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Old 11-28-2018, 06:46 PM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by MCESaint View Post
Update:

In order to try to avoid GAL and further attorneys fees, I sent AW a rough draft of an Order that I think is fair and protects DS. Briefly, it gives both of us "legal custody" - i.e., AW and I have to consult on major issues such as schools, doctors, major medical decisions, religious training etc. However, it gives ME "physical custody" of DS and her visitations are "supervised." She is prohibited from consuming alcohol or illegal drugs 12 hours before any visitation period. If she successfully completes 12 consecutive weeks of supervised visits, then she can replace the "supervisor" with SoberLink monitoring (before and after visitation). We'll see what comes of that.

Tonight, after she Skyped with DS, we talked briefly. She said "thanks for letting me Skype with him" - which seemed to work better than just a telephone call (because he can see mom). I said "no problem, I think it is important that he maintain a connection with you -- the issue is you drinking around him, etc." I said, I think some amount of time has to pass before you can be "trusted" (not exact words, but that was the gist of it). She said "how much time"?? I said, I don't know exactly, but we've been here at 30, 60, 90 days of sobriety before and it wasn't enough time. She then, very quickly, wanted to end the conversation.

It's just really, really, really frustrating that - it feels to me - that she thinks she should have no limits/conditions on physical contact with DS right this minute. She hasn't SAID it, but its the way the conversation(s) seem to FEEL to me.

This is NOT her first rehab. This is not the first "relapse" following rehab.

I've always said and felt that one year of her sobriety is what is needed to get me to "trust" her again with DS. I know 1 year continuous sobriety isn't a magic number and that a high rate of relapse is possible in year 2; but I think that there has to be a path back to earning some (or a lot) of trust back for addicts with their children.

I dunno - am I crazy???

MCE Saint
So your wife has been to rehab before and I guess had some sober time previously, was there any remorse shown at that time any restrictions on access to your Son (you didn't leave her alone with him for longer than a few hours etc) or has she just reentered family life as normal?

I'm just thinking if that has been the case she might be expecting the same.
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Old 11-28-2018, 06:48 PM
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Old 11-28-2018, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by trailmix View Post
You are crazy, but let's focus on the issue at hand.

(kidding)

So your wife has been to rehab before and I guess had some sober time previously, was there any remorse shown at that time any restrictions on access to your Son (you didn't leave her alone with him for longer than a few hours etc) or has she just reentered family life as normal?
Well to recap -- AW is currently in a sober living house located about 30 minutes or so from our residence. She's been there about 3 weeks or so. She doesn't have a vehicle (I have both cars) and it is unclear to me whether she has a valid driver's license (might be suspended, might not be). She said she "got lost" taking a bus today - so I gather she's not driving.

In order to physically be with DS someone (usually its been our older daughter) has taken DS to see "mom." Daughter stays there the entire time (she's very protective of DS and knows mom's issues with alcohol, etc. -- daughter and mom have their own rocky history over mom's drinking and driving).

Nevertheless, AW uses her current sober living and lack of driving as "proof" that there is no danger to DS.

The most she'll say about the past is: I can't change it and I'm sorry, didn't mean to do this, etc.

I don't think I'm trying to "beat her up" with the past; but - from my perspective - past performance IS some indicator of future compliance.

Or as we used to say about the Russians and nuclear de-armament: Trust, but verify.

So, my thought is: it's great that your recovery is continuing and the sober living house is helping you stay on the straight and narrow.

But, it is still too soon in your recovery to give you unfettered and unconditional access to DS. What I've seen done in other cases and what I propose doing here is -- as stable sobriety with DS is demonstrated over a period of time (12 weeks or maybe 8 or 10), the restrictions/conditions "lessen." Her time with DS can increase, etc.

In my profession, I'm often trying to negotiate based on the other side's legitimate concerns. When those concerns are not legitimate, I say so; but sometimes you have to acknowledge when they have legitimate concerns (say, a buyer's credit is shaky and the seller wants protection).

I just don't get the sense that AW thinks any of my concerns about her and DS are legitimate. And that does not bode well for coming to a negotiated settlement concerning DS's contact with AW.

