Isn’t it a wonder how little tiny humans, so innocent and simple can bring us some of the greatest strength we know?
A close friend told me, in the midst of an extremely rocky time:
“Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone would understand if you fell apart, that’s true strength.”
Motherhood gave me this strength.
I don’t for a second give myself the credit of successfully making it to where we are today. Dash and Sunny, at such young ages, gave me the courage and will to push through each day. I can confidently say that without my children I wouldn’t have had the strength to endure through this successfully, and they even made me come out a better, happier, stronger person. The blessing of being a mother through this gave me the strength I needed.
With out hesitation, I knew what I needed to write about today. I can easily pinpoint the single most pivotal moment in my life. It was that monumental moment that molded my future more than most any moment in my past. It was a simple phone call from my husband. I answered the phone and on the other end was the most humbled voice I had ever heard. My husband expressed to me that he needed my help. I knew what he needed, I had known for sometime, but I also knew I couldn’t fix it, he had to discover for himself. This was the day that he finally did. [KEEP READING FOR THE ENTIRE ESSAY.]
In the previous months I had prayed, begged, pleaded and time and time again, struck out viciously. Our home had become a battle ground. I found myself telling Dash that Dad was sick. Telling family and friends that we were busy, and making excuse after excuse to protect my husband in whom I was steadily losing faith. Though he was still kind, the sweetest father, and his love for me was apparent, a wall had been built, and our relationship was diminishing rapidly. Dane had developed an addiction to pain killers, an evil that had taken over his sweet countenance, his motivation, his suc
cess and practically his entire existence. We fought with it, and with each other, day after day. Making no progress, never able to conquer this strain that had destroyed the angel I married. He had lost everything but his life, and even that was hanging by only a thread. But with this phone call, I saw a glimpse of light that had been absent for so long.
I had spent countless hours, evaluating our situation, our life, trying to bring to light what was most important. The answer was always the same; our children and our family. But I knew as long as this addiction was alive, our happiness as a family unit would be dead. It had taken its toll on me, I was worn to the ground, the kids, although still very y
oung, were becoming more effected every day. I lost countless nights of sleep worrying about my children’s future. They needed a father. They needed Dane. WE needed Dane. But we couldn’t fix him. I thought if I tried hard enough I could convince him to just live right, to just stop! I thought the more I cried, the more fought, the longer I waited, surely he would change. To watch things only become worse, wore me out beyond imagination.
The phone call came as a surprise. After so many strike outs, I had all but given up hope, but in his voice I heard something in him that hadn’t been there in so long.The following day we drove together to Cirque Lodge, a rehabilitation center here in Utah. It was a moment you never expect to experience. Checking your husband into rehab is something no I wouldn’t wish on any wife. Neither of us knew how we got there, I know he felt ashamed, and I expected that I would feel the same. Instead, my feelings took me by surprise. I felt proud. Proud that he was strong enough to take this step. Proud that my husband was letting go of something with an unimaginable grasp on him, proud that he was doing this for himself, for his children, for me. This made him strong. The strongest person I knew.
In the following months I spent countless hours studying the addiction in order to try and fully comprehend what he was going through. The period of time he was in rehab, I was incredibly blessed. While mothering Dash and Sunny on my own was exhausting, at times I was sure I wouldn’t last another second. It wasn’t fair for them to live without their dad, who even when consumed by his illness, showed them the attention and love an extraodinary father would. How was I to fill this void? It was in those moments something would happen inside me, I imagined it being just like in cartoons, I felt my heart expanded in size, giving me the ability to show these kids the love they needed, the patience they deserved. They were the innocent ones. They didn’t deserve this heartache. Mothers are here to protect and nurture their children, to help their children feel safe and happy. It scared me that I wouldn’t have the ability to do this on my own.
With help of so many friends and family members, the boys seemed to stay light-hearted and cheerful. And because of their pure and simple happiness, it seemed to be one of the lightest times I could remember. Dash and Sunny filled me with so much joy. Day after day I was reminded that they are my strength, and every minute I was grateful that these perfect little people were mine. They were the reason my life was light, in what could have been the darkest of times.
