Dear Abby:

I am 26 and a single mother. My parents divorced when I was a teenager, but they have always been there for me emotionally and financially. For the most part we have always been a close and loving family who could go out and have a great time together.

The last few times that Dad and I have had drinks, we have said hurtful things to each other, and it has escalated to shoving and hitting. When we're sober we are affectionate and loving. We go on vacations and have a great time with the whole family.

Do you have any idea what could be causing this?

Hung Over in Midland, Tex.

Yes, I do. It's the alcohol. Since alcohol can cause a change in personality, it is important that you and your dad avoid it.

P.S. Are you aware that alcohol problems can run in families? It is vital that you warn your child about this important fact and set a good example. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is listed in your phone book. Contact them, and they will provide you with literature on this subject. Dear Abby:

I am 19 and pregnant with my first child. The father, whom I married, turned out to be far different from the person I thought he was when I met him. I left him when I was around four months along because he was starving me and wouldn't let me leave the house.

Since then, he has been arrested for possession of child pornography, and I have discovered that he is a satanist. I am terrified of him. I know I'm lucky to be alive and not to have lost the baby, which I almost did.

I am filing for divorce, but I have no idea how to keep this monster away from my baby. He has threatened to kill me and take the baby if I don't go back to him. He follows me around and sits outside my home late at night. I have applied for a lawyer, but I have no job and no money.

Are there any organizations that can help someone in my position? How do I get my husband to quit threatening me and leave me alone?

Scared in Texas

The first thing you should do is file a police report stating, for the record, that you are being stalked and threatened. Since your husband has already been arrested for child pornography, it could be only a matter of time until he is convicted and sent away. In the meantime, call the Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233. If necessary, the people there can help you find shelter to keep you and your baby safe.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.

(c)2004, Universal Press Syndicate