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Old 11-28-2018, 07:37 PM
  # 24 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by MCESaint View Post
I just don't get the sense that AW thinks any of my concerns about her and DS are legitimate. And that does not bode well for coming to a negotiated settlement concerning DS's contact with AW.

MCE Saint
I think your concerns are valid and I think the offer you are making for visitation seems fair.

It's just really, really, really frustrating that - it feels to me - that she thinks she should have no limits/conditions on physical contact with DS right this minute. She hasn't SAID it, but its the way the conversation(s) seem to FEEL to me.
This is why I was asking what has happened historically. She may well be confused if, historically, there were no limits put on access to your child after she attended rehab. Doesn't mean that's RIGHT just means that might be where the feeling that she shouldn't have any limits - is coming from.

I just don't get the sense that AW thinks any of my concerns about her and DS are legitimate. And that does not bode well for coming to a negotiated settlement concerning DS's contact with AW.
Perhaps, but not necessarily. You know her well, of course, but what she WANTS and what she can get are not necessarily the same thing and I can imagine she may be thinking something along the lines of - haven't I been punished enough.

Not saying that is right or wrong, just a guess. Regardless, she may well come around to realizing that there are consequences here. I hope so for everyone's sake, it would make everyone's life easier at this point.
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Old 11-28-2018, 10:01 PM
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FWIW I have a similar court order with ex concerning access to Kid - a stepped increase of access time, conditioned on completing an agreed-on number of weeks with no SoberLink fails or "alcohol-related incidents". If he gets through the weeks at a step, he moves to the next step (e.g. longer visits). If he screws up, we go back to T=0 for that step. So in theory he could progress from supervised short visits in a public place to day-long unsupervised (but still SoberLinked) visits in his home. He has not managed to get that far in a year and a half.

Having this "roadmap" of steps (more like snakes and ladders) to more parenting time has been useful because it demonstrates to the court that I am not an evil vindictive mom who is trying to keep Kid away from her father forever. The steps show that I am willing to move towards something resembling shared parenting, in a prudent manner, and also that the power to determine how much time he has with Kid is in his hands, not mine - I've got no control over whether he drinks or whether he complies with SoberLink. This has been helpful because it undercuts the "poor victim me, Sasha is forcing me out of my child's life" narrative.
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Old 11-29-2018, 06:18 AM
  # 26 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by trailmix View Post
I think your concerns are valid and I think the offer you are making for visitation seems fair.



This is why I was asking what has happened historically. She may well be confused if, historically, there were no limits put on access to your child after she attended rehab. Doesn't mean that's RIGHT just means that might be where the feeling that she shouldn't have any limits - is coming from.



Perhaps, but not necessarily. You know her well, of course, but what she WANTS and what she can get are not necessarily the same thing and I can imagine she may be thinking something along the lines of - haven't I been punished enough.

Not saying that is right or wrong, just a guess. Regardless, she may well come around to realizing that there are consequences here. I hope so for everyone's sake, it would make everyone's life easier at this point.
Trailmix - I understand what you mean better now. Yes, in the past there have been some consequences. After her last dwi 7 years ago, I made it a "condition" that she continue with an interlock device on her car.

Of course, this was purely voluntary -- there was no court order to back it up. And, after a while, she just stopped driving that car -- taking mine instead (which didn't have the interlock device on it). This was less than one year following the dwi. When I tried to put my foot down -- such as leaving for a week with the kids -- she would, literally, hold on to the children so that in order for me to take them with me, there would have to be a physical confrontation with her (or, if I had physical possession of a child, she'd jump on my back, etc. -- endangering the child). And we all know that if she (or the child) suffers a bruise or other injury from one of these events who is going to jail: ME.

Thus, in the past, I've been left with little or no ability to enforce our "private agreements" related to her drinking and driving, etc. And it just falls into the same old routine.

So, yes, this time I'm "changing the rules" or "upping the ante" -- I want something that is enforceable by the Court. Regardless of whether we're living apart or together (I know, I know, its strange that I'm even contemplating that).

