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Dear Amy: I was with my ex-wife for 20 years. We divorced four years ago. I’m 42.

We were on drugs the whole time we were together, so naturally there were some bad times, but I still love her.

I do not do drugs anymore, but have developed a drinking problem.

I know she is gone and not coming back. We have not spoken in three years.

I still have vivid nightmares about her coming back, just to leave me again.

I had one this morning, and I’m still shaking.

I know I need therapy, but I do not have health insurance, nor can I afford it.

I quit one drug only to let another hold me hostage again, but there is a difference: I’m not embarrassed to hold a beer — at least it’s not a glass pipe. I know that is a horrible excuse, but I live in Las Vegas and drinking is not frowned upon.

I want to stop, and I want to get over my ex. I have had two relationships since my marriage that were a disaster because I could not fall in love with them.

For all my ex-wife’s issues, they still could not measure up. They wanted a relationship now, and I just was not ready. I have serious emotional problems and I do not know what to do. — Lost Man

Dear Lost: I give you credit for kicking your long-standing drug habit, but as long as you are addicted to a mood-altering substance, you will likely continue to be stuck, swimming in your emotional turmoil. Alcohol may lubricate your social interactions in the moment, but you still have to wake up each morning and face the day, being the man you are and carrying your own particular and unique burdens. Waking up hungover and with the depressive substance still in your system makes everything harder for you.

Get yourself to an AA meeting. Alcoholics Anonymous is available to anyone at no cost. Twelve-step programs may not work for every addict, but it is a positive start. You just have to show up.

Likely due to its position as the party capital of the world, Las Vegas has many treatment centers for addicts. Some advertise free, sliding-scale, or low-cost treatment. Las Vegas also has a substantial community of people in recovery. You should join them.

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I agree that you would benefit from therapy, and in my experience, when people commit to and value the experience of therapy, they find a way to pay for it. It has to do with putting your mental and physical health first — before trips to the bar, the gym, or the mall. You would also benefit from mindfulness activities like exercise and meditation.

I’m genuinely sorry you are experiencing your life in this way. I encourage you to commit to your own recovery. You deserve it.

Dear Amy: Our son is divorced and living with us temporarily.

Our granddaughter is 7 years old, and has never slept alone or in her own bed.

Our son has her here on weekends and she insists on sleeping in his (king-sized) bed.

The mother says her daughter will decide when she is ready to sleep in her own bed.

This is weird, right? And what are the long-term psychological effects of this? — Worried

Dear Worried: No, I do not think it is “weird” for a child to co-sleep with parents. I especially don’t think it’s weird for a child whose parents have recently split to want to basically enjoy the security of sleeping with her dad when he has visitation.

The challenge in having a child co-sleep is that it can be hard to get them to stop, and there comes a time when the child should enjoy the security, privacy, and independence of being on her own, in her own space, at night. (Of course, parents need this, too.)

Children who sleep with their parents sometimes have trouble sleeping at other people’s homes, when their folks aren’t there, or in coping with being alone. That’s a possible longer-term effect, but your job right now is to embrace your granddaughter and make her feel safe and secure — and not at all weird.

Dear Amy: I loved your answer to “Happily Solitary,” especially where you quoted from the wonderful song, “Wichita Lineman.” You cited Glen Campbell as the artist, but, please — let’s also acknowledge the great Jimmy Webb, who wrote that song, as well as so many other classics. — Big Fan

Dear Fan: So many readers asked me to cite Jimmy Webb! Thank you all.

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You can contact Amy Dickinson via email: askamy@amydickinson.com. Readers may send postal mail to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter

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