DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I live in a nice suburban house with my parents, but I'm in the gutter. I'm a secret gin drinker (martinis), I smoke grass every day and get into cocaine whenever I can. I have no ambition left. l pretended to go to university the last month but slept and didn't write my exams. I'm plagued by dreams of drowning in quicksand. My life is a big fake. You may think I'm a teenager, but I'm 28 and still living at home. My parents treat me like a child and I've had enough shrinkage to know I still act like I did when I was 18, but now there's no excuse... Last night my mother lost it, and told me she wants me to get a job and move out. I have never had a decent job. I'm a full-time student, and now I'm not even that anymore. Where do you get a job when you've never had one in all your life? I haven't had a date in six years. I have been thinking of trying to get my head straight now. I can't even work like this. -- My Life's a Mess
Dear Mess: You need a dictated plan, and here it is: 1) The source of your lethargy is a combination of daily marijuana and drinking. Get yourself an appointment at the Manitoba Addictions Foundation (944-6200) to assess where you're at, and to get you into rehab or AA/NA meetings. 2) As soon as possible, get a job or a combination of two part-time jobs doing just about anything -- fast food will do as a start. Look for a tiny apartment on the housing boards at universities. Forget roommates who may want to party. Forget the endless education for now; it's been an exit from growing up, rather than a tool to get you meaningful work. 3) Go to your first meetings. Then talk to your parents and tell them you're going to get clean and sober, get work and get out on your own as soon as you can. They will have smelled the marijuana and probably even the gin. They're not stupid, but weak if they haven't gotten tough with you until now.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I never had any money to be a traveller before. Now I suddenly do at age 44. Sadly, my mother has died, but the other side of things is she left me a large inheritance and a suggestion in her will that $20,000 was a gift for me to travel. She hopes I will go back to our homeland overseas. I would like to do that. But, well, I am crying now so I guess I am really afraid to get on an airplane and I don't know why, or maybe I'm just scared to travel away from my city. The furthest I've been is Brandon. I have even turned down road trips to the Edmonton mall and Minneapolis. Please help. -- Scaredy Cat, Fort Rouge
Dear Scaredy: When you have a phobia or a collection of them, you need professional help to ferret out the underlying fears and neutralize them. Life is too short to be so limited. Here is this wonderful opportunity for you to see places as a parting gift from your mom. You need to be able to choose to go places, not have "NO CHANCE" forced on you by phobias. You can see a physician for a referral to a psychiatrist, free on Manitoba health. Or you can make an appointment with a psychologist, pay for part or all of the amount (depending on your work insurance plan) and not have to wait long to get in. But go you must!
Questions or comments? Write Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6 or email email@example.com