marilea.rabasa@gmail.com

A Journey Of Transformation

A mother wrote me recently: “Your memoir has released me from my shame. Reading your recovery story has shown me how, in spite of everything bad that’s happening now, I can get on with my life and learn to be whole and happy again. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”   My story takes you through my recovery from addiction and the effects of living with it. But it didn’t start out that way. I began it several years ago solely as a story about my daughter’s drug addiction. And as I got deeper into the writing of it I realized that there was much more of a story to tell, and that that story began with me in my childhood. And so I began the excavation process, the unfolding of my life, and laid myself out before the reader in the Introduction. Angie didn’t become an addict in a vacuum. She is the latest in at least four generations of troubled souls. So I allow you, the reader, to get to know me long before my daughter was hijacked by this cruel disease. It adds another dimension to my very personal story, and allows you to consider that addiction is often a generational illness. And you will see why it is, indeed, “A Mother’s Story.” Ironically it was my daughter Angie whose disease brought me to a place of wellness and peace in my life. All the ugliness of behavior and spirit that often goes with unbridled addiction is documented in the book, as addiction is a monster that takes few prisoners. Yet Angie was a...

The Pain of Resistance

From In All Our Affairs: Making Crises Work for You “I had always wanted to be different, better than others. It comforted me to believe that I loved more, cared more and suffered more from the effects of someone else’s drinking. I was different when I went to Al-Anon. I suffered from these feelings of alienation, yet while I wanted to belong, I wanted even more to remain apart—to hang on to my old life, my old thinking. I felt that as I accepted each truth, each part of the program, some portion of me was going to die. I was not capable of believing that there would be a new life, or that a mature woman might be born from the wreckage of a guilt-ridden, obsessive child.” My resistance remained even as I took the Steps of recovery. While I made progress emotionally through friendship and the release of some of my anxiety, I was unable to surrender myself to the idea of a Higher Power. It was a few years before I made that final surrender. Then and only then did I have any idea what Al-Anon was all about. I now understand my uniqueness. There is no one else on earth exactly like me, but with God as my partner and as a member of such a fellowship, I am not...

Another Goodbye

Memoir Excerpt: “So this was what it was like: we’d been here before; we’d taken her to rehab, we’d visited her in rehab; we’d silently prayed on our side of the great divide that God would have mercy on our child and intervene—that He, or anyone, I didn’t care—would help her see the light and want to get well and return to her family. This rehab was different; it was farther away. Maybe it would be easier for her to get a better perspective on her life. Maybe, maybe, maybe—she had her own higher power, and I had mine. Oh, God, I pleaded under my breath, it had to work this time. “Let her go, Maggie,” I heard Him answer. I lingered, half hoping she’d backtrack and blow us another kiss. She didn’t. We turned around and walked to the exit. Goodbye...

Breaking The Chains

From Daily Word, May 20: I Celebrate The Free Spirit I Am “Sometimes I may forget to give thanks for one of my greatest gifts—freedom. I am free to believe what I wish and worship where I want. I am free to travel and free to express myself. Most important, I am free to choose my thoughts and responses. In the Silence, I let go of fear worry and pain. I release any limiting opinions or views of myself and claim my divine potential. My heart expands with gratitude as I connect with the part of me that know no limits—my spirit self. I affirm: I am free to choose my thoughts and responses and align my dreams with the highest good. I rejoice in the presence of unbounded Spirit in me and claim my infinite potential.”   For much of my life I suffered from depression, and I didn’t know how to be free of it. I just resigned myself to feeling sad much of the time and filled in the hollowness with food and drugs. Working the Steps in the 12-Step fellowships I belong to has given me the tools to look at myself, work on things that were getting in my way, and point me in a positive direction. I can choose to do this work or I can choose to be the unhappy person I was for so long. I’m free to choose. And I choose joy....

The Splintered Self

Memoir Excerpt: “Nearly a year had passed since her disappearance from the psych ward in Baltimore. There was no word for a year—nothing. I assumed she was dead; I was sure of it. My daughter, once upon a time, was the most faithful and loyal child any parent could wish for. And even though this memoir has shown numerous instances of the drug-induced change in her personality, I still believed, needed to believe, that my daughter would never torture her family without any word for a year, not unless she couldn’t contact us. She would never be that cruel. Therefore, she must be dead. This is when I wrote her eulogy. I was just waiting for the end to come. The only thing missing was the body. Ah yes, the body, that tool, that means, to fund her habit. How could I forget what had happened not that long ago? I was wrong. I was wrong and still unbelievably naïve about the power and the cruelty of drug addiction. There was a living, breathing body living just outside of Baltimore. Only now she called herself...