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Message Board > Families / Partners of Addicts > Co-parenting With An Active Alcoholic

Posted by: Irisheyes80 May 13, 2019, 10:13 AM
Hi, I'm new here. I've been scouring the internet for anything about co-parenting with an alcoholic and I don't really know exactly what I'm looking for, advice, someone to listen? I don't know. I feel like I'm losing my mind to be honest.

I have an 8 year old son, his father is a high functioning alcoholic. We were never married and there is no court order for custody or visitation. When I was about 7 months pregnant I cut off contact with his father because of the alcoholism. I raised my son by myself from the time he was born until he was about 9 months old, and then a friend brought his father around. At the time he swore he was sober and attending meetings, so I allowed supervised visits with my supervision which went well and from there I allowed him to have unsupervised visitation every other weekend because I did believe he was sober at the time, that also went well for a while.

I had to relocate to another state, and he followed me to be closer to our son which was fine it allowed us to continue co-parenting smoothly, he moved in with his Grandmother and Aunt. Around that time he relapsed, I had invited him to go with us trick or treating one Halloween and he showed up intoxicated to the point he could barely walk. From there it just got worse, he ended up with multiple DUI's and lost his drivers license, and went to jail for said DUI's but never did any serious time. At this point his Aunt had to provide transportation for the pick up and drop off of our son, and with all of this going on I asked him not to drink when he had our son, He agreed that he would not and his Aunt and Grandmother promised that they would not allow that to happen at their home.

He seemed to be sticking to that promise not to drink when he had our son, but I found out eventually that he was. My son came home after one weekend and asked me for a cell phone. I told him he was too young for a cell phone, what did he need a cell phone for? He said to call 911 in-case his Dad didn't wake up like they had to do that past weekend (His father had mixed prescriptions with alcohol and they had to call the paramedics.) No adult had bothered to tell me that however, I only found out from my son and later confirmed with the Grandmother.

Right after that happened his Father got arrested on a Felony charge and went to jail and then when he got out he went to rehab for 6 months.
Came out sober, relapsed within 2 months. Then he started to make a habit of calling me almost every single day, not to talk about our son, but to vent to me while he was drunk and he would switch back and forth between crying and verbally abusing me. It was like Jekyll and Hyde. I didn't know what to do, I wanted to be there for him as a support. I felt like how can I complain if I am not doing anything to help?

No matter what I've tried to do to encourage him to be sober and be supportive and listen it just continues. He violated his probation and got sent back to jail, and then promised the judge to go to rehab in order for them to reduce his jail time, Went to rehab again and got kicked out of rehab for finding a way to drink while in treatment and has continued to drink.

The latest episode which has now driven me to my breaking point, he got our son for his weekend and apparently was drunk the whole weekend. Refused to let his Grandmother and Aunt take my son with them to get him away from his father, and when they left to go somewhere took my son to the movies, and when the movie was over went outside and passed out on the sidewalk. My son tried to wake him up and tell him they had to walk home and he told our son to walk home by himself (across major highways). Thankfully my son knew better and started banging on the theater doors, security called the police and he was arrested in front of our son. His Grandmother was called to pick my son up from the police station.

They let him go 24 hours later. The next day when I went to pick my son up his Father was there, drunk and asked me to take him to the liquor store. He ended up violating his probation a 2nd time with that situation and showed up to the court hearing drunk. Did 16 days of jail time and now his probation is over. He's about to be out of jail some time this week.

My son has asked me to write my phone number in all of his pants pockets so that when this happens again he can call me to pick him up from the police station instead.
I can't do this anymore. I have tried to help him, I have tried to give him the benefit of the doubt. My son doesn't deserve this.

His Grandmother said that they were going to tell him no more drinking at their home (we've already been through this) and they were going to control his finances so he couldn't buy alcohol (I don't see that working) and that my son would not be left alone with him at all. (I don't trust them.)

I don't know what to do, I know he is going to call me as soon as he gets out of jail wanting to see our son. I'm really dreading that phone call.

