:Dear Abby: Six months ago, I realized I had a drinking problem and decided to go through a chemical dependence program as an outpatient. I’m sober now and attend meetings a few times a week. My problem is someone I was barely acquainted with was also in the same program. I didn’t regard it as a problem at first, but now I’m concerned.
At a meeting a few months ago, I mentioned to the group that I also attend a meeting in another town closer to my home. Next thing I know, this man is attending the same meeting. He always makes a point of telling me about what’s going on with the people we went through treatment with.
I am active in service work and plan to attend a regional meeting at a resort over a weekend. Guess who has suddenly decided to do the same?
I’m nervous about being around this man. I don’t want to compromise his sobriety, but I can’t stand seeing him at every meeting and event I attend. My husband is also bothered by it, and I’m considering not attending any meetings at all because he’s creeping me out. How should I handle this?
:Sober and Creeped Out
:Dear Creeped Out: If there is a group moderator or contact, discuss this with that person. Because you want less contact with your “admirer,” look around for another group. Even if you will have to travel a bit farther, it will be worth the effort.
If you do happen to run into him in the future and he tries to engage you in conversation about other patients from your program, cut the conversation short by telling him you are not interested in hearing about them. One of the hallmarks of 12-step programs is anonymity — and it should be respected.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.