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Old 08-12-2010, 01:18 PM
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Ok...here goes

I found this site about 6 months ago and have been reading posts regularly but haven't commented or started a thread...until today.

When I married my XAH 10 years ago I had wondered about the fact that he drank every day and even discussed it with him, but for whatever reason allowed myself to be convinced it wasn't really a big deal. He never missed work...it didn't make him loud or obnoxious...he always seemed totally fine and completely in control. Plus, red wine was "good" for him - his doctor said so . Anyway, I didn't know anything about it as I never grew up around it, so off we went.

As I now know alcoholism is a progressive disease, so fast forward several years. I had a son he adopted when we got married and we had a son together. My boys are now 16 and almost 7. His drinking got so bad near the end of our marriage that I actually thought there was something else wrong with him. He would tell me he hadn't been drinking and I believed him...only to find out he was lying. There were many issues by this point between him and our oldest son and things were escalating all the time. I decided to ask him to leave and we would go for counselling. I needed to get him out of the house...things were getting worse every day and more heated between him and our oldest who was then almost 13.

He moved out and we still talked....went to counselling a couple of times. Then I remember one day we were in my living room and he said he was worried that I might never let him move back unless he totally quit drinking. At that point I did say that was a real possibility...he decided that we wouldn't be able to make it work very shortly after that conversation and I agreed. I couldn't stand the thought of being intimate with him, so getting back together seemed fairly impossible.

In February of this year he finally admitted he had a problem. Called me...his ex-wife to ask for help, even though he had a girlfriend of 18 months. I was SO happy that he was finally seeing it...admitting it...I was right...I wasn't crazy...he would get help, get better and be a real father to the boys. He went to AA...took time off work to get help...started to trust him with the boys again...then BAM. I have to pick them up at 10am on a Sunday morning because he's totally loaded and about to take them in his car for lunch.

He got help again after that day. Went to AA...and worked another program once/week for 6 or 8 weeks. I had no trust left and made him sign a letter saying he wouldn't consume alcohol within 24 hours of seeing boys. Another letter saying he couldn't drive with the boys and that if they left my house it was only with the girlfriend and she was always there and always driving. I didn't want to keep the kids from him, but needed them safe. I've had to deal with him coming to my house to visit them once/week, so over the last few weeks I had suspicions again. I knew it wasn't worth engaging with him from reading on here and going to al-anon, but I was pretty sure he was hung over a couple times. The kids were safe though, so on we went.

This week he emailed me that he was home with the flu. Yesterday was day 3 of this "flu" so I was suspicious. We were emailing about a visit he kept rescheduling because of this flu, but ended up talking on the phone. I knew instantly that he was drunk...although he didn't totally admit it - he also knew that I knew. I shouldn't have...but I texted his gf to tell her he was at home drinking instead of being at work. She stopped in on him...found out...so now he admits it. But, only this week...it's the first time. NOT!

Anyway, I started to let myself get pulled into all this again and know I need to stop. I am going to go no contact, which I've never actually done with him. I will need to send an email to him spelling out my plans for future visits with the boys...or maybe I just wait for his contact? This is what I'm most unclear about. How do I go no contact when he has a legal right to see the kids? I have primary care and control but he's allowed visits twice weekly. Any suggestions? I would appreciate it.

So sorry it took so long. Just felt like sharing my story....finally. Thanks for reading (for those of you who made it through)
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Old 08-12-2010, 01:58 PM
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i don't have any advice for your situation but i am sure someone will be along who has walked a mile in your shoes.

the only thing that i can think of is to get a third party involved, like a social worker, and all communication/contact is thru her. that's what they did with my xABF. the social worker set up a time for weekly telephone communication and there is a special phone that the children have for this call.

if he wants to see them, he has to contact the social worker and make arrangements. the social worker is also present at the visitation.

i'm not sure that it's a good idea to call his girlfriend and involve her. it sounds as if you want to step all the way back.

if you want to go no contact and he has visitiation rights, you would need to have a third party involved. i don't know who that third party could be. perhaps someone comes to mind.

you take care of yourself!

naive
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Old 08-12-2010, 02:17 PM
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Thanks for the reply Naive.

I have actually asked him many times to think of a friend who could provide supervised. Someone I know I can trust, but he says there is no one - only his girlfriend. I don't really know her and have concerns because she does seem blind to his problem.

