DEAR ABBY: Last week I hit my husband. My daughter saw me do it. My parents were violent when they were drunk, and I swore I would never do that, but it happened. Abby, can my children forget my mistakes, or are they doomed to keep repeating this violence from generation to generation? Can it stop here if I get proper help? How do I prevent my children from following in my – and my parents’ – footsteps in this regard? – SORRY MOM IN CANADA

DEAR SORRY MOM: Your children are not “doomed.” They can learn better ways to manage their anger, and so can you. Tell your daughter you were wrong to hit her father, and you regret it. Explain that you are going to see a counselor and learn more appropriate ways to deal with your anger and frustration, and that you’ll share what you learn with her and your other children.

Make an appointment with a therapist as soon as possible, and locate the nearest chapter of Adult Children of Alcoholics. (They are in your phone book.) ACA is a 12-step group of people who grew up much as you did. They can help you understand the dynamics of your behavior and assist you in overcoming your learned reaction to problems.

If there’s no listing in your telephone directory, write: Adult Children of Alcoholics World Services Organization, P.O. Box 3216, Torrance, CA 90510 for the location of the nearest chapter. You may also go to its Web site:

My compliments to you for acknowledging your problem and seeking assistance. You are two-thirds of the way toward resolving it.

DEAR ABBY: Honesty pays. I received a call today from a gentleman who had picked up a large cardboard box that I had left at the recycling center.

When he removed the Styrofoam “peanuts” to pack his merchandise, he discovered a large summer sausage from a well-known company. Instead of playing “finders keepers” and enjoying the sausage himself, he took the trouble to look at our address on the packing label and find our telephone number in the directory.

How fortunate for him that he was so ethical! The sausage had been a Christmas gift from 2004, which we had overlooked when we unpacked the box. It sat in a storage area, unrefrigerated, for a year when we decided to recycle. Had he munched on that morsel, he would surely have gotten his “just desserts.”

Instead, he received a nice chocolate fudge cake from us as a reward for his courtesy. – OVERHASTY RECYCLER IN NEW MEXICO

DEAR OVERHASTY: Yes, honesty pays. And the man received a sweet payoff for his virtue. Thank you for relating a morality tale we should all digest.

CONFIDENTIAL TO “SHOULD I CONTINUE OR QUIT?”: The answer to your question will be found in this profound statement that originated with Sir Winston Churchill: “To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour.” Enroll at your earliest opportunity and complete the preparation to fulfill your dreams.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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