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alcoholism around children

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I don't even know what to write. My main question is this, is it unreasonable for me to expect dd1s father to be sober around her? Currently we are all living in the same house. I am awaiting a section 8 housing voucher. I don't even know how that will work, since i have no income or assets since declaring bankruptcy 2 years ago. I have 2 children, one is ex dh bio daughter, then when I had moved on I had another child with a younger male that said a lot of good things but then backed none of it up. I have been living at ex dh's home since finding out I was pregnant with dd2. He and I have separate rooms and are not romantically involved. We tried a few times, but I just do not have passion for him and still do not believe in monogamy (although I have been celibate while here), which he does. This is why we divorced. I had epiphanies that monogamy is not natural for humans, and I realized he is an alcoholic. I grew up in an alcoholic home and have codependent tendencies.

today, I thought he was on a sober streak. He normally drinks daily to excess but has been feeling a bit sick lately and so had only had a couple drinks the last 2 days. The baby and I are not on a schedule. We sleep whenever we want. Lately she has been sleeping in the daytime mostly. So, 4 pm and baby had been asleep for hours (I was attempting to have her only nap in order to flip her sleeping to be sure we would be up for an event later this week, but she was down for her big sleep). I go in to nap a bit so I would be ready for her again when she woke up. dd1 is on computer and with her father. I wake up (around 10 pm)hearing dd1 upset about having to get off computer. He asks her if she wants to watch Kim Possible (which is a show I do not approve of her watching, nor Disney much because she watches the teenage shows and acts drama queen) and I hear the slur in his voice. I don't remember the exchange exactly that I had with him. They were in bedroom, settling in to watch. I basically said something like, I thought you were staying sober for a few days. He said, "F**k you" to me. He never used to say things like that. I believe his alcoholism is moving to the next level. I looked at the food diary for dd1. She hadn't eaten very much, and very little protein (which is why she was so vocal about getting off computer IMO). He and I began arguing. He called me a bitch, a f**king bitch. said he was tired of me and my interfering. That they were perfectly fine settling in to watch tv before I woke up and made a fuss. At one point (I was holding dd2 in my arms during the whole exchange, and he has never been physical) he smacked the remote I was holding in my hand. To me, this is very close to physical abuse. I could see that he wanted to hit me, though he says he didn't want to.
I have been in so many abusive relationships (mostly emotional and mental with some physical) I am questioning myself. He is not like this when sober of course. And he will not admit he is different when under the influence either of course. He said tonight that I liked him that way (drunk) when we met and were married. I told him that I, like so many other women, thought he only drank because he was lonely and that he wouldn't once he had me and a family. He kept bringing up my cannabis use, and comparing it to alcohol. To me, there is no comparison. I even looked up studies. Science agrees there is no comparison and that cannabis is much less harmful to body and mental health. But I haven't had any cannabis in nearly a year. I made a conscious effort to stop since I didn't know where it was coming from, or if I was supporting other worse things by buying from that particular supplier. I wanted also to make sure there would be no 'dirt' for anyone looking at me as a parent. So I have been stone cold sober for nearly a year ( I am a long time cannabis smoker daily since 13 yo). I do not like alcohol's effects (or ingredients) so I do not drink.

So we argued in front of the children. I did try to disengage after getting dd1 out to living room, but he kept coming out to say more. dd1 was crying and asking us to stop arguing. She said it was the worst night ever . Maybe I should have just said nothing and dealt with it in the morning. Or maybe I should be ok with him hanging out with her while drunk, but it doesn't feel right. Maybe I used to, but now it seems like the wrong choice for her. When she was a baby, I had a rule that he couldn't hold her on his feet after more than 3 drinks. Now he tries to pick up dd2 no matter how much he has had, insisting he is fine and acts like I am unreasonable for finding it unsafe.
I just do not want my daughter (dd1, dd2 is always with me) to grow up around a drunk daddy ( I would be fine if he chose cannabis however, which he does not use) like I did. Am I being unreasonable? I wrote him a few emails so he can read them with a clear head, and sent him many page links about alcoholism. I said if he couldn't or didn't want to stop, that the days he wants to consume more than 2 shots (how much he puts in one mixed drink), 2 beers, or 2 normal sized glasses of wine (he usually has super sized) that I need to be responsible for child. I asked that we have days and times worked out so I can be the responsible one in the room. He was working 50+ hours a week when I moved in, so in the past, I knew when he would be drinking, but he was laid off 4 months ago and now drinks to excess daily. I have tried to just keep dd1 with me, on my schedules, but you know he lets her watch disney, and she is already showing signs of codependency which has as a fact the child will defend the parent and attempt to be with them. I can't explain that part well. But she keeps hanging out with him.