And that may be surprising to her. Although, since her latest arrest, I've been consistent in saying "I want an order."

In the background of all this is my "reaction" to information from my oldest child, DD. As I mentioned, she "ran away" from home for a about 10 days after she turned 17 y.o. - triggered by mom's driving with DS.

I'm extremely lucky that DD has a good head on her shoulders, gets good grades at an academically rigorous high school, is seeing a therapist, has communicated with/confided in her high school counselors (who have been helpful and supportive to her) and her *close* friends about AW and her "home life."

While I have tried to be the stable parent and I think that helped DD somewhat, I truly believe that DD hasn't been MORE "screwed up" IS a matter of luck.

I mean I *could* do with DS what I did with DD, right?? And I could convince myself that DD came out "ok."

But, that's wrong. She didn't come out "ok." She's got some real issues with mom and, even, me. But DD and I have a much better relationship than DD has with AW and because of my talks with DD and trying to understand things through her eyes, I feel that I HAVE to do it differently with DS.

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Old 11-29-2018, 07:14 AM
  # 27 (permalink)  
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Good for you MCE.

I agree with you in that just saying sorry does not negate what has happened. The best predictor of future behavior....past behavior.

I am a little confused though, I thought she was in sober living near her brother and was going to stay out there and get a job, etc. What happened to all of that? Not that it's any of my business, so you definitely do not have to say. Just trying to follow along.

As I always say, I think you are doing a great job!!!
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Old 11-29-2018, 10:52 AM
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No not crazy at all as a matter of fact you seem to be standing on pretty solid ground with boundaries and with more knowledge about alcoholism then you did back when she last did rehab and had 30 or 60 or 90 days of sobriety.

I think you should trust your feeling on the fact she wants instant access with no limits or conditions with your DS is a red flag.
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Old 11-29-2018, 12:14 PM
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You are doing the right thing.
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Old 11-29-2018, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by MCESaint View Post
Trailmix - I understand what you mean better now. Yes, in the past there have been some consequences. After her last dwi 7 years ago, I made it a "condition" that she continue with an interlock device on her car.
Yes, basically I was spit-balling (to steal dandylion's term) about why she might be reacting the way she is. Not defending her or the situation or anything like that.

I get it. I thought that perhaps shedding some light on why she is reacting the way she is would help to perhaps lessen your anger and frustration (if anything can at this point).

I hear your anger and I don't blame you.

As for possibly having her back home with you all again, I also get that and no it doesn't sound strange. You are clear on how things must be, going forward, with the children and that will put you in good stead.
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Old 11-29-2018, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by hopeful4 View Post
Good for you MCE.

I agree with you in that just saying sorry does not negate what has happened. The best predictor of future behavior....past behavior.

I am a little confused though, I thought she was in sober living near her brother and was going to stay out there and get a job, etc. What happened to all of that? Not that it's any of my business, so you definitely do not have to say. Just trying to follow along.

As I always say, I think you are doing a great job!!!
Hopeful - yeah, it HAS been confusing.

AW's *original* plan, when DS was still out-of-state, was to do her sober living in the same city/state where DS.

However, I objected to DS being out-of-state for that long AND I got DS back into this state and into my custody. And told AW that she could do her sober living out of state (without DS being there) or she could do it in this state (and visit with DS under conditions).

She chose to remain in this state and do her sober living house here.

To bolster my position, I got a child protective order (CPO) which has been in effect about 3 or 4 weeks. We go to court tomorrow to see about making it "permanent" (i.e., for at least one year). Although, I suspect the Court may continue the current order/status quo and appoint a GAL for DS to weigh-in on what the GAL believes is in the child's best interest.

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Old 11-30-2018, 07:25 AM
  # 32 (permalink)  
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Nope, you are not crazy at all. It takes time to prove ones self, and she has some proving to do.

I also think that you need to do a couple extra steps in my opinion:

One, since you are going to share legal custody, make sure you put provisions in that should she be unable to make sound decisions for son that it reverts back to you. This protects you and son should she go off the rails in the future.

