Breathalyser use before child contact

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  • #63035 Report


    Could I ask fore any advice from anybody who has been in a similar situation?

    Myself and my wife are separated.  Our two children live with me as she is an alcoholic.  There is a court order and an agreement with social services that she uses a breathalyser before and after contact with our youngest.

    She is now insisting that I also take a breathalyser test before her and she is unhappy that the device remains with me (I bought the device).

    There has to be a cool down period between tests so if I do a test, it delays the handover and I can’t see how my reading would effect whether she takes a test (I could have a beer as I’m allowed- she isn’t as per court order)

    She has a long history of controlling behaviour and I’m concerned that she is trying to make the process so complicated any she will have excuses for not doing a test.  – she refused recently when we have a very strong suspicion that she is drinking.

    If anyone has been in this situation could you tell me how the process of getting them to use the device worked for them.

    Thank you

    #63054 Report


    My ex is an alcoholic too, she couldn’t take the blame for anything and constantly tried to claim I had a drink problem because I hadn’t had a drink in over 10 years, refusing to accept they have a problem is all part of the illness I’m afraid. If the court order states that she is the one who must take the test then stick to your guns because to back down won’t help.

    A breathalyser was never part of our court order, it might have helped if it was,  so I can only state that sticking to the agreement is your best protection should you have to go back to court as I did. My ex broke every agreement we made and now hasn’t seen any of our children in over 6 years.

    Controlling behaviour is also quite common with alcoholics, they’ve lost control of much of their lives and so try to exert control where they can, looking back with a clear head there were so many minor examples of it that I didn’t spot at the time but show a clear pattern in hindsight.

    Social Services were absolutely useless in our case, to the point where their governing body had to get involved and pull them apart over the mess they’d made, but if you have a good social worker you can trust then they may eventually push to exclude your ex completely, it’s not an easy decision but the children’s welfare must come first. If it helps to give you some hope my eldest is now top of his class at University, my middle child just passed 10 GCSEs and their sister is a thriving 12 year old

    #63070 Report


    Thanks, not getting a lot of support from the social worker, apart from the stock phrase that ‘I must use my parental responsibility to ensure there safely’.

    She is trying her best to invent a situation where she doesn’t have to do what she has agreed to and is required to do.

    She now has refused her contact because I wouldn’t also use the breathalyser.  Unfortunately there is a young child that I have to explain the situation to in a way that they can understand and without me painting her in a bad way.

    #63072 Report


    Social Services are, generally speaking, crap, and if they can pass the buck onto you they will which is exactly what they’re doing there.

    That is, sadly, standard practice for an alcoholic who isn’t facing up to their problem, I always did my best to explain that Mummy wasn’t well and didn’t mean to be horrible, in the end the oldest two have given up on her completely and my youngest can’t even remember what she looks like, I’m afraid that unless your ex faces up to her problem you’re most likely headed down the same route.

    My ex was/is self medicating because of other mental health issues, apparently that’s quite common amongst female alcoholics and the recovery rate is not good unless they can get help dealing with the cause of their original problem, social services don’t see that as being their problem and are all too willing to consign these people to the dustbin because once they’re out of the picture and you’re considered a safe option they can cross you off their list, we were abandoned quite literally the day after the court gave me custody.

    I’d also avoid the AA family groups for those affected by a loved one’s drinking, nothing but a prayer meeting in my experience and no practical support whatsoever

    #63142 Report


    Hi Concerned101, Please look out for a private message from me with some ideas for where you can get advice on this. Best wishes.

    #63285 Report


    Thank you

    #63296 Report


    Sorry I can’t help you much on the parental side of things, however I can offer my personal experience as a child who also had an alcoholic mother. My situation was slightly different as she was very functioning in her addiction, we were always well looked after, clothed, fed etc however we had many traumatic experiences with her being drunk, which led to her hitting really bad spell, resulting in us moving in with my dad for a a number of years. Initially she wanted no contact with us (my older brother and I, both high school age) which was heart breaking and hard to accept. I can remember many arguments between her and my dad about visits, family members would get involved but she would never listen and we would end up more upset by her actions. Hearing people talk about her and her actions was awful, and I hated it, so would avoid mentioning her name at all costs, like nothing had happened. However as time went on we realised we had to leave her to make her own choices and the time apart helped us greatly. After a year she reached out, still not sober however we started to build a relationship where we could talk or visit from time to time. It was obvious she was fighting many of her own personal demons and drinking was her way out. Fast forward many years later, she is much better, still having the odd drink, however we have the best relationship ever. I never imagined saying this when i was younger but she truly is my best friend, she will do anything for me, constantly offering and helping, even though she isn’t in great health herself. These experiences have helped me understand you can’t force people to act or think the way you want them to, however you can always do your best to encourage and support them where possible. I know her behaviour is infuriating for you, but all you need to do is focus on being there for your little one, showing them they are loved and safe with you. When her mum is ready, they can build that relationship back up. I know it’s not ideal, but things will get better. Try stay strong and give it time. X

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