marilea.rabasa@gmail.com

Seeing Through The Tears

From Each Day A New Beginning, January 9: “‘The Chinese say that water is the most powerful element, because it is perfectly nonresistant. It can wear away a rock and sweep all before it.’ ~Florence Scovel Shinn Nonresistance, ironically, may be a posture we struggle with. Nonresistance means surrendering the ego absolutely. For many of us, the ego, particularly disguised as false pride, spurred us on to struggle after struggle. ‘Can’t they see I’m right?’ we moaned, and our resistance only created more of itself. Conversely, flowing with life, ‘bubbling’ with the ripples, giving up our ego, releases from us an energy that heals the situation—that smoothes the negative vibrations in our path. Peace comes to us. We will find serenity each time we willingly humble ourselves. ‘Resistance is more familiar. Nonresistance means growth and peace. I’ll try for serenity today.’” “Try for;” that’s the key. Who can practice nonresistance all the time? My ego and willfulness have tripped me up most of my life! Like many mothers here, I was a warrior determined to save my child. It’s counterintuitive NOT to be. But once I accepted that addiction is a brain disease, I stopped fighting so hard to save Angie. I simply don’t have that power. She’s very sick; call it “psycheache,” call it what you want to call it. But she’s thirty-seven years old, and she knows what she needs to do if she wants to live well. It’s her choice. And I have choices too. Painful words coming from a mother who hasn’t seen her girl in almost five years. But it’s how I choose to...

Attitude Is Everything

From Each Day A New Beginning, November 24: “If onlys” are lonely—Morgan Jennings The circumstances of our lives seldom live up to our expectations or desires. However, in each circumstance we are offered an opportunity for growth or change, a chance for greater understanding of life’s heights and pitfalls. Each time we choose to lament what isn’t, we close the door on the invitation to a better existence.” We all wish things were different in our lives. There’s always something. Who has everything they want? So often, the grass looks greener on our neighbor’s lawn. But if what we want—what we are lacking—is not within our reach, I’ve learned to let it go. It takes a lot of energy to keep trying to change the way things are. I spent years trying to save my daughter from a disease that was killing her mind and body. But I have neither the responsibility nor the ability to free her of her addiction. She alone has that power. So I don’t say “If only” anymore. Instead, I open my eyes and my heart to what’s right in front of me: the breathtaking sunrises over Sandia Mountain; my healed tooth infection; “Bela, you’re the best grandma ever!”; celebrating my birthday by skiing and not falling flat on my face! The list is endless. As I say on the dedication page in my next memoir: “If you look for joy, you will find...

One Path To Recovery

“We rise by lifting others.” Robert Ingersoll I grew up in an alcoholic family. There was a lot of dysfunction around me and, to make a long story short, I was severely depressed. That led to a number of other problems, of course, and so my mother got me into volunteer work when I was thirteen, hoping it would relieve my anxiety and sadness. It wasn’t the immediate panacea that we’d hoped it would be, but it was a step in the right direction. And it brought me out of my isolation. Life unfolded for me in a dizzyingly assortment of ways: there were three children including my addict Angie and all the heartache that goes with her illness; a lot of travel in the Foreign Service; and a fulfilling teaching career. I’ve had a great life and I am very grateful. But through it all, thanks to my mother, I’ve been a volunteer in various different organizations. The work has kept my perspective healthy and made me feel better about myself, something I sorely needed. And it’s taken me most of my life and much 12-Step recovery work to truly celebrate myself fully. Helping others always helps me more. Happy New...

Baby Steps Lead To Bigger Ones

“First Step Prayer: Dear Lord, I admit that I am powerless over my addict. I admit that my life is unmanageable When I try to control him/her. Help me this day to understand the true meaning of powerlessness. Remove from me all denial of my loved one’s addiction.” The first step is probably the most important one in assuring our recovery from the effects of another’s addiction.  And it’s because I refused to take it that it took me so long to start to recover. I simply wouldn’t accept my powerlessness over my daughter’s disease. I felt as though I would be dropping the ball and appearing not to care about her. I felt that I had to do everything in my power to save her. So, deep pockets enabled me to put Angie through four rehabs. Deep pockets also had me paying her rent, paying off her loans, paying back the creditors she got into trouble with. All my “help” simply gave her more money for drugs. In short, deep pockets are dangerous. She might have learned something from the consequences of her actions if I hadn’t kept getting in the way. So yes, my life had become unmanageable. I love Angie very much. So I kept making things easy for her. But we can enable our children to death. Now I’ve let go of all my attempts to control her and her disease. And I feel as though the weight of the world has been lifted from my...