Dear Abby: Should I try to contact my son who is a drug addict while he is in prison?

DEAR ABBY: My 38 year old son is in jail for meth. He has been a drug addict for many years. I tried several times to help him, but he always relapsed. He was in rehab. His mother and I divorced when he was 7 years old. He was a great boy until the divorce. After that, he became distant and didn’t speak to me much.

His mother tried to make up for the divorce by doing everything for him. When I wanted him to do something, like his homework, he just sat and stared. I couldn’t punish him because I was afraid he wouldn’t come to my house when it was my weekend to have him. I did things with him and tried to show him that I loved him, but I think he blamed me for the divorce. (My wife wanted it.)

I don’t think he ever loved me the way a son normally loves his father, the way I loved and respected mine. He rejected any advice I tried to offer and paid no heed when I tried to teach him anything.

I’m trying to decide if I want to contact him. I feel like I always had to do the heavy lifting to try to get a relationship with him, and he made no effort to nurture one with me. If I had never heard of him again, I really wouldn’t miss him. All he’s ever been is a taker. So I ask: Should I bother trying to get in touch with him while he’s in prison? — FRUSTRATED FATHER IN TEXAS

DEAR FATHER: Your son is sick — a drug addict. The fact that he is in prison will hopefully mean that he can achieve sobriety. Contact him again. He may believe that you abandoned him and his mother because she allowed him to believe him, which would explain his attitude towards you all these years. It might benefit him to remember that you love him and care about his well-being. Once he’s clean, he may have a different attitude towards you. If not, at least you tried.

DEAR ABBY: I ended a four-year relationship. When times were good, they were very good. I had some of the happiest and most wonderful experiences of my life with him, my children and his family. We planned to spend the rest of our lives together.

However, when things got tough, he started seeing other women and later hated one of my children. Even as I write this last part, I am appalled. I know in my head that the relationship was meant to end, yet I continue to cry every day over the loss, and my sleep remains disturbed.

What happens to me if I long for a man who has become so embittered? I should feel relieved, right? How can I help myself through this? — TOO MANY TEARS

DEAR TEARS: I sympathize with your disappointment. We’ve all been there. Now wipe your nose, dry those tears, and remember that if the romance had continued, you might have married someone who would verbally abuse your children and cheat on you. You don’t mourn the loss of “him” as much as the loss of a dream that didn’t come true. Keep busy and focus more on the future, and you will move forward faster.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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