Alcoholic & Suicidal Mother wants access to Our Son

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  • #11197 Report

    1965snj
    Participant

    Hello

    I have full custody of my 7 year old little boy as his Mother is an alcoholic. In December last year, his Mother was caught drink driving; in January she was banned for 2 years (having made a star appearance in the Lancashire Post) and in Feb she attempted suicide. Before these events, and as a result of the Court Oder, she has had to pass a breathalyser test before she saw our son.

    She now wants access again, 3 months after the attempted suicide.

    I have contacted all kinds of organisations such as Inspire to ask for advice but I cannot seem to find anyone who can give me advice relating to whether I should allow her access or not ? Anybody any thoughts on the matter ?

    Thank you, Simon (Clitheroe area)

    #11203 Report

    AJ
    Participant

    Hi

    Sorry to hear that you are in this situation, it sounds tough. What was the court order in relation to? Was it part of her sentence for drink driving or part of a family court process? In short, if you haven’t had contact yet with carcass, it may be worth contacting them now.

    If she is having treatment for her alcoholism and mental health issues and is showing progress, you can’t really withhold access entirely but I would suggest that it needs to be with a third party there as well (grandparents, aunts/uncles, or at a contact centre perhaps) If she’s still drinking and / or exhibiting suicidal tendencies then I would suggest you withhold contact until she can show she is doing something to help herself. But document everything including your justification. Under ‘normal’ circumstances you’d write up a parenting plan with the help of a mediator but I think that mediation is probably a waste of time and money if she is likely to turn up drunk and I think you’d be justified in bypassing mediation and going straight to cafcass for advice.

    #11204 Report

    AJ
    Participant

    Carcass?!! Flipping autocorrect. I mean Cafcass obviously!.

    #11217 Report

    1965snj
    Participant

    AJ

    Thank you for your comments and your time.

    Last March she took me to Court for more access to our son having moved out of our family house on her own. Cafcass were involved and the outcome of the first hearing was that she had to do a Hair Strand Test to prove that she did not have an alcohol issue (which she claimed despite 6 months at AA). The Test result verdict was “Chronic Excessive Alcohol Consumption” and at the second hearing, the District Judge awarded full custody and control to me. The terms of the Court Order also included an initial period of access via a contact centre, progressing to full access with a chaperone and again in time, access on the basis that she passed a breath test before she saw our son and at 8:00pm if he was staying overnight. This was not an entirely smooth journey and I had to ring the Police on a number of occasions when she refused to do a breath test. One one occasion she claimed that he Breathalyser was broken, so I rocked up at her house with my own, which she didn’t know I had. She refused to do a test and so I had to take my (somewhat confused) son away.

    She is still in denial that she has an alcohol issue and is not having professional help. Her Mother has had a nervous breakdown and her two older daughters (both mid- 20’s) have all but disowned her. Hence your comment about a Chaperone is spot on but unlikely to happen.

    The issue is, do I allow access for a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon with a breath test before and after and hope that encourages her to get better, or do I give it a blanket “no access until you can prove you are getting help” ? I know the “no access…” is the obvious answer but my son keeps asking me why he can’t see his Mother, and there’s only so many times you can say “Mummy’s poorly at the moment !

    God Knows

    #11219 Report

    AJ
    Participant

    Hiya

    I think the obvious answer is the one that you have to go with. No access until she has proven that she is seeking help. And you’ll have to accept that that she may never do that.

    The situation is confusing your son and she has had ample opportunities to start sorting herself out and by the sounds of it, has repeatedly tried to defy the court order. Nothing you, the court and, by the sounds of it, the rest of her family, have done has so far persuaded her to seek help so I doubt that the occasional couple of hours with your son will change that.

    Sorry to sound harsh but she is bringing her chaos into your son’s life and you need to harden your heart a little and keep him away from that. Unless you are ordered by a court to let her see him, keep him away for now. Get support for your son (school may be able to help with some counselling) and, in my opinion, you need to be honest with him. You don’t need to say that mummy’s a raging alcoholic and is refusing to do anything about it but maybe something along the lines of  mummy being very poorly and that it’s not safe for him to be with her as she does some very silly things when she’s ill. You need to say that you don’t know if she’ll get better but IF she does then you’ll make sure he can see her.

    Not sure if that helps any? I have some experience of alcoholics and other addicts and have limited patience because of the destruction that their behaviour can bring to their families.

    #11274 Report

    1965snj
    Participant

    Dear AJ and Anonymous

    I have had a number of communications with the Mother since your messages and I have tried to hold out an “Olive Branch”. These communications started well but ended up with texts from her starting “Who do you think you are…”; “How dare you control when I see my son…..”; You’re nothing but an Evil, controlling, Nasty…..” etc, Im sure get a feel for it. So I will be taking your advice and requiring that she proves that she is getting professional help before she sees her son again on any terms. Despite the fact that I have a full time job; ageing parents; am trying to hold together a relationship; and am running the life of a 7 yr old, he is a gem of a child and deserves everything I have got and to be shielded from The Mother.

    I want to thank you both for your positive input which has helped re-inforce how I feel.

    Thank you.

    #11863 Report

    pinnelly
    Participant

    Hi 1965 snj

    I have been separated from my alcoholic ex parter for 6 years. I left him w hen I  was pregnant. I have spent the last 6 years struggling with hi m letting my daughter down and her subsequent upset and this year it all came to a head when he once again let her down and didn’t come for another visit (which was the first one in over 2 years). She was devastated! In desperation I contacted my local Addaction group who also have a family and friends support facility. They have been absolutely fantastic and helped me with advice surrounding access and what effects this would all have on my child. I have also met other family members of addicts which has been a real support. I found their number on line and had an initial meeting very quickly. It is the best thing I have ever done (they also suggested this site to me!). It may be worth getting in touch with your closest group with friends and family support. If your most local group doesn’t have this support itself they may be able to point you to somewhere that does.

    Hope this is of some help to you.

    #11864 Report

    pinnelly
    Participant

    Sorry I didn’t explain, Addaction are a group of people who provide recovery support for Addicts and their family and friends. This isn’t based on a twelve step programme like A A. Most main county towns and cities have an Addaction unit.

     

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