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ExH going into rehab, advice re children

(14 Posts)
Llareggub Wed 01-May-13 08:40:48

My exH is an alcoholic and has underlying MH problems. He has been assessed and will be entering a 6 week (minimum) rehab programme at the end of the month, once he has completed detox.

We have 2 children, aged 6 and 4 who live with me. At present, the only contact is by telephone on a sporadic basis. He now lives with his parents and they have been good at maintaining contact with the children and I encourage this.

When he enters rehab he will not be allowed any contact with the outside world, I understand.

Should I explain this to the DC or wait for them to ask if they can call him? they rarely do but it does happen. They are also due to visit the grandparents at Whitsun but of course they will notice that their father is not there.

There is also the tricky issue of finance. At present he has managed to provide financially for the children and I am unsure about whether I should ask how this will be paid in his absence. I don't want to add to his problems but I do need the money; I can provide financially for the DCs bit it will be very tight without his contribution. We do have a legal agreement in process but it is not yet finalised.

Any advice on how to approach this with the DCs is welcome, as would be advice regarding money. My relationship with his parents is usually OK and I would like to keep it that way for the sake of the children.

Llareggub Wed 01-May-13 08:41:47

It is his third rehab I think, but certainly this will be the longest one so far. He has also been in and out of a psychiatric hospital, following ODs.

Isabeller Wed 01-May-13 08:46:43

Do you go to Alanon Family groups? There would be others there who had similar experiences. Good luck, I hope all goes as well as possible.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 01-May-13 08:47:21

I think it would be a good idea to say to the children that Dad has been poorly and had to go into a nice hospital to help him get better. But, because he has to be quiet, they don't have telephones.... Something like that. As for the finance, don't let him off the hook. He could set up a standing order quite easily.

Llareggub Wed 01-May-13 08:52:13

Good idea regarding the phones. I think they would get that.

I will ponder regarding the standing order. Do you think I should speak to his parents? I do wonder about his ability to function. He is likely to say yes but forget a moment later.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 01-May-13 09:07:39

Do his parents have power of attorney over his finances? Standing orders ridiculously easy to fix up. Can be done online if he has your bank details.

redskynight Wed 01-May-13 11:32:05

Regarding the children at 6 and 4, I would do as cogito suggests, tell them honestly that dad is in hospital because he is not feeling well, and the doctors are helping him to get better, and that is why he can't call them for a few weeks but he still loves them. I would then just distract them if they ask.

If you are worried about the children's reaction to dad not being at the GPs house, think about suggesting the GP either come to you, or meet half way?

SolidGoldBrass Wed 01-May-13 13:10:19

Does he have any money, though? If he is an alcoholic, presumably he's not great at holding down a job and if he has one at present, will it be kept open for him while he's in the clinic?

Fae Wed 01-May-13 13:32:20

Where is this rehab? You're not usually allowed mobiles but most allow you to make at least a couple of calls a week from a pay phone.

Llareggub Wed 01-May-13 17:59:40

The clinic is in Somerset somewhere. I don't know the details. I know he has recently resigned from a job but beyond that I don't know his circumstances. He has paid regularly until now, albeit after me chasing him.

His parents are very keen to see the boys and spend extended time with them. Until recently we lived nearby and so they had lots of contact with their only grandchildren, and I desperately would like them to remain a constant in their lives.

I don't do Al Anon. I don't really have time, what with work, taking the children to their activities, homework and finding time to exercise. Exercise keeps my mental health in track!

As for phone contact, he never rings them now so I don't expect he will from a pay phone.

sincitylover Wed 01-May-13 20:59:28

Don't blame you re al anon - they're portrayed as a benign organisation but in fact they will get you working the 12 steps and as you say you can take care of your own mental health. If you are single parent of two young children won't have the time.

SolidGoldBrass Thu 02-May-13 16:57:19

SCL's right - Al Anon may in fact do you more harm than good and if you don't want to get involved, there is no need to do so.

I agree with the people upthread who said: tell the DCs that he's ill and has had to go into hospital but he still loves them, that will do for the moment. And if you have a good relationship with his parents, why not have a chat with them about his finances? They may not know anything or they may be able to sort out power of attourney or some such.

Llareggub Thu 02-May-13 23:09:32

Thanks all. I actually managed to talk to him today and asked him what he was planning to do. He told me that he would set up a DD or SO and that he would set it up this week. He is on a managed detox and is currently on 14 units a day. He is much worse than I knew.

Thanks all for your contributions.

EarthtoMajorTom Fri 03-May-13 22:34:03

Please can I just put in a good word for Al-Anon which I think is a benign organisation! You never have to do the twelve steps if you don't want to (I haven't done any formally at all) and there is a lot of support there for relatives / friends of alcoholics. I started going just before my partner went into rehab - where he wasn't allowed contact by phone with anyone for the first week - and it has helped me enormously.
I was also a single parent with two very young children and a full time job and managed to get to a meeting more or less weekly.
As for the finances - I hope your ex-partner can set something up for you ... but don't necessarily expect too much in that direction. Alcoholics lie, and they don't think straight even if they're not trying to deceive. They often have very poor memories as I think you mentioned further up the thread.
Best wishes.

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