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Ds and his alcoholic father - how many more chances do we give?

(14 Posts)
IngeniousPursuits Tue 18-Feb-14 18:14:42

I posted about my alcoholic exh last year, but I would really welcome some further advice as this is an ongoing situation, and I'm increasingly frustrated and lost.

In a nutshell, my exh is a mess. He has had a problem with drink (and drugs) for all of his adult life, and it was a major factor in the breakdown of our marriage ten years ago. Last year, things got particularly bad, and in the summer he went into rehab.

Sadly, he has fallen off the wagon in the last couple of months. At the weekend he didn't turn up for contact with ds (he currently sees him one day at the weekend), ringing to say that he was in no state to see him. I have noticed that when he has seen ds recently, he has been detached and not very communicative - he admitted this and said it's because he is going through 'so much shit' at the moment and he can't focus on anything outside of his own problems. Ds is 10.

He also says that part of the reason he can't stop drinking is because he knows his relationship with ds is failing, that he is 'losing him'. I've told him that the only way he can revive his relationship with his son is to sort his shit out, and start acting like a decent, reliable father. He knows this, but seems incapable of doing it.

He is not a bad person, but he is a monumental fuck up. I wouldn't bat an eyelid if I never saw him again, but obviously I want ds to have a relationship with his dad.

But how much is too much? I can see this pattern repeating for years. Am I doing more harm than good by trying to maintain this relationship? Part of me wants to stop contact, but will ds hate me, blame me? I don't think exh is 'dangerous', really I do think he's a shit father. Is that enough? I don't know what to do for the best.

milkysmum Tue 18-Feb-14 18:20:26

It's tough isn't it. I'm in the early stages of ending my relationship with dh due to chronic cannabis use that I can no longer tolerate. I imagine I will be having the same problems you are having now. Dc are 5 and 2. Sorry not being very helpful am I.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 18-Feb-14 18:20:42

Does DS know his father is an alcoholic? Does he understand what that means regarding behaviour?

maggiemight Tue 18-Feb-14 18:24:51

This might give DS some info and help to explain his DF's behaviour

maggiemight Tue 18-Feb-14 18:25:09

Oops this is the link

IngeniousPursuits Tue 18-Feb-14 18:25:18

Milkysmum thanks. You're doing the right thing.

Cog - kind of. He visited his dad in the clinic last year, and he knows that dad isn't supposed to drink. We did talk about it then, obviously, but tbh I've not said much this time around.

IngeniousPursuits Tue 18-Feb-14 18:26:40

Thanks maggie, I've had a look at that site but haven't shown it to ds yet.

IngeniousPursuits Tue 18-Feb-14 18:30:01

It occurred to me the other day that his drinking doesn't stop him getting into work everyday (afaik) but it does stop him being a decent father to his son.

milkysmum Tue 18-Feb-14 18:45:43

How did you know when enough was enough? like you my dh isnt a bad person but will not agree to give up the weed no matter how much I have triedsad

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 18-Feb-14 18:48:56

Then I think you should talk to DS again about how Dad's having alcohol-related problems. He may have realised already, of course. I also think your ex needs to be told not to pin his behavioural choices on the fear of 'losing DS'.... it's a very irresponsible and pathetic excuse that DS should never ever be exposed. to

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 18-Feb-14 19:11:53

He also says that part of the reason he can't stop drinking is because he knows his relationship with ds is failing

Kind of Catch 22, isn't it. There's always a reason, an excuse, isn't there. I know of DCs who grew up feeling unlovable because their DF went to more trouble buying or hiding alcohol than he did spending time with them. In later life he saw himself as the victim because they stood by their DM and ultimately went nc.

You can't allow ex to pay unsupervised visits with DS but how does DS react, is he disappointed or upset or resentful or does he just accept that's how his Dad is? Would ex manage email or phone contact?

Ime no matter how we try and shield our DCs from unpleasant truths, they very often know what is going on. I think if DS stops wanting to see his DF, he will make it very plain. Later on, DS may want to revive contact.

IngeniousPursuits Tue 18-Feb-14 19:51:57

Yes, there's always an excuse, you're right.

Ds doesn't get upset really, I think he's used to it sad. I think he is wary of his dad now, in the sense that he's learning that exh can't be relied upon. He has said that he doesn't want to see him more than once a week at the moment, but I think he'd be devastated if contact ceased completely.

It's such a mess. Why is exh so bloody self-absorbed?

MooseBeTimeForSnow Tue 18-Feb-14 20:00:52

I was just about to ask what your sons view on the situation was. He is getting to the age where his wishes and feelings should be taken into account.

Are you keeping a written record of when contact takes place and when it falls through?

maggiemight Tue 18-Feb-14 20:12:47

He also says that part of the reason he can't stop drinking is because he knows his relationship with ds is failing, that he is 'losing him'

I would say this was bollox, imv alcoholics don't know why they drink, if there was a simple reason for it then they would stop. It's an excuse for behaving like a selfish so and so.

Just explain simply to DS that DF is an addict and that it is nothing you or DS can change and nothing to do with DS and def not his fault. And let it go and stop 'helping' DF to see DS as it is prob pointless and things won't improve in the near future.

My DF was an alcoholic but it was never spoken about, the elephant in the room, so you end up upset and confused so answer DS's questions but you can't fix this only his DF can...... and it is possible that he might at some point in the future give up alcohol but when, if, who knows?????????

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