Dear Amy:

My husband is a heavy drinker. He comes from a family of what I would call "high-functioning alcoholics" -- all with good jobs, well respected in society and with no apparent ills from drinking.

I am committed to staying in this marriage (we have two small children), but I do not like the person my husband is when he is drinking, and I do not like that he relies so heavily on alcohol. He is never violent or abusive, just extremely annoying and sometimes embarrassing or rude to our children.

Our marriage counselor has recommended that I should attend Al-Anon meetings. I think this is a good idea, but the problem is that we live in a small city, and wherever I go I tend to run into someone I know.

My husband is a teacher, and as such, I worry about his career if word of the extent of his drinking were to get out. I mean, he never drinks on the job or in a way his students would see, but I worry about discussing his alcoholism in a place where a student's parent or co-worker might recognize me as his wife. I could just barely squeeze a local midday meeting into my schedule, so going to a daytime meeting in another town is not an option.

Any ideas?

Worried Wife

I shared your letter with an Al-Anon representative, who assures me that one of the most basic and fundamental principles of Al-Anon is the absolute anonymity of participants. Al-Anon is like Vegas in that way -- what happens there, stays there. Obviously, it is possible for someone to violate this principle, but you should check out your local meeting to see if you feel comfortable there.

It is not necessary to share any details with other participants until you feel safe doing so. According to Al-Anon, some people do choose to travel to other towns for meetings for precisely the reason you cite. If you feel that you need to do that, then your husband should step in and care for the children in order for you to get to an evening meeting, just as he would if you were taking an art class or working out at the gym.

For information about Al-Anon, including locations of meetings, check your local phone book or You may also call 888-425-2666.

Dear Amy:

I am involved with two independent parent clubs at my child's school.

There is a pushy woman in both of these clubs who is getting on my nerves. She gets into my personal space (even with my wife present) and seeks me out.

I've tried to treat her with indifference and answer her with short replies, but she doesn't get the message. It seems as if I'm still her sounding board.

I've avoided being on the same committees as she is, just to minimize the interaction.

I really like being active in both of these clubs, as the causes are worthy.

Truly Trapped

If somebody is invading your space or backing you around the room, then you're going to have to straighten your spine and be less indifferent and more definitive when you have contact with her. You can say, "You seem to seek me out at meetings, Jenny, but I'd love to hear what OTHERS think about these issues."

Dear Amy:

There is a logical explanation for "Dad" having porn sites on his computer where his daughter happened to find them.

He could be naive, like me.

I needed to find some information about one of my favorite ballets and typed "Nutcracker" into the search line. You wouldn't believe what came up!

My kids would have thought that their mom had a second career as a dominatrix!

Shocked by the Internet

You've just sent scores of people to their search engines, professing a sudden interest in Tchaikovsky.

Write to Amy Dickinson at or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

(c)2005 by the Chicago Tribune

Distributed by Tribune Media Services Inc.