DEAR ABBY: It happened again today! I was buying several bottles of wine and a six-pack of beer along with my other groceries. While I was standing in the checkout line, someone behind me said the predictable, "I wish I was going home with you!"
I'm married to an alcoholic, and it makes me so sad that people think a lot of alcohol is "fun." It's a tragedy for our family to see a great husband, father and grandfather slip into a stupor each day. It wasn't always this way. Sadly, he has changed so much he is hardly recognizable.
I'm asking those out and about to think before you comment, because alcohol is not something to celebrate. -- WIFE OF AN ALCOHOLIC DOWN SOUTH
DEAR WIFE: Why are you buying large quantities of liquor for your alcoholic husband? When you do, you enable him to feed his addiction. If I ever heard of someone who should attend Al-Anon meetings, it is you. Al-Anon was started by the wife of an alcoholic who was just like your husband. When you go, you will meet other wives whose husbands' drinking is also out of control.
If you would prefer a secular organization, an alternative program to contact would be SMART Recovery. Its Family and Friends program was created for loved ones who are affected by someone's addiction. If there isn't a meeting in your area, you can attend one online. Go to www.smartrecovery.org and click on Online Meetings and Activities to register. Please don't wait. These organizations can help both you and your husband.
DEAR ABBY: On behalf of my fellow museum docents, I'm asking you to educate your readers about how to behave when they visit our nation's historic buildings. The most important rule is: Do Not Touch Anything!
This includes the walls and woodwork. Even the cleanest hands have skin oils that can damage a finish. Next, do not lean against the walls or doorways because this, too, may damage original paint, wood finishes or carved details.
If ropes are blocking access to part of the room, do not go beyond them. The dirt on your shoes can damage carpets. If a door is closed or only half open, do not move it.
As a courtesy to your guide and other visitors, cellphones should be turned off. The docent has important information to share with you. If we do not have an immediate answer to a question, we will seek it from another guide or staff member.
Guides and docents enjoy sharing our knowledge with guests. So please visit, but while you're with us, follow our guidelines and help us preserve and protect these glimpses into the past. -- DOCENT IN PORTLAND, ORE.
DEAR DOCENT: Your letter deserves space in my column because people sometimes forget when touring historic buildings that they are not in their own homes, but in fact are in museums. May I add one more tip to your list: It is always a good idea to ask permission before using a camera with a flashbulb.
Docents are individuals who study their subjects intensively, and then function as unpaid teachers who transmit their knowledge to visitors in institutions such as museums, art galleries and zoos. They perform an important service and should be treated with respect for the time and effort they put forth to prepare themselves for it.
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