marilea.rabasa@gmail.com

What Makes Rainbows?

From Courage to Change, March 14: “One beautiful day, a man sat down under a tree, not noticing it was full of pigeons. Shortly, the pigeons did what pigeons do best. The man shouted at the pigeons as he stormed away, resenting the pigeons as well as the offending material. But then he realized that the pigeons were merely doing what pigeons do, just because they’re pigeons and not because he was there. Active alcoholics are people who drink. They don’t drink because of you or me, but because they are alcoholics. No matter what I do, I will not change this fact, not with guilt, shouting, begging, distracting, hiding money or bottles or keys, lying, threatening, or reasoning. I didn’t cause alcoholism. I can’t control it. And I can’t cure it. I can continue to struggle and lose. Or I can accept that I am powerless over alcohol and alcoholism, and let Al-Anon help me to redirect the energy I’ve spent on fighting this disease into recovering from its effects. It’s not easy to watch someone I love continue to drink, but I can do nothing to stop them. If I can see how unmanageable my life has become, I can admit that I am powerless over this disease. Then I can really begin to make my life better.”   My recovery has been, among other things, about redirecting my energy into a positive force for my loved ones and me. Before I learned the tools of recovery, though I appeared to be content and successful, I was deeply troubled and unhappy on the inside. Then, when my...

One Day At A Time…

Memoir Excerpt:  “Being able to live one day at a time, one of the basic tenets of the Twelve-Step Programs, used to be a challenge for me. How could I live my whole life in just the next twenty-four hours—without fear or projection? That was a tall order. But particularly for addicts it’s necessary to live one day at a time. Life happens—every day—and too many stresses can occur in a mere twenty-four hours to throw us a curve and beckon us back into our addictive behavior. If we limit our vision to the day at hand, it’s easier to stay focused on our sobriety. Early in my Twelve-Step study, I often tormented myself looking at my past mistakes because I’d felt I had it coming. “What goes around comes around,” and all that wrathful noise about divine retribution. But I don’t believe God has anything to do with my self-punishment because I believe that He is benevolent. And now I can “look back without staring” if I keep my focus on the present and remind myself that done is done, but today is the first day of the rest of my life. Not dwelling on what happened yesterday, not worrying about what hasn’t happened yet, and having the gratitude to appreciate the colors of the sunrise today, or a kind gesture from someone, or a good meal, or a good night’s sleep—I’m always sending God thank you notes—I don’t know who else to thank! The ability to do this is one of the many rewards this Program offers...

“Joy And Woe Are Woven Fine…”

From “The Forum,” August, 2015, p. 19: “I’m so grateful I found a way out of sadness, a way to take care of myself each day, and a relationship with the God of my understanding, who will never abandon me. The pain I’ve felt in the past is equal to the measure of joy I feel now.” That’s quite a mouthful. Whoever wrote those words in “The Forum” is saying that somewhere between despair and happiness she or he did some work, found some answers. For me, anyway, I entered into a state of grace. I quite deliberately let go of my pain, which served no further purpose in my life. The lessons it taught me have been learned. I’ve put my sadness in a back drawer—and replaced it with positive thoughts that keep me motivated to reclaim my life, my remaining loved ones, and keep my heart ticking. Grief is not a badge I wear anymore. Joyfulness is....

What Does Recovery Feel Like?

    Memoir Excerpt: “Recovery from the effects of a loved one’s addiction—what else is it? It’s many things to many people. It’s being able to relish the kaleidoscope of colors in life—not just see them but also appreciate them. Life need no longer be black and white, even gray. My friend, Debby, coming out of a meeting recently, exclaimed:  ‘Oh, what a gorgeous sunset!’ That’s what recovery is: being able, in spite of everything, to swim with the currents of life—and be grateful one can still swim. Thirteen years seem like a long time to watch one’s child slowly succumb to the disease of addiction, though I know other parents who have traveled this road longer. Angie has bounced in and out of recovery and so have I. I have no wish to outlive my child, but many parents do just that, whether the enemy is cancer or any other...

Living In The Solution

I messaged a friend on Facebook: “Oh, God Bless, Maryann, my heart goes out to you and all of us mothers. I often say in my book and on these sites that I’m grieving a living death because Angie, my daughter, is not the person who’s walking in her shoes. She’s split right down the middle. Anyway, we all have different stories, but some parts are so familiar. My memoir was all about finding solutions for myself, and I hope it helps you too. One thing I’ve learned on this difficult journey is to live in the solution, not in the problem. That’s how I’ve learned to be happy. Hugs to you! From a Nar-Anon handout: “People like myself whose problems have brought them to the point of despair have come to Nar-Anon to seek advice and find solutions. As soon as they attend the first meeting they feel like they have come home and feel like they are among people who really understand. And fortunate is the newcomer who finds a group that permits such expression. It gives those who have gone before them a way to give encouragement and hope. The newcomer discovers that it is by giving and receiving in our sharing that we are able to heal ourselves, and slowly we are able to regain control of our lives again. But still more fortunate is the newcomer who finds a group that does not allow such unburdening to continue meeting after meeting. There is work to be done; Nar-Anon is not a sounding board for continually reviewing our miseries, but a way to learn how...