.. To pick up DD from drunken ExP?

(28 Posts)
Squeegle Sun 27-Sep-15 07:11:16

Back story is that XP is an alcoholic who has been in recovery.

A few weeks ago, when dropping off DCs to his I noticed he had been drinking (they are 11 and13), so I took them home. He was not out if his head, but I could tell; I know the signs after a long time. So my suspicions were aroused that he is going back to old habits after not drinking at all for over 3 years.

So, yesterday, he was picking up my DD from a friend's house and taking her back to his. (DS was elsewhere). I spoke to him on the phone and immediately could tell he was pissed. I asked him if he had been drinking, he shouted down the phone, "how dare you!", which really confirmed it.

I went round, knocked on the door, asked my DD to come back with me. She didn't want to as she didn't want to let down her dad and she said "he is ok, he's walking straight". He wouldn't have harmed her or anything, he is always good to her and kind, but I didn't want to leave her in the care of someone who was so drunk they would probably fall asleep soon. I'm always worried about fires and so on, and she is too young to take responsibility.

She is now upset with me, she said she would have been fine, and he is incensed; has texted me about my despicable judging ways and saying he doesn't need it.
I don't want this awful bad feeling, but surely I shouldn't leave a 13 year old in the care of someone who is drunk.
WWYD in this situation?

Piglet333 Sun 27-Sep-15 07:14:14

YANBU, you did the right thing. If something awful, like a fire, had happened you'd never have forgiven yourself.

Mistigri Sun 27-Sep-15 07:17:23

In an ideal world no child should be left with a drunk parent sad

But realistically, I think that at 13 you need to take your children's views into account ... up to a point, and assuming your kids are not being emotionally blackmailed to protect their father.

However they both need to be told in no uncertain terms (scare them if you need to) that they are not to get into a car with your ex unless they are certain he is sober. A teenager with an alcoholic parent will probably have a pretty good alcohol detection radar ...

(I have lived with an alcoholic partner and there are no easy answers - and no foolproof way to protect your kids - so I feel for you).

Sighing Sun 27-Sep-15 07:18:21

YANBU: alcohol is his preferred company.

I realise it's an addictive illness, but then normalising it is destructive for your daughter's future.

Thighbrow Sun 27-Sep-15 07:30:12

Yanbu. Your poor DD that she's so used to it she feels it's part of her dad's personality so she accepts it if you know what I mean. My DM had alcohol issues all though my teens and it becomes the norm. Like you, I'm sure she knows within 30 seconds if her dad has been drinking or not (I know I did, glassy eyes was the clue).

I think 13 is old enough for a grown up chat with her when she's home about how she shouldn't have to be around that. Good luck op.

Squeegle Sun 27-Sep-15 07:37:25

Thanks for replies. You're right, both the DCs are quite savvy. My DS said to me that he thought his dad had been drinking more as he often comes round with a mint in his mouth. That is quite perceptive - although it makes me sad that he's so knowledgeable. Fortunately, he rarely drives and never if he has been drinking; my worries are much more re house fire, as he always likes candles and has no smoke alarm.
When we were still together I came home when I was late one night, DCs were very small, tucked up in bed. Ex was out cold, having left a pan of curry boiling dry on the cooker. Appreciate your thoughts re not normalising this kind of drinking. I agree I want to be honest with them, but don't want them to think drinking in this way is normal.
My DD is very kind; a people pleaser and she feels sorry as his mum has just died and wants to make sure he's ok.

Pilgit Sun 27-Sep-15 07:51:23

Gosh this is hard on everyone. I don't think you were being unreasonable to remove her. He needs to have it reinforced that it's not acceptable. And she needs to know it's not her responsibility to look after him. However at 13 she is old enough (in my view) to have her views listened to and be safety concious enough to deal with candles.

ahbollocks Sun 27-Sep-15 07:57:48

I think you might need to sit down and explain enablers and try to get in touch with Al anon teen groups.
My mum was an alcoholic and has recently crashed off the wagon after 19 years sober.
As an alcoholic he needs to get to his low point to even consider getting help. Your dd can't protect him, she can't help him.
It is absolutely gut wrenching to realise your parent loves booze more than they love you so be gentle on her.

You were absolutely right to remove her.

greenfolder Sun 27-Sep-15 08:06:53

Gosh, you are going to be the one to be blamed by your ex and dd so well done you for being so strong. It's not just the physical but the emotional health and well being of your kids that is critical, especially at 13. Someone suggested up thread about Al Anon and that seems an excellent place to get support and more expert advice. And I don't think that he loves booze more than your kids. He is addicted to it and is mentally unwell. My Dad didn't drink, but my childhood and adulthood was blighted by his manic depression. Luckily no one suggested that he loved being miserable more than he loved me.

abbieanders Sun 27-Sep-15 08:10:10

If he had passed out, what could she have done? She really is too young to cope with the possible outcomes of his drinking alone. Many children went to sleep last night in the nominal care of adults who are incapable of looking after them adequately but it's not right if you can prevent it.

Imagine if something had happened to her. He would not have been fit to respond and how are you supposed to live with yourself if you had knowingly left her?

Squeegle Sun 27-Sep-15 08:16:45

Yes, true, I didn't really think of that; his passing out or just falling asleep in the chair is highly likely. From what she has now mentioned to me, I think he was drinking when he took them on holiday. She said he had one drink with their meal, but then was staggering. It seems like it is all starting again. So sad, when he has been sober for 3 years, and really has a good relationship with them.
And actually with me, we had got to a good place. Here we go again it seems. Thank god we are split up now and not all in the same house. Alateen a good idea too, I didn't think of that.

