discontinuing Soberlink?

Old 01-19-2017, 10:00 PM
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discontinuing Soberlink?

The day I knew would come has come. Should I fight?

Background: I left STBXAH in November 2015 after 20 years of his increasingly drunken, violent, intolerable, behavior. He insisted on split custody.

In Mach 2016 I filed a court motion to get him to do Soberlink monitoring when he has our kids (now 10, 14, 16), to which a co-parenting counselor and I got him to agree given the evidence presented about his drinking and danger to the kids.

Now he has filed to discontinue the monitoring, arguing that passing the tests for 10 months shows he no longer has a problem with alcohol.
In his words, he did drink excessively at times in the past, but not anymore.

I think those 10 months of passed tests show that he has figured out how to game the system (easier now that he tests only 2x/day), and to wait until his "off" weeks to drink heavily. To his credit, however, he has managed to change the pattern he had when I was with him, of not being able to stop drinking once he started and of drinking all night long. But, again, I think it's because of Soberlink that he has managed to moderate when necessary.

So, now what? I'm meeting with my attorney tomorrow to discuss my options, but wondered if others have insight or advice.

I am getting our children into therapy so they will have another adult to talk to in case they don't feel comfortable talking to me about their dad, to whom they are very loyal.

There doesn't seem to be an Alateen meeting in our area.

I'm grateful that our children are old enough to have cell phones and contact me or call 911 if necessary, yet I hate the thought of turning them into codependents, having to monitor their parent's behavior.

STBXAH claims my insistence on continued monitoring means I'm just trying to control him. Nope. I'm just trying to make sure our children are safe.

Experience or suggestions?
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Old 01-19-2017, 10:20 PM
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I should have noted: STBXAH makes no claim to being in recovery. When he asked what it would take for me to agree to discontinue the monitoring, I responded, what does your doctor say would indicate that you are in recovery? He didn't answer. So far as I know, he's not doing anything to try to deal with his alcoholism. He's just decided it no longer exists.
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Old 01-20-2017, 02:57 AM
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Hi S. I'd oppose it if my kids were with him, but it seems to do with what's possible. He's still drinking so he's not in recovery, 10 months is nothing with an active disease, and he has a history of putting the kids in danger.

What would be the consequences of you opposing? Fees? Bad feeling? I'm wondering why you have a question in your mind?

Remember that he's richly earned the need to check his sobriety.
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Old 01-20-2017, 04:55 AM
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I'd oppose it. Take the stance that you're glad he's been sober with the kids for the past 10 months, but there's no indication he's ceased drinking altogether, and that continued monitoring is appropriate because it's the only way to be sure that the kids continue to be safe while they are in his care. If the youngest were 14, I might feel differently, but the 10-y/o is still pretty young to fend for him/herself.

Try putting him on the defensive: If he's got nothing to hide, why oppose it? I think legitimate concern about the kids' safety (given the history) trumps his right to "freedom" from monitoring.
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Old 01-20-2017, 05:10 AM
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Ugh not pleasant. My situation is a bit different - DS is on autism spectrum, he may or may not call during crisis (most likely just to freak out), plus there is a loyalty to his dad too. His dad was able to fool me about his being intoxicated - will be able to fool him. Plus there is an issue of sketchy friends, pills and booze laying around and kids getting into it.

+ 1 on fighting it.
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Old 01-20-2017, 06:34 AM
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From a strategic point of view: He couldn't wait two months so he could make the argument that he's been sober for a year? That to me is a warning flag.

There was a study done a while back which found that:
  • Only about a third of people who are abstinent less than a year will remain abstinent.
  • For those who achieve a year of sobriety, less than half will relapse.
  • If you can make it to 5 years of sobriety, your chance of relapse is less than 15 percent.

The study also concluded that the risk of relapse was problematic in the first three years of sobriety - then it stabilized.

Here's a written blurb about it (this is where I got the bullet points from):

And the original paper (which discussed how relapse rates stabilized around the three year mark):
SAGE Journals: Your gateway to world-class journal research
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Old 01-20-2017, 06:59 AM
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I have it in my divorce decree that my X cannot drink around my children. He agreed to have it put in. Wish I would have known about Soberlink then, but I did not. The consequence is that my DD who is 11 (17 year old does not go to his house anymore), is a sober monitor. It has caused tons of stress for her, and for all of us.

