuse drugs.” Only say this if you really mean it; otherwise, you’d end up undermining yourself.
Remember that you can’t live your life around another person’s addiction — though I know that’s easier said than done. You might find some strength and comfort through Nar-Anon, a 12-step program for the family and friends of addicts. Find a meeting in your area at https://www.nar-anon.org.
Dear Annie: I am writing to remind those who have good hearing to show some sensitivity to those of us who do not. I wear hearing aids and try to be courteous if I don’t hear something that is said to me by politely asking for it to be repeated. Quite often, the response is, “Aren’t you wearing your hearing aids?” And it is spoken irritably (particularly by my husband). This comment is hurtful and usually results in my withdrawing from the conversation. Yes, I am wearing my hearing aids. I have them serviced regularly, and they are the best ones I can afford. So please, think about how your words affect others. Hearing loss is difficult enough. Please don’t make it worse for us by being rude.
— Sad Senior, Age 70
Dear Sad Senior: Sometimes our patience is shortest with those whom we’ve known the longest. That doesn’t make it OK for your husband to snap at you, however. Let him know how it makes you feel when he immediately asks whether you’re wearing your hearing aids anytime you ask him to repeat something. Let’s hope he’ll make an effort to be more patient and compassionate — something we could all stand to do. Thank you for writing.