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If We Break: A Memoir of Marriage, Addiction, and Healing

If We Break: A Memoir of Marriage, Addiction, and Healing PDF

Author: Kathleen Buhle

Publisher: Crown


Publish Date: June 14, 2022

ISBN-10: 0593241053

Pages: 320

File Type: Epub, PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

very Thanksgiving we visited the island of Nantucket as a family. In November, when the wind is strong and the island is empty of summer visitors, you can imagine what it was like back when ships left the harbor in search of whales. It’s a mystical place in the fall, with a gray morning fog covering the island and the sound of the ocean crashing on the shores. Throughout my marriage, this trip was always our family’s favorite. But now I carried a sadness greater than anything I’d ever experienced before.

Every year, on Thanksgiving morning, we drove from our rental to the beach where an unassuming little shingled house sat up on a sand dune, looking out toward the water. The year before, the house had been surrounded by sandbags to protect it from the encroaching ocean. This year, as we drove up to where the house once stood, it was gone. The ocean had taken it over.

We parked our cars and got out. This would be the first year we didn’t stand in front of that little house for a family picture. I imagined the heartbreak of the family who owned it. The house was gone, and that felt like a message from the universe: This chapter is over.

Hunter and I walked down to the beach as all the kids scattered along the shoreline and his parents’ dog, Champ, ran among us. I wanted to soak up every minute we had together. At the time, everything in my life felt untethered. My brother-in-law was dying from cancer, my husband was struggling with addiction, and I’d just learned about his infidelity. Nothing felt normal, and yet I clung to this tradition. I clung to my family.

As we stood on the beach, the sky gray and the wind strong, I leaned my head against Hunter. “How far can we step back before we fall?” I said to him as I turned, my head still resting against his. With our foreheads firmly pressed together, we each took a step back. We tried to balance ourselves as we continued to step back to the point where we could still hold each other up without falling.

Our lives were breaking but I desperately wanted us to be okay. I needed him to hold me up and he needed me. That was what I’d based my life on and what I strongly believed—that we needed each other. Neither of us could survive without the other. But in the end, in so many ways, we both broke. The question I couldn’t answer then was: How would I survive?



Title Page



Part I: Before

Chapter One: Portland

Chapter Two: The South Side

Chapter Three: Will You Marry Me?

Chapter Four: It’s a Girl

Chapter Five: Belonging

Chapter Six: That Girl with Her Trumpet

Chapter Seven: Need

Chapter Eight: Quitting

Chapter Nine: And Did You Get What You Wanted from This Life, Even So?

Chapter Ten: Crossroads

Chapter Eleven: You Cannot Tell Anyone

Chapter Twelve: Quest for Friends

Chapter Thirteen: A Silly Girl from Chicago

Chapter Fourteen: A New Reality

Chapter Fifteen: Biden Blood

Part II: During

Chapter Sixteen: The Beginning of What’s Next

Chapter Seventeen: My Favorite Person

Chapter Eighteen: Something Shattered

Chapter Nineteen: Are You Okay?

Chapter Twenty: Seems Lonelier This Time

Chapter Twenty-one: Flags

Chapter Twenty-two: No Comfort, No Cure

Chapter Twenty-three: Drunk at Christmas

Chapter Twenty-four: Do You Know Where Hunter Is?

Chapter Twenty-five: The Photographs

Chapter Twenty-six: My Shame

Chapter Twenty-seven: The Navy

Chapter Twenty-eight: Abiding Love

Chapter Twenty-nine: The Good Wife

Chapter Thirty: Fireworks

Chapter Thirty-one: It’s Not About the Chicken

Chapter Thirty-two: Why Do You Keep Leaving Us?

Chapter Thirty-three: Detective Work

Chapter Thirty-four: Emotional Life Support

Chapter Thirty-five: No More Secrets

Part III: After

Chapter Thirty-six: A New Battle, a New Plan

Chapter Thirty-seven: Good Friday

Chapter Thirty-eight: Say Your Life Is Great, and Snap, Something Bad Happens

Chapter Thirty-nine: Trust Me on This

Chapter Forty: Reclaiming My Name



About the Author

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