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Something alarming I see in posts all of the time...

Old 07-21-2017, 05:12 PM
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Something alarming I see in posts all of the time...

Hey Folks,

Very respectfully, and with sympathy for those that have done it (myself included), or for those that do it or are contemplating doing it, one of the most distressing things I see consistently in posts is women and men saying some form of the following about an alcoholic/addict who drives while drunk (even just once-- I can't believe I had to type that but many posts have taught me I have to do so):

"I have bent over backwards to make sure she/he sees her child/children." I'm not going to address this the way I normally would so I'll just say this-- don,t. Just don't. It is the opposite of good parenting to make sure a drunk/addict who is still using spends time with their children-- IMHO it is selfish and cruel on the part of the sober parent. And it's even worse if you know damn well there's a possibility they will drive with the children in the car.

I also often see some form of, "It's important my child/children see their mother/father on a regular basis or have them as part of their lives." This is usually true UNLESS you are talking about a drinking/using alcoholic/addict-- then it's a dump truck full of cow manure and stinks just as bad. And it's even worse if you know damn well there's a possibility they will drive with the children in the car.

My two cents...

Cyranoak
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Old 07-21-2017, 05:28 PM
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Ok, so we have all seen such posts. I assume a lot of folks here might share your feelings of frustration.

Do you have some kind of solution to the problem? If you were the person in that situation what specific actions would help you deal with the obvious denial and fear? Perhaps working the steps with a sponsor, seeing a therapist?

Me? When I get to feeling frustrated about all the negative stuff in the world of addiction I go read positive threads here on SR. I go to a real life meeting. I call up some of my friends in recovery. Stepping away from the negative and towards the positive works good for me.

What does everybody else do in order to prevent "SR burnout"?

Mike
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Old 07-21-2017, 06:03 PM
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I find things to agree with and things to disagree with in Cyranoak's post, because I'm in exactly the situation s/he describes. On drunk driving - No. Never. People die that way. That's what flipped the switch for me to seek sole custody of Kid.

On seeing the alcoholic parent: that's a tough one. If I ran the world Kid would have nothing to do with her father until he can demonstrate that he's able to maintain sobriety. However, I made the decision to facilitate limited and controlled contact with her father.

I made this decision mainly because of what a very experienced social worker friend told me, when I laid out the situation to him. He said that he thought the thing that was most at risk was Kid's relationship to me. If I tell Kid "no, you can never see your father", he becomes the wedge between Kid and me. Given how good alcoholics are at triangulating, this is the perfect setup for Kid-and-Dad vs Mom. My friend said he had seen a lot of these situations in his practice, where the child aligns with the addicted or otherwise disturbed parent because the healthy parent has been made into the enemy, and when crap starts going down with the addicted parent, (as it will) the child is really hooped, because they've stopped trusting the healthy parent.

His advice was to be more lenient than I really want to be - put some safeguards in place (two-hours visits, Kid has her phone, I do all the driving, I check Dad at dropoff and pickup) but help Kid see her father.

Dad has been feeding Kid a line (for years) about how Mom is a controlling b!tch, Mom is trying to keep us apart, Mom hates me and doesn't want you to see me, etc etc etc. However, Kid has the evidence of her own eyes - Mom is taking me to and from Dad's place several times a week, Mom is arranging visits for me with Dad, Mom isn't trash-talking Dad - to counter Dad's version of reality. If I did what a large part of me really wants to do and told Dad "you can see Kid when she's eighteen. Maybe. If you're lucky", I'd be confirming the stories that he's telling Kid.

If Kid were younger, things might be different. I'm taking a gamble that Kid is astute enough to see that Dad's version is wrong and Mom is not the enemy.

I'm taking the time to write this all out because what my friend said was a real revelation to me - I had assumed that the less contact Kid has with her batsh!t crazy drunk of a father, the better. However once he laid it out to me, I understood that in my situation, I had to play the long game and think about what kind of relationship I wanted Kid to have with me next year or five years from now, rather than focusing only on the immediate future.

