difficult child has been out of the house just over 7 weeks now. wife is completely on board with detachment, in theory, and in big ways (witness, her refusing to pay "one red cent" of difficult child's $500 bill at a rehab center), but she is having a hard time not being overly involved in difficult child's life in smaller ways. wife drives out to where difficult child is living with her girlfriend, 30+ miles round trip, about twice a week. She buys difficult child lunch and several packs of cigs, drives her to the drugstore and grocery store, pays the nominal copay for her medications, helps out with the groceries, and gives her cash, in small amounts, to be sure, but still, it adds up to a lot very quickly. She makes dates with difficult child to see easy child 1, as a reward to try to bribe her not to drink. One of those dates with difficult child was supposed to be tomorrow. According to the plan, wife and easy child 1 would pick up difficult child and proceed to wife's doctor's appointment, where difficult child would entertain easy child 1 in the waiting room while wife saw the doctor. Afterwards they would grab lunch. Then, as it usually goes, wife would most likely slip difficult child $10 or $15 and buy her a couple packs of smokes before dropping her off and naming a day and time for the next meeting, "if she will not drink between now and then." Another thing is that Erica, that's the girl that difficult child lives with, calls wife to report each and every time difficult child messes up. There have been at least five times over seven weeks so that's pretty frequent. So tonight difficult child is really pulling a doozy. She was out with Erica's 6-year-old daughter in Erica's truck "at the park" -- that is what the little girl was instructed to tell her mother. In fact difficult child wanted to make some money by hustling strangers at a gas station with a sob story about her and her little daughter needing gas money to get home. Well they ran into this man difficult child knew, a relapsed alcoholic from her AA group, with a hard luck tale of his own. She invited him into the truck with the little girl (this guy reportedly has done time for assault) and drove back to Erica's, where she dropped the child off and announced that she was taking the guy somewhere and then would be back. That was at 6 p.m. It is now 1:30 a.m. and no sign of difficult child or the truck, but Erica has called around difficult child's network and heard they were spotted, both drunk, trying to cadge some money off of a former boyfriend of difficult child's outside an AA meeting at 9. Erica reported her truck stolen but the police said since she had been letting difficult child drive it for some time, it couldn't be considered stolen. They said they would keep an eye out on suspicion of DWI. SOOOO anyway, wife spends most of the evening hearing all of the above in several long bouts on the phone speculating with Erica minute by minute about what might be happening with difficult child. At one point she was all set to drive out to one spot where they thought difficult child was at and look for the truck. wife doesn't need me pointing out that she is way too engaged in difficult child's life, she is very aware of that herself, and pretty sensitive about it. Therefore I generally refrain from preaching much. But I had to say something. As calmly as I could (which is to say, not very) I asked why she thought she had to head out "in the middle of the night, looking for trouble". We had a pretty heated discussion. I told her that it was insane to keep taking these calls, and trying to manage difficult child at a distance by stringing her along with small rewards. I said they both had to stop making promises to easy child 1 that difficult child couldn't keep. She said we owed it to Erica to help her find her truck. I said, why is it our job? Erica let herself into this with her eyes wide open. I said, Erica talks tough but is enabling difficult child to the hilt, and you're helping. She admitted as much and we ended up with a renewed understanding, I believe. It is still very hard for both of us to give up having to know everything difficult child is doing all the time. OK, well this post is much longer than I intended. I'd try to cut it down but it is nearly 3 and I need some sleep. If you stuck with me all the way to the end, congratulations on your stamina and thanks for taking the time. It is nice to have a place to write about things where people understand and care.