breathilizers, trust etc: help

Old 03-27-2009, 04:23 AM
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breathilizers, trust etc: help

I know I'm missing a sensible answer here: you know when you're so deep in that only crazy answers occur to you.

I started posting this on spiked's thread but it became way more about my situation, so I thought I'd start afresh.

I've thought about (and looked into) a breathalizer recently because I don't trust my AH at all when it comes to his drinking, mainly because he has always lied about it. We are going to live seperatly from next month, I can't deal with living with himand the alcohol, and the relationship, and worst who I have become through all of this anymore. I don't hold out much hope for the relationship at all, but we'll see.

We have 2 children together, and as he insists that he is trying (to cut down, not stop) and I have told him I won't let him have the kids if he is drunk or has been drinking, and I just need a way to be sure about that, I am sure that every time I suspect it I am right, but in this situation I wouldn't want to risk missing one.

but, you know, how soul-destroying is that?: I have no desire to police someone elses drinking, or anything really. I really don't want to have to manage a grown man's behaviour. I just want to cry with the misery of that. But I'm not sure how I am ever going to trust that he isn't drinking: even if he isn't. I want the stupid sod to just step up and be a father that the kids can be left with.

this situation isn't going away, he loves them, they love him
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Old 03-27-2009, 05:22 AM
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That is a hard one. On one level it seems reasonable to say "prove you are sober" to protect your kids. On the other, well, he could refuse, fight in court to have access to the kids and most likely win because a father, alcoholic or not, has rights.

What would his attitude toward this be? Would he cooperate or refuse? If he's likely to refuse, unless you get it court ordered I think you are going to have to give up on the idea.
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Old 03-27-2009, 06:19 AM
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Trust is something that I am struggling with as well. I know he has been drinking because I can smell it but i also know that if I ask him he will lie. I know deception comes with the territory. Unfortunately the only thing I can trust right now is my gut instinct.
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Old 03-27-2009, 06:52 AM
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hi ceridwen-

in the uk, fathers actually have very few rights in regard to their children. if they are not married, they actually have no rights, not even visitation.

since you are married, my understanding of british law is that he will have automatic rights to the children: he will get to have them in his home for the weekend, every fortnight and half of the school holidays, unless he takes it to court.

is there a social worker involved in your case?

of course, you could breathalize him when he collects the children on friday night, and he could go home and have a few drinks immediately after. so, breathalizing will not really solve that problem, will it?

you also have an option of supervised visitation, where he can only interact with the children with a social worker present.

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Old 03-27-2009, 07:03 AM
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I just wanted to say I'm sorry you're dealing with this. I consider myself very blessed in that my oldest daughter's father wasn't a drinker, my youngest daughter's father has been in AA for many years and wasn't an active part of her life anyway, so I didn't have that worry.
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Old 03-27-2009, 07:33 AM
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I too am sorry you are dealing with this. I am too. However my situation involves an XAH, and the courts in the USA (in my area)are reluctant to go to supervised visitation without bucket loads of proof and extreme situations. How old are your kids? I ask because mine are preteens and this is what I have done since I cannot control his alcohol consumption. First, the kids and I talk freely about alcoholism and they have both seen a counselor that specializes in addictions. She also has spoken to them about this and how their dad's behavior is not their fault. I try to give them a voice and a place to express their feelings because their father won't. I also have given them a code word to use. If they feel uneasy at any time they can call me and use the word (if they feel uneasy and unsafe to speak freely) and I will come and get them, and take the blame (they are afraid of angering their dad).
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Old 03-27-2009, 09:25 AM
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Sadly, not being able to trust an alcoholic comes with the territory. It is a common saying in AA ... "How can you tell if an alcoholic is lying? ... when their lips are moving." Nearly every alcoholic lies, it is an inherent part of the sickness. Lying becomes necessary to protect their addiction ... which they will do above all else. As long as an alcoholic is active or in an unhealthy stage of recovery, they will be almost impossible to trust.

There was only one time that I began to relax and stopped worrying all the time about my husband's drinking and it was when he finally made a heartfelt change, attended AA meeting frequently and really worked at his sobriety. It took almost a year before he truly returned to the sober man I had married ... and the trust finally returned. I was finally able to stop worrying about his drinking and enjoyed a normal married life and our kids had the responsible, dependable dad they deserved... but in time, he relapsed and the trust was lost once again.

