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My Daughter's Father Refuses to get Help, What Should I do?

I left my husband shortly after our now 2 year old daughter was born. He is an alcoholic and refuses treatment and the help of AA. Not wanting to live as a captive to his addiction, I left.

I allow him supervised visitations with our daughter. I know that he drinks before he comes for his visit and as our daughter gets older, I don't want her to see this. I am conflicted over whether or not to allow him continued visitation.

Is it better for her to know her father or to be spared the disappointment of knowing that his alcohol will always come before her?


I don't think there is anything wrong with not wanting to expose your daughter to an intoxicated father when he visits.

That doesn't mean you should stop allowing him to visit her. But what you can do is tell him that if he wants to continue being able to visit her - he needs to do so sober, and explain to him why it's so important. He can then make the choice whether alcohol or seeing his daughter is more important to him.

That might actually help him come to the realization of the impact his continued drinking will have, and make him more open to doing something about his alcoholism.

One of the reasons alcoholics continue with their self-destructive behavior as long as they do, is the fact that they often never have to experience real consequences for their drinking and the damage it causes to themselves and those close to them. We (their loved one's) might kick up a fuss and express our disappointment in what they're doing occasionally, but that's about it, so they never have a real reason to want to quit.

So by giving your daughter's father a consequence for his drinking, i.e. no visiting his daughter, it might cause him to re-evaluate what he's doing. It may not of course, but that is something you have no control over.

As you say, how much of a father is he going to be if alcohol is his first love? I think how you handle it is also important. Tell him you want your daughter to have a relationship with her father, but only if he's sober, dependable etc. Make it clear to him what you expect from him if he wants to play an important role in her life because otherwise you fear he'll cause more damage than good.

Your responsibility is first and foremost ensuring you do what is best for your daughter - and that you raise her in the most loving and supportive environment you can. By always keeping that thought in the back of your mind, you'll more often than not make the right decision.

Take care and all the best.

Comments for My Daughter's Father Refuses to get Help, What Should I do?

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Apr 12, 2012
What if consequences still do not help
by: Anonymous

my daughters father continues to drink even though he looses his parent visitation rights has been in jail and in and out of transitional houses he even got kicked out of salvation army he has suffered being homeless yet he then gets it together gets visitation rights then blows it again how many times can this go on before it damages my 4 year old daughter

Sep 10, 2009
Speak to Him When He's Sober
by: C-P

Ideally you want to have this conversation with him before he arrives at the house next to see your daughter, otherwise it could turn ugly. So try call him and arrange a time to speak to him before he's next due to visit - maybe like straight after work when you know he's likely to be sober. Because you never want to have an important/serious discussion with an alcoholic when they've been drinking. It just doesn't work. And if doing it in person isn't feasible, do it over the phone. Then when you've got him sober and are able to have a conversation with him, explain that you want him to be a part of your daughter's life, but only if he's sober etc. and then go into the reasons discussed.
The main things are delivering the message at the right time, i.e. when he's sober - and the way you deliver the message, i.e. in a compassionate, gentle, but firm way. You don't want to be getting into arguments or be nasty about it. The truth needs to hit home, and that rarely happens when people are on the defensive or feel attacked, and that's why the way you deliver the message is also so important.
Hope that helps.
Good Luck

Sep 10, 2009
Very well thought out answer
by: Anonymous

This is a very thoughful answer, thank you! How would you suggest I approach the alcoholic when he comes to visit and I can tell he's been drinking without causing further emotional damage to my daughter?

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