marilea.rabasa@gmail.com

We Are Both Changed By Addiction

Memoir Excerpt:  “My daughter’s choices: none of my business. If she were an ax murderer, would it be none of my business? Let it go, Maggie; you are separate people, remember? I told myself. My Twelve-Step recovery, so far, has brought me a great deal of gratitude and serenity, mostly when I remember that voice from God telling me to let go of control and resistance. Yet there’s another part of me that hurts terribly when I witness the destruction of my daughter at the hands of Addiction. How can I be well while Angie is so sick? I’ve spent all these years searching for an answer. Meghan O’Rourke, author of The Long Goodbye, in an interview discussing her own grief about losing her mother, says this: ‘I’m changed by it, the way a tree is changed by having to grow around an obstacle.’ It’s the subliminal mother force in me. Grief and loss—they change us. I keep getting beamed onto Planet X, then back again, my molecules getting rearranged every time. Just as Angie has changed, so have I. I’ve loved my daughter as best I could for half of my life. How can losing her to this living death not change me?”...

Other Voices Are Calling Me

Most of us have experienced the pain of substance abuse, either directly or indirectly. It’s everywhere in our society, and addiction in all its forms has the power to take away our happiness and wellbeing. My daughter Angie has scrambled in and out of the rabbit hole for over fifteen years, and much of the time I was in it with her. But I’ve learned to let go of a disease and its ensuing consequences that I have no control over. Yes, let go. Once the tears have dried and we can open our eyes, maybe we can look around us and see what’s left from all the chaos and devastation: a job we like, flowers that are blooming, other family members, good health, enough money to be comfortable, friends who care and don’t judge us. The list goes on. These little girls are my great joy lately, and if I didn’t have them I hope I could find the courage to celebrate something else—anything else—in my life. Because time passes too quickly, and before we know it, ours is up. Life is too precious to waste....

“Let Go, Or Be Dragged”

Memoir Excerpt: “Eventually I got to a place where I admitted—no, I accepted—my powerlessness over her disease, though it was counterintuitive for me to do so. By accepting that I was powerless it still sometimes felt like I was giving up, like I didn’t care. Nothing could be further from the truth. But I had to walk over a lot of hot coals before I would know how much I loved Angie. In time I became detached enough to look at her, feel nothing but compassion and love for her, and discuss things intellectually. It was no longer my personal mission to try to change my daughter into the person I wanted her to be. I was not Angie, and she was not me. We were separate people, and I no longer felt that her illness and/or what she chose to do about it reflected on me. This was tremendously freeing for me. Or, as one parent writes in Sharing Experience, Strength and Hope: “Let go, or be...

The Freedom Of Forgiveness

“Forgiveness doesn’t make the other person right, it just makes me free.” We’ve heard all the sayings along this line: ‘right vs. happy,’ etc. When I think of how many battles I’ve gotten into—fueled by my own ego and my need to win—I feel dismayed at the wastefulness of good energy. How we humans get in our own way! Well, because I’m human, I still fall into the trap. But the three A’s—awareness, acceptance, and action—help dig me out of that hole. When I slow down—and get off automatic pilot—I allow myself to behave differently. And I’m happier as a...