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Sneaky or proactive?

Old 10-22-2010, 01:56 PM
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Sneaky or proactive?

My main stumbling block for not leaving my functional-stage AH is that I'm worried that I'd need to split custody with him, leaving him with unsupervised responsibility for our boys (ages 7 and 13) for days at a time.

My brother and his wife just split up, and they each get alternating weeks with their daughter. That is just killing my poor brother, who was the primary caregiver for his daughter before and initially during the split.

Anyway, AH has no DUIs, no job losses, nothing at all on paper to document his drinking problem.

So I have been collecting or photocopying his receipts from the liquor and wine stores. The last four digits of his account number appear on the receipts, so there's no doubt he was the purchaser. And some receipts are itemized and list what I consider to be a jaw-dropping amount of booze.

I knew he drank a lot, but I'm still surprised by what I see on paper. And this is just what he charged, not the cash purchases or bar and restaurant drinks. Most of the stuff is guzzled after the boys and I are asleep.

My question for all of you is, am I documenting something that should have weight in the future for custody decisions, or am I just driving myself nuts? I don't feel nuts, but I recognize that receipt-snatching is not normal behavior.

I think I'll also put this up to my Al-Anon group next week.
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Old 10-22-2010, 02:23 PM
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an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

It's crazy to be doing that, for sure, but it's crazier living with an alcoholic or letting him have the kids irresponsibly.
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Old 10-22-2010, 02:29 PM
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I think there's a huge difference in saving/looking at/copying receipts to protect you and your children, versus snooping to prove to him that he's a drunk..

I vote for proactive.. and yes, living in the midst of alcoholism is crazy.
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Old 10-22-2010, 02:31 PM
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Consider getting a private investigator and your local police to stage an arrest for drunken driving, if he ever does that. That is a concrete piece of evidence that he abuses alcohol and then acts irresponsibly.
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Old 10-22-2010, 03:26 PM
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I don't find that an appropriate or moral thing to do 50pence.
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Old 10-22-2010, 03:37 PM
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It's a strategy employed here by members of our local NA for extreme cases of drink/stoned driving with kids in the car, believe it or not. Policing in South Africa is very haphazard.
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Old 10-22-2010, 03:41 PM
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I see.

I certainly do not advocate drunk driving..in any form...and I would not hesitate to phone in a drunk driver to the police.

I've never been to south africa!
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Old 10-22-2010, 04:09 PM
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Be like a fighter in a ring, fight fair, but, protect yourself at all times.

I too, support being proactive.
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Old 10-22-2010, 04:14 PM
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I didn't mean to say you were crazy doing that..I meant that it is a crazy situation where you would even need to...sorry.
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Old 10-22-2010, 04:17 PM
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Questioning your motives in what you're doing is a healthy thing, IMO.

There were plenty of times I snooped in my XABF's truck to see just how much he was consuming. I sniffed ever article of clothing of his to prove to myself that the odd smell I couldn't at first identify was in fact coming from him (later verified as a new pot smoking habit). At no time was any of this sleuthing healthy because as Smacked wisely noted above, it was all about proving him to be an addict and not about seeking a healthy way out of our dysfunction.

There have been so many stories I've read on here of spouses going to mediation or court with an addict spouse for divorce or custody and finding themselves trying to prove to a judge that there is in fact a problem with little to prove it. I would definitely get an attorney's opinion if what you are gathering would sway the court where you are. No sense wasting time and energy if it won't. In my state, I even know of video evidence being presented and being shot down because as incapacitated as the addict was at the time, if the behavior was not causing property loss or physical harm to anyone, it wasn't proof of anything but a single wild night.

You asked if gathering evidence is the same as obsessively snooping and I think you're in it for the right reasons. Heck, I even full out enabled my unemployed XABF by landing him a job 3 counties away from where I was moving to because it meant I could escape him more easily. We do what works for our health and well being, right?

Best to you!!

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Old 10-22-2010, 04:33 PM
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I've stopped snooping, I found it to be bad for me. I snooped her emails, her SMS's. I stopped doing it when I realized that I was doing it for the wrong reasons, that is, to try and anticipate or understand what was going on in her head. It was my raging codie need and also, totally inappropriate and an invasion of her privacy.

