Marriage In Recovery

I’ve been married to Robbie for 12 years this October, and for almost our entire relationship, I didn’t believe that he truly loved me.

I mean, I thought he thought he did, and if someone thinks they love me, as has been the case in 95% of my relationships, that has always been good enough. I didn’t believe that I was worthy of genuine love, but I wasn’t fully aware of that belief. It lingered in the back of my subconscious, manifesting in the nagging voice that tells me I’m not pretty enough, smart enough, talented enough, or good enough to amount to much of anything.

I built a wall.

The wall was up when I met Robbie, and as far as I know, parts of it are still there. Alcohol gave me the courage I needed to step out from behind it on occasion, and quite honestly, I miss the ease that comes with drinking. Sobriety is a lot of work. So is overcoming obstacles. I am effing exhausted.

Sometimes, I really, really think it would be easier just to keep the wall up, smear some extra concrete on it, and stay in hiding forever.

When a person goes through trauma, it literally rewires the brain. Addiction rewires it, too, which means that my brain has a lot of overdue healing to do. For a very long time, I functioned at what I considered to be a high capacity; looking back, I can see that I’ve never allowed myself or my marriage to reach its full potential. I assumed my husband thought he loved me, which was good enough because I really could not stand myself, and I drank to cope with the feelings that go along with self-loathing.

That is no way to live. I am allowing myself to get better because I want to LIVE.

It’s a weird thing to have to look in the mirror every morning and tell my reflection, “You are good enough.” This was an assignment given to me by my therapist.

“You’ll feel weird doing it,” she said. “But it’s important.”

“FINE,” I said.

But I haven’t followed through, not yet. The words sound hollow because I still don’t believe them, and I always cringe, because ew, affirmations.


Robbie + Harmony on a date.


I sit on the couch next to Robbie. There’s a dip in the spot where he always parks himself — I call it The Hole — and my body slides over next to his by sheer force of gravity.

“Hi,” I say, smushing my left shoulder into his right armpit.

“Hi.” I think he feels crowded, but like I’ve told him a thousand times before, maybe he should consider sitting in another spot on the couch, a spot that is less like a giant hole.

“You love me,” I say, not like I’m testing his reaction or fishing for something. I say it with reverence. I’m stating a fact.

“Yes, I do.”

I no longer think he thinks he loves me. I know that he knows that he does.

I’ve given him a lot of reasons to excuse himself from the relationship. The cat’s out of the bag — I’m not the perfect wife or mother — I am an alcoholic. I’m flawed, I’m aware of my flaws, and I’m working on improving them. I’m not pretending anymore. And as screwed up as I may be, he won’t leave. Not today. Not ever.

And for the first time, I actually believe that I’m safe with him.

I know that I am.

(If you liked this post, then you should follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!)


My Best Half.

My marriage is not perfect.

As much as I would love to think of myself as the perfect wife, I’m not. At all. I have high standards. I’m demanding. My expectations are lofty — not just of my husband, but also of my children.

Sometimes Robbie will tell me that he feels like nothing is ever good enough for me, and he’s right. Nothing is. I always want more, because I am a goal-oriented person. I’m a Capricorn, a mountain goat who wants to climb because I enjoy it and I don’t have time for your whining or lollygagging so either get on board or get out of my way.

Yeah. That.

I expect my sons to open doors and say “yes ma’am” and carry their Fiestaware dishes to the sink. Yes, my kids eat on real dishes. I expect them to follow directions and behave in public and say “thank you” and “please” because manners get you farther in life than just being smart. I expect them to follow directions and I expect to be respected because I am their mother and I deserve it.

I expect my husband to be able to fix things and keep up with the yard and be emotionally present and provide for our family. I expect him to listen and communicate and deal with the kids at the end of the day when I just can’t anymore. I expect him to be serious and funny and my partner in all things.

I expect a lot.

My expectations can be difficult to live with, but I give a lot in return and I am more demanding of myself than I am of anyone else. It will be a lifelong process for me to inch slowly toward Robbie’s end of the spectrum, where nothing is a big deal, as he inches slowly towards my side, where everything is urgent. We are truly yin and yang, which on a good day means we bring out the best in each other … and on a bad day, I want to claw his eyes out.

He does things like buy me stress-relieving water. Want to know why I was stressed? Because he was taking too long in the store. I could see him in there, wandering around. What the hell is taking him so long?! We need to GO!

He was hunting for the perfect beverage for his wife, that’s what he was doing.

10801931_10155098744040508_622468002666916761_nSidenote: the water didn’t relieve my stress.

The thing about our relationship is the love that overarches all of the differences between us. I could have married someone else and been happy. Maybe. But I have never and will never love anyone like I love Robbie Hobbs, and that is the thing that grounds me in our marriage. That is the thing that makes everything else make sense.

And then, from time to time, Robbie does something startling that reminds me just how lucky I am.


In the blogging world, there are conferences that writers attend to learn how to be a success — whether that means learning how to make money through blogging, or how to go from blogging to authoring an actual book. I kept hearing about one conference in particular, BlogU, that I really wanted to attend. It’s supposed to be the best, and I think we all know how I feel about things that are the best. Why waste time doing something that is only marginally passable, when I can aim for THE BEST?

So back to the conference, Jill Smokler of Scary Mommy will be there. Jen Mann of People I Want To Punch In The Throat will be there. A ton of writers I am obsessed with will be there. I wanted to go so badly, tears would well up every time I thought about it.

I talked about it for months. Robbie wanted me to go, but we just don’t have the money for a trip like that. The airfare alone was ridiculous, and we are a one-income family of five. I felt guilty for wanting to go, but I’m a mountain goat. I can’t help myself. I WANT TO CLIMB.

I began looking into corporate sponsorships and devised a plan of action. When I sat Robbie down and presented it to him, he was on board … but quiet. Finally he said, “I think this is a solid plan, but you don’t have enough time to make it happen. I just don’t want to see you stressing out over anything extra. I’m going to figure something out.”

Then he stood up, and he took action. He set up a Go Fund Me. (You can view it here, it’s really cute.)

I cringed — hard — when he showed me his plan. I loathe crowd funding, and I dislike feeling like a charity case, but it was a huge success. People genuinely wanted to help. I feel really humbled by it (mostly because, if I’m honest, it really bothers me that I couldn’t afford to go on my own, without asking for help), and grateful to him because he knew I would miss out otherwise.

We had all of the money within one week.

So yes, I have high standards.

And that is why I married Robbie Hobbs.

Before we had children.

Before we had children.

Happy Birthday, Robbie.

My husband turned 33 today.

When I fell in love with him, he wore navy blue Pumas. Today, he bought a pair of cowboy boots.

This is just one example of how love conquers all.

Those are cowboy boots.

Those are cowboy boots.