marilea.rabasa@gmail.com

Not My Will—But Thine

OMG, what I’ve learned about ego and control could fill a book. A friend once told me that ego is what separates us from oneness with God. What she meant, I think, was that our ego run amok might separate us from a lot of things here on earth. It separates us from others when “we have to be right.” It separates us from a lot of people when we feel we know what’s best for them and try to impose our will on him or her. When it’s a loved one who is self-destructing, we feel and ARE utterly justified in our well-intentioned attempts to influence him or her. And we can be right until the cows come home, but others will follow their own will (especially if the physiological need for drugs is present). We can hope and pray, but in the end we must accept our powerlessness over another adult’s illness—and let go. Just—let—go…boy, is that...

The Spirit Coming Alive

      Memoir Excerpt:  “One of the promises of Al-Anon is that we shall learn to be “happy, joyous and free.” I like the free part best. For too many years I’ve been chained to my own human failings. I never understood with such clarity my own defects and limitations until I started to work this Program. I was so lonely and isolated. But when I came to believe after much trial and error that I was in fact powerless over addiction—mine, Angie’s and anyone else’s—I fell to my knees and turned this struggle over. And I felt so much lighter. Now, at last, I was off the hook. I’ve turned over all the lost years with Angie and turned my attention to things I can control now. And that has given me the freedom to focus on other things. My spirituality is based on three factors: far less EGO (Easing God Out), humble acceptance of whatever my lot is in life, and the vision to appreciate every day for all the good that I can see and experience. In this way, the principles of this Program have changed my life. It’s really great to be alive, and for so many years my life was utterly joyless. That’s the power of the spirit coming alive in me through my spiritual...

“Guilt Is A Terrible Crippler…”

From Survival to Recovery, p. 25-26: “Unless recovery is found, blame, guilt, anger, depression, and many other negative attitudes can go on for generations in a family affected by alcoholism…Focusing on ourselves actually allows us to release other people to solve their own problems and frees us to find contentment and even happiness for ourselves.” We all have different stories of how addiction has touched our lives. In my life, guilt was a constant theme from very early in my childhood, and, as I said in my memoir, “Guilt is a terrible crippler.” It crippled me, especially, when my own child mirrored the addict in me and morphed into a worse and more dysfunctional addict than I ever was. Guilt and self-blame put me at risk in setting and enforcing boundaries, in becoming an enabler, in shielding Angie from the logical consequences of her behavior. In short, guilt kept me from parenting my daughter intelligently and kept me stuck in a hole. Fortunately I found recovery and release from my own guilt, much of it misplaced, which in turn is freeing Angie to live her own life and solve her own...

The Terrifying Reality Of Our Lost Children

Memoir Excerpt:  “Meth addicts can go for days without sleep sometimes, and then they need to crash, recoup their energy and start the cycle all over again. I went back upstairs, tiptoeing around the house, a minefield waiting to be activated by just the wrong look or comment. Most of the time I felt like a scared rabbit. Angie came and went like a phantom between the holidays. She was a body, yes, but nothing else resembled my daughter. Her face was still healing from the burns she had gotten from freebasing crack cocaine back in October. She lost all her beautiful eyelashes then and had been wearing false ones ever since. How bizarre: false eyelashes at age twenty-two. And the eye drops—always the eye drops. She ate not at all as far as I could see, nothing from my refrigerator anyway. She was painfully thin. But, of course, meth took away your appetite. That was the point, one of them, anyway. All those years ago when I took amphetamines, I delighted in the same side effect. Life was repeating itself and I was in a time warp observing myself at the very same age. God, it was so painful. We barely spoke. Sometimes she mumbled “Hello,” but mostly she just needed a place to crash and get her clothes. Why wasn’t she living with that creep, her pusher? I was glad she wasn’t and at the same time I’d wished she were. Every day was a surreal pageant, dancing around with this stranger. The terror was so disorienting that I lapsed into denial sometimes and pretended it wasn’t...

Guilt and Redemption

A Mother’ s Story: Angie Doesn’t Live Here Anymore reviewed by Dylan Ward “Romero’s unflinchingly honest memoir recounts her life growing up with an alcoholic father, her mother’s emotional abuse, her distant sister, and her own struggles with an eating disorder that’s “like a panther ready to pounce at vulnerable times.” She faces a lifelong battle with her addiction and as a mother she reluctantly witnesses her daughter, Angie, succumb to a similar life of addiction and pain… Romero alternates with time in her memoir, reflecting on the past and present, attempting to understand key moments and decisions that ultimately affected her family and where she is today. Her complex relationship with Angie is detailed with an emotional and truthful perspective of a mother who, despite everything, still loves her daughter. Through A Mother’s Story Romero comes to terms with her own failures and successes while exorcising the demons that plague her.” RECOMMENDED by the US...