At one stage I was even documenting and photographing the empties strewn all over the house. I stopped doing that as well once my confidence grew about the legitimacy of my concerns about her drinking, and the small army of people who could back me up about my claims if I ever needed witnesses.

It's very very hard to "prove" anything if you have a very aware and functional alcoholic. If he or she knows not to drink drive, drinks in a way that only you know about the problem, covers tracks well etc you will spend a lot of time getting blank stares from people when you try and explain what's really going on.
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Old 10-22-2010, 05:50 PM
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Do IT. I would protect my children at all cost. YOU are suppose to do that; it is your job. I so sorry that you are in this position. I would video tape him drunk mulitple times. I don't know if that is permissible in court. I wish you lots luck and I WILL add you and your children in my prayers.
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Old 10-22-2010, 07:01 PM
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I'd also share my concerns about it all with my lawyer, and he/she may have some suggestions, and tell you if what your doing is even worthwhile.
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Old 10-23-2010, 04:51 AM
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hi smallsteps-

i think what you're doing is a good idea. i think what matters in actions is the motivation behind it...in your case, to protect your children.

i agree with the advice to consult a lawyer to determine if it would hold up in court. i know we have some lawyers in our midst here, perhaps one of them will let us know.

additionally, if he is drinking large amounts of alcohol at night after you and children are asleep, i would doubt that he is fit to drive to work in the morning and he would blow positive into a breathalyzer.

this surfaces an issue if he is driving the children anywhere first thing in the morning, say on saturday or sunday.

it takes one hour per unit of alcohol to wear off. i don't know his drinking patterns, but if he is downing, say 15 units of alcohol at midnight, he wouldn't be fit to pass a breathalyzer until 3 o'clock in the afternoon.

i feel it is well within your rights as a mother to express your concerns about this to the local police privately and have them pull him up one morning as he drives to work.
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Old 10-23-2010, 05:20 AM
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Naive is correct, and unless he has a metabolism that works at twice the speed of sound, he will possibly be permanently over the legal limit.

My late Ah never told me that a work collegue did a breathalyser test on him at work one day, and freaked at the reading. XAH had not had a drink since he'd passed out in his chair at 11pm the night before, that was 12 hours before the breath test.....mind you, by then he'd guzzled his way thru 5 litres of moselle.

I heard about it some time later, and realized that XAH must have been off the dial when he drove to work at 6am each day, and still well over coming home at 4pm. He had done this for at least 5 years, and boy did my blood run cold.

Take whatever measures you believe you need to keep yourself and your children safe, and if you think he is legally drunk driving, then call the police. You know now what he is consuming, so what you are after is proof of his alcohol abuse for legal purposes.....that is not snooping....that is smart.
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Old 10-25-2010, 06:06 AM
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Thanks so much for all of your helpful replies and insights.

Except for "special" occasions, I don't think he's consuming enough in the evenings to still be drunk in the morning, but I'd be stupid to dismiss the possibility.

Time to wait and watch and see what is revealed. You have given me a lot to think about.
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Old 10-25-2010, 08:09 AM
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FYI, here in the UK, it is becoming acceptable in court proceedings where alcoholism is alleged and children are involved, to ask for a hair alcohol test (similar to a hair strand drug test, google). I don't know if that is permissable in your state? Again, a lawyer will be able to let you know. I find I am always more calm if I know the facts of what will/will not help in a particular situation, and legal things are often counter-intuitive.
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Old 10-25-2010, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Jadmack25 View Post
Naive is correct, and unless he has a metabolism that works at twice the speed of sound, he will possibly be permanently over the legal limit.
Speaking of metabolism, an alcoholic's body does not process alcohol the same as a normal 'social' drinker.

I remember reading about a study several years ago where both social drinkers and alcoholics were given a specified amount of alcohol to consume in a designated period of time.

Hours later there was no trace of alcohol in the spinal fluid of normal drinkers, but was very much present in the spinal fluid of alcoholics.

One of the core members of my home AA group got popped with a drug/alcohol test at work, and even though he hadn't drank since the evening before, he still tested positive for alcohol in his system, and was ordered to IOP if he wanted to keep his job.
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