Parents that use drugs(48 Posts)
OK so Im new to this but really desperate for some advice. Here goes.
I left my partner of 15 years 2.5years ago, we have 2 daughters, currently 4 and 6. I left for many reasons, he was mentally abusive, aggressive, not interested in the children, he drank to extremes and also smoked a lot of cannabis. None of this behavior I deemed acceptable, hence why I left. Hardest thing I have ever done. For info - Im 31 and he's 37.
I have always tried to maintain an amicable and civil relationship with him, encouraging and supporting him to be a good parent to the girls. He has since confessed that whilst we were together he was also taking other drugs, cocaine, valium - I had no idea. This left me devastated and more-so confirmed why I had left. I never had reason to believe he was still taking anything, he assured me he has seeked help and was only drinking occasionally but never when he had the girls.
Fast forwards to 6 months ago. He called to say that he has been to the Dr and said he was thinking about using drugs again and the Dr had got in touch with social services. Now the Dr reports that he said he WAS using drugs again, not THINKING about using them. SS got involved but he managed to convince them Dr had misunderstood and he'd just gone for help before things got bad again - I believed him too and backed that up to SS - reassuring them I would never leave the girls with him if I thought he was taking anything.
Now, lets go to this weekend just gone. I receive a message from his friend telling me he is using ALOT of cocaine, like every day, and was even doing it when the girls were home with him in the next room. Understandably I was devastated, shocked, scared - I immediately went to his house to remove the girls, offered him a urine drugs test to which he refused. He grabbed me by the neck and pushed me to the ground and snatched the children back. My friend witnessed this and called the police - he was cautioned for assault.
I have since denied him access until he can prove he is not taking drugs again. I have requested he does a hair strand drugs test which will detail usage over the last 3 months. I know this is going to show cocaine use along with other drugs. I have never taken a drug in my life and have zero tolerance for this kind of behavior.
So my questions are as follows;
1\ What would you have done in that situation? Would you have removed the children or what? Did I do the right thing?
2\ Am I still doing the right thing by only allowing supervised access?
3\ When the drugs test comes back and shows drug use, what do I do? Am I supposed to accept that a certain level of Class A drug use is OK when i dont think it is? Am I overreacting?
Please help - I want him to be OK, I want the girls to have a good dad, but Im not prepared to let them go to stay with someone who is taking drugs - is that unreasonable? He is very good at making me feel guilty, he has been texting saying that Iv done all this to him, Im not thinking how this is affecting him and how he feels in all of this, he hopes I regret what I have done, he now has a criminal recored because of me, that its calculated and iv orchestrated the whole thing so I can get the girls to myself. All of which is utter rubbish - this is literally making me ill - all I want to do is protect my precious girls.
Any advice gratefully received
1. Yes you did the right thing.
2. Yes, SS were getting involved on the back of him using, if you don't stick to supervised access, you will be complicit in this I think.
3. Call SS again? Not really sure. Like point 2, you need to show that you are doing your utmost to protect your DC from this.
4/ If he is taking drugs when the children ARENT with him is that meant to be OK? Am I supposed to be fine with that?
Firstly, I hope you're doing ok. Him assaulting you must have been totally horrific & really scary. Did the kids witness it? You must be feeling shocked & upset that he's been using around the kids.
His behaviour is unacceptable & he knows it. He's trying to blame you for his using & that's where he's at. Sounds like he's in denial.
I would not let my ex be around my daughter if he was doing coke. Not until he sought help & stopped for a significant amount of time.
You're absolutely NOT being unreasonable. You are protecting your girls. Good for you
How long would you say is a significant amount of time? I literally have no idea and I'm so upset I can't think straight. We used to have 50/50 custody but I don't ever want to go back to that now, he's ruined my trust completely.
Also, my eldest (6yrs) keeps asking why she can't have Daddy Days anymore, I feel like she hates me, she saw him assault me and get arrested but she's already making excuses for him. It's just an awful situation because in protecting them for the long term I have to upset them short term. She was crying saying she wants is to be a family again. My heart breaks that she just doesn't understand even though all she remembers of our 'family' was daddy shouting and mummy crying. I feel like they're getting hurt whichever way I turn.
You have every right to remove the children - this is too much for them to handle a parent using drugs. I am not sure who in their right mind would ever think otherwise. I would recommend you consult SS and see guidance on what to explain to the children - they are still young but as you said 6yo is starting to ask things. I think she is just confused and doesn't see the whole picture.
I stopped dds dad from seeing her due to drugs. I had very good support from the hv, is that an option? Her opinion was that I was dds protecting factor. I was the one that kept them safe, so ss were not concerned. She wholeheartedly agreed with my choice to stop contact and said to make him take me to court. In the meantime I spoke to women's aid, the police about a similar incident to your assault and made a log of evidence.
