Getting dumped by Kourtney Kardashian was the best thing that could've happened to Scott Disick.
Because nothing else was working. Arguments. Ultimatums. Multiple trips to rehab. Nothing was spurring Scott to clean up his act. He kept promising some sort of change, only to disappoint the mother of his three children again and again.
It was not until Kourtney cut Scott loose in July 2015, after he had screwed up one too many times, that anything remotely resembling a turnaround started to occur.
Not that the wistful "Lord" immediately got the memo. Scott's partying intensified rather than tapered off right after the breakup, and it was Lamar Odom's near-fatal overdose in October 2015 that prompted another trip to rehab.
But now, 16 months later, it's clear that the split at least triggered the start of a period of slow and steady change for Scott. And while he may have initially embarked on the journey expressly to win Kourtney back, he couldn't help but help himself along the way.
The reality of the situation apparently hit home for Scott when he was not included on the Kardashian family's trip to St Barts that August, after which he tearfully admitted to Kourtney, her mom and her sisters that he was still reeling from the death of his parents, whom he lost within three months of each other between 2012 and 2013, and that he felt really alone.
"I've never apologized to all of you for letting all of you down and embarrassing you guys," he said in a conversation that aired on Keeping Up With the Kardashians in January.
To Kourtney, he said, "I want to be able to be the man that you've always wanted. I could party, I could go out every night, whatever—it's not the life I really want. I know what I want—and may not get it—but I know that I would literally hate myself for the rest of my life If I didn't at least try. And I realize that if I don't make a change now like it'll never be able to be OK and it may not be but I'm damn well gonna try and I wanted you guys to know that and I wanted to see you guys and I just love you all and miss you guys so much you know?"
Khloe and Kim Kardashian didn't think at the time, however, that he was shouldering enough of the blame for his behavior.
"I don't think it's healthy for Kourtney to spend so much energy always helping you when all you do is s--t on her," Kim fired back. And Khloe tweeted after the episode aired, "I hate people who play victim. Take accountability people. Own your actions."
So Scott didn't immediately reassess his life choices and abandon his vices, but he was taking stock of what mattered and trying to get to the root of his problems.
And it was hard seeing him there, but not there, in Kourtney's life. Because of the Kardashian family's close-knit dynamic, anchored by matriarch Kris Jenner's sometimes confounding but ultimately heartwarming refusal to shut Scott out, it's been difficult to ascertain exactly what's been going on between him and Kourtney.
The amount of time from when Khloe Kardashian was skeptically watching Scott as he vowed he'd at least try to repair what he'd broken (and pointing out that it was his own damn fault for getting "caught with some whorebag") to when the whole fam was looking as lovey-dovey as ever on Instagram and hanging out almost as if everything was normal seemed awfully short.
But that's what happens when you're co-parenting three kids and there isn't the luxury of taking an extended break from your obligations as a dad. Since there was no scenario in which Scott was going to be given the truly cold shoulder for any serious length of time, Khloe and Kim Kardashian followed Kris' lead and accepted him back into the fold, as did Kendall and Kylie Jenner.
After his stint in rehab last fall, Scott spent Thanksgiving at Khloe's house with the rest of the family, he visited Lamar in the hospital and he went on outings with Kourtney and the kids.
The major hiccup seemed to occur when Scott was in New York but missed Kanye West's Yeezy Season 3 show at Madison Square Garden in February—which even Lamar attended, his first public event since his overdose.
Scott wasn't "too drunk" while out partying with a group that included a bunch of models, a source told E! News at the time, but his absence from Kanye's big show and the fam's celebratory dinner that night obviously begged the question as to whether that might just be the last straw.
But it most certainly wasn't, despite word that he was "back to spiraling," partying nightly and drinking. But instead of bottoming out, Scott seemed to bounce back, joining the family in Vail, Cannes, Miami and Vegas, where Khloe and Kourtney gathered to celebrate his 33rd birthday in May. Most recently, he's been around for the traffic jam of fall birthdays in the family, attending celebratory dinners for Kendall and Kris.
"I always say, people are in your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. If my relationship with someone didn't have substance anyway, we don't need to keep in touch...But if it's a relationship that served a purpose in my life, like Lamar, why wouldn't I want them in my life afterwards?" Khloe wrote on her website in March amid questions about her role in Lamar's recovery. "Scott, too—he was a huge part of our family and always will be."
