My husband has admitted to himself and to me that he needs intensive alcohol treatment. Most likely this will be in the form of a residential treatment program. I'm hoping that this will take place in the next few days, but I have no idea how the process works and if it's realistic to expect that he can do it that soon. Anyway, I/we are not sure what to say to our 8-year-old son. He is very intelligent, precocious, and wise beyond his years. I'm not sure if I/we should lie to him and make up a story about where his dad is, or if we should be honest with him.
My heart just breaks at the idea of him knowing this about his father. I want to keep him innocent and naive as long as possible.
Jun 28, '16
Klone- so sorry you are going through this, but so very proud of your husband!
I don't have kids, so I'm a little awkward with them but I would imagine he has some idea that something is going on with Daddy.
Since I have no idea in what way your husband's alcoholism causes problems in your house/family- it's difficult to say exactly how to tell your son.
For example, if he would interact with your son in the evenings or make plans/promises & not remember them the next day- use that when explaining to your son that Daddy has a problem, an illness and is going to get well so things like that don't happen.
He may have heard things about friends parents who have similar problems. Kids constantly surprise me with what they know or have figured out. Sometimes what they think they know is worse than the reality. So I wouldn't recommend lying. If he hears it from someone else, it'll be worse. And he'll know you're upset & stressed about something too.
Just make sure he knows Mom & Dad love him & each other and he can ask questions if he has any.
The very best of luck to you all
Jun 28, '16
As a person raised by an alcoholic parent - the other one was his prime enabler - I can tell you that secrets and lies are incredibly damaging. I'm not qualified to say exactly how or how much you should tell your boy - maybe just give the basic info and then answer his questions. If there's a local Al-Anon chapter, they can help a lot. (Al-Anon is a self-help support group for friends and loved ones of alcoholics.)
Jun 30, '16
I've been in your shoes and know how painful this process can be. However, it is wonderful that your husband is seeking help. My kids knew what was going on. I think it is fine to tell your son that his dad is ill and is going someplace that can help him get better. You can then choose to give him as much detail as he asks for and can understand. I would also suggest Al-Anon or private counseling for you. This disease affects the whole family and you need support as much as your husband does.
I'm sending all of you love and hugs.
Jul 1, '16
klone, I'm sorry your family is facing such a challenge.
I hope by now he is in treatment, and that you and your son have tons or support.
There is no shame with this. None. I echo what our friends have said above, and you know I always wish you the best. I have no answers, but if you ever want to PM I'm here.
Please keep us posted.