DEAR ABBY: It’s been several years since you have mentioned Because I Love You (B.I.L.Y.) as a resource for parents in crisis. What is happening to our groups — as well as similar ones — is a decrease in attendance. Yet the problems today are worse than when I started B.I.L.Y. many years ago. The schools don’t want a group such as ours on their campus because they’re afraid it signals that there are problems on their campus. Well, there are problems on ALL campuses today!
The legalization of recreational marijuana has sent a message to our youth that it’s safe to use. Parents of 10-year-olds have come to our group because their child is using. Kids are dying at a faster pace than ever before, and much of it is because of synthetic drugs on the streets. Parents can be a major part of the problem, and a group like B.I.L.Y. offers suggestions for solutions. It’s not just drugs that we deal with but also mental health issues, gender ID, school dropouts, gang involvement and more.
We rely on the media to help us with referrals. Will you please consider mentioning B.I.L.Y. again as you so generously have in the past? Parents in the U.S. and Canada need to be aware that we are here for them. Thanks, Abby! — DENNIS PONCHER, FOUNDER, B.I.L.Y.
DEAR DENNIS: I’m happy to mention Because I Love You again. Readers, the nonprofit B.I.L.Y. has been in existence for more than 35 years. This self-help group provides support for parents of children of all ages in coping with behavioral problems such as truancy, substance abuse and other forms of defiance of authority. I have received letters from readers thanking me for recommending this group. For more information, go to bily.org.
DEAR ABBY: My wife and I have been married for 13 years. It hasn’t always been easy. She recently decided on her own that we needed a fresh start because of some financial problems we are having, so she applied for a job in a state six hours away from any of our family. She accepted the job before telling me anything about it. Now she says our daughter and I should pack up and go with her.
Several issues complicate matters. Our daughter is 11 and just started middle school. I don’t want to pull her out before school is out. Second, I have several health issues, and my doctors are within two hours of home. All my doctors coordinate with each other. If we move, I’ll be too far away from them. I don’t want to start over with new ones.
I love my wife and want to be with her, but I’m worried about the future if I move not only away from my doctors but also my family. Please help. — NERVOUS IN NORTH CAROLINA
DEAR NERVOUS: The decision your wife made should have been made jointly, not by her alone. Your reasons for wanting to remain where you are are valid, and I think you would be wise to discuss what’s going on with an attorney before this goes any further.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.