I don't know if I could get a social worker because there hasn't been involvement from Child and Family Services. Might be time to make a phone call to them though and see if that's available to us.
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Old 08-12-2010, 02:33 PM
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I would wait for him to contact you about his time to see his children.

But yeah, you're going to have to have contact on that issue. Just keep it to that, period. The kids and what is and what isn't allowed.
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Old 08-12-2010, 02:50 PM
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Welcome to the family!

Thank you for taking the time to introduce yourself to the rest of the family! Pull out the keyboard and post as much as needed. We are here to support you!

I have a few ex husbands and a few children. This is what has worked for me. I do not force my ex to be a parent. If they want to see the children, they can make plans. My trying to force them to keep up visitation is me still trying to control someone else's life. It just leaves everyone frustrated and disappointed.

There may be periods of weeks/months that go by without contact from an active alcoholic. Teach your children about addiction, as appropriate, and be sure they understand that they are not to blame! They did not cause it, they can not control it, and they won't be able to cure it.

In the meantime, keep working on yourself. Going to meetings, counseling, self-improvement books, etc. whatever it takes to be the sane, dependable, loveable parent your boys need.
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Old 08-12-2010, 07:23 PM
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Thanks everyone. I really do appreciate you sharing your thoughts and experiences.

I guess what I'm wondering most is if anyone knows how much right I really have to restrict access. He's never been caught drinking and driving, but I know if he "falls off" he will drive with them. I'm not okay at this point with him seeing the kids alone because I can't trust that they are safe. I've been letting him visit here (he plays with younger son downstairs) but I don't think that's healthy for me anymore...wondering if he's drinking, trying see if he's acting drunk or hung over. Does that make sense?
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Old 08-12-2010, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by 4mylittleones View Post
I guess what I'm wondering most is if anyone knows how much right I really have to restrict access. He's never been caught drinking and driving, but I know if he "falls off" he will drive with them.
I'm living in the US. I had my divorce lawyer put in the paperwork that the parent is not allowed to have alcohol around the children.

Here in the states, it is difficult to have that restriction added later.
Do you have such a clause in your divorce agreement?

If not, can you check with your lawyer about restricting access? We don't want you to get into trouble.
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Old 08-12-2010, 07:48 PM
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My lawyer has told me in the past that it's extremely difficult to restrict alcohol consumption in agreements. I may be worrying too much. Perhaps I shouldn't worry about the what ifs....he hasn't fought me about supervised visits lately because he knows he mess up when he was drunk at 10am and about to drive with them. He will contact me at some point (probably early next week when his next visit should be) and email as if nothing is wrong. I can then just tell him if he wants to see them then he has to have someone suitable pick them up and drop them off. Then I can accomplish getting closer to "no contact"...even though I do need to have some contact.

Ugggg....I am so very sad that my children will have to deal with this for the rest of their lives. I really had no idea what I was opening them up to
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Old 08-12-2010, 07:58 PM
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This is purely speculation but he may be using the visits with the kids as a way of continuing to interact with, see, and act out with YOU. So perhaps if you can find a way to recuse yourself at least temporarily from controlling and supervising the visits, perhaps his interest in visitation will decrease. Step back and Allow the natural course of things to take place.
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Old 08-12-2010, 08:03 PM
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There is some wisdom passing around these rooms that goes like this:

"Stay in the moment"

I personally like this one:

"Don't borrow from tomorrow"

And my favorite:

"Be patient. More will be revealed"

You don't have to have all the answers by midnight, right?
Give yourself time. Give the situation to your HP. Your HP may reveal options that you never considered possible.

Keep on keeping on!
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Old 08-13-2010, 02:20 AM
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i think that the child and family services people might have some solution/ideas in this situation. this is a very common problem that i would imagine they see all the time.

just brainstorming, but what if his visits occurred in a place that is supervised automatically? that way, you could drop them off and pick them up (or arrange for a taxi or they could even take a bus)...

some ideas:

1. a gym. they could workout or take various classs. fitness instructors are there.
2. a public swimming pool. lifeguards are there
3. a sports team...like hockey or baseball or something.
4. a restaurant
5. the public library! he could help them with their studies and librarians are there.
6. the shopping mall

i think it is really important that you take care of yourself and your own recovery. if you don't want to see him or have him in the house, then try to make this happen.

these types of pressures wear us down if we don't take the steps we need for our own balance in life.

naive
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