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Effects of drug addiction on children

Marie wrote:

My children's father is addicted to drugs. He went through a rehab but relapsed after a year. I won full custody with no visitation.

However, after a couple months, he called and swore he was cured. I let the girls visit him, with some misgivings, and now he has let them down again. I know it's my fault, but I can't seem to stop hoping my children will get their father back.

How do I stop the hurt I caused them when I allowed some visitation? How do I help them go through life with a drug addicted father and all the baggage they've got?

I don't want them to blame themselves for the choices he's made. My girls and I are very close, and I don't want them to mistrust anyone because of their father and my mistake in giving him one chance too many. How do they go on with as little hurt as possible? I can't let go of the anger I feel towards a person who would do that to their own kids.

Dear Marie

You must separate in your mind the hurt you feel, and the hurt the girls (may) feel. To some extent, your guilt at raising their hopes is affecting your judgement, I suspect.

Children are remarkably resiliat, especially when they feel secure ... you say you are a close family, then I doubt there is a lot to worry about, for them.

You have full custody, but they still have a father; you need to be honest with them; explain that their father loves them, but he 'is not himself' because of the drugs. He may be one day; but he may not. Encourage them to remember the good days, but be clear that they are in the past.

And be vigilant of your own feelings; Moving on is your problem, not the children's. It is you who will dare to hope, while they will accept the truth from you.

If you are finding it hard, you might consider counselling or a support group. You need to get your life back!


Please Note: I am NOT a physician, and any 'health advice' should NOT be taken to be "Medical Advice" - because it is not - my aim is to give you a few possibilities to be thinking about, and some general 'common sense' advice - if my advice says see a doctor, then see a doctor!

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