marilea.rabasa@gmail.com

“That’s What Recovery Feels Like…”

Memoir Excerpt:  “In a letter to a friend: ‘So how to get through the holidays? It’s all in how we see things, our attitude, how we choose to view our world. I make myself look on the bright side of things, not because I’m a goody-goody (Ha!), but because it makes me feel better. At what point in the road did I decide I deserved to be happy? I don’t know. But when you reach it, you’ll know. And you’ll feel like the weight of the world has been lifted off your shoulders. That’s what recovery feels like. All the best to you, my friend, and hope the holidays will be less of a chore for you this year. Keep in touch and take good care of yourself. Maggie’” All the hype and increased expectations pull on our heartstrings over the holidays like no other time of year. I used to dread them, but with each passing year of recovery, I’m grateful for my acceptance of situations I cannot change—as well as my ability to celebrate...

Finding My Faith

Memoir Excerpt: “It wasn’t until I was tested as her mother that I found my ability to harness any faith at all. My sadness as a child paled before my growing despair as an adult child. The journey I’m on now has given me fresh new insights as I’ve confronted myself and understood where I have come from. My journey has in turn helped me understand where I have taken my own family. What was given to me has been passed down to my children. Yet I understand now that I could not have turned out differently, nor could I have been a different parent. My behavior as an adult was scripted from my childhood. What I need now is faith in something outside of myself to help me carry the burden—and gratitude that I’m finally able to ask for help. My faith has everything to do with turning over my self-will and accepting the will of another. I have found peace and serenity in acceptance of life as it is happening every day. Letting go and handing over the reins has given me the freedom to live my own life now without feeling shackled to the past or frightened of the...

Sometimes I Talk To God

Memoir Excerpt: “My newest concern was not if she was still on drugs. That was patently clear to us all. Now I feared that she would lose that leg, the one with the femoral artery she injected God knows what into when I left her alone in my condo in Virginia—the same artery that got infected again right after she moved to San Francisco. And now that same artery was infected again, threatening to break like a worn out rubber band. She really could lose her leg. And then what will become of her? Whereto, Persephone? A state hospital somewhere in California for the rest of what’s left of her life? Would this be the bottom we all pray for and fear at the same time—the one that convinces her that she must embrace recovery or die? I live with this reality every day. Sometimes I look up and ask God for a sign, some way of knowing something. But this is why I’m learning to replace fear with faith. I’ve spent much of my life controlled and manipulated by fear, rarely feeling good enough, secure enough, valued enough to just be me. Fear so often clouds our good judgment, and faith releases us from too much responsibility, too much self-importance, and from our need to control. Over and over again in times of crisis in recent years I’ve accepted what is—without resistance anymore—and I’ve discovered for myself that faith and acceptance go hand in hand. My behavior when I was in San Francisco six months ago is a good example of this. Expressing any anger to Angie—feeding the...

Choice and Empowerment

From Each Day a New Beginning, 9/30: “’Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn’t people feel as free to delight in whatever remains to them?’ Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy We choose the lives we lead. We choose sadness or happiness; success or failure; dread or excited anticipation. Whether or not we are conscious of our choices, we are making them every moment. Accepting full responsibility for our actions is one of the requirements of maturity. Not always the easiest thing to do, but necessary to our further development. An unexpected benefit of accepting our responsibility is that it heightens our awareness of personal power. Our wellbeing is within our power. Happiness is within our power. Our attitude about any condition, present or future, is within our power, if we take it. Life is “doing unto us” only what we allow. And it will favor us with whatever we choose. If we look for excitement, we’ll find it. We can search out the positive in any experience. All situations present seeds of new understanding, if we are open to them. Our response to the events around us determines whatever meaning life offers. We are in control of our outlook. And our outlook decides our future. The day is mine, fully, to delight in—or to dread. The direction is always mine.” We all go through tough times, often wondering how we will endure the unendurable. Watching our children go down paths we would never choose for them, and being powerless to stop it; or many of us burying our children, and forced to face the closure that comes with that. How do...