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.
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 could have been.
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
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
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