After dinner I have either bottled water or a cup of hot tea.
I’m worried I’m drinking. Am I an alcoholic?
Affected: Let’s agree that you have a drinking problem. Why label your usual drinking a “problem”? Because you’re worried enough to ask about it.
The newer term for alcoholism is “alcohol disorder”
Have friends or family members noticed that you are drinking? Do not let people call you after 6 p.m. 20, because you are disabled? Do you lack social or other opportunities because of your routine?
An obvious way to tackle your worries is to cut back. You can cut your consumption in half by substituting seltzer with flavoring for a cocktail and a glass of wine (drink it from your favorite glass).
A more recent tradition in Britain is trapped in North America: dry January. This is where you start the year by abstaining from alcohol throughout the month. Refraining for a period of time helps people measure the amount of alcohol they normally drink and can lead to more attention and healthier habits for the rest of the year.
Dear Amy: I am a doctor. I’m in the front line treating covide patients. I have seen the cycle of fear, sadness and guilt when I tell a patient that they have tested positive. Then again, when I see the family go through their cycle of denial, anger and sadness while I give them a phone call that their loved one is really dying.
I know I’m not the only provider who has experienced this, or the first time you hear this story.
I have a long distance relationship with someone who is not in medicine. Since the beginning of this pandemic, we knew that because of our jobs, traveling to see each other would be limited. I spent hours on the phone with him and told him about scenes in the hospital as if they were clips from a war movie. He has mourned with me over the state of our world.
We have a week to see each other over Thanksgiving. He wants to see his family, which I support. But he is convinced he will not wear a mask during the visit. After seeing so many patients with similar stories of exposure after a family reunion, I feel like I can’t attend.
I am so disappointed with his choice not to practice public health guidance. I know I should not, but it’s hard not to take it personally when he knows what I’ve been through as a doctor.
I know we all struggle to make decisions about what feels both good and safe when it comes to seeing our families for the holidays. But I can not help but be crushed when the simple goal of wearing a mask seems uneasy?
Dr. Hope: I am also shattered in solidarity with you and your colleagues, who react first, and with the number of families for whom the holiday season will not be a time of celebration, but to mourn their loss.
This is a brief moment in our history. It seems selfish as well as short-sighted for people to refuse to take sensible measures to protect themselves and others.
Given your situation, I can understand why you take this personally. I assume you get tested often, but given that your potential exposure also puts your friend and his family members at some risk, making his choice seem even more idiotic.
Dear Amy: Thank you for your encouragement for families to save and archive old letters from family members. Soon enough, the current generation does not have much access to written material. Email and Facebook messages just do not translate the way paper-based messages do.
Fan of letters: Many of us have taken up pen and paper during the pandemic; it is a small bright spot in a hard time.
2020 by Amy Dickinson distributed by Tribune Content Agency