marilea.rabasa@gmail.com

“Deal From Strength”

From The Forum, October, 2014: “Before I came to Al-Anon, when I was figuring out if I was okay, I had a mental checklist: is my daughter okay, is my son okay, and is my husband okay? If I could answer yes to all of those, then I knew I was okay. When I could no longer deny that my teenage son had a big problem with alcohol and drugs, I was no longer able to feel okay, because he wasn’t okay. I had it backwards. In Al-Anon, I’m learning how to be okay without first checking in with my loved ones to see if they are okay, If they aren’t, maybe I can say or do something helpful; maybe not. I will still be okay. The action I take is much more likely to be effective if I am acting or speaking from a place of serenity. And with serenity I can begin to let go of the outcome, knowing I have done all I can and that I am powerless over the rest.” All I can add to these wise words is another saying I’ve picked up along the way: “deal from strength.”  So often in life our actions, and more often reactions, are born out of fear. When Angie robbed me, I was afraid that if I had her arrested she would be scarred forever, when in fact it might have taught her a valuable lesson about consequences. This is an example of enabling at its worst. My fear governed that very poor decision. Now, through the wisdom I have learned in the rooms, I do...

Who Are Our Teachers?

Memoir Excerpt: “My unsent letter to my child: ‘Dear Angie, Ironic, isn’t it, that you have become my teacher and not the other way around—teacher of life, teacher of love, and beacon of surrender. I’m so grateful that you were born, even though at times I’ve felt otherwise. God works in mysterious ways, doesn’t he? Though you haven’t been in my life long, and not always happily, it’s been your very existence that has propelled me into a serenely spiritual life, even happiness. I never would have done the work necessary to reach this place without your inspiration. You are my child, my teacher. As I’ve stumbled on this rocky path, my thoughts of you have guided me; they guide me still. All that I’ve become are gifts from you, my daughter: life lessons, trial by fire. How do I thank you? By living well—By loving well—Mom’ ‘God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.’ I cannot change the fact that Angie is an addict, and I cannot ‘wish’ her into recovery. I can only love her. And—this catch-22 has taken me most of my life to learn—I can only love her or anyone else in my life with any integrity, if I love and value and respect and cherish myself...

Recovery At Its Best

My former husband, Angel Miguel Rabasa, died last week in Washington, D.C. He had been ill with cancer and, despite surgery and chemotherapy to slow down its progress, he succumbed on 9/26/16, three days before his 68th birthday. I, along with his children and grandchildren, scrambled to get there from the West Coast. But none of us, including his two sisters from Miami, made it in time. He died surrounded by his wife and other loved ones. I have just two things to share regarding the passing of this good man: first, the early years of our marriage were filled with excitement and colorful stories that will keep our grandchildren entertained for years to come; the second thing, and this is such a blessing, is that the storms we have weathered in recent years have brought us closer together and we have become good friends. Such a gift! I am grateful beyond words for the difference this man has made in my...