Maddox & Gerock


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3 tips for addict parents going through a divorce

No one goes through life planning on developing an addiction, and yet it happens to millions each year. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that in 2013, nearly 7 percent of Americans had an alcohol dependency, and marijuana abuse was five times higher than cocaine addiction. Furthermore, these numbers only reflect substance abuse, not other forms of addiction, such as gambling.

Whether or not a married addict thinks life has spun out of control, the spouse likely feels it has, and divorce commonly follows. Addicts are still parents with rights, however. If you find yourself facing divorce with children, know these three tips and contact a family law attorney experienced with your situation.

1. Admit your addiction

If you have hit rock bottom, it is usually easier to admit you have a problem and need professional help. If your life still is going pleasantly for you, you may deny your addiction. In the end, it will always catch up to you. If you do not lose your children in the divorce, you may in the future. It is better to face the issue now than to wait until things get out of hand and the court orders full custody to your ex.

2. Begin real recovery

Many addicts engage in a practice called "white-knuckling," meaning they are refraining from engaging in the addictive behavior (sobriety) but not truly turning their lives around. Real recovery involves the following:

  • Professional counseling
  • A reliable support system
  • Accountability
  • Avoidance of triggers
  • Medical treatment if applicable

These actions usually lead to lasting change. White-knuckling gives the appearance of sobriety but ends back in addiction and its consequences, including the potential loss of your children. You need to show the judge you are serious about recovery.

3. Establish a safe environment

Your spouse may petition for full custody by trying to show that the children are unsafe with you. You can defend against this tactic by ensuring you eliminate all risk of danger from your household and lifestyle, such as keeping medications in safe places, being careful whom you choose to allow to come over and always remaining sober when the kids are around.

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Maddox & Gerock, P.C.
8111 Gatehouse Road
Suite 410
Falls Church, VA 22042
Phone: 703-883-8035
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