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Section: addictions, mental-health, health-and-wellness, marriage

Dear Ann Landers,
A few months ago, when I was recovering from surgery and in bed suffering post-operative pain, my sister, "Ellen," came by to see me. My husband, "Dan," who is a physician, happened to enter the room and saw Ellen take prescription drugs out of the box beside my bed and slip them into her pocket. Ellen looked up and realized he had seen her, even though I didn't notice a thing. Dan didn't want to alarm me, so he said nothing. He waited until Ellen went home and then telephoned her. She didn't say much, except that she had a very bad headache and needed medication. Ellen didn't know Dan had counted the capsules before her visit and knew she was lying about how many she had stolen. Later that evening, she phoned to apologize to Dan, but he wasn't home, so she talked to me and confessed that she had taken my pills. Ellen is an alcoholic and has been sober for approximately eight years. We are concerned about her health and safety. We also worry about her tendency to steal prescription drugs (as well as other things) from our home and possibly the homes of her friends. We are afraid she might start shoplifting and end up in jail. Dan and I don't feel comfortable discussing this with Ellen's husband, and she has always been very defensive, so it isn't easy to talk to her about personal problems. Please give us some guidance. -- Worried Sick in Newport Beach, Calif.

Dear Worried in Newport,
Your sister needs help. Ellen has traded one addiction for another. She is off the booze but is now hooked on pills. It is essential that you inform her husband about this latest occurrence. His wife needs professional help, and he must see that she gets it at once. By withholding this information, you are doing your sister a grave injustice.

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A Note from Margo:
Hi! It's Margo here. I'd love to know what you think of the letters -- and the answers!

Also, any additional thoughts you might have. Thanks!

YOLO 's Comment
by not confronting the problem or her husband, you are enabling her to continue with her addiction...time for an intervention

Reader Comment
Definitely time for an intervention. I also would not allow this person back into my home until she completes every step required in her intervention to prove she has straightened herself out. No one needs more problems than they already have by taking this woman into their home. Yes, you are being an enabler if you keep quiet!

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Our Reader to Reader Question of the Week:

Dear Readers,
, My x-girlfriend who lived with my son and I for 16 years died of cancer. Prior before we knew she had cancer-she moved out because of an addiction problem. We did stay very close before she died. Her x-husband an attorney took over her finances and the burial arrangements. I being financially set was okay with that, whatever they needed I provided. What really hurt my son and I the most was the obituary - we were not mentioned at all. Our friends (mine and hers) were appalled. I was embarrassed and upset for not just me, but for my son-who loved her also. I never been so upset. Her x-husband put his wife and kids and their grandchildren in the obituary, who my girlfriend barely knew. They live an hour away from us. I know its silly to be mad over a little section of the newspaper, but it still hurts. Will time let this devastating loss of her and this article ever go away? I am so angry at this whole situation, its not like we can go and rewrite an obituary notice.

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"Nobody ever drowned in his own sweat."
-Ann Landers