If you are a parent who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, you surely realize that you cannot be the best parent possible when you are actively using drugs or alcohol. Still, the idea of completing a rehab program is terrifying to you, not the least because someone else will need to step in and care for your children.
Addicted parents often feel that they are between a rock and a hard place when it comes to getting sober. On the one hand, if they don’t face up to their addiction, they may be able to hide their drug usage and retain custody. But if they do the right thing and enter a rehab program, that means surrendering custody of the children so that they may be cared for adequately while they seek treatment.
Addiction leads to loss of custody
The problem is exacerbated because once custody is surrendered, it can be challenging to regain it. One study found that parental drug and alcohol abuse was the number one reason that children were taken from their parents because their present home environment was no longer safe for them.
If you are a parent who is struggling with substance abuse, the clock is ticking. Sooner or later, the bottom will drop out of your world. It might be an arrest on drug charges or an incident where you face charges of neglect of your children. Then, your secret will be out and your kids will be whisked away from you. What can you do?
Be proactive about seeking treatment
Talk to an Indianapolis family law attorney about your situation. Be completely frank about your addiction issues and listen carefully to the options that you have. It is likely that if you self-admit to a detox and treatment program, the court will view that favorably rather than being court-ordered to attend.You will also need to make some lifestyle changes, e.g., quit hanging around with people who use drugs and quit going to places where you used to use. In some cases, that could mean cutting ties with close family members who are substance abusers. Instead, develop supportive relationships with people who are committed to living a sober lifestyle.
Turn your life around and pursue custody
Once you have remained sober for a considerable amount of time (six months to a year), your family law attorney can petition the court for custody of the children to be returned to you. In most cases, reunification with the parent is the primary goal. With your newfound commitment to living a sober lifestyle, it can become your goal as well.