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Detaching from Alcoholic Wife

Old 12-16-2010, 06:24 AM
  # 61 (permalink)  
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Your fear of her taking the kids is sound.

If she can prove sobriety and the ability to care for the kids then she will have the ability to turn you into a weekend dad via the court system.

See an attorney please!
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Old 12-16-2010, 06:47 AM
  # 62 (permalink)  
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Sad to say that now is the time for you to retain the services of a lawyer. Her stay in rehab gives you some time to think and to act. Yes, it may feel "sneaky", but as you have pointed out in your latest post, she could very well get sober and turn the tables on you. Mind you, that sobriety would be short-lived if it was solely motivated by anger and revenge, which in the end would be detrimental to your children.

Again, this isn't something you can control. So focus on what you can control: yourself.

Act now. (sorry if this sounds like an informercial).
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Old 12-16-2010, 07:39 AM
  # 63 (permalink)  
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This is a freaking nightmare. I've already got an attorney -- and she offered the option of a temporary order granting me exclusive possession of the house in order to protect the kids, and then some sort of agreed custody arrangement. But my wife's counsilor is worried that she's being distracted by outside events, and therefore I've not yet taken any legal steps as they would surely be an even greater draw of her attention away from her reocovery. And yet now I risk having this turned against me, and by giving up the first move, I could end up losing my whole family.
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Old 12-16-2010, 07:51 AM
  # 64 (permalink)  
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RedBaron...I know how it feels to want to avoid doning the Bad Guy Cape. I've tried doing it a number of times and to be honest, I always end up getting screwed over by my "generosity". Yes, you want to put all the chances of recovery on your wife's side, HOWEVER, you have the added burden of protecting your children, seeing as you are at the moment the responsible parent.

Your wife is in rehab, and whether or not she chooses to commit to her recovery fully is her choice. She may very well blame you for x,y,z, but if she is committed to recovering, what you do or say won't matter.

If you choose to hold off and the tables get turned on you, especially in the event that your AW gets sober solely for the purpose of revenge, there's a good chance she'll relapse *while having custody of your children*. Who will protect them then?

I know it feels cruel to pull the rug out from under her when she is down, but your last post indicates that she's backpeddling like there's no tomorrow and simply going through the motions in rehab.

Protect your children. Get the temporary order and hammer out a custody agreement whereby she is granted supervised visitation. This can be revised in a year when she's proven that she's been in recovery for that period of time. Include provisions that visitation will be revoked if any signs of relapse are found. Later on, if and when she's solid in her recovery, all this can be changed.

I know you don't want to be the evil guy in your wife's eyes. I can feel the dismay in your post. Refocus just for a second here: Who's going to protect your children?
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Old 12-16-2010, 08:10 AM
  # 65 (permalink)  
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I understand your worries, since everything up to this point seems to go negatively concerning your wife.

Try to focus on reality here. You said you're worried you could lose your whole family because it may appear you've made the first move.

Is this really true? The first move, from my perspective (an outsider's), was the progression of your wife's disease.

Securing your home for your children's welfare, comfort, and safety is absolutely the best step you can take for them right now.

If your wife is distracted...let's be realistic here. Wouldn't all of us be subject to 'outside events' in everyday real life? So, wouldn't we all be responsible for our own feelings about the world around us? So is true for your wife. It will be hard for her, maybe, however, the world cannot stop just because she's in recovery.

Does that make sense?

I'm sorry your wife's counselor is worried. But, again, those feelings of worry and your wife's reaction to the world around her is for HER to manage, not you, not me, and certainly not your children.

If you're concerned about extended family's perspective of your actions, one of the sayings that goes around here has been helpful to me:

"What other people think about me is none of my business"

Peace,

skipper
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Old 12-16-2010, 08:14 AM
  # 66 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by hurtandangry View Post
Your fear of her taking the kids is sound.

If she can prove sobriety and the ability to care for the kids then she will have the ability to turn you into a weekend dad via the court system.
Woah... hold up here. This is just plain not true. Each parent has equal rights to the children. You can of course AGREE to be an every other weekend Dad, but that is NOT the law. The worst case scenario is 50/50 custody and visitation.

RedBaron she is in flight or fight mode, pretty predictable really. Of course she's scared, her world is crashing down around her and she faces real consequences of her addiction. She's not thinking clearly right now at all. Be careful to manage your attorney carefully and not knee jerk to file for this, or motion for that too soon.

