I'm sorry I've been away from the boards for awhile. It has been a rough couple of weeks. I've been hiding and licking my wounds. Had to get this out. difficult child, When I think back on all the hours I spent poring over letters to you, trying to capture the perfect phrase to impart guidance or wisdom to you, to help you stay on or get back on a path that wouldn't destroy you, I wince. A small symbol of the many hours I have spent caring more about your life than you do. So this one will not be pored over. It will be straight from the heart. It will be for me, not for you. And like the other letters, in all likelihood you will never even read it. So now you are back in detox. And you tell Dad you might have to go to the hospital for a staph infection, because you were injecting drugs into your veins in your foot. And just 3 weeks ago we drove to the coast to kayak and look at the algae, and I praised you for how well you were doing in your sobriety. And you let me. You told me even more good things about how well you were doing, things I didn't know. And it was all a lie. You weren't doing well in your sobriety, nor were you even sober. And you never even paused, not for a second. You enjoyed my attention. And what I thought was boosting you up was probably to you quite hilarious, how effectively you had fooled me. You couldn't even be honest with me yesterday, when you told me you were going to detox. You told me the house manager didn't see that you were using again, but you didn't like to be around his place. I guess no one from the sober living house told you that Dad and I went to see you last Sunday, when you weren't returning our calls or texts. I guess none of them told you how foolish we felt when we found out you had been kicked out several days earlier and that you had not been sober when you left. I guess none of them told you how Dad and I both teared up and choked up and asked the other residents if they even knew where you were. I guess they didn't tell you how they all stared at the floor when we asked that, and that your roommate could barely meet my eyes to tell me you were still in the area but he wasn't sure where. I guess even then they were trying to protect you, from what I do not know. I don't know if they even saw what it does to a parent, to find out that their son is missing and has been BS'ing them for several weeks at least, that the only thing he has learned from his stint in a sober living house is how to hide his substance use better. So I'm the fool, once again, for believing you. Fool me once, once again. Shame on me indeed. And now I'm angry, but I can't be, because that's kicking you when you're down. Because you're sick. I guess that's what's expected once again, that I'm supposed to accept this now, like I have every other time, and make concessions for your "illness." I realized something this morning. When I pray every morning for you and for the strength to meet the challenges of the day, in all likelihood my prayer at some point will be that I will be able to summon the strength to survive the death of my child that day, a death by his own slow hand. I am going to have to get the call or the visit from the officer, go to identify your body, make arrangements for your cremation. Decide where you would have wanted your ashes scattered, which dream you would have wanted to live if drugs hadn't taken it away from you. Do I take your ashes to Mt. Katahdin, because you wanted to hike the AT more than anything (before the alcohol and hangovers made it too exhausting to even contemplate)? Do I give them to XXXX, because you never could accept the end of that relationship, even though you abused each other and you chased her away with your parasitic behavior and manipulation? Do I sprinkle them on the beach, because for a few months you had a fellowship with other young guys fighting addiction, before you pissed it all away once again? I once took care of a young man who was dying of cirrhosis caused by his alcohol use. His parents and brother were there for his death. It took a couple of days for him to die. I found it so strange, that there was so little emotion there. There was none on the patient's part because he was too far gone mentally to even be aware of his surroundings. But there was no emotion on the family's part either. It was as if they were waiting for a bus or something. I wondered how they could be so cold. But I know now how they felt. They had grieved his death, bit by bit, for years. They had slowly accepted over the years that every hope they ever had for him, no matter how modest or how ambitious, was unrealistic. He had died to them long before that day in the hospital. They were just there to formally see it through. I guess that will be me someday, formally seeing it through. I guess that is the life that lies ahead for me, and I am powerless to stop it. So what is there to say? I hope it sticks this time? I hope you can be honest? I hope you can find some shred of something in your life that makes it worth fighting for? All true. All said many times before. I hurt when you hurt? Duh, but irrelevant. I don't know anymore. I don't know what to say. I'm all tapped out. I love you. I guess that’s all there is to say, maybe all there ever was to say. I love you.