DSC 1689 MomDaugther.jpgThe holidays can be a difficult time for divorcing or divorced families. Splitting time with your children during the holidays is never easy. Alcohol related concerns compound the difficulties. The concerned parent likely worries about alcohol abuse during the holidays, and with good reason. Alcohol consumption and relapse risks increase significantly during this time of year. Using Soberlink to monitor abstinence, full-time or parenting time only, gives parents an effective solution during the holiday season.

In my experience, the use of Soberlink allows the concerned parent to breathe a sigh of relief because the system offers results in real time. Prior to Soberlink, if the concerned parent had grave concerns they would demand supervised parenting or rely on relatives to keep an eye on the children. What if those relatives become distracted by holiday festivities and drinking goes unnoticed? What if the drinking parent is skilled at alcohol concealment? Additionally, prior to Soberlink, if the concerned parent discovered alcohol consumption they could not prove it because forensic testing labs are typcially closed on holidays. With Soberlink's real-time results, a positive or missed test will alert the concerned parent immediately. This way the concerned parent can make immediate arrangements to pick up the children, or at the very least, intervene and/or document the drinking episode.

Soberlink is so effective that, when used correctly, it can eliminate the need for supervised parenting time (in cases when alcohol is the primary concern). My experience has shown that the drinking parent would prefer to blow into a breathalyzer over the expense and awkwardness that is created by supervised parenting. Doing away with supervised parenting during the holiday season can help restore harmony within the family. The children can be safe and happy while spending time with both parents.

Soberlink is versitale. With the known increased alcohol consumption and relapse risks during the holidays, Soberlink can be used deliberately to decrease the risks. For example, the frequency of required scheduled Soberlink tests can be temporarily increased during the holidays to one scheduled test every 2-3 hours. While increasing the frequency of tests is not recommended in cases with stable abstinence, high-risk cases can benefit from frequent Soberlink testing either temporarily for the holiday season or as a way to eliminate the need for supervised parenting time in ongoing cases.

Additional risks mitigators in high-risk cases are firm understanding and agreement about who will pick up the children should a drinking event occur. Further, employing a professional monitor to manage Soberlink testing can be very effective in decreasing risks and intervening when there is a drinking event.

Lastly, Soberlink provides a unique accountability structure. Accountability has been proven to help people stay on track, plain and simple. This year I surveyed the participants I monitor using Soberlink. Of those who took the survey, all stated that using Soberlink helps them to stay sober.

In the past, there hasn't been an effective or reliable method of determining whether or not drinking has occurred. I often think to myself, without the Soberlink technology, many drinking events will go unnoticed. When a drinking event goes unnoticed, the drinker thinks he/she can get away with it, and they will look for ways to get away with it again. Intervention on the first drinking event can change the course of a case.

I encourage parents and involved professionals to actively use Soberlink in alcohol-related cases. Don't wait to use it for just high-risk cases. The holidays are a great time to start using Soberlink. Soberlink, skillfully used, can be effective in a variety of alcohol-related cases. For those who work in Family Law, we are lucky to have Soberlink at our disposal.

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