JACOBY MORTENSEN is thrilled to find out gay marriage is legal in Iowa. His husband Jimmy brings the news a few weeks before their tenth wedding anniversary, dripping snow all over the freshly mopped floor. Overshadowing his excitement, though, are Jimmy’s dilated pupils and trembling hands. Since his husband is a former drug addict, his first instinct is to think Jimmy’s high. Then he reminds himself that the man is excited and who wouldn’t be? Their marriage is finally legal and they can have an official marriage license.
But Jacoby can’t quite put the warning signs from his mind. At work, he notices that Jimmy isn’t socializing with their fellow EMTs like usual. He’s distant, jumpy, and he’s smoking again. And with Jimmy, smoking is often times a spring board to worse things. When a blizzard forces them to work overtime and Jimmy takes the news uncharacteristically hard, Jacoby confronts Jimmy, asking if he’s on his psych meds. Jimmy denies being off his psych meds and Jacoby decides to take him at his word.
Jimmy manages to hide the truth from Jacoby for a week before things start going downhill. He’s gone off his psych meds before and figures he knows what’s best for him. But as it becomes harder and harder to control himself, he starts to second guess himself. Then, a new medic gets one step ahead of Jimmy in the field. It isn’t a big deal, but Jimmy has a panic attack over the incident. When they return to the hospital, Jimmy’s boss confronts him and threatens to suspend him. Unable to control himself at the threat of being pulled from duty, Jimmy goes berserk. He starts screaming, crying, threatening patients and staff. Security is called when Jimmy holds one of his co-workers with scissors. He gets shipped across town to the psychward.
After spending two weeks on psych, Jimmy is released home. But any promises he made in the hospital are quickly broken. Even under the watchful eye of his mother, he finds ways around taking his meds. Then, following his breakdown, Jimmy is suspended for ninety days. If he follows his treatment, he can come back to work on a supervised basis. But a chance encounter in public with a witness to his breakdown damages his chances. Fists fly and Jimmy is arrested and charged with assault. Even though the charges are eventually dropped, the hospital fires him.
Devastated, Jimmy turns to old comforts. On the premise of getting his husband an extra present for their rescheduled anniversary celebration, he goes out and meets with an old friend and gets his old fix. Hiding the drugs is easy and he figures Jacoby won’t notice anything unusual. His meds are still going down daily, even if he is flushing them down the toilet.
Then while on a routine call for work, Jacoby is in a serious accident. Jimmy rushes to the hospital relieved to hear he survived the accident. Bringing his bruised and broken husband home, Jimmy is forced to face one his favorite highs: Vicodin. He stays honest for the first few days. But as Jacoby relies less and less on the pain pills, Jimmy can no longer ignore them. He crushes one and snorts it, hoping Jacoby won’t notice. A quick lie gets him out of trouble, but he suspects Jacoby doesn’t believe him.
As Jacoby is healing, the board at the hospital calls a meeting to review recent problems with Jimmy. Because of Jimmy’s breakdown and the public fight, the board fires Jimmy. Devastated, Jimmy quietly starts looking for a new job—out in California. He’s ready to go home no matter if Jacoby wants to go or not.
Jacoby consults with Jimmy’s doctor, bringing up concerns of drug use. The doctor advises Jacoby that if Jimmy is using again he will have one choice: turn him in. Jacoby is reluctant and promises to watch him. When Jimmy takes Jacoby in for a routine check up on his injuries from the accident, he finally confesses what Jacoby suspected all along: he’s using again.
Jacoby chooses to leave Jimmy on the spot. After a night away, a friend convinces him to come home and talk to Jimmy. They meet with a friend of the family and start to talk things out. Jacoby accuses Jimmy of lying and doing drugs. Jimmy asks for a divorce. Jacoby isn’t sure he’s ready to go down that road. Jimmy storms from the meeting. Jacoby takes a moment to calm down and then thinks over the last few days, realizing how Jimmy had been acting. He storms into the yard and confronts Jimmy, nearly choking him to death. Jimmy confesses that he’s taking a job in California and will be moving in with his parents.
Jacoby decides to search Jimmy’s drawer after the meeting and finds a hiding place in the bottom of a drawer. He finds the meds Jimmy’s supposed to be taking and then he finds the drugs. He confronts Jimmy and forces him back onto his meds. Jimmy resists but Jacoby makes sure the meds are taking as prescribed and that there are no more drugs in the house.
Jimmy leaves a few weeks later for California. Jacoby goes out to visit him a couple months later, hoping to bring him home. Instead, Jimmy says he took a permanent job and is staying. To complicate matters, Jimmy’s heart breaks when his ex-boyfriend BRIAN gets engaged. Just before Jacoby comes out to visit, Jimmy cheats on Jacoby with Brian. Unwilling to confess, he keeps the secret until his sister finally forces him to tell Jacoby.
At his wit’s end, Jacoby files for a separation. He gives Jimmy six months to stay clean and stable, and decide where his heart lies. Reluctantly, Jimmy signs the papers and Jacoby returns to Iowa.