DEAR AMY: I recently reconnected with an old boyfriend. It seemed so perfect at first. Well, over time I've come to realize he's an alcoholic and addicted to pain pills. He's on edge when he's not medicating himself, which causes me to be on edge, and I know beneath it all is unresolved depression. We've become very close and he told me he trusts me more than anyone else in his life. I've also become close to his mother, who has accepted me like a daughter. Although I know this wise woman has an idea about her son's condition, I don't know if she knows how bad off he is. When we spoke recently, I felt she was on a fishing expedition, but I only spoke of her son in vague terms out of loyalty to him. Part of me wants to tell her the truth, and another part of me wants to spare this 80-year-old woman more worry. When I expressed my concern about his drinking, he got angry, denied he has a problem and was highly defensive. He's not ready to get help. I will hang in there and be his friend, but I won't let him drag me down. I'm not the codependent type. What should I do?Out of My League
DEAR OUT: You are the codependent type. You have set yourself up as the only person your guy can depend on. You have also "diagnosed" him (perhaps correctly). But really, he is the only person he can truly depend on, and when he realizes his addictions are running the show, he may choose to get help.
The first thing an addict needs is the truth. His addiction is making a true, loving and peaceful relationship with you impossible. Behave like a trustworthy friend and tell him, "You are an addict; please get help." It's not at all surprising that this news flash will make him angry and defensive.
Continue to be a supportive friend to his mother. You would both benefit from the lessons conveyed in Al-Anon or a similar "friends of" group. Check al-anon.alateen.org for a local meeting.