marilea.rabasa@gmail.com

Getting Out Of The Way

I’m a mother. When my kids were little, it was my job to keep them safe from harm. If they ran across the street with a car coming, I might have spanked them a little so they’d remember to look both ways the next time. Yes: pain; yes: consequences. Yes: both good teachers. But when Angie was twenty-one and started making terrible choices, I still thought it was my job to protect her from harm, self-inflicted or otherwise. And I still treated her like a two-year-old. When she first stole from me early on, I went into a long period of denial and guilt, minimizing my feelings and believing her incredible explanations. My inaction only emboldened her, and she went on to steal in other ways. Several times, she stole my identity, with no explanations. So even when it was clear to me that her behavior was sociopathic, I still behaved inappropriately: I did nothing. Even when the credit card company told me to do something—that it would be a lesson for her—I still did nothing. Where was the smack on the rear she would have gotten from running across the street? Where were the consequences that would have reminded her to be careful? I presented Angie with no consequences in the beginning of her illness and so she learned nothing. Her progressive illness got much worse. My guilt was crippling me as an effective parent. Not until I started working my own program of recovery in Al-Anon was I able to release myself from the hold that was strangling us both. I needed to get out of my...

I’m Okay

“When we start at the center of ourselves, we discover something worthwhile extending toward the periphery of the circle. We find again some of the joy in the now, some of the peace in the here, some of the love in me and thee which go to make up the kingdom of heaven on earth.” G.F. Sear Just for today…I am all I need to...

Alice in Wonderland

My daughter, Angie, has been at many crossroads during the fourteen years of her drug addiction. A few times, she chose wisely and well. Other times, not so wisely. Most of the time, sadly, it was addiction that was making the decisions, and addiction, like cancer, wants to survive. My prayers continue every day that my daughter stays alive long enough to reach that pivotal milestone on the road to recovery. Memoir Excerpt: “Alice: ‘Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’ The Cheshire Cat: ‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.’ Alice: ‘I don’t much care where.’ The Cheshire Cat: ‘Then it doesn’t matter much which way you go.’ Alice: …’So long as I get somewhere.’ The Cheshire Cat: ‘Oh, you’re sure to do that, if only you walk long...

Breakdown!

Memoir Excerpt: “After Angie’s arrest, I felt myself start to dissolve. I was a sugar cube with hot water poured over it, and I was melting. It was January 2008, and I started to feel my insides harden, or soften; I’m not sure which. I could barely swallow food, my taste buds had totally changed, everything in me changed, I couldn’t watch the shows I used to watch. I would lie in bed for hours at a time staring at the wall. I lost a ton of weight. At school, I watched in horror my hands uncontrollably shaking. I would space out in the middle of teaching a lesson. One of my students noticed and asked me if I was OK. What the hell was happening to me?” I spent the long holiday weekend up in Massachusetts with my mother in her nursing home. “How is Angie?” she queried. Bless her heart, for the past three years we all lied to her, told her that her granddaughter was living in California. How could I break my mother’s heart and tell her the truth? What was the point now of disclosing to my mother truths that would only further break her heart and open a can of worms she wasn’t well enough to deal with? My mother was ninety-eight years old, and was soon to meet her Maker. Leave her to her illusions, we all agreed. During my time with her, I sat on her bed and did the strangest thing: I wrote the first twenty pages of my life story. I felt driven right then and there to write...