Over the span of his rehab stay, we called ourselves Team Dane. We knew our Dane was on his way back. We saw him surface more and more each day as his mind and body became clean. We watched him find strength in himself, in the program, is his gospel,
and in us. When I picked him up to bring him home with us, he truly was back. His whole heart, his whole mind. Everything we remembered that he once was, and more.
After laying the boys down to bed at night, conversation frequently (or always) turns to Dash and Sunny. While fighting our urge to wake them, and bring them into our bed for more playtime, we discuss the hilarious things Dash said, the new noises Sunny uttered, and the overwhelming gratitude we feel that they are ours. Dane longs for the time he lost with them, and spends all his energy filling them with his love. There isn’t a greater gift than the joy and strength they brought to us while we faced this trial. Not a greater blessing than the way they mold us to be the individuals and parents were meant to be.
This final post is in partnership with Bugaboo’s Cameleon 3. We each have had the pleasure testing out the Cameleon 3, it is an all terrain stroller system that truly goes wherever we go. We are proud to be the Utahan correspondents for this project and have shared our pivotal moments in motherhood alongside our Camelon 3 escapades with accompanying photos by Cee Bee Photography over the last three days.
Thank you so much for your love and support!
kellyDecember 19, 2012 at 7:11 am
Your honesty and strength is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your story. Sending lots of love to your beautiful family.
Natalie NortonDecember 19, 2012 at 7:15 am
Nic Nac, I am as proud of you an Dane as I have ever been of anyone in my life. I love you.
KamiDecember 19, 2012 at 7:39 am
This was so beautiful. It was so touching to read about the experience through your perspective as a wife and mother and the importance of family that helped pull you through.
Amy ScarboroughDecember 19, 2012 at 7:59 am
Thanks for sharing your story Nicole, you truly are an amazing wife, and mother. Your family is beautiful!
Jillian GouldingDecember 19, 2012 at 8:13 am
Thank you for sharing your personal story so openly. You are such a good example to all of us as women. I am inspired by your strength and example! Simply amazing.
AshleighDecember 19, 2012 at 8:16 am
Thank you for sharing your story, that was beautiful.
JasmineDecember 19, 2012 at 8:27 am
I echo the comments above, that was such a beautiful, honest story of strength and the victory of overcoming that season together.
Paige YoungDecember 19, 2012 at 8:32 am
Thank goodness we serve a God who is who He says he is! Still working miracles and saving lives!
emilyDecember 19, 2012 at 8:36 am
You have astonishing strength! Beautiful to see.
Amy TwittyDecember 19, 2012 at 8:39 am
Thanks for sharing a part of who you are as a family. It’s interesting how we find our lives in situations we never imagined, yet through faith we become stronger and better people from them. You both are great examples!
ashmaeDecember 19, 2012 at 8:43 am
That was beautifully written, and inspiring to read. So grateful you didn’t give up when you easily could have, and so happy to see this story playing out the way it is. xoxo
NakoleDecember 19, 2012 at 8:47 am
That was beautiful! Thank you for sharing. What a wonderful example of a wife, mother and daughter of God you are.
elle rowleyDecember 19, 2012 at 8:50 am
You are the definition of grace, beauty, and strength, Nicole. How cool to be able to look in the mirror and be able to say, “I can do (really) hard things (very well).” So proud of you for writing this. xx
Nassari EverettDecember 19, 2012 at 8:50 am
Those were beautiful words. Thank you for sharing something so personal. You are a wonderful wife and mother.
Stephanie HedbergDecember 19, 2012 at 9:01 am
That was beautiful!! Nothing like someone’s real story that makes you feel like you are normal and can get through the hard times. Thanks for sharing.
NardiaDecember 19, 2012 at 9:15 am
This was beautiful, def a strong woman. thanks for sharing.
DianaDecember 19, 2012 at 9:16 am
Thank you for sharing such a personal story with us. I follow you on instagram…and never imagined that you were going through such a hard trial. You are a strong woman and mother.. and the fact that you never gave up is so beautiful. In these times where divorce and separation is so easily given into… you are a great example of how love can prevail through all this.
KyDecember 19, 2012 at 9:20 am
Thank you for this. You’ve given me just a little more courage to carry on. I know without my little one, some of my days would be very dark indeed.
