I knew the hurt I was feeling was real, but that I would overcome it. I knew the heartbreak I was feeling was real, but that I would overcome it. I knew the hate in my heart was real, but I would overcome it. I knew the crying would eventually stop, but I would overcome it. I knew the love I once knew was gone, but I would overcome it. These choices you made had nothing to do with me, and I had to realize that. I could not change you, but I could be supportive through your change. Watching you grow as a person and a man is a sight that I hope everyone can witness in their life. Do not accept mediocre from your partner or your friends. We as humans do not deserve to be treated any less than how we treat others, especially when we are giving our all. I am so grateful for the chance to share my story in all of its messiness. At times I am in shock; this is my story, but then I own it and help others along the way.

As I sit here and thank God for another day, I reminisce over everything we have become and everything our future holds. I cannot help but be saddened and grateful by how we got here. We got to this strong place through a reveal of shame, lies, and secrecy. I remember the call like it was yesterday, you were calling from jail, and I remember hanging up the phone and telling you to figure it out. There is nothing in this world that could have prepared me for that moment, and I wasn’t ready for this truth bomb to hit me. The truth was that you had been cheating on me for 5+ years with prostitutes and massage parlors, and leading another life that I knew nothing about. I couldn’t even look myself in the mirror because of how blind I was and embarrassed I was. I allowed someone to give me a 50% commitment for my 110% loyalty. I allowed myself to question my gut because I didn’t want to be seen as a “crazy woman.” I prayed throughout our marriage for there to be answers of why I was feeling like this. I was over the fighting, but I didn’t know I would get my prayers answered like this. When I finally got all the answers I was looking for, I didn’t know how to accept them. The roller coaster of emotions is a real thing, and through our experiences, we will witness this. I was shocked, angry, confused, defeated, heartbroken, lost, and at the same time, I felt a rush of change swoop over me. My gut had been right all along, and I needed to take my time on this. I could not make a drastic decision that could impact myself and the kids for the rest of our lives. I had to swallow my pride and help someone that I loved so much, yet it was the same person who had hurt me more than anybody else. I had to remember that life is hard sometimes, but through these moments is where the strength lies. I hated looking weak to others because I stayed, I hated not being able to look at myself because I wasn’t sure what I was going to see in the mirror and if I was making the right decisions. I finally trusted my gut, and I thanked her for always having my back even when I wasn’t listening. I thanked that beautiful woman in the mirror for finding her way back to who she was. Funny, loving, caring, kind, and honest as ever. I stopped saying sorry, and I started only accepting actions that showed change, and not just words that stated the changes. I remembered that girl I had lost that could be in front of anyone and make someone smile. We went through so much together, and I wasn’t going to let something that hurt me so much be the end of it. I wasn’t going to turn my back when someone needed me most. There were times I wanted to scream and yell and run away. I wanted you to cry and cry and say you were sorry, as I spit in your face and leave. I knew that wouldn’t change anything. I knew I had to focus on myself and watch you change if that was what you truly wanted.

We open this next chapter of our lives, you as a recovering addict, and me as a wife of a recovering addict. I learned so much through this process, and honestly, at times, it is a bit overwhelming. I learned that society has a lot of work to do with education and awareness. Sex needs to be talked about and not portrayed in the media the way it is. I learned that our family will continue to grow with love and honesty. We are the voice for so many others and so many ordinary people that this has affected. I want to be a voice for people who think it is weak to stand by someone who is changing for the better. It is not weak, in fact, it is strong and unselfish. To be better, we have to do better, and the first step is owning our truth. But be cautious, because this story will not be the same for all, and you must trust your gut and your heart. Only stand by someone who is changing and putting in the work, it is not on you, it is on them. Learn to trust yourself again and take the leap of faith and do better for yourself. Be honest about your past and move forward in the present and for a better future. I am living proof that putting yourself first is the most important thing and that the truth really does, set you free.