The thing is, men who are abusing drugs are not likely to actually pay out to take you to court and fight for access. It isn't their number one priority, the drugs are.
Dds dad actually sorted himself out, and is clean of all drugs, but I wanted proof through drugs tests before he saw her again. I randomly drugs tested him for a year after he came back into our lives. He knew that if he failed the test, he would never see her again.
He doesn't seem to understand - we can't prove he took drugs when the children were in his care. He thinks that its OK that he uses cocaine when they're not there? Am I being unrealistic to expect him not to take anything? He is meant to be doing a hair strand test but has already said it will show usage on the weekends etc, and why should he be penalised for that? I keep being made to feel like Im over reacting? Please please tell me if I am - Im so deep into this I can't see the wood for the trees.
No you are not overreacting. Ss will agree with you.
Even if he hasn't taken drugs that day it will still be in his system. He shouldn't be driving either. Never mind in charge of children. His faculties won't be up to scratch. His responses to danger and making rational decisions will also be impaired surely. Not a suitable parent in my mind.
You're absolutely doing the right thing OP and it's important you stick to your guns, both because your girls need protecting from his behaviour and because SS involvement means you need to be seen to be protecting them so that your care of them cannot be called into question.
Supervised contact only is definitely the route you need to take, you can either leave it to him to apply to court for contact or you can do it yourself but be aware the majority of the cost will be for you to pay if it's you that applies. The only advantage in doing this really is if you think it's important for your DC to continue contact with him or if you have concerns about him taking them (from school for instance) because it will mean you can put a prohibited steps order in place to stop him.
As for how to deal with it with your 6 year old, could you find an age appropriate way to explain that daddy isn't doing all he should be to keep them safe and that its your job as their mum to make sure he does?
And no, you're not being unrealistic to expect him not to take anything even at weekends. Ultimately it depends how important his children are to him, if they matter so much it won't hurt him to stop altogether will it? There's nothing wrong with not wanting to hand your DC over to someone using drugs, you have no way of knowing whether it's weekend use only and in any case cocaine can affect behaviour/MH even when users are not under the influence.
You absolutely have right on your side OP, don't back down
My nephew's father was a known addict and SS told him that he could have supervised (contact centre) access if he tested clean for a period of time (unsure exactly what it was) He would then have to take a test at the contact centre and if he failed he wouldn't be let in and the next planned contact would be cancelled.
I don't really know how this works in practice though as he never even showed up for the first test and has never seen his son.
However, this clearly shows that SS don't consider "I wasn't with the children as an excuse" mostly because it isn't just the risk of him being under the influence while he has them, it's that his entire lifestyle is a risk to them while he is using.
YANBU in any way, collecting your children and insisting that he stops before seeing them again is only sensible, don't doubt yourself. Remember that it's his behaviour that means DC can't see him, not your reaction.
Thank you all so much
I literally feel like I'm losing my mind at the moment. He thinks most parents take recreational drugs and I'm blowing this out of proportion because he's 'not a crackhead...' I'm being made to look like I'm over reacting and being unreasonable. He likes to think I planned all this so I could take the girls away from him, but like one poster said, he's not accepting responsibility for his actions and shifting blame to me.
So now my next question is, how long should be be completely clean for before I allow unsupervised access again?
I would want some advice about that from one of the agencies who may be involved in helping you arrange supervised access. If it's going through court I would guess CAFCASS would be able to advise or SS maybe?
He's talking out of his arse. No, not all parents take recreational drugs. Most of us grow up once we have families.
He sounds like a controlling bully even though you are no longer together.
He is guilt tripping you because he's an irresponsible cone head and somehow that's your fault!!!?
Don't communicate with him at all unless you have to and yes to the supervised visits from now on.
I'd also ask for social services help with your older daughter who witnessed the assault.
The thing that rang out to me was taking coke in the next room whilst looking after his dd.
That's really evidence of adiction. Its not compatable with being responsible for children. Dad on coke. I wouldn't want to confuse my dd with that.
You've done exactly the right thing.
And grabbing you round the neck. That's a whole different level. I could never concieve doing that to my XP whatever she did, and she's done some nasty stuff.
I do think he should be free to do what he wants in his own time, so that makes hair tests a bit problematic.
But you as their mum really need some assurance that he's straight when the girls are there. I think the only possible way really is to involve a third party. A trusted mutual friend.
'Most' parents don't take recreational drugs. Some do. I know a surprising amount of functioning coke users. Well, they think they are functioning anyway, but if you look closely the cracks are visible-the massive lairy rows in front of the children, the erratic behaviour, the debt.Im no Mary White House-people will do what they are going to do, but I don't think it's sustainable to take a lot of coke over a long period of time and still be a 100% as a parent.Just my opinion.