HellKitty Sun 27-Sep-15 08:27:41

My XH plays Disney dad on the handful of days a year he sees the DCs. He had them, 13/15/17, for five days in August, the time previous being NYE.

He is a drinker but I assumed he'd actually make an effort. He didn't. He was in the pub every night. He would be drunk and slagging off women, 'foreigners' and most of all me, whenever he got home. He plays the poor me card all the time for emotional blackmail - something your daughter is probably getting.

They don't want to go to his again and I'm not going to let them.

bettyberry Sun 27-Sep-15 08:30:26

OP, my step-dad was an alcoholic who once (not only it was often but this time was only once) drank so much he passed out on a bus and I couldn't wake him up. It was hideous. Paramedics and police had to be called.

At that age I had no idea how to handle it. What to do or any of that.

How would your children know what to do with a drunk? it took me a few years to learn how to put them in the recovery position when passed out drunk.

my step-dad would drink so much he pissed himself. Its not a pleasant thing to see as a kid.

you did the right thing for them to bring them home.

maybe this will help you to help your children understand and deal with the situation with their dad. www.nacoa.org.uk/

They will know more than you think and will be affected by it.

Flumplet Sun 27-Sep-15 08:38:07

I was very often in the exact same position as your daughter when I was a child (I had to walk my extremely drunk alcoholic father through town on one occasion to get him home from a drinking session). I felt responsible for him - chances are she's staying with him out of a sense of duty - as you have identified she's too young for that responsibility and you are definitely doing the right thing in removing her from the situation.

rumbleinthrjungle Sun 27-Sep-15 08:43:26

The other thing is at 13 she will want to please him and be persuadable and she may well get in a car if he insists he's ok and looks hurt. She's probablying capable of keeping herself safe alone while her parent is out cold and incapable, but she goes to him for contact, not to provide care. If he's drinking himself stupid while she is there what are either of them getting out of contact? She is feeling guilty about abandoning him poor kid, but I wouldn't want her starting to feel responsible for his needs, feelings and well being, he should be looking after hers.

I don't think you were at all unreasonable and I think this is a situation where a court would discuss seriously that while her views at 13 are important, she is not old enough to have to manage an alcoholic alone, and that is not her role. Not saying you should go to court by any means, just saying this would be considered grounds to look carefully at contact.

If he wants to be with her, he needs to put her first and stay sober. If he's too ill to put her first, he is too ill to have her alone in his care and if seeing her matters enough then he needs to get himself help and treatment to fix this for her. I know plenty of kids have been carer, supervisor and protector of alcoholic parents but I wouldn't want my teenager to have to do it. When sober, would he really?

Squeegle Sun 27-Sep-15 08:59:31

Thanks for the link betty, useful.
Agree, when he is sober he wouldn't want his daughter put in that position. Thanks all, you are reinforcing what I thought was the right thing, but my daughter's upset and my ex's anger and outrage was making me question.
It's hard to stay reasonable in the face of alcoholic twisted but very assured thinking

Squeegle Sun 27-Sep-15 09:01:46

And thanks all of you with alcoholic parents for your input. It's so hard for everyone in this situation. I hope you've all come past it now flowers

junebirthdaygirl Sun 27-Sep-15 09:27:00

She is too young to see any danger and she loves him and doesn't want trouble. But you did the right thing.. She will only appreciate later that you were caring for her. Image her coming on here in few years time saying my mom always knew my dad was drunk but she left me there anyway. You were right. Try to empathise with her and not put her dad down while still keeping her safe. He also needs to face the consequences of his drinking and not being fit to mind his dd is one of them. Also make sure she knows none of it is her fault.

Cloppysow Sun 27-Sep-15 09:30:30

I grew up with an alcoholic dad. I wish more had been done to protect us from his drinking. I felt responsible for him from a very young age and always put his feelings before my own. I have lots of memories of feeling completely out of my depth with an unpedictable drunk.
I don't think the dangers are so much physical as they are emotional. Try as much as you can to keep her away from him if he's drinking, but unfortunately, shes at an age where she can make her own decisions about contact with him.

GoringBit Sun 27-Sep-15 09:48:42

OP I know that it shouldn't be down to you to do this, but could you insist that your ex buys and puts up a smoke detector, or if he doesn't, can you buy one for him? It's just that to me, the fire risk from candles (which he uses) seems greater than the drink-driving risk, (which you've said he is unlikely to do.) Not that the drink-driving potential isn't also a major concern, iyswim.

And another saying YANBU. At all.

Squeegle Sun 27-Sep-15 10:32:21

Yeah, I have suggested he buys a smoke alarm (insisting is not that possible!), and he has said yes- but still hasn't. He hates to be "bossed around" by me confused, it's like he always wants to rebel. It's hard to get it right.

ImperialBlether Sun 27-Sep-15 10:37:30

He can ask the fire brigade to come round to fit smoke alarms or you could buy them and take them round there. I wouldn't let the children sleep there without smoke alarms, given that he's drinking.

WorzelsCornyBrows Sun 27-Sep-15 10:43:01

Yanbu. A 13yo girl shouldn't feel she needs to take responsibility for an adult alcoholic's happiness

HellKitty Sun 27-Sep-15 10:45:29

Does he smoke? Only my XH had a habit - when I still lived with him - of falling asleep with a cigarette on the sofa. I'd buy the alarms (2) myself and TELL him, not ask, to fit them or your DD isn't staying there again.

Squeegle Sun 27-Sep-15 10:50:49

He used to smoke and could well take it up again if he's on the booze again. I'm just really hoping he'll come back to earth and realise he's got to stop again. (Drinking not smoking I mean), oh well, will just have to wait and see.

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