I am not totally comfortable with this. It's a gamble. But I decided in my situation, it was the best of a bad set of options.
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Old 07-21-2017, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Sasha1972 View Post
I find things to agree with and things to disagree with in Cyranoak's post, because I'm in exactly the situation s/he describes. On drunk driving - No. Never. People die that way. That's what flipped the switch for me to seek sole custody of Kid.

On seeing the alcoholic parent: that's a tough one. If I ran the world Kid would have nothing to do with her father until he can demonstrate that he's able to maintain sobriety. However, I made the decision to facilitate limited and controlled contact with her father.

I made this decision mainly because of what a very experienced social worker friend told me, when I laid out the situation to him. He said that he thought the thing that was most at risk was Kid's relationship to me. If I tell Kid "no, you can never see your father", he becomes the wedge between Kid and me. Given how good alcoholics are at triangulating, this is the perfect setup for Kid-and-Dad vs Mom. My friend said he had seen a lot of these situations in his practice, where the child aligns with the addicted or otherwise disturbed parent because the healthy parent has been made into the enemy, and when crap starts going down with the addicted parent, (as it will) the child is really hooped, because they've stopped trusting the healthy parent.

His advice was to be more lenient than I really want to be - put some safeguards in place (two-hours visits, Kid has her phone, I do all the driving, I check Dad at dropoff and pickup) but help Kid see her father.

Dad has been feeding Kid a line (for years) about how Mom is a controlling b!tch, Mom is trying to keep us apart, Mom hates me and doesn't want you to see me, etc etc etc. However, Kid has the evidence of her own eyes - Mom is taking me to and from Dad's place several times a week, Mom is arranging visits for me with Dad, Mom isn't trash-talking Dad - to counter Dad's version of reality. If I did what a large part of me really wants to do and told Dad "you can see Kid when she's eighteen. Maybe. If you're lucky", I'd be confirming the stories that he's telling Kid.

If Kid were younger, things might be different. I'm taking a gamble that Kid is astute enough to see that Dad's version is wrong and Mom is not the enemy.

I'm taking the time to write this all out because what my friend said was a real revelation to me - I had assumed that the less contact Kid has with her batsh!t crazy drunk of a father, the better. However once he laid it out to me, I understood that in my situation, I had to play the long game and think about what kind of relationship I wanted Kid to have with me next year or five years from now, rather than focusing only on the immediate future.

I am not totally comfortable with this. It's a gamble. But I decided in my situation, it was the best of a bad set of options.
Hi sasha.

I love how you call your kid "Kid". It tickled me for some sweet reason.

I have a very good friend who was in a similar sitch.

Her daughter is now 13 and has a real understanding of the situation between mom and dad because she has had the opportunity to see for herself and come to her own conclusions.

Kid knows who she can trust and who's got her back - mom, hands down.

She is coming to have a greater understanding of dad and his issues because she has been allowed the freedom to have a relationship with her dad - with restraints that have been made for her safety - physical and emotional.

I think that you will find that your friend had great wisdom as do you for being willing to take and hear advice.

Best to you and Kid <3
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Old 07-21-2017, 10:29 PM
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Interesting thoughts here and my hat is off to all parents trying to walk the best (or the least worst) line in parenting.

I didn't have kids with my qualifier so can only offer warm-fuzzies from the electronic side lines.
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Old 07-21-2017, 11:57 PM
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My dad was a drunk and when my parents split, myself and my siblings went for access visits with him.

In my opinion, we should have been kept away from him. A drunk, incoherent father sleeping in a chair. Oh yeah. Quality time and great role model!
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Old 07-22-2017, 03:07 AM
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What does everybody else do in order to prevent "SR burnout"?

I log out for a few days or weeks and concentrate on my own life. Am the first to admit some of the posts have me heading the screen especially when I see them from the same poster over and over. I have to remind myself I was like that until I got it. Getting it takes time. I still have it in me to be far too accommodating to people who do not deserve my time 4 years post divorce of my exah.

