Connecting the dots: Alcohol, Drugs, Divorce, Part II
Part II: Identifying the Warning Signs
In Part I, we looked at a marriage that dissolved as a result of the wife’s failure to deal with her drug and alcohol addiction. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence created a list of questions to help people determine if they have symptoms of alcoholism. Many of these questions apply to drug addiction as well. Can you relate to these questions? Do they relate to you or your spouse? If you are already divorced and have joint custody with a spouse who you suspect may have a drug or alcohol problem, these questions may have extra significance. (If you suspect that you have an alcohol or drug problem, answer these questions about your own behavior.)
1) Does your spouse/ex occasionally drink heavily after a disappointment or a quarrel?
2) Does your spouse/ex ever wake up the morning after and discover he/she can’t remember the night before?
3) Does your spouse/ex feel uncomfortable if they are at an event and alcohol is not available?
4) Does your spouse/ex feel guilty about their drinking?
5) Does your spouse/ex become irritated when family or friends discuss their drinking?
6) Does your spouse/ex often regret things they did when drinking?
7) Has your spouse/ex ever tried to control their drinking by changing jobs or moving to a new location?
8) Does your spouse/ex avoid family or close friends while drinking?
9) Does your spouse/ex sometimes wake up with the “shakes” and “feels better” after a little drink?
10) After periods of drinking, does your spouse/ex ever see things that aren’t there?
If you suspect that you might after an addiction to drugs or alcohol, there are many resources for help. You can contact Alcoholics Anonymous at www.alcoholics-anonymous.org or Narcotics Anonymous at www.na.org. Another option is to enter into a treatment facility for drug and/or alcohol abuse.
If you are married to an abuser or sharing custody with an abuser, you can contact Al-Anon at 1-888-4-AL-ANON (888-425-2666) and www.al-anon.org. And if you suspect that a former spouse has a problem, contact a family law attorney if they have unsupervised visitation with your children. It is dangerous for children to be alone with a parent who has a drug or alcohol problem.
Alcohol and drug abuse are a big problem in both marriages and divorces where children are concerned. But recognizing the problem is the first step in solving it.
- By Wendy Jaffe, ESQ.