Posted by: BugginMe May 13, 2019, 12:13 PM
I would not let him take your son at all. Too many bad things can happen. His father can’t be trusted. The relatives can’t control him. I would also be very careful allowing him to come to your house or meeting him somewhere. Make it a public place if you have to see him at all. It might be better to get a restraining order against him and block his calls until he cleans up if that ever happens. He is on a road to destruction so I would let him go. No need for the two of you to live like that.

Posted by: sad eyes May 13, 2019, 6:18 PM
Sorry to hear of your situation, but I would not let him take your son, quite clearly he is not responsible for looking after him, your son is 8 and shouldn't need to be in situations like that, to many things could happen

Posted by: sad eyes May 13, 2019, 6:20 PM
Ps it's going to take more than the grandmother to say no more drinking at there home, he needs to want to stop

Posted by: Sallyanna May 13, 2019, 9:40 PM
Hi and welcome irisheyes80. I agree your son should not be with this man at all. Its too traumatic and dangerous. When a child asks for your phone number to be placed in pants it's a big red flag things have gotten way out of hand. You are putting him in harms way and it is your job to protect him. Unless this guy detoxs and goes to rehab for a long time expect more of the same. Its not your job to get him in sobriety it's his job. I'm sorry you are having to go through all this and it's good you are here.

Posted by: Parenting2 May 14, 2019, 4:10 AM
First of all, you deserve credit for realizing the importance of a father and trying hard to include him in your son's life.

At this point, however, as you said, it is no longer healthy or fair to your son. Your son is experiencing trauma that he will have to deal with. Having his father pass out after a movie must have been terrifying for him.

If I were you, I would have a frank, age-appropriate conversation with your son (best with the help of a counselor) and get him some counseling or information on alcoholism. Kids absorb more guilt and stress than we realize. He needs to know what alcoholism is about and that it is not his fault and it is nothing negative about him.

What does your son think about continuing to see his dad? At the least, I would say supervised visits. But, even with you supervising, it seems his Dad will still show up drunk.

Such as sad situation. I would put all efforts into making sure son is processing all this and has support/counseling to work through the stress of it all.

I wish you the best. Please keep posting and let us know how things go.

Posted by: Irisheyes80 May 14, 2019, 11:26 AM
Thank you all for your replies, I feel better just to know that someone else not involved knows the situation, It's a lot to carry.

I did have a talk with my son and I tried to explain the best I could in a way he could understand that his Dad can't drink alcohol, and when he does he makes bad choices and sometimes breaks the law and when you break the law you go to jail. I did try to explain.

I also told my son that he wasn't going to be able to see his dad for awhile because dad is making bad choices that put him in danger and I have to make sure he is safe. My son got very upset over this because he does love and miss his dad but, I just can't. I also put my son on the waiting list for therapy so hopefully soon he will have someone to help him with how he feels about all of this.

Dad got out of jail this morning so I'm waiting for that phone call. I have decided to tell him that I absolutely cannot co parent with him while he is in active addiction. That he will not be able to see our son until he gets treatment and maintains sobriety with no relapses for an extended period of time..I had to throw that in there because that's what he does gets sober for a month or two and then relapses and tries to hide it until it's out of control and blatantly obvious and he ends up in jail.
I'm also not going to be able to allow his Grandmother and Aunt to have our son, I feel I cannot trust them because they are still enabling him and they cover for him because they have to deal with him, and nobody wants to.

I feel like I'm being horribly mean to everyone but I also feel like this isn't my problem to carry anymore and I've got to worry about my son and his well being as well as my own and not theirs.

Posted by: sad eyes May 14, 2019, 5:04 PM
Hi I think you have made the best desision possible out of your situation, dont feel that you ate been mean to everyone, you main focus is the well being of your son, he's to young to be dealing with adult stuff, take care of you both

Posted by: Sallyanna May 14, 2019, 8:24 PM
I totally agree too. You are making the right choices for you and your son.

Posted by: Parenting2 May 15, 2019, 12:51 AM
You are right that you did not create this situation. Your ex created the situation that is really unsafe. So, it is the right thing to do for your son's safety. Driving and drinking and taking him places when he is that intoxicated is so dangerous.

I really wish you the both the best. And, I hope your son gets into counseling. And, you too for support!! So hard on everyone.