I guess this post is addressed to parents of addicts and to the parents of other difficult child's who engage in life-threatening behaviors, more than to all parents. The elephant in the room, in our dealing with our son, is the fact that he may die. In our particular situation, this is not academic. We don't know, we can't know, how real a possibility it is, but we do know that his life expectancy is not that of other people. We know that, because he's had a major organ transplant, and is on immune-suppressing drugs, that he will get some form of cancer, sooner or later. We also know that he did not recover anywhere near a full state of health after his transplant, and that he continues afflicted with another disease that, while not life-threatening, makes him ill and debilitated all the time and will probably also shorten his lifespan. We have heard that the organ he received may already be failing, although we're not sure this is entirely accurate. We know all this, yet... he's mad, bad, and dangerous to be around. We can't be with him, we can't permit him in our home or really in our lives, because he is a compulsive thief. I've talked about his behavior here before, but he has blatantly stolen thousands and thousands of dollars from us. He has identity-thefted my husband and his own brother. He has come to our house when he knew we wouldn't be here to search for checks and cash; he tried the same thing at my parents' and was only stopped by an observant neighbor; he comes to my husband's office and roots through his desk and briefcase. He victimized his poor former girlfriend so thoroughly that she dropped out of college and moved back to California to live with her parents (among other things, he stole and pawned her diamond tennis bracelet which was a special graduation gift from her parents, and then sat back calmly and watched for months as she frantically searched for it.) He has forged checks, stolen credit cards, stolen credit card numbers, taken out loans in our name without telling us, and otherwise financially and emotionally victimized us, times without count. At the very moment that he was weeping and begging my forgiveness, he was stealing from my pocketbook. Needless to say, he continually lies about his medical status and his need for funds to pay for procedures, co-pays and medicines. He shows up at my husband's office, routinely, and demands cash to pay "emergency" medical bills, but will never provide a receipt or other proof that's what it was actually used for. When he lived with us, I don't think there was ever a single nickel that didn't eventually walk (and, yes, of course he stole babysitting, birthday, and other sibling money without restraint or scruple). And yet, and yet. My rage at him and what he's done to all our lives, is tempered by pity. I know he's sick (mentally and physically), and I know that at least some of the time, he's felt driven by impulses he didn't have the strength to resist. In this way, he is exactly like an addict. What do you do with the fact that you can't have someone in your life, even a little bit, but you also know that his days are numbered? I know that it isn't the money (if he were a easy child, we'd probably be spending close to the same amount on him, just to try and keep him functioning and comfortable), it's the love and trust that he's rejecting, by his actions. My fear is the regret. My fear is, all the days and months I have refused to speak with him, to have anything to do with him... when he's gone, will I be sorry? Life is NOT infinite, even for the healthiest and luckiest among us. Where do I go with the fact that I can't live with him, but someday every chance will be gone?