marilea.rabasa@gmail.com

Acceptance—Of Self And Others

Memoir Excerpt:  “Ever since I was a very young child I’d been fragile, like thin ice on a lake—don’t walk on it; you might fall through and drown. My sense of being OK was always shaky when I was younger. Many of us who grow up with low self-worth become chameleons. Chameleons change their color out of fear to protect themselves from predators. We don’t have clear personal boundaries, often not recognizing where we end and others begin. We don’t really know who we are, so we attach ourselves to whomever we’re around, often seeking their approval by pretending to be like them. But like the chameleon who turns green in the jungle, we are afraid to distinguish ourselves. I remember telling Angie back in 2010, ‘I know who I am now.’ Well, that’s an ongoing process. Now I accept who I am, warts and all. I know that absolute perfection doesn’t exist anyway. My years of growth in the Twelve-Step Programs have brought me out of isolation while I’ve celebrated my humanity. As I dare to take new risks I continue to learn new things about myself. I respect my imperfections because they keep me humble and swimming in the stream of life with other fellow travelers also struggling like me. I am never...

Freedom From The Obsession

                                                                                           One Day at a Time   When we take the first step in recovery and admit our powerlessness over addiction, we are facing the reality of this disease. We are not dropping the ball and throwing our addict to the wind. That’s how I felt in the beginning, as I continually obsessed over my child and tried to control the progress of her illness. I felt very guilty and overly responsible for what she was going through. I introduced her to rehab four times, always hoping that she would embrace the recovery tools she learned there. Some addicts “get it” and go on to recover and work at it one day at a time. Angie did get it for various (blessed) periods over the past 15 years, but then she couldn’t hold onto it. I learned many things in the rooms, especially to accept that it’s not my fault and that I must let go of my responsibility and get out of her way. I pray for her to find the spiritual wellness that I have found, but there’s not much else I can do. And I can’t “force the solution” that I want. God has His own plan for her, and for me, and for all of us. I trust in my faith, and that relieves me of my obsession. “Let go and...

Steering My Ship

Memoir Excerpt:  “Most people have rules that they try to live by: a certain moral code that they may have picked up from their parents or others as they grew up…and the best piece of wisdom, I think, is the Serenity Prayer: ‘God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.’ There are so many things in my life over which I have no control: the weather, road rage, barking dogs. Really, the capriciousness of events that surround us is astounding and is perhaps the reason why many people, myself included, need a lot of daily structure to feel grounded and secure. A sound mind, good health and a sense of wellbeing only add to that state. But when illness strikes, all sense of security and control flies out the proverbial window. My daughter falling ill with drug addiction threw my life into turmoil, and I spent years flailing around like a decapitated chicken trying to make sense of things and gain a sense of control. My life was becoming very messy because I kept trying to influence the course of an illness that had nothing to do with me. Turning my attention to other areas where I could have had an impact would have been more constructive. I know I must continue to accept the unpleasantness as hard as it is because if I don’t—if I fight tooth and nail to get my way—I’ll just make myself crazy. I’ve kept trying to help Angie because I care so much, but it’s a...