Keep the fireworks in the sky

Joey Garcia

My wife and her sister say they love each other, but they fight all the time. My wife worries obsessively that her sister is an alcoholic, and, the truth is, my wife drinks too much, too. It’s impossible to talk to her about it. We are hosting a Fourth of July party for my co-workers. My wife invited her sister, and I fear that the fireworks will be between them. I love my wife, and I want to keep things tactful and drama-free. Any ideas?

If you love your wife, but not her habit of boozing and busting her sister’s chops, counseling is the answer. Nothing you say or do deters an addict from using alcohol or drugs to shave the edge off anxiety. Your wife needs professional help. Insist that she attend psychotherapy and a 12-step group. Stage an intervention if needed.

You should make an appointment, too. After all, were her personality traits tactful and drama-free when you were dating? I thought not. You married her anyway, in part because her insanity forces you to be in control, and that allows you to feel more alive. So, counseling for you, too, Mister. It can inspire you to develop the backbone to celebrate an alcohol-free Fourth of July this year.

My sister has been caring for our elderly mother in her home. She receives money from Mom’s estate for doing so. My sister’s husband was recently downsized to a position that pays a lot less. My sister plans to return to work full time and is considering placing Mom in a facility. The problem is that my sister wants to receive the same monthly check, but now in exchange for visiting our mother. My brother and I say no, and all the siblings must agree for a change to be approved. My sister cries whenever I try to talk with her. She blames my brother and I for living far away and not helping more with the burden of our mother’s care. Any suggestions?

Keep your personal living expenses low, save chunks of cash from each paycheck and make plans now for your own long-term care. When designing your custodial care plan, include instructions for combating greed. Your mother did this by requiring that her three children agree on changes to her health services. So stand firm with your brother against your sister’s request, but be compassionate.

Your sister is scared. Her financial insecurities have tricked her into believing she is entitled to more than she should receive. The easiest way to deal with drama is to design a simple sentence that fits the situation. Then repeat it. For example, the next time your sister tries to justify retaining her caregiver check, say: “That would not be in Mom’s best interest.” Don’t respond to any of your sister’s accusations, reasons or excuses. Just stick to: “I just don’t think that will be in Mom’s best interest.” After a while, your sister will come to her senses. If she doesn’t, you and your brother need to meet with an attorney.

I think my girlfriend is cheating on me with another woman. She was involved with a woman before me. I checked her phone and found texts that suggest it’s happening again. It’s all I think about. I don’t want to lose her.

Why not, honey? If your suspicions prove true, let go of her. She released you long ago to make room for her new squeeze. Don’t you want to be with someone who loves you and lives it? Give her a wide berth, and sail on with your bad self. With so much real love in the world, there’s no need to tolerate the counterfeit stuff.

Meditation of the week
“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you must work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner,” said Nelson Mandela. How wide is your love?

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