As for kids...well what a mindfield that is. I've got 8 and my exah has broken all their hearts. They have nothing to do with him now but the court system in the UK, where I live, is not set up well to be able to avoid alcoholic parents of either gender. There is a massive pressure on young children to have some sort of contact. I totally agree tho they are not a good influence on children and manipulate the sober parent in many cases to making them out to be the bad guy to the child.

I remember my exah coming out of detox ( not even rehab ) and saying he could go for custody of our youngest cos he was "cured now." I was like no...just no. Not a chance!
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Old 07-22-2017, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by DesertEyes View Post
...

Me? When I get to feeling frustrated about all the negative stuff in the world of addiction I go read positive threads here on SR. I go to a real life meeting. I call up some of my friends in recovery. Stepping away from the negative and towards the positive works good for me.

What does everybody else do in order to prevent "SR burnout"?

Mike
Stepping away to go live life in the real world for a while helps me...

That, and realizing that chastising someone for not doing what *I* think they should do is not going to help matters. It's that issue of control, or rather lack thereof.

My great-grandmother was fond of the old saying that you can catch more flies with a spoon full of honey than a barrel full of vinegar Love my great grannie!

I just feel that kindness is always the best approach. If I can't be kind, I am getting better at walking away.
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Old 07-22-2017, 09:33 AM
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Seren... I can remember my own grandmother saying this a gazillion times!
I adore her, so......
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Old 07-22-2017, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by LeeJane View Post
My dad was a drunk and when my parents split, myself and my siblings went for access visits with him.

In my opinion, we should have been kept away from him. A drunk, incoherent father sleeping in a chair. Oh yeah. Quality time and great role model!
Lee Jane, how long did it take you to realize what was the reality? How old were you? And if your Mom had kept you away before you realized the truth would you have blamed your Mom?
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Old 07-22-2017, 10:29 AM
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I have lawyers, therapists and the court's saying the children will have time with the qualifier. All I can do is minimize the potential damage.
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Old 07-22-2017, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Bekindalways View Post
Lee Jane, how long did it take you to realize what was the reality? How old were you? And if your Mom had kept you way before you realized the truth would you have blamed your Mom?
My siblings and I ranged between 7 to 12 years old. I think we realised very quickly that we shouldn't be in the "care" of a drunk. No, we wouldn't have blamed mum. We would have been relieved that we didn't have to go.

Access visit was Sunday afternoons. He was passed out for first few hours. Then awoke and was groggy. The whole thing was boring and felt a waste of time. He was usually late collecting us too. Plus drove drunk with us in the car. I remember being frightened about that.
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Old 07-22-2017, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by LeeJane View Post
My siblings and I ranged between 7 to 12 years old. I think we realised very quickly that we shouldn't be in the "care" of a drunk. No, we wouldn't have blamed mum. We would have been relieved that we didn't have to go.

Access visit was Sunday afternoons. He was passed out for first few hours. Then awoke and was groggy. The whole thing was boring and felt a waste of time. He was usually late collecting us too. Plus drove drunk with us in the car. I remember being frightened about that.
Thanks for your response LJ.

I would think many kids feel this way but I have followed Sasha's path as she has struggled with a kid who is very attached to her father.

We had another poster who tried to keep teenage son away from A-father. Kid chose (understandable for a 17 to 18 year old) to be with father as then kid could party/drink without supervision. Kid wound up in major trouble.

When I first read Cyranok's post I agreed with it and still do for the most part; however I can see benefits of using subtleties in trying to extract a kid from the influence of an addict parent. If the child isn't allowed to see the realities of the alcoholism they might see sober parent as the problem not the alcohol.

Prayers, angels and strength to all of you coparenting with an alcoholic.
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Old 07-24-2017, 10:13 AM
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This. It's a shame he family courts don't realize the damage that
addict parents cause. Awful.

