Gifts for Mom, Grandparents, Besties and YOU🎄 ➔

Right now you are curled up behind me like a cuddly question mark. Your body heat is more than enough to suppress the slight chill in the air.

Just a few memories ago, the bed was cold with me lying alone in it.

You were out somewhere drinking. Or maybe you were just drunk in the next room.

Either way, I was alone.

Right now the oven timer is going off. It’s late but I have Amish bread to pull out of the oven. I sidle away from you out of bed and into the dimly lit kitchen. The whole house seeps cinnamon and sugar perfume.

You are sleepy-eyed and right behind me, asking, “What can I do to help?”

We weave in and out of each other, shaking loaves loose from pans, pouring fresh dough back into the hot pans, and sprinkling with cinnamon before putting those into the oven for another hour.

Years ago, you would be passed out, practically comatose, on the worn leather couch where wild animals and Category 5 hurricanes couldn’t shock you out of your slumber.

RELATED: Which step are you on? (Why I Left Drinking Behind)

Back then I rode it out: trapped on an uninspected roller coaster, too many bolts and washers missing to be assured of any kind of safety. Always one feather’s breath away from plummeting.

You were consistently several drinks past out-of-control.

We take hands now as we tiredly trudge back to the bedroom, calling out goodnight to our two teens who are up too late on a school night. I don’t have the heart to lecture them. They are engrossed in a lively discussion and it makes my insides ache how quickly they are growing up.

Our dogs dart around our ankles, little tripping ninjas.

Tonight I am besieged by blessings.

But nightmares from our past still conspire and lurk. Our present photo is permanently vignetted with darkness around the edges.

Alcohol floats and saturates those edges. You are still, and will always be, one sip away from blowing up your life.

Husband, I ask that you never drink again.

See, I loved you back then.

When the fights were never-ending and the madness was all-consuming. I loved you. When I peeled the dusty blinds back to watch for your headlights in the middle of the night. When I cleaned up your messes, called in sick for you, made excuses why you couldn’t come to family Thanksgivings, cried until my eyes burned, scoured the internet and recovery groups for the magic answer to keep you sober, and begged God to take this burden away from us. I loved you.

RELATED: Dax Shepard’s Relapse Reminds Us Recovery is a Daily Process

When you rushed in, drunk and obnoxious, to tuck our near-sleeping kids in and got them all wound up again. When you totaled the car. When you were in jail. When you lost your license and I had to drive you, me, and the kids everywhere for several years. When our voices were raw from screaming. When I didn’t have an answer for why I was staying besides I loved you.

I love you now.

While you sing made-up songs to the dogs without even realizing you’re doing it.

While you spend hours tuning the kids’ skis.

While you fix the brakes on the car and Rug Doctor the filthy carpets.

While you carry ten bags of groceries because you don’t want me carrying anything.

While you bring me ice packs and Excedrin when I have a migraine.

While you pick up tampons at the store and worry about them being the right ones.

I love you.

While you want to hold my hand all the time and snuggle for hours on the couch.

While you hug me and know that I always want my back cracked while you do so.

While you call me ridiculous nicknames and make yourself laugh.

While you get a This Is Us marathon all ready for us to binge on Hulu.

While you let the dogs kiss your entire face and jump all over you.

I love you.

Husband, whether you are sober or not, the exquisitely brutal truth is that I always have and will always love you.

But I will never stop praying that you will never drink again.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also like:
How to Stop Being an Angry Dad
The Scars of Growing Up With Alcoholic Parents Still Sting
To My Alcoholic Friend
Christmas with an Alcoholic

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Melissa Neeb

I'm a Minnesota native and lover of nature, WW2 memoirs, rescue dogs, photography, and thrifting. My husband and two teenagers are the great loves of my life. I am passionate about advocating for addiction recovery, writing about parenting, life, faith, and everything in between. 

We’re Modeling Marriage For Our Kids

In: Marriage
Husband and wife in workout clothes, color photo

This is eight years. A picture taken in the few minutes of pre-dawn quiet before toddler chaos ensues. A few moments of reflection that eight years ago, we chose each other to do this life with.  This day will not be like past anniversaries, or future anniversaries when we’re able to get away from it all and focus on just us. But it’s still our day to celebrate this life we have created together. This messy, crazy, busy, and wonderful life. When we sat in our Pre-Cana class all those years ago, we were asked to share what we believed...

Keep Reading

Blake Lively’s Tribute to Ryan Reynolds Has Us in Tears: “Daddy Always Comes Home”

In: Living, Marriage, News

Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds are Hollywood couple #goals, and over the years, we’ve delighted in watching their fun, light-hearted, and endearing romance play out. What makes them so likable is that they genuinely seem to adore each other, but they’re not above trolling each other publicly and on social media, which almost always results in some hilarious antics. (P.S. Remember Reynolds’ hysterical ad that paid tribute to the dumpster fire that was 2020?) The couple has gone back and forth on Instagram and Twitter with jabs at each other’s acting roles . . . View this post on Instagram...