Push, and push hard, to keep it in. Pay for it yourself if that's an issue, it will be worth every penny.

Hugs. Let us know how it goes.
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Old 01-20-2017, 07:39 AM
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Fight it...With everything you got and don't back down. If it's not an issue then he should not have any problem continuing it.
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Old 01-20-2017, 08:14 AM
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I just looked at the Soberlink website. It sounds fantastic... what's the catch?

I've been having my AH take a breathalyzer when he comes home, but I think he's been taking it and then drinking. And it only stores a few past readings. I wish you could do random testings, but the record keeping on this sounds great. I know this won't make AH stop drinking, but thinking it would give me piece of mind that when he's with the kids, he's sober. Right now I'm at a place where I cannot leave him alone with them because I just don't know.
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Old 01-20-2017, 08:21 AM
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Do you know how your kids feel about the Soberlink? Does it make them feel safer? Would they admit this to you if they did? ( I understand them being loyal to their dad so they may not want to say so). Would he berate a child that wanted him to keep testing?

It would be awfully telling if he refused to do something that obviously made his children , or even just one of his children, feel more comfortable.
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Old 01-20-2017, 10:22 AM
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if he's not drinking, then continued sober monitoring should not be an issue. i recall you posted previously about this.....about his desire to stop the soberlink.

don't give an inch. not on this. your children's safety MUST come before anything else. as a father, that should be HIS concern, and proving that he is sober should be something he does willingly FOR his children.

OR you offer - No monitoring? NO visitation.
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Old 01-20-2017, 11:50 AM
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I'd definitely oppose it
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Old 01-20-2017, 12:18 PM
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Another vote for stand and fight here. Something to keep in mind, which my ex and his entire camp seemed to overlook while arguing in mediation and then in court- only an alcoholic would argue that they should be able to drink while caring for children. I also sweetened the pot by offering to pay half the cost- unless he blew positive or missed a test, and kept the emphasis on our ensuring son's safety, which thwarted his claims of attempted parental alienation.

Good luck. We're all behind you 100% on this.
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Old 01-20-2017, 06:24 PM
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Thank you so much, everyone. My attorney is on the same page. She said if Soberlink is too intrusive, then we'll offer mandatory observed twice weekly urine tests when he has custody. Then he won't have the breathalyzer hassle. lol. I love my attorney.

Also, she thinks that his [new] attorney hasn't yet read the court motion I filed detailing his years and years of alcohol-induced abuse, including the two times he got in bed, massively drunk, with our then 10-year old daughter and told her not to tell mommy. (Thank God our daughter didn't listen to him.)

She thinks once his own attorney realizes the extent of his documented problem, she, too, won't press to discontinue monitoring. Luckily all of us, including both attorneys, have children around the same ages, so it seems likely that we'll all agree that their well-being is top priority.

You all are right: if he doesn't have a problem with alcohol, then he shouldn't have a problem with the monitoring for the sake of his children's welfare.

I so appreciate your feedback. It's crazy how even now, more than a year out, I still fall under the spell of his illogic, and I start to question my own motives just because he insists that I'm the problem. It's really really helpful to have you all to remind me of who is thinking straight and who isn't.

And yes, Anvil, he tried to end the monitoring late last spring after the initial 120 day period was up. But right around that time he and his buddy, both well over 6' tall and 220+ lbs. got mugged. They were taken by ambulance to the hospital, and according to the police report, "both men were extremely intoxicated. ______ kept repeating, 'I can't believe it! I'm so f---ing drunk, and I just got mugged!"' So much for STBXAH's claims back then to no longer have a problem with alcohol.

SmallbutMighty I like your idea about asking the kids how they feel. They are just so protective of him, though. Still, it might be worth it to see what they say.

I know SL helps me to relax when he has them. I think he's gaming the system to some extent, figuring out how to sneak in a drink here and there. But he's no longer able to drink to oblivion or madness, which is where he would end up when we were together.

Dreaming05: I think Soberlink is fantastic. I told them as much when I called to get STBXAH's detailed report. It allows parents who otherwise might lose custody to keep their kids, and from what I've observed with STBXAH, I think it can really help someone to moderate their drinking, too. Plus it's completely private and unobtrusive. (Their customer service is good, too--better than the website, which I found confusing.)

Thanks again, everyone. Wish me luck as the saga continues . . .
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