marilea.rabasa@gmail.com

Alice In Wonderland

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 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 enough.’ It’s worth noting here that of the four rehabs Angie has been to this one, the one she herself wanted produced the best results in her. Why? Because she wanted it—as plain and simple as that sounds. She wanted it because for the first time in her disease she felt her life was in danger—not from drugs—but from the life and the people that accompany them. A few years down the road, no longer a stranger to the danger that went with this way of life, three more rehabs would be placed in front of her, like roadblocks: ‘Choose, Angie, do this or die.‘ And to her credit, I suppose, she chose to go where we wanted to send her. ‘Where we wanted to send her.’ That’s why they didn’t work. She wasn’t ready to make that commitment again. She was just Alice tripping from one place to another, when all of a sudden this bulldozer broke through the ceiling and screeched, ‘Angie, come with me. I want to save you!’ And ‘curiouser and curiouser’ she cracked, ‘Oh, what the hell, I need a vacation from all this...

The Power Of Choice

I am not a victim, but an active participant in my own life. I learned the 3 A’s in Al-Anon: awareness, acceptance, and action. Those are three very loaded concepts. Awareness requires some honesty and courage, the willingness to look in the mirror and face one’s reflection—sometimes good and sometimes not; acceptance asks us to recognize the difference between changing what we can and what we can’t, which is really huge and really hard for most ordinary humans like myself; and action asks more courage of us to make changes—rendering our lives happier and more productive. I may be an adult child, but I’m growing up. I will take responsibility for my own life, for my successes and my failures. In this way I feel empowered, no matter the outcome, to be the star in my own show. “I don’t want to wake up one day and find I’m at the end of someone else’s...

The Voice Of Denial

Memoir Excerpt: “Angie worked at one part-time job after another, saving her money in the bank. I bought her an old car so she could drive to school and she never abused the privilege. Friends were important to her, but she remained focused on school and work. Angie was endlessly thoughtful to both her parents and grandparents on special occasions. And the list goes on. If I was surprised by my daughter’s drug addiction in 2001, this is why. Later on once her addiction had taken hold of her, I would be incredulous at the dysfunctional behavior I was seeing. It’s as though she had become possessed. She had problems, but I thought I was helping her deal with them responsibly. There were no visible red flags. She didn’t stay in bed every day and pull the covers over her head. She diligently saw her therapist every week, facing every day with discipline and good humor. She never missed her classes and she never quit her jobs. Her grades were excellent. Maybe—and this is important to recognize now—this was the beginning of the denial that would hamper me throughout Angie’s addiction, preventing me from dealing with her illness intelligently and effectively. Angie was a good daughter. But please, beware of the complacency in those words. Clearly, she hid her pain very well. Clearly, much was lurking beneath the surface that I did not see. And if I ache with the vacant promise of all the “woulda, coulda, shouldas,” it’s because I know that even if I had known what was coming down the road, I couldn’t have stopped...