MeganDecember 19, 2012 at 9:30 am
Thank you for sharing! I admire the strength and courage that both you and Dane posses! I couldn’t be happier for you both ad it’s such an inspiration to see how far you’ve both come! I’m tellin ya world this Danicole couple is something of beauty and is the real deal! ❤❤❤
KateDecember 19, 2012 at 9:34 am
Hi Nicole. Thank you so much for sharing this. I met you at Natalie and Jon’s workshop. From the outside looking in, your life seems perfect. I appreciate your realness and venerability in sharing this. Praying for health and strength for your family in the months and years to come. All my love, Kate.
JennyDecember 19, 2012 at 9:49 am
Amazed already what being a mother has done to my heart. This couldn’t be more perfect and you are one tough cookie, nicole. So much love for all of you.
NDecember 19, 2012 at 9:54 am
Nicole, thank you for sharing your story in such a raw, personal way. After following for months, I felt compelled to comment to tell you that you are such a strong mama for your boys, and are beautiful not only on the outside but the inside too! When I was reading this, it made me think of something I recently heard in a spoken word poem: “you are a weapon of mass potential; your freedom makes others free”. I think that is SO on point for you. Your story has the potential to give others strength and faith, and by sharing how you and Dane came to freedom will certainly help others come to the same freedom.
shelly hydeDecember 19, 2012 at 9:58 am
Love you coco. you are an amazing example. you are so beautiful. this is a powerful example of both. xo
SilviaLuciDecember 19, 2012 at 10:15 am
I loved this series! All of your families are inspiring. Bless you all.
KelseyDecember 19, 2012 at 10:52 am
I’m so proud to call you one of my very best friends and to watch you (and practically live with you) as you went through this. You make me want to be a mother more than anyone and I hope I can be even half as strong as you are. I love you the most.
Kelli MurrayDecember 19, 2012 at 11:01 am
What a raw, beautiful & redeeming story. You are amazing Nicole.
Brittany AsayDecember 19, 2012 at 11:02 am
You are love and light and everything in between. Your strength is unparalleled, your passions for life is inspiring, and your nurturing qualities are one to write books about! You are a force to be reckoned with. Give us all you got. xoxoxo
CarlaDecember 19, 2012 at 11:52 am
The honesty and vulnerability in this post is tangible and beautiful. I love stories of healing and grateful you shared. Bless you, Dane, and your boys.
ToriDecember 19, 2012 at 11:54 am
There are few things more difficult than watching a really close loved one deal with an addiction. I keep those experiences close to my heart, and have such a hard times sharing them. Your willingness to open up and share with the world is so admirable! Although those experiences were (are) some of the hardest experiences of my life, I am so thankful for the person they have molded me and my loved one into. Your and Dean’s strength and love are so beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing your story!
aubry.December 19, 2012 at 12:08 pm
thank you for sharing, nicole! such bravery to share these things about not only you, but your family. i hope the vulnerability you may have felt in sharing your struggles is overpowered by the love you feel from your (now) really, really big Team.
TanaDecember 19, 2012 at 12:40 pm
I so admire your strength to share such a personal story..its so refreshing to hear and see beautiful blogs also share what is so true to life. Trials in any form are hard and unfortunatlely we all have to experience them. I pray for your families continued success! Thank you for your example! You Rock! xo
EliseDecember 19, 2012 at 1:01 pm
Such a beautifully written account of what your family went through. Your strength and courage is amazing and total love and devotion to your family is very inspiring . Thanks for sharing.
SarahDecember 19, 2012 at 1:05 pm
i admire you so much. thank you for sharing your story. saying prayers for your sweet family.
BronDecember 19, 2012 at 1:07 pm
Thankyou for sharing your story, although no doubt hard, I appreciate your honesty and strength xx much love to your family xx
Michelle BotkinDecember 19, 2012 at 1:21 pm
this was so beautiful. You are such a strong, supportive, wife and mother. This proves that you never really know what battles another woman is fighting in her own home behind closed doors. Trials of all kinds go on and as women we should feel encouraged and supported by one another. I commend your courage to speak out and be so open and honest. So glad your sweet family is becoming whole again 🙂 xoxo
MilenkaDecember 19, 2012 at 1:41 pm
What an honest and inspiring story. I have to say I follow your life on instagram and your photos always take my breath away. Thank you.
