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Co-parenting with a dry drunk

Old 09-11-2019, 03:34 PM
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Co-parenting with a dry drunk

Hi all, I haven't posted in a while but my divorce was officially finalized yesterday. I went to the court house and stood before the judge and he signed the divorce decree. In my state there is a mandatory 90 day cooling off period and I kept hoping that something would change in that time but my EXAH just kept showing me how bad off he really still is.

Long story short he went off the rails August last year and kept pulling it together only to fall apart again. I thought his 28 day inpatient rehab experience would help him and ultimately be the catalyst to save our marriage but he came out seeing me as the enemy. I have been through hell and back with him and if our ties were just over that would be one thing but we have the most amazing four year old twins together.

I know that I can't control him, I didn't cause this, I can't change him, but he puts on a show in front of the kids and they just see him as good time dad. I thank God that they are too little to fully understand what has happened, and I don't like keeping them from him, but how do I know what goes on when he has them?

In our parenting plan I got to dictate the time and place he saw them for 60 days as phase 1, then we progress to phases where he gets more time. We are technically at phase 2 where he gets them 8 hours each Saturday but he has never had them more than 5 hours because he either brings them home to me or I pick them up because they are crying for me and he can't handle it.

The phases progress as long as he remains sober. I am completely shocked that he is coming up on 7 months sober but he quit going to his therapist, he has quit taking his depression medication, and he is avoiding all the issues that 'drove him to drink'. He is unbearably hateful to me and I don't want to pry into his life but I don't want to feel like my children are unsafe with him.

My lawyer said that legally there is nothing I can do as long as he is paying child support and he is sober. Legally I can hold him at phase 2 until they make it 8 hours but phase 3 is where overnight visits start and my heart feels like it will explode if I have to leave them with him for 24 hours.

I know that it may just be to get attention but he often tells me that he wishes he wouldn't even wake up most days and he would be better off dead. He looks miserable every time I see him but puts on a show of the happiest person ever when I get the kids out of the car. He says the kids make him feel better, that he needs them, but he is only going to AA meetings and thinks that is all he should do to recover.

I am sorry this is such a long post, I just don't know how to get to a better place where I don't dread every time he calls to talk to the kids and every time I meet him to allow him to see them. I don't trust him whatsoever after everything he has done (I know that was during active addiction but this is the same person that did all those things). He won't raise a finger to help with anything with them but threatens to take me to court constantly demanding more time with them. I am just so sick of the tension and having to be the rule keeper. He knows that going to court will get him nothing but he just wants to fight to fight. I don't engage him but I have to have some knowledge of his mental well being because of the kids. Will it ever get better?
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Old 09-11-2019, 03:40 PM
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Hi Frog, how do you know he is sober, do you use soberlink?

Will it ever get better, hard to say, probably not as long as he continues his tirade.

All you can do is take good care of yourself and your kiddies.

Isn't it always amazing how selfish addiction is. Note he says he needs them, not that they need him?
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Old 09-11-2019, 04:02 PM
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Frog......have you considered consulting a therapist for your children?.....as that would, also provide a paper trail and documentation, that could be important should he force this into a court conflict....
***If you do so, be sure to mention that he he has discussed his suicidal ideation, on many occasions with you...as well as his physical appearance decline and hostile attitude ...especially, in front of the children.....

I am with Trailmix, in wondering if he is not drinking during the week, and trying to stay sober only on Saturdays.....What makes you thing he is staying sober? Just because he goes to AA meetings, does not necessarily mean that he is staying sober......some people actually go to the meetings while intoxicated....

If you are not satisfied by the guidance of your lawyer, in this respect, I suggest that you consider calling the local dv center and ask for a referral to a lawyer who has lots more experience in these kinds of visitation issues....
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Old 09-11-2019, 10:47 PM
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Please start to keep a record. Details like:
-What he looks like when he picks up kids
-did the kids want to go with him
-take photos, video handovers
-note when you're concerned he's been drinking

Try not to allow overnights until he demonstrates he's in active recovery. If you can get soberlink.. Get it.

