Alcoholic Spouse

Mj - posted on 10/01/2014 ( 4 moms have responded )

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I am common law married. My husband is an alcoholic and we have a six year old son. I am also pregnant with our second child. He is a very good dad and husband when he doesn't drink. When he does, he has driven our son, or passed out to the point I couldn't wake him up when he was the only one home watching him, forgotten to pick him up or missed dentist appts, teacher conferences. My sitter has noticed, my sons preschool teach has notices a few years back. I can not get him to stop. What do I do to protect my child, and not run our relationship with custody/divorce? I'm m not ready for that, even though he is angry and refuses to quit. I'm desperately hoping he will. I am picking up my son now, and I am not leaving him with him alone, what else can I do, and what is the punishment by law for watching a child and being incapable of doing so. Child neglect? Also would that fall on me then if I left? I don't know what to do. I threaten to leave but that is only punishing me and my son. Help.

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Ev - posted on 10/02/2014

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{{{{{When he does, he has driven our son, or passed out to the point I couldn't wake him up when he was the only one home watching him, forgotten to pick him up or missed dentist appts, teacher conferences. My sitter has noticed, my sons preschool teach has notices a few years back. I can not get him to stop. }}}}

First, I was just telling you how it was in my post. I am not a therapist but I am very well versed in neglect, abuse and other things that can cause a parent to loose their kids because I have had training on what to look for. It goes with my job working with children. I have over 10 years experience at that job. So if I note something not right with a child under my care, I have to notify my supervisor and then she takes it from there. If family services has to be called then it is.

Second, I posted that bit in quotes from your posting in the original post you made. You say that when he is drunk he has driven your son or has been passed out when he was supposed to watch him. How did you know he was drunk? Was it after the fact? At least where the driving is concerned. If you knew before hand, that does make you an accomplice to the neglect your husband shows in taking care of a child.

Third, as has been said, he has to want to change. He has to also be willing to do it. You can not change him, actually, no one can do that job as he has to do so. You can go to meetings and counseling for yourself and the child, but he does not have to if he is of a mind not to do this.

Fourth, I do not still understand what you mean its a punishment for you and your son. It is punishment if you stay in this situation and do nothing about it. Going to a women's shelter is not a bad thing and they can help you find the resources that you need. As for school and work, you can still do those. Its not punishment to take the child out of the situation and even yourself. Its is saving your life.

NOTE: My own mother grew up in a family with a step father who I am sure drank though she never said he did. He was abusive as well. My sis and I never had to grow up in that lucky for us but we also knew what had happened to an extent. I have also watched my own uncle who was a good man and provider drink himself into the health he is in now. I can remember a time when all we saw in his hands were beer cans. All day everyday. I can not count how many times I actually saw him drink iced tea. He would take over counter pain meds and drink beer down with it. No, I am not a counselor but I have been exposed and experienced a lot of things in my life. I count that as something to fall back on.

I am just worried that you try to make him be something he is not or does not want to become. I worry that you get hurt because of this either emotionally or otherwise. Take it to heart that this was not meant to hurt you but to show your the reality of things.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 10/02/2014

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Counseling. If he is unwilling to change, then it is your responsibility to ensure the safety for yourself and your child(ren). Yes, he could be charged with neglect, but if you continue to allow the situation to unfold, you could be charged as well, for endangerment. If others are noticing, then he's beyond a social drinker (which you know)

Tell him that it's either counseling and AA, or you will take the child(ren) and find a new home. Tell him that you will involve a mediator or attorneys to set custody/visitation/support during the time that he is cleaning up, and if you truly do love him, tell him that you'll be happy to help him through, but you will need to have those things set up for the safety of the child(ren). (I'm using the 'almost plural', since you're pregnant...it may be both kids when you get to this point)

Now, I must also point out that you are posting on an open international forum, and by doing so you open it up for a variety of responses. Evelyn stated things very well in her response to you. Don't take her to task for responding to your question.

You will never receive legal advice here. You will receive recommendations. You will never receive true medical advice, either. If you want to only be validated in what you are posting, you can try to say "if you disagree, don't respond", but you'll get responses anyway.

So, again, if you're looking for a system to put in place so that he won't drink whilst watching his son...Tell him that he WON'T be watching his son until he commits to a 12 step program and can stay clean. Otherwise, like Evelyn stated, you can be held responsible for possible negligence by allowing him to continue to be the sole caregiver in those times, while you know that he's an alcoholic and most likely will NOT remain sober.

As far as regulating his access to pick up from the sitter or school, you do that by contacting the sitter & school, explaining the situation, and stating, in writing, that dad is not allowed to pick up at any time unless he is accompanied by you.

No one said you have to divorce. However, it is your responsibility to protect your child and keep him safe.

Mj - posted on 10/02/2014

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Are you a therapist? Or what background in law do you have? I do go to Al Anon, and a counselor. Thank you very much. Like I said, I'm not leaving my son home with him. He has drank with out my knowledge maybe 4 times this last year. He was been sober and watched him, I didn't think he was going to drink nor did I ever leave him drunk. He has picked him up from the sitters. I was looking for advice along the lines of what can I put in place to keep him from drinking while watching our son. Did you see that I said I don't want to leave him, I have threatened it, but yes, to make my son sleep in the car or a shelter away from his dad he loves, and not know why is punishment. And me, not to be able to live in my own house. My son has school and I have work. I was going to pick up my son from the sitter when I had to go to the hospital to see my grandmother, and my husband said to go, and he would get him. I didn't know he was drinking. Or going to drink. It is a disease, I'm asking what I can do, like If two parents were split up, it would be a custody order to have the child with him on supervised visits, or something like that. If he is caught watching him with him and he drinks- a punishment? I'm not divorcing, we love each other and live together. He's just pissed at me now. So if he went to the school, he can pick him up anytime, or the sitters, or anything- I can't regulate that. I'm wondering what I can do to be able to regulate that. So if anyone has an idea or some actual help advice- that would be great.

Ev - posted on 10/01/2014

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If you leave for the sake of your children, no its not a punishment on you and children. He made this choice, you did not. He has to be the one to change and if he is not willing he won't. He would have to go to a 12 step program like AA to get the proper help he needs. If this was called into Family services in your area, they might decide to check things out and if you have left the child with his father knowing he was drinking or drunk that is not going to look good on you at all because you would be considered aiding in that. You would have had prior knowledge to his condition. If he was not drunk and had done it after you left it would not have any baring on this but you listed a lot of times he was late for things, driven your son around while drunk, passed out when he should have been watching the boy, You should have done something years ago when this got going. You could have left then. Yeah it might have drug up custody, but then you would have been protecting your child. Now that you have admitted to knowing of his condition while the child was in his care, you are as much to blame for things because you enabled it to continue. Not being able to care properly for a child is neglect. But knowing that it happened is contributing to that neglect. I think you need to seek help and counseling immediately.

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