Amy Dickinson, Special to Postmedia Network

Seven days a week, letter after letter, Amy Dickinson applies an objective eye to reader problems large and small in "ASK AMY: Advice for the real world." Amy's extensive experience includes a column on family issues for TIME magazine, regular contributions to National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" and guest spots on CBS' "Sunday Morning." As an advice columnist, Amy uses her talents as a journalist and her personal experiences to answer each question with the care and attention she would devote to her closest friends. Her advice is rooted in honesty and trust, traits she applies to her writing and her life. Dickinson, who grew up on a small dairy farm in New York, currently lives in Chicago with her teenage daughter. A graduate of Georgetown University, Dickinson also has worked as a producer for NBC News and as a freelance writer for publications such as The Washington Post, Esquire and O magazine.

Stories

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Wife is worried about husband's drinking

Dear Amy: My husband's drinking has gotten out of hand. Recently, I discovered that he has been leaving the house after I go to bed to purchase more alcohol (I buy a 12-pack of beer a day for us to split, but he is purchasing hard liquor.)

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Girlfriend enlists guy in dangerous deception

Dear Amy: I am in my late 20s, and have been seeing my girlfriend, "Tami," for more than three years. We have been long-distance for the last year, but managed to get to a point where we were looking at engagement rings and shopping for a home.

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Mom wants estrangement to extend to daughter

Dear Amy: About two years ago, my mother initiated a falling-out with her siblings (after their mother's death). I supported her in this decision, because she described them as being emotionally abusive.

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Should toxic mom help daughter deliver new baby?

Dear Amy: My mother and I have had a tumultuous and toxic relationship ever since I was a child. It was a mess of bitter resentment, jealousy, explosive fights, abuse and disappointment on both sides.

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Villa guest confronts illegal drug use

Dear Amy: This past summer, my best friend of more than 30 years, her 9-year-old daughter, her new husband and others, rented a villa in the Caribbean. I was invited to join the group.

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Son and parents locked in gender war

Dear Amy: I have not spoken to my mother in two weeks. She does not approve of my sexuality as gender-queer and she does not "approve" of my partner. She has sent him vicious and threatening letters, called me at all hours of the day and night and sent a variety of harassing text messages, saying, "You are a joke," "I want you out of my life" and "

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Insulting in-laws' weighty remarks are not welcome

Dear Amy: My in-laws always seem to feel the need to comment on people's weight, either right to their faces at a family function or gossiping about it behind their backs.

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Family won't forgive abusive boyfriend

Dear Amy: My family refuses to forgive my boyfriend for hitting me seven years ago. After this incident we went our separate ways, but after a lot of work we slowly came back together.

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New boyfriend must move from 'We' to 'I'

Dear Amy: My boyfriend is going through a divorce. He and his ex-wife were together 27 years. They have been living apart for 11 months.

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Celebrate the holidays by giving to charity

Dear Readers: Many of us are now in the recovery mode of the holiday season -- after attending and hosting holiday events, gorging on gingerbread men and eggnog and letting the glitter of the season release us from December's gloom. In the spirit of the season, I present my annual round-up of charitable organizations readers should consider support