marilea.rabasa@gmail.com

Playing God

Memoir Excerpt:  “Recovery in the Program, time and the perspective it brings us, has given me a lot of new information. My own recovery has also graced me with a healthy amount of humility. I used to confuse humility with humiliation. I used to think that admitting my faults would produce shame in me and threaten my self-worth. But in recent years I have a different understanding of this word. Having taken the Fourth Step (“Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves”), and later the Seventh Step (“Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings”), I began to see myself in a healthier light. I began to see myself in relation to my higher power. I am just a speck in the universe, no more, no less. I’ve been playing God for much of my life. It doesn’t matter any more why; what matters now is that I remain ever mindful of the amount of power I have over others and stop trying to play God with...

“Living Well Is The Best Revenge”

I’ve received many emails from moms asking me how I cope with the living death of Angie’s heroin addiction. She’s neither dead nor alive. Many of my friends here know the hellish limbo I’m living in, without any resolution or closure. But I have found a way to cope well and move on with my life. This is what I wrote back: “I put my grief in a back drawer and close it. Then I look at what’s in my front drawers every morning. I have so many wonderful things to be grateful for. Instead of focusing on the problem, I try to keep my mind on the solution. This is how I live. It keeps me humble, grateful, and glad to be alive. I honor Angie’s memory in this way, and I truly believe she would want me to live well and be happy. Blessings to you, Mom.”...

Happy Birthday, Angie

Dear Angie, It’s me, Mom. Today is your 37th birthday. How could I forget? I know it’s been a long time since we’ve seen each other, and maybe you’re thinking that you can’t turn around and fly over that bridge you burned and come back to your family. But I’m here to tell you: yes you can! You don’t know how a mother’s love is everlasting. It’s not something I even think about, like do I or don’t I love you? From the moment you were born—such an easy birth, slipped in between lunch and dinner—I became more than myself. I grew another body part, or at least a bigger heart. For 21 years we were a part of each other’s lives. We had our ups and downs, but I was your mother and you were my daughter. I have drawers full of cards and gifts that tell me you were there, that you loved me. I look at those gifts sometimes so I can remember, because it’s been 4 years, and I don’t want to forget. I email you sometimes cuz I don’t want you to forget either. Please remember: as long as there is life, there is hope. And our love for you is...

“Aye, there’s the rub…”

The Serenity Prayer (Part 3)  “Courage to change the things I can… When my ego is involved and there’s a calculated risk, I’m going to be gutsy, not courageous. It takes guts to ski a steep trail; I alone will be rewarded. Courage is different. There is always a parenthesis of fear in Courage; the risk becomes minor. This parenthesis remains a void of fear until it is filled by God. There is no ego in a courageous act. Courage can ask for help. It is often something done for someone else, or it may be something I am not attracted to doing at all. I may lose by doing it. The courageous act is often the unpopular choice, to do or not to do. The results are seldom only mine. It requires more of me than I want to think I can do, alone. After it is finished, gratitude to someone or something is usually in order. Courage requires a moral strength not of myself. This strength is given by faith.” EGO—Easing God Out—is my enemy in many ways. It makes me willful and arrogant. It’s the great separator—of me from people, of me from God. When I let God back in again, my life and my relationships seem to work better. And God has always given me the courage to do what is difficult in relation to my daughter. My faith in Him has given me the strength to do what I believe is right, regardless of the consequences. I believe things are unfolding as they are meant...

Others Need Us Too

Memoir Excerpt: “I’ll never forget a friend I had years ago. She was the youngest of three girls in her family. The middle sister had suffered from cancer years before and had died. My friend was ten when her sister died at age fourteen. But it wasn’t the death that traumatized Jillian so much. It was the years of care, heartbreak and obsession with saving her dying child that her mother endured—to the exclusion of her other two girls—that turned Jillian into an angry, rebellious teenager. She did not get her share of mother love, she felt, and to this day she has not forgiven her mother. I should have remembered that story while I was obsessing over Angie.” I have since made amends to my other children and family members for allowing my daughter’s illness to take up so much emotional energy in my life. And they have forgiven me. It’s so easy for a loving mother to become enmeshed in the life of a troubled child. But I need to remember that there are other people in my life, and I will try to keep a healthy perspective and a sense of...