Originally Posted by hearthealth View Post
I have lawyers, therapists and the court's saying the children will have time with the qualifier. All I can do is minimize the potential damage.
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Old 07-24-2017, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by DesertEyes View Post
What does everybody else do in order to prevent "SR burnout"?
I take weekends off from SR, mostly. I might pop in to read or check in if someone is having an active crisis but I've found that one of the best things we can do sometimes is to just not log in.

In my early recovery that idea would have sent me into a panic - I relied on SR many times daily to keep my in my mental safe zone, no matter what day of the week it was. I also work 8 hours per day with multiple screens & programs open & whirring at the same time, all day. It's nothing for me to be logged in but pop in & out of SR all day M-F simply because it's so easy. (That's why I "hide" while I'm logged in - just because I'm here doesn't mean I'm actively "here" - the screen may be minimized on my desktop for hours at a time if my work phones start ringing like crazy)

I tend to not block other posters so much as I just avoid anyone that has a history of triggering me or that I feel like I've tried but my message just isn't getting through. Every time anyone has ever upset me so much that I considered blocking them they've ended up being short-term posters at SR that leave as quickly as they arrive..... they show up, rage against what they don't want to hear, throw a bunch of awful around & then go back to living that reality in their lives, I guess. *If* they come back, it's always with a more humble perspective, all those rough edges less sharp now that the stuff they heard way-back-when from SR rang true & they see the progression of things.

I also TRY VERY HARD to watch my pronouns so I can try to stick to only sharing my own experiences. If I'm using a lot of "I" statements, I'm doing ok. If I'm you'ing all over the place it's either an attempt at tough-love after my I's stopped working OR I've lost myself & need to step back from the keyboard.


To the point of the original topic - I WISH it were so black & white, but it isn't. NOTHING gets me more riled up than thinking about the kids affected by active & ongoing addiction - especially having BEEN one myself. But every child, every addict, every sober parent & every situation is incredibly different even when there are similarities. There is no SINGLE right answer for everyone, it's not easy for any of us.

I get where you're coming from Cy - in the rearview, it's all 20/20 & we want to minimize or stop any potential further damage to every child impacted by addiction - don't forget you're also viewing this at least somewhat through the Lens of Regret, right? That affects the way you think of it but like every other part of this process, this can't be reduced to a single right answer or path.

Personally, I'd say that honesty & open communication & using the right labels & definitions for things as early as possible can go equally far for most children - but not every sober parent or every situation allows for that either.
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Old 07-24-2017, 11:31 AM
  # 16 (permalink)  
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I rarely get burnt out from the post of people who are facing a crisis in their life or relationship. I actually learn a lot when people share whats going on in their life and talk about their emotions or what they are trying to do in order to work through the situation...those who share what they did to help themselves feel better or get healthier.

I view this forum more as a sharing site than a teaching site, and in that way maybe it lessens my frustrations because I dont have expectations that anyone will/or should take the route that I have taken. I try not to get emotionally involved no matter how volatile the situation may be for another poster. I dont feel adding my emotions to the mix will be a benefit to anyone in most circumstances. (some of this outlook may come from the training involved for my work).

I get burnt out from the lack of diversity on in this forum sometimes, and when that happens I spend time either on other sections of this site, especially Newcomers where there are both family, and many people in recovery using a variety of approaches. I also turn to other sites: recovery, mental health, marriage, family and parenting, divorce, infidelity.. most of what we discuss here on this forum, is also explored in these other formats and I like the broad perspective. And then of course I often just take a break from it all and focus on other things in my life.

Parenting issues are tough and I dont envy anyone in these situations. I think there are a lot of things to consider: people who are dealing with substance abuse issues are not all alike, and you have to look at the specific person, the progression of their illness, mental health, stability, relationship with child, age and emotional level of child, relationship between the parents, whats best for the child overall and in terms of their safety, legal requirements, and also ones own personal beliefs on the subject. Also I feel like the whole situation can really only be understood when its all laid out in front of an attorney, or mediator type who can see the big picture and knows all the legal aspects for a particular state, etc.
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Old 07-25-2017, 12:20 PM
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Well said! ^^^^^^
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Old 07-26-2017, 06:04 PM
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Desert Eyes and others have done a good job of making this a more useful thread...

