DEAR ABBY: My ex and I have been dating since our divorce in 2000, trying to put things back together. But every six months or so, he comes to my house drunk and raises Cain in front of the kids.

He never says he’s sorry for anything he does or says, and it causes fights that could be avoided if he just would not drink. If he could only see how it makes him act! He does not drink all the time. But when he does, he passes out on my couch.

I have told him time and time again not to come to the house if he has been drinking. If I try to make him leave, he does more in front of the kids, and he has been known to hit. How can I make it clear to him I have had enough? I love him, but I’m very tired of this every-six-months thing. I have called the law before. That just makes matters worse.

Should I get away from him altogether? I want my family back together so badly. I have prayed about this for a long time. I have tried talking to him – nothing works. Please give me some advice. – “TINA” IN TRINITY, ALA.

Perhaps it’s time to face the fact that as much as your ex-husband says he loves you and the children, he loves his bottle more. You divorced him for a reason, and he isn’t going to change. If he shows up at your house after he has been drinking, do not open the door. If he creates a disturbance, call the police and let them handle him.

When a parent acts out the way your husband does when he gets loaded, it damages the children who are exposed to it. They never know when the father they love – and presumably trust – will turn into a monster, and they are always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Even worse, they may grow up thinking his behavior is normal or acceptable and marry someone just like Daddy.

Much as you might like, you cannot rescue your ex- husband from his alcohol addiction. Some literature that might give you insight is a booklet published by Al-Anon titled, “Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism 2009.” It is available online in English, Spanish and French, and can be downloaded at For a free printed copy, e- mail wso(at), fax (757) 563-1655, or write: Al- Anon Family Groups, 1600 Corporate Landing Parkway, Virginia Beach, VA 23454-5617.

DEAR ABBY: My 35-year-old sister is soon to be married for the first time and has planned an elaborate affair. She has many friends, business associates and family members to invite. Because of the expense, she is not inviting the “younger” generation.

When I called to respond to her invitation, I explained that I will be attending, but my wife – due to health issues – will not be able to come. I told her I would like to substitute our only teenage daughter. My sister’s response? She told me she has so many people to invite that she has a waiting list, and she’ll substitute someone from that list!

This seems rude to me. Have you ever heard of a waiting list? – MIFFED IN SAN JOSE

As a matter of fact, I have. It’s sometimes called a “B” list. When a wedding invitation is issued, the rules of etiquette dictate that only those people whose names are on the invitation are invited. While I understand your desire to take your daughter, you committed a breach of etiquette in asking to make a substitution. Because your sister had decided not to include the younger generation, your daughter’s presence could cause problems for her with other members of the family.

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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