Dear Annie: We occasionally will have friends over for dinner, and there have been times when they simply won’t leave. I’m not talking about an hour or two; many times it’s three or four hours after dinner!

We love our friends and are happy that they feel very comfortable with us to stay that long. My wife and I are both retired, so it’s not like we have to be up early the next morning, but we do have other things we’d like to get done before turning in. I try to drop subtle hints but to no avail.

What’s a polite way to wrap up a delightful evening that shouldn’t be more than a few hours? — To Leave or Not To Leave

Dear To Leave or Not To Leave: It sounds like your subtle hints are not working, so it’s time to start from the beginning. Next time you invite your friends over, instead of just putting the start time, add an end time. That way, everything is clear before the dinner even begins. Another tip could be to have a goody bag with a cookie in it. You could drop a subtle hint like, “Here, don’t forget your cookie on your way out.” Honesty coupled with kindness is always appreciated.

Dear Annie: I lost my wife to alcoholism. On Oct. 4, 2020, she died of liver failure. She drank wine morning, noon and night.

For five straight years, until her death, she used to drink a gallon of whiskey every other day. She was in depression but wouldn’t admit it; she was never outwardly drunk, but an alcoholic doesn’t drink to get drunk. She eventually became a recluse. I had her in the hospital three times in six years. This was all due to dehydration from not drinking anything else but whiskey at the time, and the doctor told her she needed to leave the alcohol alone.

The past two years have been really rough. I begged. I pleaded. I cried. I screamed. Nothing seemed to happen and nothing seemed to work. She passed away in an ICU hospital three weeks after I admitted her because she had extreme phlebitis in her legs from not getting up and doing any exercises. After the third week, overnight, she went into ICU where her liver shut down completely, and then it took out her kidneys.

After being with this woman for 20 years, I lost her to the bottle. You can’t make somebody stop what they don’t want to stop. I was a drug addict for almost 15 years. When I finally hit rock bottom, I said enough was enough. I haven’t touched any drugs in over 22 years.

Alcoholism is like a drug addiction. You don’t quit unless you want to quit. I just thought you should know that to give information to your readers. For those coping with an alcoholic spouse, here’s my advice: Keep everything positive and keep their spouse moving and try to keep everything on a happy basis, and either they’re going to come around or they’re not. — Come to the Conclusion on Your Own

Dear Conclusion: I am very sorry for the loss of your wife. It sounds like you were a loving and forgiving husband. As your letter pointed out, alcoholics must decide for themselves whether or not to get help. If they don’t want to, they will not. There is no amount of forcing you can do. I would encourage you to seek grief support groups and other groups for family members of alcoholics. Thank you for sharing your story. It will help others know they are not alone in watching a loved one fighting this disease.

“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.

"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.

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