I agree it is a national tragedy that our court systems do not recognize the dangers of giving unsupervised custody to a parent with ongoing addiction problems. It is now a well known fact that alcoholism is highly resistant to change and alcoholics will almost always lie to conceal their consumption. Yet the courts keep putting kids in the custody of parents that will almost certainly abuse alcohol in their presence ... basically court ordered child endangerment. We now know pedophiles cannot be rehabilitated and the courts would never allow them unsupervised visitation....but they willingly allow innocent children to be supervised by someone that is very likely to become impaired by alcohol or drugs, a potentially deadly situation especially when driving is involved or overseeing very young children that need an alert adult watching over them at all times.

Hopefully someday there will be more effective ways of protecting ourselves and our children from effects of alcohol and the deception that allows this deadly addiction to continue to destroy lives.
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Old 03-27-2009, 09:48 AM
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hi Thanks all,

the legal situation is complicated.

he has parental responsibility (a legal definition) for the children, which means I can't take them out of the country without his agreement (and vice versa) either or both of us can agree schools, medical treatment and other major life decisions etc. it gets tricky if we disagree. When it comes to residence and contact, neither of us have any absolute rights at all (scotland has a different set of laws to england) but the children have the right to maintain a relationship with both parents, and neither of us have more rights than the other, unless and until a court decides upon contact and residency rules, the police will not intervene if one or other of us stops the other one having contact: but that works both ways.

My kids are young, one is a toddler and the other has just started school, explaining isn't really going to help any just yet.

I don't have any wish to try and stop them having a relationship, the oldest particularly would be devastated if that happened and AH loves his children (plus that really wouldn't even be an option in court, they pretty much wait for something BIG to happen first). They deserve to see their father, and he would not knowingly hurt them or put them at risk.
But he doesn't see being too drunk to talk as risk. and as he never thinks he is unsafe to look after them and we have had a lot of incidents of extremely poor dangerous judgement when he's drunk, they deserve to have a responsible adult make sure they are safe. I don't need or want that to be me, if it means I have to assess how capable their dad is.

he has agreed that until I am comfortable that he is sober all the time, he won't have the children overnight but, he may change his mind on that, especially if I can't build any trust or he doesn't stop drinking and yes, I'll only know if he's drinking beforehand, not during.

of course if I could trust him then we probably wouldn't be seperating.
I just don't know what to do about this.

I know I can't control this, but if I'm missing a trick here, because of some twisted thinking patterns, you know?
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Old 03-27-2009, 10:34 AM
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Ceri :ghug

This is tough for you and I am sorry you are going through it.

I wonder if it might be worth drawing up an informal separation agreement with clearly defined access rights and the requirements for the capability of caring for the children? This might put measures in place when your OH is impaired by drink. Or possibly think about going to mediation to set these boundaries in place.

Of course they will not help if your OH decides to pick up a drink while he has the children but it might clarify the situation and give you some 'rules' to work with.
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Old 03-27-2009, 04:15 PM
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I'm sorry you're going through this!

The only thing I could think of is having a private investigator (or friend) video tape him when he's drunk; you can set up cameras, and have the current day's news paper showing at some point, and even the day's news playing - then as he acts drunk and slurs, you'll have proof of how he is when he's drinking. Can you get affidavits, too?

I'd say this is deceptive, but nothing is too deceptive to protect your children.

Good luck and think with your HEAD and not with your heart. My ABF has been to the hospital twice for smoke inhalation because he was cooking while drunk and fell asleep. He also flooded an apartment by letting the water run in the plugged sink. I think about that a lot - when I consider standing by him.

:praying Praying for you and your family's safety.

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Old 03-27-2009, 05:23 PM
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Ceridwen, my AXGF is breathalysed at an alcohol counselling charity near here before she picks up our kids, but that was organised through Social Services as part of the Child Protection Register dealings. Social Services can get involved in these kinds of situations, but only after there has been an incident that is cause for concern - in my childrens' case, it was when they called me from their mothers home terrified because she'd drunk herself unconscious and they couldn't wake her up.

Without a residency / contact court order in place then it is very much up in the air about how you handle this. If he's adamant that he's got his drinking under control, then an approach of "In that case, you'll not have any objections if I ask you to take a breath-test before pick-up for my own peace of mind" might just work. I'd shy away from saying that you'll only ask for breathalysing if you suspect he's been drinking; either do it every time or don't bother as, otherwise, if he has been drinking he may try to bully you into believing that he's not.