Coke is a horrible drug for some people.It makes them aggressive and irrational. From what you describe that's the case with your exh.
You were right to take the children away from a man who assaulted you in front of them and whose behaviour you are concerned about.
Are taking drugs worse than getting drunk? (That will no doubt be one of his arguments as to why it's ok-if not better for him to be taking coke-he will probably tell you the come down is not even as bad as a hangover).Not sure. But then I'm fairly sure you wouldn't be particularly happy if he was getting kalined on booze whilst the kids were there either.
Tell DD that unfortunately dad isn't well enough to look after her so it wouldn't be safe at the moment. It's hard but you can't let her stay with him. Aside from the fact that you don't know how long the drugs stay in his system, there will presumably be drugs paraphernalia around. In addition, drugs or no drugs, if he grabs you by the neck to the extent the police have to intervene and thinks that's ok in front of his children then he is not ok to be with them.
Ask SS what the time of being "clean" is.
He might well be in a strop and your daughter may well miss him, but you take your role as protector seriously. Stay strong.
My view on parental drug use as a social worker -
If he's taking drugs that have an addictive quality like diazepam or opiates then he needs to be clean before resuming unsupervised contact as it is highly likely he would use when the children are there, or be affected by withdrawal if not.
If he's using more recreational drugs such as cannabis and cocaine then their use wouldn't necessarily impact on the kids, if he is able to use only when they are not in his care and when he has time to recover before seeing them, especially in the case of cocaine.
However if he's using several drugs and using a lot then this indicates a big problem with his ability to self regulate use and to act appropriately so I wouldn't have faith that he could go 3 days without using and not be affected whether physically or emotionally.
It's not a case of saying zero drugs ever, it's about looking at the dugs used, the quantities and above all the purpose. Cocaine is a social and party drug, why would he be taking it when looking after his kids? What is he using it for?
Bottom line is that he needs to engage with a substance misuse service to assess his use and help him to address it. That will be more useful than a hair strand test to be honest, you're already certain he has been using, now you need to know what he is going to do about it.
Thank you all again
This is really helping me rationalise things.
I know cocaine is a social drug but he confessed when I left that he'd been using it every night alone in the garage, he was smoking weed to 'chill' then doing coke to appear normal. He has really bad addictive tendencies and sadly always has to be hooked on something, be is drink, drugs, gambling, I always used to wish he was addicted to me and the girls but sadly never was. If I thought he could control his use and confine to nights out I wouldn't worry as much as I do knowing him and the extremes he uses things. I guess I'm
Scared he's on a slippery slope and when he has the girls there's no one to monitor him or his tolerance towards them.
I'm not sure what steps to take. 8 don't want them not to have their daddy but equally don't want them in danger either. This is soooooo hard. I just want what's right for everyone.
Is there anyone you trust in his family who would supervise contact?
The only person who can ultimately change an addict is themselves unfortunately.
Having his access to his dds restricted might push him into sorting himself out.
Good luck and well done for doing your best to support a relationship going between them and dad. Difficult situation.
Iv said he can have supervised contact through his parents at the moment, like you say - hopefully the realisation of the seriousness of the situation might hit home a bit more this way.
Im fully prepared to go to court about this but I would rather sort it out myself if possible. He is very keen to avoid court, I think this is because he knows his access will be reduced - prior to this it was 50/50. Im not sure if going forwards I can stick to the 50/50, I think its too much pressure on him and might be part of why he has been having 'blow outs' at the weekend.
I really want to believe he hasn't used anything when caring for the children but his friend had no reason to lie. I think my reason for wanting the hair strand test done is to help confirm his story, which is evolving - originally he said he'd never done drugs, then confessed to taking at a wedding a few weeks ago hence the refusal of the urine test I offered him, then it evolved to using at the weekends, I suppose what I want to see is how much he has been using, if its moderate as he claims then that will show - but heavy usage would back up his friends story and give more weight to the accusation of using when the girls are int he house.
Its killing me because I feel like Im hurting everyone int he process of trying to protect my innocent girls. Everything Im doing is out of love for them, him and myself but it doesn't appear to come over that way. Im hoping if he sorts himself out he will thank me for it one day....
Kids safety first, your peace of mind second, his feelings about it a very distant third op...
He assaulted you! In front of your girls, would he have done that straight? If yes, he's dangerous, if no, he's dangerous on drugs.
Definitely definitely definitely don't let him have those kids on his own, he's lucky you're facilitating him seeing them at all, I'd have serious doubts after that assault.
YANBU, if he can't stop using to see his girls even just at weekends (yeah right) then he's addicted, and coke addicts rarely go from strength to strength.
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