So, long post, but am I being unreasonable?
post #2 of 11
You're not being unreasonable but it is unrealistic to think you can limit his drinking mama. He will just end up lying to you about how much he has drank. It seems that you are well aware this is not a good environment for your children, how long before the section 8 comes through?

Are you ready to split with him? Can you do it before the section 8? I know that can sometimes take a long while. Do you have family that will help you?
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
yeah I guess I wasn't clear. He and I divorced in 2007. I moved back in here when I was pregnant with dd2 (not his bio child). I moved back in platonically. I had applied to live in a home for women and children and got approved. They called a few months later and said there was a room for me. It was a very nice facility, with a kitchen that had 4 of everything, 20 rooms that had 2 beds and desk, high speed internet, on bus route... etc and they had counselors that could help me get all I could from govt programs to return to school... anyway the call came and I asked him what he thought and he wanted us to just stay here. I also felt like there were women actually sleeping in a ditch that needed it so much more than me, so I let the room go and took my name off the waiting list. So my section 8 is close I was told. I already did initial intake and they asked for one more letter from him stating I have no income and he had been paying everything. I am 3000+ miles from friends and family. I lived in NC my whole life until I came out west on a whim. I never dreamed I would be too broke to go home for a visit. It has been 5 years since I was home. I have no friends or family here. It has occurred to me that I should just be grateful I have a place to stay and be nice to him. I would have just returned home years ago... but our divorce agreement says I can't go more than 200 miles. I am writing another long post. I apparently need contact with people, even if it is online only. Thanks for writing!
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
I feel strange about putting this out here. I should say he is otherwise a very good father. He listens to my parenting and nutrition ideas, though he does not always agree if I feel strongly enough, he will implement them with our daughter. For instance, I decided we should cut out dairy (casein) amongst other things. He has not read the nutritional research and does not agree with my philosophical reasons for doing so (the way they get the milk is to take babies away at birth or soon after and basically steal their birthright (the mother's milk) and then the babies are the veal trade) but still does not give dds milk (she also has chemical reactions to dairy and soy that lead to crying spells) or anything she is not supposed to have. He does still say in front of her that he thinks it is bunk, and eats cheese in front of her still and gluten... the weirdest part is that he left the research on vaccinations totally up to me (back when she was a baby). He read a little bit of the stuff I gathered. But he agrees wholeheartedly that vaccination is damaging. But that was a decision that came when we were married. But other things we totally disagree on. He used to 'do it my way' when we were married, but he doesn't anymore. This is a scene I heard a couple weeks ago. dd1 and he were watching dvds of her CA trip with him and her fave aunt. He told her, "one more video, then we are going to sleep" she had been wound up that day I know. She smacked a video out of his hand for some reason. he turned off the tv and would not let her see the video. punitive measures. She did not get to see the video he had said they would. He had not made it contingent on anything... she cried hysterically in my arms for 35 minutes, hyperventilating, etc. It was just a few days after a soy infraction, so I know that was part of it... but I did not 'go against him' or his decision in front of her. I told her that daddy felt he had a reason to say no more movies and they are his things and he gets to decide about them. We had a healing moment when we all laid down together (baby was asleep in my room) and played the "ABC game" it is a technique I came up with to help dd1 get to sleep. We think of a subject, like animals or veggies and fruits or names... and each of us names one that starts with A, then B, etc....
I am not perfect. I am punitive too at times I am sure... and I know moreso when I am around him being that way. I catch myself saying things like you can get on the computer after you do x, y, z.... when I usually try to frame things differently than that.
I think things are heating up because I am very close to getting my voucher. I had a call a few days ago that he needed to provide a letter stating that i have no income and he has been paying for home and food (except now we are on food stamps). She said I was very close. This is scary for us both. I want to be in my own home so I can feel free, have a visitor, etc...also so I can control what food (totally GFCFSF home is my goal) is in the house (more than I do, he is pretty good though but doesn't understand cross contamination and uses the same sponge for the pan he cooked his gluten in then on regular things)..., what types of shows are available to watch and have much more non electronic or electric time for dd1 so she will read more and play more. She started reading "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" which is a series of classics I bought for her a few years ago. I thought she would be 10 before she cracked it. If I am around, and the tv and computer are off (or on my documentary type shows), she will pick up the book and read. She likes it. I want to get back to our eclectic homeschooling (unschooling with some workbooks) and living with no schedules for all of us because we thrive on it. He goes to bed at same time every night and gets up same time....
He wants me in my own home so he doesn't feel he has to pick up after all of us, but I would do it given time. He also needs all the toys to be put away neatly in the boxes in dd's closet all the time, which makes it hard to play with any of them, yk? If we get something out, he immediately talks about how it better be put away neatly and if we stop Barbies for 10 min to go out and blow bubbles, he is all over, how come Barbies aren't put away? he also has to get a dish in the dishwasher right away, like he will hover for someone to finish using it to put it in washer... OCD.... and so we can both parent dd the way we feel we should without the other butting in. Like if I am already talking to dd about something, he has to say something. I feel it is counterproductive since we have different ideas on what is the best thing to say or how a situation should be handled. I just want him to leave the parenting to me like it has always been TBH.
But we are both nervous about me moving out. He will miss the children. After dd2 was born he put it out there that he wanted to reconcile if I would promise monogamy again. I am against it in principle TBH, not that I ever did anything about it while here. He legally has no rights to dd2, though we agreed early on she would call him Daddy and he has been a central figure. I intend to foster that relationship always. She should have a Daddy (hers wants no contact and pays nothing). I am nervous because I don't know how any of this works. I mean, if I have no income, how am I supposed to buy washing powder (since FS doesn't) and pay for electricity in this apt my voucher gets me. in fact, how am i supposed to pay my part of the rent? I want to get away from his alcoholism and OCD (he lines things up on a shelf, refolds my bath towels after i hang them) puts the toys back in the same spot unless I tell him we need to put it another place for a good reason. ie a toy for water play is on a shelf near other baby toys. I took it to bathroom for something new for her to look at in bath. Next day, it is back on shelf instead of with the bath toys....
I know I will get the same amount in food stamps for me and the girls as we are getting now and I can make it GFCFSF work in a way where there is enough, and i can make cookies at least once a week. I eat less meat than him. I am scared another man will come along and I will be stupid again and end up even worse off if that is possible. The reason I am bankrupt and homeless (well I take resposibility ultimately) but it was choices I made surrounding a fabulous looking younger male that was hot in bed.... who took me for all he could and I was blind. I do not know how he did it. It was like I was under a spell.... so I am afraid to trust anyone even though I know that is stupid. Right now I feel like an idiot. Maybe for being so vulnerable online. I want to just avoid him until my voucher comes through. Oh and he said, dd1 might choose to live with me again, you never know.... it scares me he may push for that. or since he is such a follower, if he gets with another woman, she will be calling the shots... what if she is a mainstream, hardcore type... he stayed single since our divorce, but the thought still occurs to me, and he should be able to have someone and be happy. As long as she doesn't interfere with our parenting relationship...
I have full custody with all major decisions to be made by me in the divorce. He has visits every other weekend and every other holiday and b day, etc... on paper. We only did that because the court would not allow us to say we were going to handle custody at will. We do what feels right for dd. Like when I was gaga over the younger male when she was 3.5, she asked to live with her father. I let her(I lived a mile away and saw her daily for hours most days). He had gotten a DUI and so had to be sober as part of his probation. So now he says this about her wanting to live with him maybe (I would have her in the daytime or whenever he worked he says). I don't want her around him without me when he is drinking, ever. Not until she is older and can leave if she wants to. I am pretty emotional after getting all this out. He can't take my daughter from me can he? There would be no grounds other than he could provide for her better, right (if he gets a job)? could the fact that I let her live here for a year without me come back to bite me if he went legal with all this? his drinking is an issue I would call up if pushed into a wall.
post #5 of 11
Oh wow...I had a hard time reading through the long post you just put up.

