I am sitting on the couch, curled up next to my husband

Can you believe how fast it’s gone by? I ask him.

He smiles, nods his head.

Do you remember, when we sat here, exactly 5 years ago today? I ask him.

His gaze focuses on something across the room. Sadness flickers in his eyes. He bites his bottom lip.

He remembers.

We avoid the details. They are still painful for him, in a way that I must respect.

So we sit here in the silence for a bit.

But we remember.

What was.

What could have been.

What is.

I sit here, next to my husband, my best friend, my lover, my life.


I love this man.

This man who was brave enough to take my kids away if I didn’t stop.

This man who was strong enough to tell me that if I wasn’t done, he was.

This man who didn’t want to give up on me, but refused to give up on his family.

I mean, I hated him for it then, or at least I thought I did, as I swayed back and forth, trying to focus on his face,

the mug of Merlot I had just poured myself already empty.

I remember thinking at the time, as he promised to leave if I didn’t get better

You’re such a coward

But the truth is

that night

he was the bravest man I’ve ever known

And now, as we sit here together, our hands intertwined, I allow myself to realize for the 4,567th time

just how f-ing close I came to losing it all

I can’t tell you why it finally mattered


why I finally believed him

but it did

and I did

and though it sucked in the very begininng,

it sure as hell doesn’t suck anymore

You will not find bottles in the bottom of my hampers

or behind the kids’ favorite snacks

You will not find a woman who cannot bear to look at her own reflection

who cowars beneath the weight of the lies, the guilt, the humiliation

She no longer dwells here, this woman

In her place, is a woman who wears her scars proudly, in case they appear familiar to a stranger

a woman who is grateful,

a woman who is free

a woman who is sober and so far from perfect it’s not even funny

But this woman

I would want to be her friend, you know?

If I met her in the dairy aisle of the grocery store

or at a fancy luncheon

and really, that’s all that matters at the end of the day, right?

5 days into my sobriety

I remember being curled up in the fetal position

sobbing as I wondered how I would ever have fun again

Now, 5 years later

as I sit here in the quiet

next to this brave beautiful man

and our boys are in the next room asleep

and the dishes are stacked in the sink

and the bills need to be paid

and I may not make it to the gas station in the morning because my car is on empty

and no one liked the new recipe I made for dinner

and the IRS sent us an official looking envelope that I’m still too afraid to open

I am, without question

having the time of my life

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24 Replies to “5”

  1. Congratulations! I am so happy for you and your family. Your friend, Pauline, recommend us to read your post. Life is hard. I’m glad you’re living it sober. Keep on keeping on. I apply this message to myself in struggles that I face. We all must step back and see the bigger picture. It’s gonna be worth it. I believe it.

  2. I am always eager to see what “Jo” has to say, and never disappointed. Today I just feel so damned proud of you–so touched by your simultaneous ability to rise above your addiction and also to never forget it. You write with wisdom, clarity, beauty and humility.

    And what a gift to have a man who not only loves you deeply, but who also has the kind of character it takes to be the husband and father his family needs.

  3. Bravo!!! Having been on your husbands side and having to have the same conversation, I know how hard it was for him, but I also know how hard it is to get clean and stay clean and that is something to be very very proud of .
    Now as a mother of a child in recovery from drug addiction, it always comes down to one thing. Grace. Grace and love.

    All of you who battle addictions, know this. You are special, loved, and wanted.

  4. Breathtaking. Courageous. Important.
    This. You. The doing of this thing for you and your people. My Sister is Glennon. She did this for herself and for us and it is the most important most miraculous thing that ever happened. All of your boys/man must feel the same.
    The others will know you by your scars and that will make all the difference.
    This. You.
    Thank you.

  5. Came over from Momastery. Nice to find another Monkee! Love your writing. I can hear the strength of your voice. Keep up the good work.

  6. So Im just hanging out at your blog tonight, Jo. Just holding space. Just reading the comments, praying its a good night for you. Of course Sister commented. Of course. Love you sister, love you Jo. Glennon

  7. I want to be your friend… You are brave and beautiful! My brother struggles and your post give me hope. Love.

  8. Oh Erica. I am happy to be your friend. And I will keep your brother – and you – in my heart and prayers.

  9. Glennon – I am overwhelmed by your generosity in sharing my work with your readers. I am humbled beyond belief. Thank you so much. Mostly though, I am so grateful that you’ve taken the time to stop by and come into my life. There’s a very special lady that forwarded my post to you and I am indebted to her as well. Yes. Absolutely.

    Love you too.

  10. Amanda
    thanks to my sobriety, I still have my little sister in my life. There was a time when I could not look her in the eyes, when I avoided her at all costs because she could always tell when I was drinking, even after just one beer (and so seldom was it just one anything). I put her through so much pain and yet she still stuck by me, forgave me, cheered me on, gave me another chance at us. I am closer to her now than I ever was before, and it started with putting down the booze. Thank you for stopping by, for reading, for commenting, for sharing your thoughts. I am humbled tonight.

  11. Oh Sandra! Thank you so much. Your family is so lucky to have you to support and love them. How blessed are they!

  12. What a beautiful story.
    I am so happy for you.
    That you sober for five years.
    That you have a wonderful, strong and brave husband.
    That you are happy.
    Carry on, sister.

  13. Beautifully, courageously written. Came over here from Momastery and am so glad I did. Keep on keeping on! You are worthy of this man, these boys and a wonderful life. You are WORTHY.

  14. Loved this…”In her place, is a woman who wears her scars proudly, in case they appear familiar to a stranger”

    There is a woman out there desperate to see her scar reflected in another person. To see that she is not alone. We should wear them proudly. Thank you for that reminder today.

    🙂 Jen

  15. I’m so sorry you and your family had to go through that low to get to where you are now. What a journey, though! You have done something incredibly difficult and have much to be proud of. Your story made me tear up and get chills.

  16. This made me cry. In a good way. It reminds me of how far I have come. How far I fell. And my amazing husband who also laid down the law, but stood by my side as I tried to get my life back. God Bless You and I am so happy to have found your blog. You write beautifully.

  17. Thank you, Martha. Glennon and Kelle are both amazing. I airceppate your comment, and I love what you say that we cannot make our children’s hearts do what we desire, but we are seed planters, right? Hoping and praying that our words and love will find soil to bloom at the right time.

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