Dear Amy:

I'm afraid that my husband has a drinking problem.

In the 18 years I've known him, he has always been able to hold his alcohol, but I'm beginning to fear that he is an alcoholic. He drinks every single day.

After work, he stops by a bar with friends or visits his father for "a couple of beers." Those are followed by a couple more at home. On weekends, I'm the designated driver as he plans on drinking to excess.

We were recently at a party where one of the guests commented on the amount of beer that he was able to consume. It is not unusual for him to drink six to 12 beers in a single evening. On our yearly vacations, he drinks nonstop -- morning, noon and night.

He has never been abusive or mean to me. He is not uncoordinated and sloppy when he drinks. Usually after a weekend binge, he goes right to bed and sleeps it off.

He is hardworking, holds a steady job and brings home a regular paycheck.

When I've tried to talk to him about this, he says that he just has a high tolerance and can handle his alcohol.

Amy, I want to have children soon, but my husband is afraid that they will cramp his style and he won't be able to party anymore.

At almost 40 years old, shouldn't he be over the partying aspect of his life?

Am I being paranoid about this? Is it possible to be an alcoholic and be a nice guy with a steady job?


Of course it's possible to be an alcoholic and be a nice guy with a steady job.

Alcoholism is a serious and chronic disease, not a character flaw. (Character counts when people choose to try to beat the disease.) Though alcohol can turn some people into monsters, other people are just whittled away, little by little, until the calendar pages flip by and they realize they forgot (or chose not) to have children because they were too busy partying. (And, while I'm at it, can we find some way other than "partying" to describe drinking to excess?)

Of course your husband has a drinking problem. He's sleeping off his drunk on the weekends and designating you as his driver so that he can drink to excess.

As I have said in this space before, a person has a drinking problem if his or her drinking causes problems for others.

You can learn more about alcoholism by checking out the Alcoholics Anonymous Web site: You would benefit from Al-anon, an organization for the friends and family of drinkers. Their Web address is The Al-Anon toll-free phone number is 888-425-2666.

Dear Amy:

Your reply to "Worried in Durham," who was disturbed about her friends' recent weight gain, was thorough and wise. May I chime in, though, for the writer and for the millions of people out there who are tempted to raise their "concerns about weight and overall physical health" to other friends and family members?

A tip for all of you: They know already. They know they have put on weight; their clothes can tell them that without your having to.

It amazes me how many people think it's helpful to bring this up, as if the recipient of such wisdom is going to slap his or her forehead and say, "Holy cow! I figured something was wrong. Now that you've pinpointed it, I'll just go ahead and change my lifestyle so we can all get back to normal."

If people express their concern and offer caring support, it is helpful. Pointing out how bothersome their weight gain is to you -- is not.

Been There

I just got back from a Weight Watchers meeting, where a roomful of people would heartily agree with you.

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.