Alternatively, supervised contact may be better, at least in the short- to medium-term. I'd not suggest you supervise the contact unless you can have someone else there as well, but are there any friends or family nearby who could help out? There will be proper child contact centres near you but they tend to only take referrals from court, social services, CAFCASS (the service that helps courts decide on child residency and contact) and sometimes solicitors. That being said, I have heard that local churches sometimes hold supervised child contact sessions so that might be worth looking into.

Incidentally, is there any evidence of his alcohol problems - doctors appointments, hospital admissions, police records etc? Such evidence could make a dramatic difference.

Finally, there's an organisation called Rights of Women who can offer advice on these kinds of things. Many solicitors will also offer free half-hour consultations, plus if you're on a low wage or on benefits then you'll likely be entitled to legal aid. I'd leave court action as a last resort if possible as it can be something of a lottery, but it's worth getting some legal advice now so that you know how best to play it from here so that if it does go to court, you're as ready as possible.

Good luck,
Mr B.

P.S. Naive, I think you are mistaken about parental responsibility and children under UK law. Since 2003, unmarried fathers get Parental Responsibility automatically if they're named on the birth certificate, and married fathers get it regardless. Even if they're not, a court would almost certainly grant Parental Responsibility if a father asks for such an order. Contact is also something that varies an awful lot; there's no rules about how much contact a given non-resident parent will get.
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Old 03-27-2009, 05:40 PM
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hello mr. b-

i think perhaps i mistook scottish law for being uk wide? perhaps the law in scotland and ireland is different than for the uk?

my ABF was named on the birth certificate but not married and he had no rights to his children when they resided in scotland, nor when they moved to ireland. when the children were placed in foster care, the social workers didn't even inform him!

we took it to court (once we managed to locate them) and were granted guardianship, but it took a lot of money and time.
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Old 03-27-2009, 08:32 PM
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I am in a similar situation (I have three little ones ). I have been seperated from AH for a few months. AH is not allowed to be alone with the children PERIOD. He is also not Alowed to drive with the children in the car (this has been in place fpr a few years).

Does my AH hate these boundries/rules??......yes! Do I know my kids are safe?.....yes!

I told him that if he wants to see them, I will be there or he can have his parents be there (I trust them).

He has fought me on this and he still does....BUT it is a HUGE wake up call for him. I refuse to bend on this. He knows that I will allow him to have them alone until he has a good amount of recovery and sobriety under his belt.

Think about it this way: Would you leave your kids with a babysitter who was known for getting drunk on the job??

I think you just need to hold your ground on this one. Tell him that you cannot put the kids in danger. He will try everything and promise you the have to ignore all that and do what you know is right for your little ones.
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Old 03-27-2009, 09:16 PM
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He knows that I will allow him to have them alone until he has a good amount of recovery and sobriety under his belt.

sorry should read: WILL NOT ALLOW
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Old 03-29-2009, 06:08 AM
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Thanks everyone,

there is some really useful info there, and I may join that organisation Mr B, I've flicked through their website, and quite apart from all of this, they seem to have a good agenda. AH has now agreed to be tested if he wants to take the kids out without me there, and at the moment to see them when he finishes work 3 days a week for 1 hour or so here.

I'm not sure I'm comfortable with him seeing them here, but I can change that later if it doesn't work out.

He still says that he is going to give up. going to, going to...

Think about it this way: Would you leave your kids with a babysitter who was known for getting drunk on the job??

I have asked him this: who would he leave the kids with who drank the way he did and didn't see aproblem continuing that whilst they were in his care.

I don't remember what answer I got tbh, I think he may have agreed. still drinks though.

I'm sorry Daisy, Chrysalis and MrB, that you are working your way through this too.

He went to an alcohol counselling service once but honestly, although his family know that he has problems, I doubt any of them would stand up and say anything, they would see it as shameful. Friends just think he's a heavy social drinker, although I doubt any of them with kids would entrust their's to him. He has lost/walked out on jobs because of booze etc but managed somehow to keep getting references.
No police stuff that I am aware of (although he insists that he was under surveillance at one time (<rolls eyes>) he doesn't drive.

his GP doesn't know, he won't take medication that has been made by a pharma company. And I've engineered our life here so that he has no responsibility and therefore can't pubically f*** up anything. well done me.

however, he is happy to be tested at the moment, so although I don't want to do that forever (and neither does he) I can deal with the future when that comes. For now this will do. thanks for helping me walk through this.
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