Dear Annie: I have been married to “Greg” for 21 years, and we have three wonderful teenagers. When we met, Greg seemed like the perfect guy. However, a few years after we married, he began to drink much more heavily, and now he gets drunk nearly every day.

Greg had a rocky childhood and lost both his parents at a young age. The family members who raised him were abusive. That’s the reason I’ve always excused his drinking, but, Annie, I can’t take it anymore. Instead of a husband, I have an alcoholic child on my hands. He does absolutely nothing with the kids or with me. All he wants to do is drink and sleep.

I’m 45 years old and do not want to live the rest of my life with this man and his addiction. I’ve begged him to get help, but he blames me for all his problems. I could tolerate being married to an alcoholic if I knew he was trying to get sober, but he has no interest.

I’ve sought individual counseling, and we’ve been to marriage counseling together, but nothing has made a difference. The kids are equally frustrated because Greg won’t listen to their pleas, either.

I cannot afford a divorce and don’t want to leave my home, which I cannot pay for without Greg’s income. How can I free myself from this miserable life without losing everything? How can I make Greg get the help he desperately needs? — Trapped in Vermont

Dear Vermont: Until Greg is ready to admit he has an alcohol problem, you cannot make him get help. First, please contact Al-Anon (al-anon.alateen.org) at 1-888-4-AL-ANON (1-888-425-2666) for emotional support and suggestions. Then talk to a lawyer about child and spousal support, and see if you can afford a legal separation until you are ready to decide whether or not to make it permanent.

Dear Annie: I am entering 8th grade. I have two best friends, “Lillian” and “Molly,” but lately I feel like the third wheel.

Molly always includes both of us in her conversations. The problem is Lillian. When we’re together, she texts and calls others. Once, during carpool, Lillian spent the first five minutes of the ride asking me which boys like her and the last five calling Molly. She often makes me feel like the “backup friend.” She even started a blog about how she and Molly are such great pals.

I’ve talked to Lillian, and she always promises to work on our friendship, but never does. I don’t want to lose my temper with her, because she’s sensitive. Does she not realize how much she hurts me? Why doesn’t Molly step up? Is the friendship worth saving? — Low on the Priority List

Dear Low: Lillian doesn’t care if she’s hurting you. Molly doesn’t step up because doing so would create a rift with “sensitive” Lillian. And the friendship may not be worth saving, because Lillian doesn’t value you as much as she should. The two of you are competing for Molly’s affections, and someone will be hurt. This is a good time to spread your wings a little and expand your social circle. Please try.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.

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