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Alcohol inappropriate as a gift

Dear Abby: You advised "Susan in Southern Oregon" (Dec. 1), who asked about the appropriateness of giving alcohol as a gift at an office party, that "the only time that alcohol would be an inappropriate gift is when the giver knows the recipient doesn't use it." As a former psychiatric social worker, I would say that the only time alcohol would be an APPROPRIATE gift is when the giver knows the recipient would use it, and do so responsibly.

People aren't always forthcoming about their views and experiences regarding alcohol, so it's best to play it safe.

-- Amy in Dover, Del.

Dear Amy: Most of my readers disagreed with my answer, and their reasons have made me reconsider my advice. I was wrong. (Mea culpa.) Read on:

Dear Abby: Imagine receiving a bottle of alcohol after growing up in a home with an abusive father who drank. Not only would you not want it, you wouldn't want to give it to anyone else. Imagine receiving a bottle of alcohol after having lost a child in an automobile accident caused by a drunk driver. Would you want that reminder, or would you want to regift it to someone who might get drunk with that bottle and cause someone else's death?

-- Joe in Birmingham, Ala.

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Dear Abby: Many alcoholics choose not to reveal their disease. It is called Alcoholics ANONYMOUS for a reason. A person may have been in recovery for many years and may not wish to tell anyone except close family and friends.

-- Anonymous in San Antonio

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Dear Abby: Twenty years ago, I would have agreed with your answer. I'm president of a construction company, and it was standard practice for us to give alcohol at Christmas to customers.

Then one day, I received a call from a tearful woman who asked if we had given alcohol to her husband. When I answered yes, she said that in the future, she would appreciate it if we wouldn't do that anymore. Her husband, an alcoholic, had consumed the entire bottle, gone home and beaten her up. We discontinued the practice immediately.

-- Safer in Tennessee

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