...and I appreciate it a great deal! You've known me long enough to read me with a fair bit of context, but I probably come off differently to those that haven't. Ugh. Trying to get better at this but my base point remains the same...

C-

Originally Posted by FireSprite View Post
I take weekends off from SR, mostly. I might pop in to read or check in if someone is having an active crisis but I've found that one of the best things we can do sometimes is to just not log in.

In my early recovery that idea would have sent me into a panic - I relied on SR many times daily to keep my in my mental safe zone, no matter what day of the week it was. I also work 8 hours per day with multiple screens & programs open & whirring at the same time, all day. It's nothing for me to be logged in but pop in & out of SR all day M-F simply because it's so easy. (That's why I "hide" while I'm logged in - just because I'm here doesn't mean I'm actively "here" - the screen may be minimized on my desktop for hours at a time if my work phones start ringing like crazy)

I tend to not block other posters so much as I just avoid anyone that has a history of triggering me or that I feel like I've tried but my message just isn't getting through. Every time anyone has ever upset me so much that I considered blocking them they've ended up being short-term posters at SR that leave as quickly as they arrive..... they show up, rage against what they don't want to hear, throw a bunch of awful around & then go back to living that reality in their lives, I guess. *If* they come back, it's always with a more humble perspective, all those rough edges less sharp now that the stuff they heard way-back-when from SR rang true & they see the progression of things.

I also TRY VERY HARD to watch my pronouns so I can try to stick to only sharing my own experiences. If I'm using a lot of "I" statements, I'm doing ok. If I'm you'ing all over the place it's either an attempt at tough-love after my I's stopped working OR I've lost myself & need to step back from the keyboard.


To the point of the original topic - I WISH it were so black & white, but it isn't. NOTHING gets me more riled up than thinking about the kids affected by active & ongoing addiction - especially having BEEN one myself. But every child, every addict, every sober parent & every situation is incredibly different even when there are similarities. There is no SINGLE right answer for everyone, it's not easy for any of us.

I get where you're coming from Cy - in the rearview, it's all 20/20 & we want to minimize or stop any potential further damage to every child impacted by addiction - don't forget you're also viewing this at least somewhat through the Lens of Regret, right? That affects the way you think of it but like every other part of this process, this can't be reduced to a single right answer or path.

Personally, I'd say that honesty & open communication & using the right labels & definitions for things as early as possible can go equally far for most children - but not every sober parent or every situation allows for that either.
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Old 07-27-2017, 04:42 AM
  # 19 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by hopeful4 View Post
It's a shame the family courts don't realize the damage that addict parents cause. Awful.
A quick check on LegalZoom.com says otherwise. Of course, much depends on the particular judge, but I imagine that this awareness varies greatly. Apparently, judges do take addiction into account. I'm not an expert at all, but the question does seem to be embedded in the general legal process of custody arbitration.

"If you are concerned about your ex's substance abuse, you must argue it is not in your child's best interests to be left alone with him and advocate for a custody plan that requires supervised visitation or provides for no visitation at all. In many cases, judges will require parents to attend treatment before they can seek visitation. When one parent alleges the other parent is an addict, judges have the power to compel the alleged addict to undergo a substance abuse evaluation. A court-appointed evaluator will assess whether the person is, in fact, an addict and evaluate how the addiction could affect the children."
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Old 07-27-2017, 07:35 AM
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There's a lot of variation around the country in terms of how sensitive and responsive the courts are to allegations of addiction. Best bet is ALWAYS to have a good lawyer familiar with the practices in your jurisdiction to advise as to the most promising strategy for a good outcome.
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