I feel for you man, BTDT.
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Old 12-16-2010, 08:18 AM
  # 67 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by RedBaron View Post
This is a freaking nightmare. I've already got an attorney -- and she offered the option of a temporary order granting me exclusive possession of the house in order to protect the kids, and then some sort of agreed custody arrangement. But my wife's counsilor is worried that she's being distracted by outside events, and therefore I've not yet taken any legal steps as they would surely be an even greater draw of her attention away from her reocovery. And yet now I risk having this turned against me, and by giving up the first move, I could end up losing my whole family.
It sounds as though your attorney is on the ball.

You are paying for the legal advice.

As a father you are already at a severe disadvantage in the family court arena.

Please take care of your children!
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Old 12-16-2010, 08:29 AM
  # 68 (permalink)  
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Thanks for all of this. Part of me says listen to the lawyer, but part of my says that when you've got a hammer, everything looks like a nail, and in the end, an attorney is always going to push legal solutions. Also, the comment about the extended family is very true: If I file, they will all be appalled than I'm, as someone said, pulling the rug out from her and they'll see it as sabotaging her. And remember that their testimony as to what they've seen of her drunken antics and what they've heard the kids report is pretty important here: Blood is already thicker than water, and if they all rally around her because I'm the bad guy, it will have real consequences. AAAAAARGH!
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Old 12-16-2010, 08:30 AM
  # 69 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Jazzman View Post
Woah... hold up here. This is just plain not true. Each parent has equal rights to the children. You can of course AGREE to be an every other weekend Dad, but that is NOT the law. The worst case scenario is 50/50 custody and visitation.

.
Here in the sticks a father never gets custody unless the mother is either locked up, dead or so out of it she can’t function.

For a dad to get custody of a child under the age of 14 against the mother’s objections just doesn’t happen.

There is no court ordered 50/50 anything in my state one parent is “awarded” custody and the other is “granted” visitation.

The only way this format is deviated from is by mutual consent of both parents, and if at any time the mother withdraws her consent and moves for sole custody it will be granted.

Every state has different laws, the original poster has retained counsel in his state and my opinion is that following the advice of paid counsel is generally wise.
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Old 12-16-2010, 08:46 AM
  # 70 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by RedBaron View Post
Thanks for all of this. Part of me says listen to the lawyer, but part of my says that when you've got a hammer, everything looks like a nail, and in the end, an attorney is always going to push legal solutions. Also, the comment about the extended family is very true: If I file, they will all be appalled than I'm, as someone said, pulling the rug out from her and they'll see it as sabotaging her. And remember that their testimony as to what they've seen of her drunken antics and what they've heard the kids report is pretty important here: Blood is already thicker than water, and if they all rally around her because I'm the bad guy, it will have real consequences. AAAAAARGH!
I would ask your lawyer how important their testimony would be in obtaining a TEMPORARY oder for sole use of the house. I'm not quite sure that their opinions would come into play...perhaps they might, but I doubt it. You would be safeguarding the children from having her return home unexpectedly. At this point in time, you are still married and she can legally return when she chooses. Having her removed from the home once she's back may prove far more difficult than preventing her from returning now that she is gone.

I think that you and your lawyer need to include in your petition for temporary use of the house that you want your AW back in the home WHEN it is safe for her to be back. Your sworn affidavit should include provisions of when the temp order can be revised and that your goal is the safety of the children, nothing else. Obviously, her family are going to see you as the bad guy...but then, there's really nothing you can do to prevent them from thinking or doing anything.

HOWEVER, it would be important to remind yourself that what is happening right now is a direct consequence of HER CHOICE to continue to drink. She is going to have to learn how to deal with the consequences of her choices. If you were simply to lay down and let her come home whenever she feels she's "better" you would be doing a great disservice to her, to your children and to her family as well.

Food for thought.

BTW, I work for a lawyer. Yes, your lawyer will tend to recommend a legal route, however, your lawyer works for you, and you make the ultimate decision. If you feel that your lawyer isn't respecting your wishes, feel free to look for another one. I did this in my divorce and was very glad to discover that there are good lawyers out there, who are able to listen to their clients' needs and present a realistic picture of the potential outcome.
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Old 12-16-2010, 08:53 AM
  # 71 (permalink)  
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I want her back and I want her sober, but I’m so worried that she’s focused on her anger rather than the long term, and that she’ll end up just doing what she needs to do to “fight back” rather than because she really wants to get well.

