DEAR ABBY: I have been married five months, and a problem has come up. It’s my wife’s 20-year-old son, “Danny.” He uses drugs, and he does it in our house. He also allows the garbage to pile up in his room to the point that the stench invades the entire house.

We have had to install locks on all the internal doors because Danny steals from us. He also has his girlfriend and drug-using cousin over for “sleepovers.”

Last night I was so upset I told my wife I was tired of the drugs and the filth, and if Danny doesn’t straighten out, I am going to turn him in to the authorities. My wife now barely speaks to me, and she’s making me feel like I’m the enemy. Was I wrong to put my foot down? — CONFLICTED IN ST. JOE, MO.

DEAR CONFLICTED: Not in my book. Danny appears to be an addict living the lifestyle of an addict, which includes stealing and hanging around with others who use drugs. The garbage may be piling up because he’s so stoned he doesn’t notice.

I don’t know how long you all have been living like this, but if you married your wife under these circumstances, she may expect you to continue to tolerate it.

As long as she allows her son to use drugs and live the way he is, nothing will change. Please recognize that your wife is her son’s enabler. A loving mother should insist that he get help and clean up his act. What you must decide is whether you’re willing to live like this for the rest of your life, because you can’t change this lady and her son. Only they can do that, and they do not appear inclined to do so.

DEAR ABBY: My 6-year-old son, Perry, is autistic and loves to say “Good morning” to people when we’re out — no matter what time of day it is. It surprises me how many people will not reply. Why is that?

Would it be so difficult to just say something in return? Have we become lost in cell phones, iPods and other electronic devices to the extent that we have forgotten how to be polite?

You never know when a simple “good morning” will make someone happy — and you might even find yourself smiling more. — PARENT OF A SPECIAL CHILD

DEAR PARENT: Your child’s disability may make some of the people he’s greeting uncomfortable. Because the greeting is not appropriate, they may be unsure how to respond. It’s sad, because it only takes a moment to say, “Hi,” and the validation would give your son a jolt of pleasure.

If, however, you are disappointed because your son is getting no response from individuals who are using their cell phones, please know you’re a member of a very large club. I hear the same complaint from mothers, fathers and grandparents who would also like a little courtesy from distracted relatives who are too absorbed in their cell phones, iPods and Blackberrys to make eye contact or converse.

DEAR ABBY: With today’s economic woes, more and more people are out of work. I was lucky to find a job only three months after relocating to California, and I’m working with a wonderful group of people.

At the end of the year, holiday bonuses were given out. To my surprise, I was given one. In addition, I was given five days of paid holiday strictly on the company. Would it be appropriate to write a thank-you note to the president of the company? I’m truly grateful to have this job. — GRATEFUL EMPLOYEE IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

DEAR GRATEFUL: A thank-you note is always appreciated. Not only would it be appropriate, but it’s also an intelligent and diplomatic way of calling attention to yourself.

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.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby — Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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