All the while, Scott—despite his lapses—has been as involved with the family as ever.
"I used to always think that when I was drunk the real me came out and I always thought the real me was a bad person," Scott lamented to Caitlyn Jenner earlier this year. "And I've realized that, you know, substances make people something else, it's not really who they are. So I've been able to kind of forgive myself for all the things...and now I'm just focusing on actually being me. I've just been happy for the first time in a long time."
A telling moment (that in recent years could've been a bad sign) came when he admitted to Khloe this summer that he was feeling anxious about being away from Kourtney, Mason, Penelope and Reign for a whole month. He knew he wanted to keep busy, to take his mind off of missing everyone, but he was all too aware of his past tendencies. "I know I could probably make money other ways that are healthier," Scott said as he debated the pros and cons of making club appearances while Kourt was away.
Scott was also noticeably around as a confidante for both Lamar, who like him suffers from substance abuse issues, and Rob Kardashian, who this past year was trying to get a handle on his own health while he awaited the birth of his first child. (Dream Kardashian was born to Rob and Blac Chyna last week.)
"I mean, the good part is I have no problems in my life, so it's easy for me to just help you," Scott self-deprecatingly joked to Rob this summer while watching the expectant dad work out. He went a little too far when he set up a nanny cam to monitor Rob's progress from afar, as seen on Rob & Chyna in September, so Rob reminded Scott, "I just want my bro back, so ditch the whole cameras and the life-coaching s--t."
But it was kinda sweet that Scott was cheering Rob on and at least trying to put his spare time to good use.
When asked about the state of his relationship with Kourtney, Kris told E! News in September, "You know, Scott will always be one of my kids and part of our family. And I don't even track their relationship as much as I track the family, like he's my kid."
"Everybody is doing really well," she added. (And we have Kris and Khloe to thank for Scott bringing back "the Lord." "I actually thought the Lord was a bit on the obnoxious side," Scott cracked when the ladies brought out some of his old Lord accouterments from storage.)
Scott also attended Rob and Chyna's co-ed baby shower and their Ferrari-themed birthday party for Chyna's son King last month, and he and Kourtney were among the first visitors at the hospital after Dream was born.
A photo posted by Scott Disick (@letthelordbewithyou) on
"We're all such a close-knit family that all of our kids are more like brother and sister and not just cousins," Scott told E! News during his American Psycho-themed Halloween party at 1OAK in Las Vegas, talking about his excitement for the arrival of Rob's first child. "It's bigger than 'just cousins.'" Hence why he's been so happy to be "showing him the ropes of what it's going to be like to be a new dad."
Meanwhile, he's steadily worked to get himself back into Kourtney's good graces.
She said on Today back in April, "We're not getting back together right now, but I don't know what the future holds in life, in God's plan. But we're just doing our best to be the best parents. Like, he came with us to Vail and it was great. But, like, we're friends at this point."
A photo posted by Scott Disick (@letthelordbewithyou) on
Fast-forward to today. Kourtney and Scott technically have separate homes, but they're together all the time, and cozy-looking pictures of the two vacationing in Cabo San Lucas this past weekend have done nothing to quell the speculation that they're in the process of getting back together.
After nine years of being all over the place as a partner, it does seem as though Scott has taken Kourtney's wake-up call seriously. Getting a glimpse of what it would be like to be without the sprawling family he'd come to call his own did prompt him to re-divert his energies into being a family man—not just for his kids, as he was always a doting dad, but for Khloe, Kim, Kendall, Kylie, Rob and Chyna, and, of course, Kris Jenner.
It didn't happen overnight, but with the help of the unflagging support of Kourtney's family—even when she herself was understandably just too over it to deal—Scott has a new lease on life and might actually be mature enough now to not self-sabotage, as he's done so many times in the past.
At least, that's what the Kardashians are hoping.
What Kourtney wanted all along was someone stable enough to help her raise three kids, someone she can count on without having to worry about what city he's going to be in on any given day and just how far off the rails he's going to go. And before our very eyes...
Scott is starting to look like that guy.
Don't miss the season finale of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Sunday at 9 p.m., only on E!