As the former spouse of an abusive alcoholic, let me just say this:
You didn't cause it.
You can't cure it.
You can't control it.

Asking him, begging him, expecting him, or threatening him to quit or reduce his drinking for you or anyone else is just plain unrealistic. The booze is all that matters to him. The disease is progressive, so it can only get worse from here on out.

I would really advise getting children away from this man, as good a parent as he appears to be "when he's sober". Those sober moments will slowly start to disappear and then all you'll be left with is Mr. Hyde.

Seeing as you have custody, it wouldn't be a problem...I'd really start documenting all questionable events of him drinking and being abusive around the children.

I'd also consult a lawyer ASAP about your options. You can often get a free initial consultation with some lawyers, just so you get an idea of where you stand legally and what your options are...
post #6 of 11
Well, there's a lot here, but no, it is not unreasonable to expect him to be sober around your child. My divorce agreement has a rule about my ex's alcohol use around our child.

You seem to already know this, but living with him is certainly not working. I feel very bad for your child witnessing the arguments - between your ex's alcholism and the very particular way you want to raise your child - it's a minefield. I do think that when you let your child choose where she wants to live (especially at such a young age), you did take a risk regarding custody.

You cannot legally enforce your many detailed rules about videos and cheese or whatever, so don't waste all kinds of effort trying, but you can request that your ex not be able to use alcohol while caring (and perhaps 12 hours before) for your child, or while driving your child in a car.