Also, put provisions in for what happens should she fail the Sober Link monitoring (she fails, it goes back to supervised for X amount of time, etc).

Just my two cents!
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Old 11-30-2018, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by hopeful4 View Post
Nope, you are not crazy at all. It takes time to prove ones self, and she has some proving to do.

I also think that you need to do a couple extra steps in my opinion:

One, since you are going to share legal custody, make sure you put provisions in that should she be unable to make sound decisions for son that it reverts back to you. This protects you and son should she go off the rails in the future.

Also, put provisions in for what happens should she fail the Sober Link monitoring (she fails, it goes back to supervised for X amount of time, etc).

Just my two cents!
Agree with these. Sasha1972 has the 'consequences' thing down to a science in regards to visitation parameters.

I think you're doing a great job!

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Old 12-01-2018, 06:38 AM
  # 34 (permalink)  
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UPDATE:

(Just a note to clarify -- while I like Sasha's order, that - as I understand it - was entered into in the context of a divorce and custody arrangement pursuant to the divorce. My situation is a bit different. No divorce proceedings (yet) have been filed and may never be (no need to rush into THAT decision. Instead, my situation is framed as a "child protective" matter and there are some limits, in this state, that apply to such an order).

Anyway, went to Court yesterday to see about getting the "Ex Parte Order of Child Protection" turned into a "Full Order of Child Protection."

At the hearing we agreed to a "Full Order of Child Protection By Consent" - or mutual agreement . This means that the Court made NO findings that AW had subjected DS to danger by drinking and driving with him.

The Order is in effect for 9 months (but can be renewed if need). AW wanted 6 months; I had initially pushed for 1 year -- but suggested we "split the difference" at 9 months since, if I count from when she went into rehab in Oct., that would be almost 1 year (hopefully) of sobriety.

All of AW's visits are supervised by people that I choose. AW has supervised visits every Saturday. AW, with supervisor, can pick child up from daycare on Tuesdays at noon and return him to me by 7 p.m. AW can call/Skype every day.

AW is excluded from our house and excluded from daycare at all other times.

DS may (but doesn't have to) spend Saturday into Sunday overnight at grandparents (AW's parents - there the only grandparents still living).

Any violation of the order = contempt of court with potential fines and imprisonment.

Not perfect, but no true agreement ever is.

AW seemed sedate, calm, almost subdued. This being a "high stress" situation for her (she was VERY worried about going into Court beforehand), I'd say this is a GOOD change for her. Seems like she IS staying on her bi-polar meds and staying sober (though, she mentioned later on the telephone that she'd been on "house arrest" at the Sober Living House -- but, I don't ask why - not my circus, ya know).

Now, we will see.

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Old 12-01-2018, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by MCESaint View Post
(though, she mentioned later on the telephone that she'd been on "house arrest" at the Sober Living House -- but, I don't ask why - not my circus, ya know).

Now, we will see.

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This sounds like good progress, getting the order for 9 months seems fair.

How long will she be at the sober living facility or is there even a "set" time?

You know the 'house arrest' comment, are these just little misdemeanour type things or could she have been drinking or is there a no-drinking/zero tolerance policy? I get the whole - not your circus thing and if it doesn't interfere with child access, then yeah, not your problem.
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Old 12-01-2018, 09:40 PM
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Seems like a pretty fair agreement for both sides considering.... Good on you for not probing into her "house arrest" deal as more will be revealed one way or the other on her actions..I would think the sober living facility would also keep record of such events if you were to ever need the courts to know for further protection.
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Old 12-03-2018, 08:50 AM
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Sounds like a good outcome, that is great.
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Old 12-04-2018, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by MCESaint View Post
DS may (but doesn't have to) spend Saturday into Sunday overnight at grandparents (AW's parents - there the only grandparents still living).
It seems you put a lot of trust and faith into AW's parents. If AW is verboten from seeing his mother other than a Tuesday afternoon, won't she be able to see him at her parents' house and possibly take him from there? And is DS the one making the decision to have an overnight at the grandparents?

I think you've put a great deal of thought, and energy, into this.
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