Avatar universal

Divorcing an addict

Hello there!

Wanted to see if anyone had similar experience. Unfortunately, I am forced to divorce my husband of 13 years, who is an alcoholic and addict (opiates). First 4 years of marriage were going somewhat ok, with both of us at school (he is 14 years older than me and was finishing up graduate studies). I have to mention that I inmigrated to US to be with him. We had out son 11 months after we got married. I got a great job offer right out of school and over the next 9 years was promoted several times and became a breadwinner, while my husbands employment was sparse and he relapsed 4 times, with each time being progressively worse. He drove intoxicated with our son in the car, stole my checkbook, doctor shopped (I was flabbergasted once I checked all the insurance claims - he is on my insurance), I had to place him into several rehabs and pay for those - to no avail. Last straw was him having an affair (which he denies - but I still did a panel for all STDs in case he is lying - imagine that) with addicted woman, going into rehab, getting kicked out of it, engaging in "ER tourism" in order to obtain drugs, getting picked up by police and being placed into locked detox unit, another rehab after that, relapsing again (drank our 12 year old's cough syrup), supposedly getting sober and going to live with his brother.

He calls pretty much every day to share all details about his recovery, wants to be on friendly terms, but only works sporadically and does not help with finances (we definitely would not starve without his help but I want him to be accountable).

I am getting full custody for now - he gets supervised visitation (up to me when), I am allowed to request alcohol and drug testing, and after a year of him being clean I will revisit parenting arrangement.

The strangest thing is that he is not even interested in supervised visitation, and stated that since I am divorcing him I should not expect any help with our son whatsoever. On the other hand he wants to call all the time and talk about himself (not being too concerned about how we are doing).

I want encourage relationship with our son, but I want him to be accountable, pay child support, and be responsible. He says that he does not have money (he works 20 hours a week tops). His mother keeps calling me and telling me how well he is doing and how good he looks.

He wants me to be appraised of his recovery at all times and is being "touchy-feely". He also refuses to talk about difficult issues and is yet to make real amends - the furthest he went was to say that "he wishes he could undo everything".

Any advice? Anyone who successfully deals with a similar situation? How do I get him off the rambling about himself and into being a responsible divorced father? Should I just give up on child support?

Thank you in advance


5 Responses
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18637713 tn?1466525290
Are you 100% sure you want a divorce? Is there any doubt in your mind? If you are not sure I would give him some time and see if once he is clean if it is possible to work thing out. On the other hand if you are sure about the divorce  get a legal judgement on the child support and just just treat your relationship has purely business
Helpful - 0
3060903 tn?1398565123
Well, fortunately i have not been in your exact position. I think you need to be up front with him and his mother or anyone who calls on his behalf. Say 'that's swell, but... repeat what you've said here,.. that you are not at all impressed with a man that does not take his responsibilities as a father seriously, using drugs or not using drugs. That you feel your son is suffering as a result of him not being sincere about his caring .. ie. not asking about your son , stating he won't comply with child support, or visitation if you divorce him. Make it clear to all that you have no intention of getting back together, Give them no hope in that regard, Tell them you are dating, and then do it. Just be careful. as you once fell for an addict, and you have to beware it doesn't happen again, lest you waste more of your very valuable time on this earth. I'm here if you need to talk. My husband and myself both got clean and sober together in '99.and God willing, forevermore.  We have faith in our abilities to make that happen. There's plenty of help available for addicts. I initiated blood testing every second day for over two years to be able to see my son unsupervised. An addict can and must be willing to "go to any lengths"
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Avatar universal
Updates - I told him that I am not interested in details of his recovery and put the foot down regarding child support.
He visited son over the holidays and started with "do you still love me and will you remarry me at some point" with examples given of wives of his alcoholic anonymous friends that remarried said friends. I told him not to bring the subject up.
He then "confessed" to his affair which I already was pretty sure about - I guess just wanted to stab me more for not wanting him back.
I told him that he has to pay child support or he won't see his son. Guess what - he found an extra job and said he will be paying once divorce is finalized. I demanded hair drug test as he was claiming he has been clean for 3 months. He mentioned that his sponsor believes he should be able just to do a drug store test - I said absolutely not and it is not his sponsors decision to make but mine.
I also was firm with ex mother-in-law and told her to stop with the stories of people getting back together as we are not getting back together. She stopped calling and tried to "cancel" my sons visit without my ex husband knowing (ex is staying with his mother). I put my foot down and said if they keep changing time on me and my son there will be no more visits. They got seriously scared and sent me apology e-mails. The visit is still on - I will drop my son off - grandma and ex sister in law will supervise.

The thing that gets me is that he has all his loving family and friends swirling around him, gets to socialize with friends while we are all alone. On the other hand - he is pretty much homeless and lost two people that loved him unconditionally.

And yes, I most certainly want a divorce :)

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Avatar universal
Have to mention - it is not his first "rodeo" - 4th relapse in 6 years. Last time he came out of it, I told him it was his last chance.
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3060903 tn?1398565123
Very good. You've done a great job dealing with this imo. He needs to talk to an Addictions Therapist about why he's using and why he's relapsing. What are his triggers etc. He needs to make a plan for long term socially interactive meetings with other clean and sober addicts. A "sponsor" in AA or NA is the person that you call when you have a "craving". He can't expect to get and stay clean if he doesn't avail himself of the help that's available, for free to him. As the steward of his son, i think you should talk to an Addictions' Therapist, as you would a lawyer, and find a way to communicate what would be in the best interests of your son's father to do , to have the tools, to stay clean and sober. Don't do it for your husband, do it for your son's father, so you can tell your son honestly, that you did everything you could to get his father help. Your son will one day thank you for it ,and who knows., your ex may tow the line, and pull it out of his...hat, and do what's right.

I think i would consider stopping the visitation all together until he has gotten in touch with an Addiction Therapist to discuss his long term sobriety and how to get there, (rehab maybe). If you believe as most do in the field of Addictions , that there needs to be sponsors and meetings, for an addict to truly come clean, before they can stay clean. At the therapist's office, they can arrange blood testing (so he can't bring in clean urine to use instead of his own, a trick that is used OFTEN which is why blood testing is the only drug testing used in  custody issues). I initiated blood testing every second day for over two years AFTER 13 months of blood testing through rehab and the year long "alumni" program that met weekly for a year after the 30 day rehab). An addict will "go to any lengths" to get and stay clean and sober for a continued relationship with their children family or loved ones. The big books talk about it.

You need to find out what is the usual things that people do in a court situation. it's tried and true and in the best interests of the family (ex wife and kids). Handling it this way will not allow for any co dependency or enabling that comes so naturally to families, and which sabotages an addicts progress.

I think it would really help you to read a bit of the AA Big Book. It will show you the way that thousands of other addicts continue to prove their continued sobriety. It will help to broaden your understanding of the program that is available to him, and allow you to also see why the 12 step program works for so many. Again, for you son's father, not for you, or for your ex. Just because your son would want his dad to have half a chance to get well.

here's a free audio version of AA's big book. if you care to listen to it. It might help him a great deal to be able to think that you still care enough about him as a human being to have read up on the program that he might use.

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