DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married 25 years. I was 19, and he was 28. Among a number of things we disagree about, there's the notion that he feels I should have zero privacy. If he finds out I locked the bathroom door or the bedroom door for five minutes to get something private done, like shave or use the potty, he freaks out and yells at me. He insists that he's the husband and I shouldn't feel the need to lock him out.
This morning I locked the bedroom door for less than 10 minutes to pack my bag for a flight. I was running late and wanted to eliminate the distraction of him going in and out of the room so I could finish quickly. He flipped out, calling me rude for making him feel like he is a pervert by locking the door. In the nicest way possible I had asked him when he came to the door if he would please let me have the room until I was done packing.
Don't I have the right to lock the door if I feel I need privacy, or is he right that there's no need for privacy from a husband? I hardly get five or 10 minutes a month of it. We have a large home with four other bathrooms. It isn't a lack-of-space thing. Please help me resolve this. — IT'S PERSONAL, IN NEW YORK
DEAR IT'S PERSONAL: Everyone needs privacy at one time or another. Because someone is married does not mean she (or he) shouldn't have the right to some — especially when using the bathroom. Your husband is either extremely controlling or doesn't trust you to be alone, and that's not healthy. What's causing his behavior I can't guess, but a licensed mental health professional may be able to help you figure it out. If he won't agree to go, go without him.
DEAR ABBY: I am a 28-year-old man with a serious drinking problem. I function normally at work, but I have no real life outside of work or drinking.
I tried AA, but didn't feel comfortable in an organization that emphasizes God as part of the path to sobriety. I am desperate to find a way to recover, but I feel helpless. Please point me in the right direction. — ADDICTED IN KANSAS CITY, MO.
DEAR ADDICTED: Because, for the reason you stated, Alcoholics Anonymous isn't for you, I'm glad to offer secular alternatives. The first is SMART Recovery, a four-point program that encourages motivation to abstain and provides help in coping with cravings, managing negative emotions and finding a healthy life balance.
SMART Recovery offers face-to-face support groups worldwide as well as online meetings. Its goal, like AA, is lifetime abstinence, and its meetings and help are also free. Unlike AA, lifetime attendance at meetings is not required. To find more information, visit smartrecovery.org.
Another resource is Secular Organizations for Sobriety (also known as Save Our Selves). You will find a list of meetings at sossobriety.org. Whichever you choose, I wish you a successful recovery.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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