In this blog, I talk more about the legal problems you will likely encounter if you are separating from your spouse, you have children, and you are in the throes of an addiction.
Let’s be honest: if are struggling with a serious addiction, can you be certain you can be entirely trusted if the children are left solely in your care? If you answered “yes, I can be trusted", you might be in 'denial' mode –a very common defense mechanism used by addicts to hide their addiction from themselves and others. If your estranged spouse were asked the same question, the response would most likely be, "No way!" And If a court was asked this question, the judge would also likely say ‘No’, particularly since Courts like to err on the side of caution when dealing with children.
When faced with a parent who is abusing a substance--whether it be alcohol or another drug--a Court will probably order 'supervised access' until your spouse or the Court (or both) are reassured that you have acknowledged your problem and have sought treatment.
There are of course 12-step recovery programs such as AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and NA (Narcotics Anonymous). These 12-step programs are not everybody's cup of tea. Many get turned off, for example, by the focus on spirituality. This being said, however, many find comfort through the camaraderie found at these meetings. One meets many others suffering from the same affliction--people who can relate, people who can understand what you are going through.
For those adamantly opposed to 12-step programs, there are many other resources and options available out there. Below I have included a comprehensive list of resources in or around the Ottawa area.
I would suggest that the best way to prove to your spouse and the courts your sincerity to recover is to enroll in a treatment program. I would make special mention of a treatment program close by in Merrickville: Newgate 180. They can be reached at 1-888-524-8333
Addiction counsellors can also be of great assistance in helping one get back on the right track, but they are few and far between in Ottawa. Two well respected addictions counsellors are Catherine MacDonald (613-868-9351) and Jeff Gullick 613-796-8411.
Be forewarned, treatment centers don’t come cheap. You can find treatment centers that are partially subsidized but the waiting period for a subsidized spot could take months—yet another example of inadequate government funding. :By the time a spot becomes available, you could have already died from your disease.
But I digress.
Above all, be patient with yourself . As I said in my previous blog on addiction, your problem did not develop overnight, and the road to recovery takes time and is not always easy. The alternative, however, is living a nightmarish existence enslaved to a substance==a rapacious creditor who will leave you bereft of your family, your dignity, your money, your principles, your health and ultimately your life. Recovery is tough, but it is worth the fight.