ElisaDecember 19, 2012 at 2:04 pm
I grew up like Dash and Sunny, expect one major difference….my father never had the strength to reach out and ask for help. So, I went through my entire childhood (now am 22) without a true father figure. My father is also an addict, along with being an addict he verbally abused my mother and I infront of my younger sisters and even other family members. After an incredibly hard night where I knew I could never live in the same house with him did something finally click. I literally felt like a light bulb had gone off. I am who I want to be. I knew I wanted to possess the good things that I felt my parents also possessed. It was hard for me to try and find even one good thing about my father. It still hurts my heart to say things like that. I don’t ever wish that hurt on anyone, especially young children. My boyfriend and I both come from broken homes and I want to be strong for my children, even if that means asking for help. That’s what I feel like Dane did, he was strong. He asked for help when he knew he was no longer helping himself, and for that I’m thankful. I’m thankful that two precious little boys now have their father back and that he can be strong for them again. Congrats Dane, even strangers via the internet are incredibly proud. Nicole, I commend you immensely, I know the hardships my mother went through and for you to break down that wall that was slowly building around your heart is amazing. That also takes such strength. So with all of my rambling I just want to say Thank you, thank you for showing a girl from a broken home that even if there are problems (no matter how big or small) if you reach out and ask for help, that’s all it takes to get the ball rolling towards a better life. <3
JaneenDecember 19, 2012 at 3:08 pm
thanks you for sharing this… my brother went through a similar situation a few years back and has also overcome… it started out from his snowboard/ dirt bike injuries and was fueled by hard times with family situations… so many people fall into this trap of prescription drugs these days… there was a period of time before my brother was admitting to his serious problem and us all knowing about it, that i would just have anxiety wondering when i would get a phone call saying that he overdosed… it still makes me emotional to think about it…
i appreciate you sharing this, i can relate to a degree to the heartache and worry…though i know it is totally different when it is your husband… i’m so glad your husband is doing good! that takes a lot of strength on his part as well, and of course a great support system of unconditional love is so necessary… i’m impressed with how strong you girls are…
bonnie fDecember 19, 2012 at 4:12 pm
thank you for sharing your story
emmaDecember 19, 2012 at 5:03 pm
beautiful nicole! you are such an amazing person, i look up to you so much.
jessie huishDecember 19, 2012 at 5:11 pm
Thank you for sharing this inspiring story! You guys are the sweetest family! We miss being your neighbors!
JessicaDecember 19, 2012 at 6:26 pm
Thank you so much for sharing this. Beautifully done. Websites, blogs & instagram can so easily perpetuate an image of perfection to the reader that can be harmful. In reality, we all struggle, whether publicly or privately. Your honestly and strength will help another young mother who is going through a difficult time–I’m sure of it. Well done, you should be so proud.
mary elizabethDecember 19, 2012 at 7:07 pm
what a beautiful and inspiring post. thank you so much for sharing such a personal experience. xoxo
MelanieDecember 19, 2012 at 9:58 pm
Thank you all three of you ladies for being open, honest, raw and real. I so admire these beautiful stories- they each touched my heart in different ways, and made me want to be a better mother, wife, and woman. This last story put me in tears- I am so grateful to see real families walking courageously forward, and clinging to each other even when things get tough. What a beautiful reminder for each of us.
LeanneDecember 19, 2012 at 10:28 pm
Such a tender post Nicole, thank you so much for having the courage to open up such a private piece of your life. I’m sure there are many wives in a similar situation and it is people like you that give others the courage to press forward in hard times.
TreganDecember 19, 2012 at 10:37 pm
it is incredibly refreshing to hear words of truth on a blog. it makes the unbearable seem bearable to know that each and every person is going through some sort of trial along with you. thank you so much for sharing something so personal but yet to me, sounds so beautiful.
HeatherDecember 19, 2012 at 10:51 pm
you are such an inspiration. I know what it’s like to love someone who is struggling with addiction and see the toll it takes on every aspect of your life. Thank you for your honesty and your strength. We need more of this.
DarcieDecember 20, 2012 at 12:13 am
It makes me so happy that your family is intact and growing stronger. That’s a monstrous understatement. It feels like the world is falling apart around me but those who choose to rely on the Lord and choose not to give up are the ones keeping it afloat. I haven’t seen you in ages but I love getting glimpses in instagram and small fry of your sweet fam. Give all my love to Enad and tell him I believe in him all the way!
