I would like to say that it was easy.
That Bella and I immediately picked up where we left off.
That we moved in together, and I never had another relapse.
If there was one thing I had learned from my recovery, it was that nothing happens as we plan. There were fights. There was yelling and occasionally storming out, only to walk back in minutes later, apologizing to each other. There was counseling.
Two years after that kiss, Bella and I finally got married.
Three months after our wedding, Bella came home to find me holding a half empty bottle of whiskey and a very professional letter informing me that my job was being cut due to budget constraints. I had two weeks.
That was a tough time.
I was depressed and angry.
After wallowing for a week, Bella stood in front of me with her arms crossed, her face devoid of emotion.
"I called Dr. Whitlock. He agreed to stop by this afternoon and do a session here since you're refusing to go out and see him. Also, your stash you think you hid from me while I was at work found its way down the sink.
"I'm not stupid, Edward. You're trying to force me away, and it will not work. I told you when we got back together that I wanted you. You need to think about what you want. I know it's not this. Now get off your ass and shower, you smell like a bar."
Dr. Whitlock did stop by and talked with me for a couple of hours. At the end of which I decided that I probably needed to double up my therapy sessions, and if things didn't improve, i.e. I kept drinking, I would need to go back to rehab.
I didn't go back. It took a lot of willpower, but with Bella's help, I stopped drinking again.
I currently stand at eight years sober.
I feel confident in myself and my support system.
I don't think about drinking often and usually when I do, I unlock my phone and scroll through the pictures that I have on it.
A smiling wife. A round belly. A laughing toddler.
Me with my arm draped over the back of Bella's chair at my parents' anniversary party. An empty glass in front of me that I never asked for, or even thought to ask the waiter to fill. I changed because I wanted Bella back. I realized later that I wanted to be sober for me, too. Now, I know that no matter how stressed I get, I won't go back to the man I used to be. The glass is empty for the right reason now.
I love who I am.
I am Edward. My wife's best friend and lover.
I am Daddy. I scare away monsters and play hide-and-seek.
I am dependable and strong.
I'm the man I never imagined I could be.
Thank you so much for reading! I really hope you like how this story turned out. I know I haven't been good at replying to reviews, but I've read and appreciated all of them. I'm going to answer every one this chapter, so if you have any lingering questions, please ask!