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Do I remove my child from this situation?

Old 11-17-2013, 09:50 PM
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Do I remove my child from this situation?

Hi all,

Haven't been on here in years. Quick recap- was married to an alcoholic three years, had one child. We are now divorced, live in the same town, our son is 3 1/2 and we share custody.

My dilemma is, he has not gotten better. He functions and is great with our son, (as far as I know) but I know he has not stopped drinking. Tonight he called, clearly had been drinking. He is unhappy in life, cannot get out of his rut, and the only thing he lives for is our son.

Towards the end of our marriage I know that my ex drank every day, especially at night to get to sleep. If he didn't drink he suffered from anxiety, and possibly has bi-polar for which he is not being treated. His mother was an alcoholic, he was abused, and he will not speak of any of this or even try to get past it and work towards a healthy functioning life.

I worry that my ex's mental instability is not a good situation for our son to be in, especially as he gets older. Do I just put my foot down and take my son full time? Neither of us have the money to go to court so he'll probably flip out but that's all he could do.

My ex does not pay any child support, but the three days he takes our son I am able to work without paying childcare. I already work three jobs and would just have the added expense of some more childcare to pay. Providing a good home for my son is worth it, of course. I feel that my son should have a stable, reliable home, even if it means having one primary caregiver.

THOUGHTS?!! Please share any advice. Thank you!
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Old 11-17-2013, 09:59 PM
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Oh Sheila. I've not experienced that so I don't know what to say. But I want to say trust yourself in this situation. I think you'll know the answer if you don't already. Prayers to you sweet thing. Someone smarter than I will come along soon and share their great advice. Meanwhile I'll pray. Love.
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Old 11-17-2013, 10:29 PM
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I am sorry you find yourself and your son in this difficult situation.

I think your first step would be to prepare the groundwork. Research alternatives for childcare for your son. Figure out how you would like custody/visitation to change. Talk to a lawyer. Document everything that gives you concern for your child to remain in his father's care. A judge will want to know why you want to male a change now. Has something new taken place?

Alcoholism is progressive, as I am sure you know. I have four children myself, and although they are older (7, 10, 13, and 16) it can be super hard to figure out when/how/whether to intervene regarding their interactions with him. He is needy around them, and sometimes mean and controlling and lately somewhat abusive. The courts want to give him lots of leeway and I see that this is going to continue to be h**l on earth, these visitation issues. Nothing to do about it but document, find a therapist that will talk to the judge, and take it one day at a time.

Don't mean to worry you. I hope this helps a little bit.
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Old 11-18-2013, 02:10 AM
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If you have reason to believe that your son is not safe, that would take priority over everything else for me.

But as Pippi says, what are your options? If your option is a substandard daycare situation, maybe being at your ex'a is a less awful situation? Is your ex drunk during the day or just at night? I mean, my ex was irritable and mean even when he was sober but he only drank at night. Could you get your son in the evenings so that he's safe overnight?

It's a difficult situation for sure.
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Old 11-18-2013, 02:19 AM
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What would you tell a friend to do in this situation? Would you feel comfortable leaving your son at a daycare with a stranger if they had the same problems as your husband?

Try reaching out to friends and family especially ones that live close by. We can end up isolating ourselves too much when dealing with addicts. Sounds like you have a lot on your plate and maybe there is someone who can help.
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Old 11-18-2013, 02:41 AM
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There are cell phone based breathalyzers that you could possibly put in play that would insure that he is always sober when around your child. If this would be enough to insure safety and he remains a positive influence and caregiver during these times is another decision you only can make.

I always believed that if I could insure safe visitation I always allowed it for my children with my XA and even encouraged it. My XA never did get his life together but he has distant relationships with our children (they simply don't respect him or his lifestyle but maintain contact). They never felt rejected and know that he loves them in his limited, selfish way and I allowed them to define their relationship with him rather than my manipulate and control it.

It was the one thing that I probably got as right as I could... there are no perfect solutions dealing with an addict co-parent.
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Old 11-18-2013, 03:54 AM
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Hi Sheila, if your husband is able to be a good father to his son, that will be a huge benefit for your son. I would hesitate to remove him if your EX is a good dad. If there is reason to believe ex is drinking to excess while looking after him then that's different. If you do have concerns, would it be possible to discuss them with your ex?
My own marriage broke up and i know my children were much less affected because we were able to stay on good terms.
There other factor is that by working part time you are possibly able to keep your son in a better standard of living that would otherwise be possible.
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Old 11-18-2013, 07:12 AM
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I have no advise or solution but wanted to say how sorry I am for your situation. I am in a very similar situation in that my AH suffers greatly from anxiety and I believe undiagnosed BD also.

I just wanted to let you know people are reading this and that we support you! Keep posting, you are never alone!
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Old 11-18-2013, 07:40 PM
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I wish you wisdom in this situation. I am struggling with this too. Ex rolled up in the car w DD just bombed the other day. He goes to therapy , is on meds and doesn't get (or care?) That the meds intensify how messed up he is. It was awful. He was a wreck. I want to apply for custody but I have no proof that this happened. I have a few witnesses but its one time
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Old 11-18-2013, 09:59 PM
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Custody options generally are: Sole (hard to get in many places, have to show a change in circumstances); supervised visitation with no overnights (again if you share custody and the child has overnights you have to show a change in circumstances); and joint with various variations.

It is so frustrating that (1) we know alcoholism is a progressive disease and they almost only get worse, and (2) it is hard to find direct proof of harm to the child (especially a young one) even though you can see the harm. For example, my young child comes home acting out and reflecting all the anger he's experienced and saying "that's a secret and I can't tell you."

For sober parents, giving children stability can a long process that you just document one entry at a time, one day at a time.
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