SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

April 5, 2013

Dear Abby: Man battling booze feels like he’s drowning in clutter

:Dear Abby: I met the woman of my dreams about a year ago. Her husband had died about two months before our paths crossed. She has two teenage daughters I’m very fond of.

I have a history of alcoholism, and she’s a hoarder. A week ago, I had an “epiphany”: I am desperately trying to quit drinking for my own sake.

Abby, I am a clean freak living with a hoarder. I come home from work and get depressed and stressed from looking at all the clutter. It is driving me insane. I feel like it is triggering me to stay drunk every night.

I don’t want to lose this woman and her family, but I can’t coexist in this house. I have left several times, only to miss her and go back. I’m trying to kick the booze, but I know I won’t be able to achieve sobriety while living in this house.

:Truly Torn in Texas

:Dear Truly Torn: If you quit drinking only a week ago, it is important that you find an AA group to help you hang onto your sobriety. That’s step one.

Next, realize that you and the lady you’re living with may share a similar problem. You say you are a “clean freak.” This can be a symptom of an obsessive-compulsive disorder. Hoarding can be a symptom of the same disorder.

The International OCD Foundation is a reliable resource that may be able to help you both. It offers individuals with this disorder the support they need to manage their symptoms, and has many local chapters. You can locate it online at www.ocfoundation.org or reach it by calling 617-973-5801.

:Dear Abby: Maybe you would like to pass this on to the parents of teenage boys. It worked for me when I had the sex talk with my sons. I knew their brains had not yet fully developed. They thought they were invincible and had an “it could never happen to me” attitude.

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