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The questions are very much valid. Did I know when I married him? Did I know when we struggled with infertility and trying to become parents? Did I know when we unexpectedly became pregnant with our second child? When did you know your husband was an alcoholic?

The answer is simple yet so complex, I pretty much knew from the first year, yet I was in complete denial.

When I met him, he was just my typea bad boy with a bad reputation, yet so cute! On our third date or so, I saw how much he could drink and how obnoxious he could get, yet I chalked it up to a 20-something-year-old guy and a phase we all learn to grow out of. I continued this line of thinking for the first six months to a year.

Then, we became more serious, and we bought our home. I still tried to tell myself “he will grow out of it” each time it would happen or “he’s not an alcoholic, he doesn’t drink every day.” What a fool I made of myself. When he drank, he couldn’t stop and he never wanted the party to end. I loved him though. I came from a childhood of being hurt by anyone who loved meto me this was love. The problem was that I would never be number one when alcohol was involved.

RELATED: Dear Husband: I Love You, But Please Don’t Ever Drink Again

We got married after five years together, and of course, he went on a bender the night before our wedding and had a hangover as we said “I do.”

Then we started trying to start a family. We struggled for a year and a half with infertility, which didn’t help our cause. I suffered a miscarriage during that time, and I was heartbroken. But alcohol was still number one.

Finally, I was pregnant, and I told myself once he held that baby, it would stop and he would grow up. When our first child was a toddler, we were surprised by another positive pregnancy test. And yet again, I told myself this baby will make it stop.

The harsh reality is it only got so much worse. The all-night benders, not knowing if he was dead or in jail, the lack of phone calls, the DWI call in the middle of the night when I was nine months pregnant with a sleeping toddler next to me, the financial drain from all of the bar tabs and ATM withdrawals.

I was numb, I was on autopilot. Sometimes, I barely remember it all, like a mental block. All I was trying to do was survive and be there for my kids and shield them from it all so they didn’t feel it. It was absolutely exhausting. I was still married, yet I was all alone. I kept it all inside, I didn’t share what was going on with anyone. I had nowhere to turn, I didn’t want anyone to judge him. It’s ironic that here I was protecting him, yet who was protecting me through it all?

It was so bad, I knew I had to goour marriage was basically over, yet I still loved him. My oldest was about to start understanding and remembering, I didn’t want my kids to have to feel even an ounce of the pain I felt with my own parents.

It was at this point that our family dog passed awaythe dog my husband loved and adored, his best buddy. This was the nail in the coffin. He went on what seemed like a week-long binge, nonstop drinking. Drinking morning, noon, and night and forgetting us altogether.

RELATED: There Once Was a Man Overcome By Addiction and Transformed By Love

And then it happened, this shell of a boy I fell in love with, the boy who had such a kind heart, the boy I knew had so much good in him, sat before me just when the sun was barely up, smelling like a brewery, and he said these words, “I can’t do this anymore.” It was November 24, 2019, and it has since become one of my favorite dates.

My kids don’t remember “that father,” and I can’t tell you how thankful I am for that. They know a daddy, a man who makes them chocolate milk with his coffee every morning, a man who teaches them to swim or the rules of sports, the man who dances with them in the living room or plays the latest video game, the guy who teaches them and laughs with them and tucks them into their beds at night and loves them like every daddy should. They remember the daddy who, with the few exceptions of working overtime, is always home to have dinner with them.

And so I stayed and fell in love with what felt like another man, the very best version of that boy I met all those years ago.

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Molly Rae

Molly is first and foremost a mom to the two loves of her lifeher exceptional kids, her meaning and purpose in everything she does. She lives in New York with her two kids, her husband, and two rescue dogs. She chooses to live life and raise her family with the motto “Always find a way to laugh in life’s toughest times and make those lemons into lemonade.”

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