Dear Barb – Gifted

Dear Barb:

I am the mother of an adult son who has addiction problems. My husband and I have bailed him out of jail many times for drunken behaviour, among other things. He can’t hold a job and is unable to pay his rent most of the time, so we pay it for him because I can’t imagine seeing my son homeless on the street. He has stolen money from us, broken into our home, even stolen our car. I keep thinking that he will eventually start to feel better about himself and give up the drugs and booze. So far that hasn’t worked and I really don’t know where to turn. Our friends and family tell us to just let him be. They say I am enabling him, but really, I love my son and don’t want to see him on the street or something bad happening to him. I feel like I’m between a rock and a hard place, I really need some advice! Thanks, Diane.

Hi Diane:

So sorry for what you are going through. You are definitely in a difficult place, but to get through this you are going to have to go an even more difficult place. Addiction is a complicated issue and the answer is not simply trying to make your son feel better about himself. You say you are helping your son because you don’t want anything bad to happen to him, well It’s already happened! If you are providing everything your son needs, what is his motivation to get off drugs and alcohol and make his life better? Your son needs to be in a treatment facility where they have the experience to deal with this tragic situation. Your family doctor should be able to direct you and your family to get the help you need. Also, get in touch with the drug and alcohol addiction centers in your city and they will be of assistance in beginning this process. There is really only so much you can do; the rest is up to your son. Personal counseling will be beneficial for you, as this is a very heartbreaking situation for families to manage. Good luck to you and your family.

Dear Barb:

I just received an invitation to a wedding shower for a friend. I wouldn’t say she is a close friend, and I don’t think I would know anyone at the shower so I’m not planning to attend. The wedding will be in Alberta and I am in Ontario, so I won’t be attending the wedding either, but I am definitely sending money for the wedding. My question is should I send a shower gift even though I am not attending? Thank you Anna.

Hi Anna:

Great question! No you do not have to send a gift if you are not attending the shower. The purpose of a shower is to get together with family and close friends and celebrate the upcoming wedding and the gifts are a nice benefit. If you are not a family member or close friend and you are planning on giving a wedding gift, I really don’t think you are expected to give a shower gift as well, but on the other hand if you want to give a gift, you can certainly do that. In that case you should send or deliver the gift to the host before the day of the shower so it will be there for the gathering.

Email your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.