EXAH.. Ticked all the boxes for the courts right up to the parenting order was signed, then dropped AA and started drinking. He's actively drinking and I'd be stupid to believe he's not drinking round the kids. But now there's nothing I can do until he screws up.. Or worse endangers the kids.
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Old 09-12-2019, 07:05 AM
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Frog1234,

The only way you would be able to tell if hes not drinking if hes doing soberlink. I found out my AW was drinking before I even got home from work and I never new it. She would never drive the kids anywhere when she had drank, but I had no clue that she had already had alcohol in her system.

Until you can feel good in your heart that they will be safe there for 24 hours you should stick to phase 2.

Keep being strong for you and your kids and keep coming back we are here for you. Have a great day.
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Old 09-12-2019, 09:17 AM
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Frog......another way of keeping the kids safe...or safer...is supervised visits....and, as I understand, there are various levels of that....
Perhaps, you need a more proactive legal counsel....and, even, perhaps someone who has had lots of experience in this area.....

One pattern that I have seen in regard to child visitation, and with my own children's father 9who was not an alcoholic)...is that they beat the drums about child visitation, in the beginning....and, then, when hey get the visitation, they don't even use it...and, taper off their visitiation with the children....

In my own case...I think his motivation was to "get back at me" and to keep the child support as low as possible (a stupid fantasy of his...lol)…..
Also, as an ego thing...to show the world what a fabulous guy and father he was.....(ha!)….
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Old 09-12-2019, 10:05 AM
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(Iím channeling my own lawyer here - I had a similar situation and this is how he analyzed it):

If phase 2 is eight hours on Saturdays, but he never makes it to 8 hours, then heís not exercising his access. You move to phase 3 after 60 days of exercising access, not after 60 days of being entitled to exercise access. This holds true as long as you are not doing anything to prevent him from exercising access, and it sounds like you arenít. So - if he successfully exercises his entitled access for 60 days, thatís great, next step is phase 3. But if he is picking up the kids and dropping them a few hours later, he is not doing what he needs to do in order to progress along the phases you have agreed on.
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Old 09-12-2019, 12:43 PM
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Unless you know for certain he isn't drinking, it's safer to assume he is. Alcoholism is a mental illness and alcoholic thinking is delusional. Sober link?
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Old 09-12-2019, 03:15 PM
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We are technically at phase 2 where he gets them 8 hours each Saturday but he has never had them more than 5 hours because he either brings them home to me or I pick them up because they are crying for me and he can't handle it.

He won't raise a finger to help with anything with them but threatens to take me to court constantly demanding more time with them.

so top quote is REALITY.
bottom quote is him flapping his gums talking about things that are NOT real and likely will NOT happen.

operate with reality. as suggested, document every time he cuts a visitation short. reduce your contact with him to pick up and drop off time - anything more gives him the chance to spew his vile crap on you. when he does, hang up. if the conversation drifts to anything more than Tuesday, 3pm at the McDonalds, then the conversation is OVER.

sasha makes a very key point (of course!) about the difference between entitled to certain access and exercising that access. if he can't even last 5 hours at a time right now, he certainly can't manage an overnight. it sounds like he doesn't have an actual clue as to what you DO with children when no one else is looking........

accept he ain't Father of the Year and is not likely to ever BE that guy.
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Old 09-13-2019, 02:36 PM
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I'm sorry that your divorce had to become final, and he only showed how bad off he is. I have a similar timeline wherein my AH went to inpatient and came back only going off the rails worse, and blaming me for his drinking. And agreed about the comment he made about him needing his kids, but not saying his kids need HIM. Just document what you can, and if he sent you any texts about the "not wanting to wake up" stuff, that may be important later (in combination with the fact he does not keep his medications on point).
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Old 09-13-2019, 04:17 PM
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Thank you everyone for the amazing support, encouragement and advice! I will absolutely implement all of this. It makes me so sad that this is what it has become but you are all so right!
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