marilea.rabasa@gmail.com

The Hardest Thing

From Courage to Change, one of my favorite daily readers: “It’s not easy to watch someone I love continue to drink, but I can do nothing to stop them. If I see how unmanageable my life has become, I can admit that I am powerless over the disease. Then I can really begin to make my life better.” And from my memoir: “This is the hardest thing about letting go of those we love strangling in the clutches of addiction: watching them do the dance by themselves—and staying on the sidelines. If I live to be as old as my mother when she died, I’ll never experience anything...

Reckoning

Memoir Excerpt: “I felt as though parts of my life were raining down on me in these woods. This reckoning was long overdue. I was once again the little girl who longed to be close to her big sister and missed her big brother, the little girl who needed attention from her father, and the young woman who needed to be free of her domineering mother. Losing Angie again felt like a death to me even though it wasn’t. There was no real closure, like the day I put Oscar down, Mahler’s Ninth Symphony pounding in my head. I was back in the woods of my childhood where I could scream my frustration and no one would hear me This was not my whole life—just the parts I needed to purge, the parts that held me back, and the ones that told me I deserved to lose my child. ‘You had this coming to you!’ the voice of Guilt shouted. ‘NO I DIDN’T!’ I screamed back, ‘No, I don’t.’ I felt that day in December, with my temples pounding and hearing nothing but the train racing in my head, that I was powerful. I was reclaiming what was left of my life. I’d been in recovery for years and was happier because of it—no question. But often when Angie relapsed I’d felt myself start to crumble like a week-old cookie. I’d want to scramble to help her fight off the Monster. I’d start to cling, listen for her footsteps, and anticipate her movements, her moods, utterly lose myself in my codependency, allow myself to be controlled by the uncontrollable,...

Remembering Angie

Today is my daughter’s 36th birthday. When she came out of her first rehab, back in 2002, she made me this lovely tapestry. I think it was her way of saying “I’m sorry, Mom, not for being sick, but for what my addiction drove me to do to you.” I cherish this gift and view it as a symbol of the goodness that all our suffering addicts carry within them. As long as Angie is alive, I have hope that she will find her way back to her...

Chasing The Butterfly

From Each Day A New Beginning, July 19: ‘At fifteen, life had taught me undeniably that surrender, in its place, was as honorable as resistance, especially if one had no choice.’—Maya Angelou “We had to surrender to a power greater than ourselves to get where we are today. And each day, we have to turn to that power for strength and guidance. For us, resistance means struggle—struggle with others as well as an internal struggle. Serenity isn’t compatible with struggle. We cannot control forces outside of ourselves. We cannot control the actions of our family or our co-workers. We can control our responses to them. And when we choose to surrender our attempts to control, we will find peace and serenity. That which we abhor, that which we fear, that which we wish to conquer seems suddenly to be gone when we decide to resist no more—to tackle it no more. The realities of life come to us in mysterious ways. We fight so hard, only to learn that what we need will never be ours until the struggle is forsaken. Surrender brings...