If you are very worried about money, consider employment - I know the economy is terrible and you have a baby, but do you have long-term plans in that regard? And perhaps therapy would help you work through some things.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
He apologized first thing this morning and said there was no excuse for his behavior. He also said he was going to take a break from alcohol. He did go a whole year without it when he had to as a part of probation. He also has quit cigarettes successfully, so maybe he will quit using alcohol one day. I had to about the part about employment. Yes I have thought about employment. I tried to get a real job (I had one for minimum wage for a while after my business went bankrupt, but the pay was so low!) here unsuccessfully for a year prior to going to MT for a few months (where I got pregnant with dd2), where I also was unsuccessful in getting a job. I work in the entertainment industry, or did long ago and seems I have been blackballed in this region for not being fun enough or too honest or something. I haven't tried to get a job since dd2 was born though. She still nurses all day long... but I will if it is the only way for our family to make it. But exdh has been looking for a job for a long time (even since before being laid off 4 mo ago), and he has 20 years of experience in his field, and a college degree.... so this just isn't a good area for employment I guess. I want to return to school of course, I am halfway finished with a 4 yr degree, but will likely retake many classes if not all since they are from 1989-1991. I may be able to get a job for a minimal wage at a place that hires a lot of people (a call center). But that would just result in loss of FS and other benefits so as to be a wash, you know? But I would prefer it to govt assistance (I have never been in this position before, and was denied benefits for a long time because i was living with the father of on eof my children, even though we were no longer married, ate separately and dd2 was not his bio child... crazy laws that promote the breakup of families. I could get all kinds of help if I lived with a stranger). As of now, we have been trying to solve everything as a unit and he has wanted me to wait to try hard again to get employment, because he can make more and it is best for me to be with the children. If I did get work, he would keep the girls for me while I work, so I would need him to promise to stay sober while caring for them. If we can both get a job, we will do as we have in the past and work opposite schedules so there is no childcare expenses (so he would need to get a job first and me work around his schedule) . As for lawyers and therapy... I would not use a therapist because they have never been useful in the past for me. I had one from the time I was 13 till 16, then a few others through my 20s. Basically I no longer believe in the field. My worldview is far different than the typical therapist (not to mention one assigned to me once by social services falsified information about me to up their funding, she basically lied about something). For instance, how does an MD react about extended breastfeeding, cosleeping and no schedules.... therapists would analyze my life with that same eye, so to me nothing they could suggest would be valid, since their view is so distorted from what I believe in IMO.... not to mention I am beyond broke. I no longer even own a car... I have all the things I bought before going bankrupt, so I have toys and books for the children and clothes for all of us (though I can't fit back into my size '0' pants again yet... I am stuck in sweats and big girl jeans my sis sent me after dd1 was born). I have no reason to contact a lawyer that I know of, we already have a divorce/ child custody agreement.. but i appreciate you guys reading my long drawn out fleeb (fleeb= a word I made up in college, denoting freak out) I was just so shocked he said "FU" to me and said he hated me and called me a bitch, it is so not expected from him. I was used to that sort of thing from others I dated, but he has never been that way, always respectful....just as I feel I have always been respectful to him.
post #8 of 11
Wow, what a tough situation for you and your kids. I am really having a hard time reading your posts, though- an occasional paragraph break would be really helpful!
post #9 of 11
I'm new here. But can I just say that as long as you are so emeshed(right word?) in this realtionship you aren't going to be able to take an objective look at what is going on with you and your child's dad. I know from experience that it is so difficult to look at things clearly when you are smack dab in the middle of it.

Good luck to you and your family.
post #10 of 11
You could both probably agree or get a court to order that neither of you drink around DC or in the time leading up to visitation/ parenting time, but unless he has a documented (dui, alcohol treatment programs, etc) substance abuse issue it is unlikely you will get it to be a one-sided condition unless he agrees to it.
post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Halfasianmomma View Post
Oh wow...I had a hard time reading through the long post you just put up.

As the former spouse of an abusive alcoholic, let me just say this:
You didn't cause it.
You can't cure it.
You can't control it.

Asking him, begging him, expecting him, or threatening him to quit or reduce his drinking for you or anyone else is just plain unrealistic. The booze is all that matters to him. The disease is progressive, so it can only get worse from here on out.

I would really advise getting children away from this man, as good a parent as he appears to be "when he's sober". Those sober moments will slowly start to disappear and then all you'll be left with is Mr. Hyde.

Seeing as you have custody, it wouldn't be a problem...I'd really start documenting all questionable events of him drinking and being abusive around the children.

I'd also consult a lawyer ASAP about your options. You can often get a free initial consultation with some lawyers, just so you get an idea of where you stand legally and what your options are...


I'm divorcing an active alcoholic

I'm going for sole custody and supervised visitation.
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