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Do I warn my ex-DH his drinking is upsetting our DD in visits?

(21 Posts)
siucra Mon 05-Oct-20 04:03:21

My DD (12) is increasingly reluctant to go and stay with her Dad. He’s an alcoholic - functioning, living with new partner, lying about it and hiding it from everyone. Except my DD knows. On Saturday night he was drinking gin and tonic and told her it was sparkling water. She pretended to choke but he wouldn’t give her his water. He turns the tap on to hide the sound of a can opening. I know how serious his drinking is. I know how much he lies about it. I’ve told my daughter that it’s not her responsibility, that she can call me and leave him if she’s unhappy and he’s drunk. I’m trying to ensure that she doesn’t have the pressure of trying to change him. I’ve spent years trying to fix him and obviously gave up. But do I do it for her or just support her and try an ensure she is not emotionally entangled in his drinking? Thank you!

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Inthesameboatatmo Mon 05-Oct-20 04:47:17

If she's not comfortable enough with it she shouldn't go .
I'm pretty sure its age 12 when they can make the decision to see a parent or not , I definitely would not put any of my children in that position. Can he see her outside of his house that might be better

RepeatSwan Mon 05-Oct-20 05:02:14

She shouldn't be going by the sound of it, if you agree he will be drunk. She could maintain contact in other ways, meet him outside the home etc.

Do you have a voluntary arrangement or one laid down by the courts?

SD1978 Mon 05-Oct-20 05:28:23

What is it that's changed, and why is she more uncomfortable now? M assuming her dad has been this way for a long time, and as you said is functioning, so not passed out on the couch from what you're saying. Ultimately, she is getting to ma age she can't be forced to go. Does she want to cease contact?

siucra Mon 05-Oct-20 07:14:17

Thank you all for responding. It’s a separation agreement but he often cancels because of ‘work’. I am not sure of how functional he is because I no longer see him but I just want to help her. My worry is that she will become involved- he has told he’s giving up and then obviously doesn’t. I can’t try and change the official contact at the moment but I can encourage her to come home to me when she needs to or not try and persuade to see him if she’s doesn’t want to. I just didn’t know if I should send him a warning text as in this is what you are risking if you carry on drinking etc. or to just leave it. I’ve been there with him and he is aggressive and nasty with me.

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Sssloou Mon 05-Oct-20 07:25:41

You know he will not change or adapt his behaviours. He never has. So I am surprised that you think a text would have any impact?

Your DD needs to know this as well and proactively be educated and supported around addiction to minimise the damage he has already done. Have you engaged with Al Anon? She might find Al Ateen helpful - it’s all online. Get this all out in the open - she should not be feeling shame or responsibility - sunlight is the best disinfectant.

Personally I would be encouraging her not to stand on ceremony and be in the company of a drunk adult. Are there times in the day where he is not pissed - could she just see him mornings or lunchtimes etc rather than staying over?

Sssloou Mon 05-Oct-20 07:27:05

Sorry missed that last bit - he will be aggressive and nasty with your DD if he isn’t already

AFitOfTheVapours Mon 05-Oct-20 07:37:22

Oh I feel for you and your DD OP. First off, you can try talking to your ex but, as you will well know, there is very little point. You are right that it’s your DD who needs the help here.

Were you forced by the court to let her have unsupervised and over night contact? It is fairly easy for solicitors/courts to spring testing on someone these days that will prove the heavy drinking. Can you revisit that part of the separation agreement with a solicitor (who’s clued up about alcoholism)? It doesn’t seem quite right. At twelve, she still needs parenting attentively and your ex can’t do that.

I think it’s worth getting every bit of professional help you can to help your DD through this. Is there a school counsellor? Have you heard of Alateen (for children of alcoholics)? And also Nacoa? They will be able to help her avoid taking on responsibility for fixing him and help her with better understanding etc.

Good luck!

Everywherethatmarywent Mon 05-Oct-20 07:41:46

This is not a issue a child should have to be managing.

It’s an adult issue. You have you have to deal with it.

‘She doesn’t want to come anymore because of your drinking’

siucra Mon 05-Oct-20 07:56:54

Thank you again. I think we are nearing the point where she won’t want to go. At the moment she doesn’t want to hurt him. It’s such a shame for her that he couldn’t do it for her. She deserves so much better.

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AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 05-Oct-20 08:49:09

You are both still very much caught up in both him and his inherent drinking. You both need to get off that merry go around sharpish.

I would not be sending her to him under any circumstances. She needs to realise, as do you, that his primary relationship is with drink and its always been the case. Your mistake here was to actually think that you were able to fix him at all. As you have all too clearly seen you cannot and your dd should not be ever put in such a role either. Do you and for that matter she still feel some sense of responsibility for him?. You are probably codependent and if you are not careful your DD will become codependent as well which is a state no good for her either.

She needs support too; I would encourage her to contact Al-ateen as their service for young people with an alcoholic parent. You need to go to Al-anon meetings too particularly if you do not already do this.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 05-Oct-20 08:53:01

Alcoholism is not called the family disease for nothing and both your DD and you need support. You're still both very much caught up in his alcoholism.

Only he can decide whether he wants to continue to drink or not and this man shows no sign of wanting to stop. Requesting someone else to give up drinking as perhaps you did is about as effective as peeing in the ocean. There are no guarantees when it comes to alcoholism; he could well go onto lose everything and everyone around him and still choose to drink afterwards.

siucra Mon 05-Oct-20 08:57:19

Thank you. I am desperate to get off the merry go round and desperate that my DD doesn’t get on it. I think that my contacting him is still being involved- codependent- therefore I won’t. I will focus instead and keeping my lovely DD safe and support her in staying emotionally distant from his drinking.

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HopeClearwater Mon 05-Oct-20 13:35:38

Please listen to Attila, she knows what she’s talking about.
You could also join the Facebook group for Nacoa and see just how much damage growing up while being exposed to alcoholism can do. I mean this kindly - it’s imperative that you take your DD out of this situation.

siucra Mon 05-Oct-20 14:50:05

Thank you. I appreciate your firm words. xxx

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Lozzerbmc Mon 05-Oct-20 14:59:20

I agree she shouldnt go to his home but what if he took her out for breakfast on a wknd morning? Could that work given contact needs to be outside the home? Assuming he wouldnt drink & drive..?

Tiddleypops Mon 05-Oct-20 15:51:08

I really feel for you OP. Dealing with alcoholics is so difficult.

siucra Mon 05-Oct-20 19:28:33

Thank you Tiddleypops. It nearly destroyed me while married to him. We’re both doing so much better without him, but it’s the next phase - these crucial tween/ teen years - that I need to focus on.

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Tiddleypops Mon 05-Oct-20 20:56:15

It's so good to hear that you are both doing so much better. You did the best thing for your DD divorcing him.
I have just divorced an alcoholic also, we have a young DS and although I know I've done absolutely the right thing, I'm very fearful about what is to come.

Have you been to Al-anon? My Al-anon friends have really supported me and helped me detach all the way through.

Devlesko Mon 05-Oct-20 20:59:49

He's incapable of parenting whilst drunk, I'd not be sending mine and informing SS.

siucra Mon 05-Oct-20 21:50:33

Thank you all. And lots of love and empathy to you Tiddly. And to anyone else who survives a relationship like that. xxx flowers

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