Maintaining a healthy mind and safe environment for you and your child is always the top priority, but can be particularly difficult when dealing with an ex who abuses alcohol and the often tumultuous child custody process that comes with that.
There are some important and valuable steps you can take to ensure peace of mind and most importantly, safety, for you and your family.
The safety of the child should always come first. Addiction problems may render a parent unfit to care for a child and often times alcohol monitoring is implemented to ensure a custodial parent or parent who has parenting time is working towards their recovery. Whatever the case is, your children and their well-being will always be the greatest importance.
If you’re in the process of trying to separate from a spouse who abuses alcohol keep these tips in mind:
1. Find Help for your Child
Now your child is not only dealing with parents separating, but also a parent struggling with alcoholism. No matter the age this will weigh heavy on any child. Seek age appropriate therapists or counseling for your child. Giving them the opportunity to speak freely and without judgment or fear of punishment is a gift and will help them heal. Even if your child seems to be doing well with good behavior and grades, they may be suffering silently.
2. Seek Support
While you may have become accustomed to doing everything by yourself, you don’t have to. Once you separate from your ex, you must work on building a community of support. There’s no reason to do it alone. There’s no shame in reaching out to friends and family. Also, use your resources, whether it’s a counselor, social worker, support group, or even a co-worker. Finding your allies and growing that support network will be essential to moving on and succeeding.
3. Maintain Routine
Separation is already difficult and confusing for children, but the added pain of a parent suffering from addiction can be a lot to process and maybe even too much to comprehend. Make sure that you are keeping your children involved in extracurricular activities and establishing routines like Wednesday night pizza or going to the park every Sunday morning. These routines will be a sense of relief for you and your children.
4. Peace of Mind
In the case that you and your spouse are separated, but you both still have parenting time, utilize resources like the Soberlink system to ensure your child is in a safe environment when they visit their other parent. Soberlink is a remote breathalyzer with facial recognition that will wirelessly send test results to anyone in real time. If you think your ex is ready to start rebuilding their relationship with your children, using Soberlink can be the extra safeguard you need to keep your peace of mind during these visits.
Separation is never easy, especially when you add addiction to the mix, but the best thing you can do is to protect you and your children and ensure that you have a safe and healthy environment to thrive in.
About the Author
Caroline Kirby is a guest writer.