Dear Barb – Education: Opiate of the Individual

Dear Barb:

I’ve been searching universities online and I came across your column. I am in my forties and have twin girls, who have just left home to go to university. They are quite a distance from home and each at different universities. They have been my whole life and now I don’t know what to do with myself. My husband works full time at a job he loves. For most of my life I have worked on and off at part time jobs, but my main focus has been raising my girls. I am considering taking some online courses and maybe getting my degree, but I just don’t know if I’m ready for that. I have been out of school for over twenty years. I wonder if you can give me some suggestions as to how I could find out if I am capable or ready for university. Thanks, Melissa.

Hey Melissa:

Great topic! I’m sure there are many parents who find themselves in a similar situation to what you are. A return to school can be a new beginning for the second half of your life. Many people return to school after twenty or even thirty years and successfully achieve their goals. Online is a good way to begin your journey. Eventually you may feel you want to attend university, or you may find online is a perfect fit for you. Athabasca has a great site where you can begin, it’s actually called “Am I ready for Athabasca University?” As well, AU has many sites listed under “Counselling Services” that would be very helpful for you. Good luck, education is never a waste of time.

Dear Barb:

I think my wife is addicted to opiates! My wife injured her back two years ago and her doctor prescribed pain medication for her. Initially it helped and she was feeling good, but I think it’s become an addiction. Every time her prescription runs out she goes back to the doctor claiming her back is hurting again. Her doctor doesn’t do any further testing; he just keeps renewing her prescription. If I try to discuss my concerns with her, she becomes defensive and says her doctor prescribes them so she has to take them. I know some doctors do this so they don’t have to deal with complaining patients. I don’t know how I can get my wife to confront this issue. Any suggestions? James.

Hi James:

You are correct that some doctors prescribe medications rather than dealing with their patients’ real issues. Further testing should be done to find out what is causing this pain and how to alleviate it. Perhaps you could go to an appointment with your wife and explain to the doctor your concerns. If he chooses not to do anything, you and your wife need to see another doctor for a second opinion. However, if she is not receptive, you may be right that she is addicted to the pills. Then this becomes a completely different issue and she will have to get specialized treatment, or go into a facility to deal with her addiction problem. Take it one step at a time, and thanks for writing, James.

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Email your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length and 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.