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Lively, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 260
Experience:  Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, 10 years experience working with individuals, couples, & families
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I have 1.5 yo boy with my husband who I left 2 years ago. I

Resolved Question:

I have 1.5 yo boy with my husband who I left 2 years ago. I left after 8 years of marriage because he was very hard to deal with. He was not violent, but sometimes tempered, and always anxious, and the money kept disappearing fast.. You know... the reason was (I found out 3 month ago), that he had being using cocaine for the past 20 years. I did a hair test, and it came out: Benzoylecgonine 17908 pg/mg, Cocaethylene 4088 pg/mg, Cocaine 127522 pg/mg, Norcocaine 973 pg/mg. I do not know how bad of an addict he is based on the result.
I have a dilemma for myself. The man seems to be loving father. He plays with the boy, and he is not violent or neglectant. It would be easier if he were violent - I would have just taken the child away. But he is pretty loving... maybe it is due to being "maintained" all the time?.... I am afraid to get a divorce because regardless of his drug dependency he is not violent, and he would probably get visitation rights which would make things more difficult. On one hand a have the loving drug addict in denial, on the other hand I have the child who could become fatherless. I am confused... because I never even smoked in my life, not talking about drugs... From your professional (psychiatry & psychology) standpoint what dangers could I expect for my boy with such father? You do not have to answer, but if you do answer I would appreciate it a lot. Thank you.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Lively replied 8 years ago.

This is a big dilemma for you. When you talk about trying to make the decision of whether or not to stay married to your husband, I hear you talking about what the pros and cons are for your son and also what the pros and cons would be for your husband... what about for you? What are the pros and cons for you of staying with him? What about the pros and cons of filing for divorce? My guess is that being married to someone with a drug problem is very emotionally difficult for you in various ways- and that also, clearly, you love some things about him enough that you have stayed.

My point is that, if you can become clear about how best to take care of yourself and can act on that, this will be a very powerful role model for your son. That's not to say that staying or getting a divorce would then become easy, but it could help you to feel happier and stronger in yourself and your decision.

To answer your question more specifically, divorce is never easy or neat and is always painful for everyone involved (children included). Where your husband has a history of drug treatment the courts might limit his custody but chances are, if he's clean, there would be at least joint custody.

I'm glad you're seeking help online in making this decision. Would it maybe also be helpful to find a therapist who you could talk to face to face in a more ongoing kind of way? My thought is that, regardless of what you decide about staying with your husband, you could probably benefit from more support and a therapist could provide this for you.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Well, I left him before I new I was pregnant. So I made decision for myself. I did not want him. Then I found I was pregnant at the moment I left. It changed the situation. Now I am trying to find out how bad it is for the child to know and to live with cocaine addicted father as long as the father is not violent. I thought maybe you had similar clients? Thank you.
Expert:  Lively replied 8 years ago.

It is not at all healthy for a child to live with an addicted parent. Even if the parent isn't violent, people with addictions are almost always unable to be consistent in their care giving and availability to their children. Children who grow up with an addicted parent are much more likely to be depressed and to marry someone with an addiction. They are also more likely to develop an addiction of their own.

Lively and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you