I believe you. We are usually 99.9% right about where our alcoholics heads are at.

Real recovery is so obvious, such a change, you know it when you see it.

It is actually not within your power to support her recovery to the extent that it rises or falls because of ANYTHING you do. Let go of that idea, it only feeds into a dynamic that keeps you both sick and repeating the same old bad habits of mind/behavior.

She is in counseling now because they are trying to make her see that SHE has control over her own choices, and choices have consequences.

By your measure, and her counselor's, she is not really on firm footing yet, so I wouldn't even begin to fantasize about home for Christmas. If she feels it is a punishment, that is her choice - the happiest and bestest gift ever ever ever in her kid's lives will be a sober/RECOVERED mom. And kids will take that on Dec.25, or January 25th or July 25th. This is a long term endeavor this re-building of family.

Easy? Heck no! Tiresome and confusing and sad sometimes? Heck yes. But you can still choose joy this Christmas for you and the children. You can. Keep putting the children first - and that isn't easy either because they may scream and cry that they want mommy, but just like we sometimes have to say no to dessert before dinner we have to be the adult and do the next right thing. Don't make it a punishment for anybody! Choose joy, brush off your "proud to be weird" T-shirt and let Christmas be beautiful and free even if it is unusual or non-traditional! Why? because that is the reality. Remind the kids that mommy is getting well, she is very sick, and she is trying hard to get well.

There's a saying think globally act locally - when dealing w/ an addict I have to think long-term and act short-term. By just doing the next right thing for me and my kids, not for the addict.

Tough stuff RB. ((((((((hugs))))))))
Peace-
B
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:00 AM
  # 72 (permalink)  
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Red-

I think working with your attorney is a good idea. I also think it's a great idea to know that your attorney is working for YOU, so you can certainly ask about different possibilities that may work better for you and your family than any cookie-cutter case your attorney may have had before.

You may, for instance, request for family advocates and a home study if there is any resistance to your motion to retain the children in your home as primary residence.

These small steps go on record and keep your case in the system in the worst-case scenario that you have to have permanent custody in the future, which is entirely possible, in any state.

Keeping your journal and documentation , like was advised before is crucial to your situation.

Remember hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Call in your HP for all of it.

You are doing just fine. You really are. I wish you knew how well you're doing.

Peace,

skipper

Be strong. Be courageous. Those children need you.
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:13 AM
  # 73 (permalink)  
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hi redbaron-

well, i've been around these boards for a few years now and i can't recall EVER hearing that the alcoholic got the kids. i'm not saying it doesn't happen, but the courts aren't stupid and will do what is best to protect the children.

i know it's scary but consider taking some steps to get some legal provision decreeing that you are the parent who has custody of the children.

i would render a guess that if you hold firm, her tactic will change from anger to how she loves you so much. this too is a ploy. don't fall for it. it's just more manipulation.

detach, detach, detach.

i would also render a guess that if she white knuckles it through her treatment, that it won't be long until she is drinking again. she is not embracing recovery, she feels forced against a wall right now. not a good sign, my friend.

mark my words. if she doesn't have a change of heart, she'll go back to drinking in hiding when she gets out. that's what alcoholics do.

you would be wise to move forward with your attorney, in my opinion. no harm done. if she does embrace recovery, well, you will be able to feel that and will be able to hand over more responsibility to her. but it will be your call if she doesn't.

stay strong! it'll get better, one way or the other. just keep those kids close and safe!

naive x
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:16 AM
  # 74 (permalink)  
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I feel for you, this must be a really hard time.I hope you can get some face to face support for yourself. I work fulltime, am a single parent, but thankfully don't have to deal with the other stuff you have on your plate too. Just remember to congratulate yourself on holding it all together; you are doing a great job under very difficult circumstances.

Other than that, try and keep in mind that you cannot influence her actions or reactions, or those of your/her extended family. If legal steps are in the best interests of you and your children, take them. Her family may about face and refuse to testify no matter what you do, she may or may not embrace sobriety no matter what you do.

Its a hard habit to get into, but once I stopped factoring other people's possible reactions into my decision making process then making decisions got much simpler - it's uncomfortable but very freeing.
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:21 AM
  # 75 (permalink)  
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Sorry to hear about challenging situation. Thanks for sharing with us. You said my wife's counsilor is worried that she's being distracted by outside events. Well, I would argue that facing the consequences of her addiction does not count as an "outside event". And anyway, is it really the role of a councillor to act as a "spokesperson" for her to members of her family?
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:45 AM
  # 76 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by hurtandangry View Post
Here in the sticks a father never gets custody unless the mother is either locked up, dead or so out of it she can’t function.
Maybe in your state but not mine, (VA). Red Baron might be in a very different situation than you were in and throwing in the towel might be bad advice.

