Hello. I am new to this discussion board, though a veteran of some others. I am posting this from a simple desire to tell my story. I am a somewhat private person and don't discuss this situation much outside of the immediate family. I'm a man in my late forties and have four kids: two stepchildren and two from my first marriage. All are grown. My wife and I are raising our beautiful and precocious 5yo granddaughter, who is the daughter of our oldest child, my stepdaughter, who is now 26, and is our "difficult child" (as I gather is the acronym used here). I guess I'll just start at the beginning. The story is a long one; I don't really expect that anyone will read it, necessarily (but feel free, if you've got the time); I just mostly want to get it off my chest. J, as I'll call her, and her mom and younger brother were abandoned by their dad/husband when J was 8. I met them six months later, and our two families joined up a year after that. I brought two children, a girl of 8 and a boy of 6, from my previous marriage, which had ended in divorce a couple of years before. If you haven't been keeping score, the children when we married were: J, my stepdaughter, age 10; her brother, age 8; my daughter, also age 8; and my son, age 6. Well, things were pretty rocky the first few years. J refused to warm up to me or accept my role in the new blended family and I must admit that after a few rebuffs, I didn't try particularly hard to connect with her either. My daughter as well rejected my new wife and after a few years decided to go and live with her mother. The two boys, on the other hand, adjusted readily. They have since grown into responsible young men, one in the Navy, the other a firefighter and paramedic. When we'd been together about 1 1/2 years, I was transferred by my employer about 300 miles away to a large city. This was another blow to J and her brother: after having had their father walk out, they were separating from their lifelong friends, and adjusting to an urban environment and gigantic schools (1000+ in the high school) after living in a rural town with just a few hundred kids in all 12 grades. My two (I tried hard not to think of them as hers and mine, but I refer to them that way here because of their differing experiences and to keep them straight for the reader) had it easier since they continued to have regular contact with their mother and had already moved once before and were younger, and therefore had less attachment. When J was 14, she began experimenting with drugs and alcohol. We didn't know it at the time, but she took to climbing out of her bedroom window and meeting other young teens to smoke pot, drink beer, and soon to graduate to acid and Ecstasy. Of course there were many occasions when she stayed out too late or came home with alcohol on her breath, resulting in tearful scenes, groundings, and promises to straighten up. These promises were generally kept for several months, or so it seemed, although the sneaking out continued one or two nights a week. When J was 16, I was transferred back to our home town. J's school performance, which had always been good, declined precipitously; she was cutting classes and behaving disrespectfully to teachers. At this time she also began developing bulimia. The drug and alcohol use continued to worsen, along with extreme hostility and threats of running away or committing suicide when we attempted to impose discipline. Because she had missed so much class time, J was unable to graduate and dropped out half way through her senior year. Around this time J cut her wrists (not a true suicide attempt, though) and was admitted to an inpatient psychiatric program. After her release she lived at home for a while, doing odd jobs which she couldn't manage to hold down for very long. Also at this time she got pregnant and had an abortion, in which I, to my everlasting regret, was complicit. I think that regret over the abortion damaged her psyche even more. In '98 I switched to a new consulting job to which I commuted for two to three weeks "on site" at a time, returning home for 3 to 5 days in between. Over the succeeding year J left home to live with a boyfriend, then had the first of her recovery periods, during which she got clean and earned her high-school equivalency, then enrolled in a medical assistant certificate program which she successfully completed. Then she relapsed into drug abuse. This set up the pattern that has repeated ever since: periods of sobriety and responsibility, followed by ever-worse relapses. In 2001, she got pregnant again. This time she decided to have the baby (although the father refused to have anything to do with her; he was subsequently convicted and sent to prison for robbery) and stayed perfectly clean throughout the pregnancy. Six weeks after the baby was born, though, J once again ran away to live with "friends" across town, leaving the baby with her mother and younger brothers, and me when I was at home. J did visit fairly frequently and loved (and loves) her daughter very much, even though she was unable to care for her. Four years ago I was offered a permanent position at the company where I had been consulting. We decided to move to Chicago, since both the boys had by now graduated and moved out, and so that we could be together and I could be more of a surrogate father to my granddaughter, being with her every day. J could not bear being separated from her daughter, so we let her move in with us as well on the condition that she would remain sober and work. So she did, for the next year. But then the partying and staying out all night started again. After a while she checked into a rehab and got clean again, but she relapsed after just a few months. This time she was using crack and would disappear for days at a time. Several times we threatened to throw her out and go to court for guardianship of our granddaughter if she did not clean up. Eventually we followed through on the threat, and were awarded the guardianship about two years ago. After a few weeks basically out on the street, J decided she had "hit bottom" and went back into rehab. This time she moved into a group home/halfway house after rehab and stayed clean for eight months, eventually getting a good job working with developmentally disabled adults. She was even able to save some money and make a down payment on a car, which proved to be her undoing. She thought that she had her problems licked and could safely indulge in a little partying. Soon she had lost the job and the car and was living with a drug dealer and prostituting for drug money. Once again she decided she had hit bottom, and appealed to her grandparents back in our home state to take her in for a while to make a new start. They did, and then we let her come back here and move back in with us once more. She was only able to stay clean about three months before she left "to go to a meeting" (that is, a Narcotics Anonymous meeting). She went on a binge, and says she thinks she was raped and robbed while she was passed out, although she can't remember it. She came to lying naked in some bushes. We got her in rehab yet again; she got out and came back here for Christmas. On Christmas Day she disappeared again. Then a month ago she and two men she was with were arrested on suspicion of robbery. She was released on her own recognizance and stayed with several different men until last week when she had two seizures (she has a history of seizures) and was admitted to a hospital where they are keeping her until they can stabilize her and then dump her on the street again or into still another rehab if a spot can be found. Meanwhile she missed her scheduled return to court and had an arrest warrant issued. She has been using heroin, methadone, crack, prescription pills, and pot and alcohol. She is HIV positive. She thinks she might be admitted to a 90-day program next month. If so, she'll need a place to live until a spot opens up. If not, she'll need a place to stay, period. Unless we take her in, I'm afraid that she will die of an overdose or at the hands of a john or a street predator. But if we do take her in it will disrupt our lives and especially our granddaughter's, who is already in counseling because of all this; and taking her in just enables her to repeat everything again. Well, if you've read this far, thanks for listening, so to speak. It has helped to spill my guts.