Karyn StanworthDecember 20, 2012 at 3:05 am
Wow. It’s so difficult to bare our most difficult times to the world but it can really be a powerful thing. We are all going through hard things, in varying degrees, and I think you did a really good thing by sharing. I know you will find that it actually makes people feel even more love for you and your family. I was cheering for you and Dane by the end of this post. I’m a bit humbled to read about the harder parts and so happy that you guys are in such a good place. Like so many others, I’m proud of you both and glad you are still by working together through it all. Dash and Sunny are lucky to have you guys for parents.
ToriTwedeDecember 20, 2012 at 9:01 am
I have to say ever since high school I have alway looked up to you girls. I had always longed to be your age and a part of your lovely friendships. These stories make me realize why I have always felt this way, even then you could tell what amazing women you were and the mothers and wives that you would be one day. Thank you for letting us into your life and showing us there is always a way to find happiness. Mwah!
Rebecca EdnieDecember 20, 2012 at 10:14 am
Wow. Amazing. Inspiring. I just found out my 5 your old has autism. We have struggled with his odd behaviours for most of his life. My 11 yo has ADD. I have lupus and fibromyalgia and my husband suffers from depression. And I have a 1 year old, so far he’s healthy and we pray he stays that way. Holding on and having strength in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds is all we can do sometimes.
JodyDecember 20, 2012 at 2:06 pm
It is true Cous, Our children can be our greatest strength and help us mothers get through just about any trial. God bless our children and God bless you my dear. Love ya!
Nicole DavisDecember 20, 2012 at 5:03 pm
You are so brave Nicole. I am grateful to know you and call you a friend. You are an amazing example of motherhood, doing anything and everything to put your family first. Dane, Dash and Sunny are all so lucky to have you! I know you are going to help so many with your story, you are one of a kind! xoxo
Capturing Joy with Kristen DukeDecember 30, 2012 at 12:23 am
What a beautiful story, love hearing your heart.
Jessica PetersJanuary 3, 2013 at 11:25 am
So beautifully written Nicole. I so admire you for your honesty, attitude and strength. The world needs more people like you in it.. Your openness and raw honesty will help and inspire others who are also in difficult situations as you have inspired me. You’re boys are lucky to have such an incredible mama. Dane is a pretty special guy to overcome something like this the way he has. Loves to your beautiful family <3
AnnieJanuary 8, 2013 at 11:22 pm
I was told by my sister to read this article, because I just went through this exact thing with my husband. You are so brave to write openly about it, thank you. I would love to talk to you about it anytime. You have my email address 🙂
EllenJanuary 31, 2013 at 3:05 am
What an amazing story of courage and strength!! You should both feel so proud to have come so far and to have come out the other side stronger. So glad to have found your blog 🙂
Jessica ErasoApril 8, 2013 at 12:31 pm
This was absolutely beautiful to read. What an incredible woman and mother you are, and your perspective is so loving and full of hope. Thank you for sharing your story and inspiring us all to remember what’s most important in life.
an Intro to Adoption Week | Small FryApril 15, 2013 at 5:03 am
[…] we wrote our pivotal moments in motherhood a few months ago, (see Nicole’s, Jenna’s and Emily’s) we talked about the possibility of Jenna sharing this story with […]
nicole’s picks | Small FrySeptember 26, 2013 at 5:01 am
[…] of Nicole’s posts, FRYdays, and her incredibly brave post about addiction and forgiveness here. Follow Nicole’s family via Instagram […]
FRYday : Nicole | Small FryMarch 21, 2014 at 5:01 am
[…] Read Nicole’s brave first post about addiction right here. […]
LMMarch 31, 2014 at 2:59 am
My sister referred me to your blog specifically for these addiction articles because I’m currently experiencing this in my life with my husband. I want to hide it and find myself making excuses and even trying not to feel so I don’t need to hurt. We have two children that I long to raise in a loving home with a stable father. No one can truly comprehend what it’s like unless they’ve experienced this roller coaster life of living with an addict. So many times I’ve wanted to give up. I long for the day he realizes it’s so much bigger than him and that he needs help. He’s tried twice before to get off himself. It’s heartbreaking and difficult. Thank you for making me feel less alone in this.