Originally Posted by hurtandangry View Post
Every state has different laws, the original poster has retained counsel in his state and my opinion is that following the advice of paid counsel is generally wise.
THIS, is good advice.
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Old 12-16-2010, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by RedBaron View Post
So here’s where we’re at now: I had two counseling sessions with my wife last week, one with a guy who focused on marriage issues, and one with her primary counselor. During the first session she back pedaled on a lot of the things she’d previously said about admitting to be a danger to the kids, saying that she was forced into saying those things (how???) and that she didn’t want them to be used against her in any court hearings. The second session was rather different, in that the “listening” mode of the marriage guy was replaced by a more aggressive (to her) approach from the counselor, challenging her about her minimizing her drinking, and her failure to engage in the therapy process. My wife was incredible hostile through the whole process, both to the counselor, and especially to me. She’s since extended her stay there, but it very curt with me in any dealings, and is clearly very angry. One thing she said was that she considered my keeping her away from the kids to be a punishment I was imposing rather than anything for their benefit, which just breaks my heart. She seems now to be going through with treatment, but it feels forced and half-hearted. I guess my biggest fear right now is that she’ll somehow drag herself through it and get sober for a short while, but that her anger will still be there such that she’ll divorce me and use her sober status to take the kids. It seems that again I am being put in the role of the one forcing all this to happen, and am being portrayed as the bad guy. I want her back and I want her sober, but I’m so worried that she’s focused on her anger rather than the long term, and that she’ll end up just doing what she needs to do to “fight back” rather than because she really wants to get well.
I had a long drawn out reply, computer locked up, and poof, it was gone.

I've been following your story without posting, I think because it's just so damned close to my own, that I've been rendered speechless.

Your description of your wife in the counseling sessions does not sound like someone who is "getting it' to me. She is in total "self preservation" mode and reacting out of fear. She wants to protect her disease. I would not concern myself with her recovery, it's not happening, at this time, IMHO. Regardless of what you do or don't do.

I had a tremendous fear of my axw getting custody of our 5yo daughter 5 years ago. I actually got sole custody, and I was 54 and a recently recovering drunk, myself, at the time. So anything is possible.

As far as your wife sobering up and getting the kids, she would never in a million years be able to SUSTAIN THAT SOBRIETY, and you would get custody down the line anyway. That thought comforted me during my two 6 hour brutal custody battles.

With regard to your in-laws, they can pound sand. They are more concerned with their GROWN ALCOHOLIC daughters welfare, than YOUR MINOR children's welfare. I don't get that either, but it is how my in-laws have always been.

I am most ashamed of the fact that I spent years protecting my GROWN ALCOHOLIC WIFE at the expense of my MINOR CHILD. Please don't do to your kids what I did to mine. Save yourself that shame and guilt.

The hardest concept I have ever had to wrap my head around is having to protect my daughter from her own mother. It defies logic.

In closing I want to say, I can tell from your posts you are a wonderful father and husband, and I think you are doing a exemplary job, ferreting out answers to seeming impossible questions, under the most horrendous circumstances, any of us are ever likely to find ourselves.

If you can focus your energy on protecting your children as your #1 priority, I believe your path will become more clear.

Thanks and God bless us all,
Coyote
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Old 12-16-2010, 10:16 AM
  # 78 (permalink)  
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In closing I want to say, I can tell from your posts you are a wonderful father and husband, and I think you are doing a exemplary job, ferreting out answers to seeming impossible questions, under the most horrendous circumstances, any of us are ever likely to find ours selves.
i'll second that!
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Old 12-16-2010, 10:21 AM
  # 79 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by coyote21 View Post

In closing I want to say, I can tell from your posts you are a wonderful father and husband, and I think you are doing a exemplary job, ferreting out answers to seeming impossible questions, under the most horrendous circumstances, any of us are ever likely to find ourselves.

If you can focus your energy on protecting your children as your #1 priority, I believe your path will become more clear.

Thanks and God bless us all,
Coyote
I'm going to third it because it is just so apparent and I know that sometimes it is hard to see it or feel it in ourselves.
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