Keep Reading

My Husband’s Love Notes Are So Much More than Words

In: Marriage
Husband and wife, selfie, color photo

About 10 years ago, my husband used to travel frequently, and he would often leave notes for me to find around the house. Sometimes they were on the kitchen counter, sometimes they were on my car, other times they were scribbled across the bathroom mirror. RELATED: My Husband Doesn’t Tell Me He Loves Me on Facebook, He Shows Me His notes were different every time, but typically, they were meant to tell me how much he’d miss me when he was away. I would eventually file the notes away, often forgetting what they said, but always appreciating how he made...

Keep Reading

Planning for Life after Divorce Saved Our Marriage

In: Marriage
Couple walking down tracks in a tunnel

They say each marriage goes through seasons, and mine is currently in transition after a biting, years-long winter that neither of us could say with certainty would ever end. Each storm brought the same predictable pattern of conflict, and by the time we could shovel ourselves out, a new blizzard was already in the forecast. Our cycle of conflict was frozen on repeat, our patterns so deeply rutted, that salvation from the bitter cold felt impossible. He yelled at the sky. I went into hibernation. He chose fight. I chose flight. The problem with flight is that eventually, you have...

Keep Reading

Marriage is About Compromise, Not Sacrifice

In: Marriage
Husband and wife, smiling, color photo

This past August, my husband and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. There was no champagne, flowers, candy, or special date. In fact, it was just another Thursday, a pretty unremarkable day. The symbol for the 15th year of marriage is a crystal. A symbol of clarity and durability. A fitting representation in our case, if I may say so myself. Long gone are the days of courting and the need to put on a show. The need to impress one another long dissipated to be replaced by quiet contentment. Our relationship has evolved in the 20 years we have...

Keep Reading

Why Can’t Love Be Enough?

In: Living, Marriage
Couple sitting apart on couch

As we grow up, we experience all different types and versions of love, and in turn, we experience very different things when each of these relationships ends.  For me, as painful as they were, breakups were always relatively simple. Intentions were clear. Feelings were hurt. Betrayal. Lies. The love, gone. You know, the kind of breakups people always talk about. RELATED: Playing Chicken: A Marriage on the Brink of the End Young love. We were clueless. Some would say stupid. We thought we knew everything, but we really knew nothing at all. It hurt, unlike anything we’d ever experienced, because...

Keep Reading

Some Days I Miss My Old Life Before Kids

In: Marriage, Motherhood
Husband and wife in tropical destination, color photo

Some days I miss my old life. You know, before kids. I am not sure I am supposed to say that out loud. Please don’t judge me. I know I am not alone. Just because I miss my old life, does not mean I do not love my current one. However, confessing this kind of guilt is not easy, mostly because it opens the door for mom shaming, like so many other guilty mama confessions. A new mom recently confided in me. She said, “I knew about the sleepless nights, diapers, screaming babies, etc. But I had no idea that I...

Keep Reading

Our Love is Like the Best Country Song

In: Marriage
Husband and wife holding hands, color photo

I don’t write country music, in fact, I can’t even read music. But if I wrote a country song, it would say something about the sun dipping low over the cornfields on the way home from Nana’s house. It might mention how he always drives and always holds my hand over the center console. In fact, he always holds my hand, as we walk down our street behind our kids’ bicycles, under the covers, and in prayer each night.  I would write something about how gosh darn good he looks when he hasn’t shaved in six straight days. If I...

Keep Reading

My Husband Is the First Person I Want to Call

In: Marriage
Woman texting on phone

The first person I want to call is my husband. When I have good news. When I’m ridden with anxiety or frustration. When I’m giddy or over-the-top. When the kids are acting like dinosaurs from Jurassic Park. RELATED: To the Husband of the Overwhelmed Wife, She Needs a Hero When something has broken down (which usually means it’s a fire department day.) Yes, even when I’m mad at him. The first person I want to call is my husband. When I’m anxiously awaiting test results. When my kids do something amazing. When God reveals something new. When I see a...

Keep Reading

No One Prepares You for When Your Husband Has Cancer

In: Baby, Cancer, Marriage
Family sitting by window

No one ever prepares you for the moment you hear your spouse has cancer.   More so, no one prepares for you to hear this when you have a 5-month-old at home. “Mom, they said the tumor is cancerous, and they need to enucleate his eye on Thursday,” I say quietly into the phone as I pump in a dirty bathroom stall at the eye hospital.   Whir. Whir. Whir. Whir. Gosh, I hate pumping.  Today is my first day being away from my daughter. My mom is watching her while I made the trip to the eye hospital with...

Keep Reading