marilea.rabasa@gmail.com

The Poison Of Resentment

I think we often forget how much carrying resentments burdens us. As they say,”It’s like swallowing poison and waiting for the OTHER person to die.” It’s only natural to feel angry sometimes, to develop a resentment. But if we have no control over it, it’s best to let it go. There are many healthy ways to do this: go for a run, write in a journal, confront the person in question and try to talk it out peacefully, turn the resentment over to God; the list goes on. Before I got into recovery I lost sleep a lot, overate a lot, shopped a lot, and buried my feelings a lot. But these are not healthy ways to respond to resentments. And they didn’t go away anyway. Another jingle I hear in the rooms is this: “expectations are premeditated resentments.” So once I’ve developed a resentment, I take a step back and look at the expectation that probably got me there. And I try to confine my expectations to myself—to people, places and things that I have some control over. Staying in control is important to us, so I try to keep my expectations within reasonable bounds. Staying focused on me is a step in the right direction, and ensures that I’ll have a happier...

Weathering The Storms

From Each Day is A New Beginning, May 16: ‘It is only the women whose eyes have been washed clear with tears who get the broad vision that makes them little sisters to all the world’—Dorothy Dix “The storms in our lives benefit us like the storms that hit our towns and homes and wash clean the air we breathe. Our storms bring to the surface the issues that plague us…Recovery is a whole series of storms, storms that help to sprout new growth and storms that flush clean our own clogged drains. The peace that comes after a storm is worth singing about.” Growing up surrounded by addiction and falling prey to the disease myself, I was in the veritable forest, unable to see the trees. My deep and overriding love for my daughter forced me to open my eyes and see what was right in front of me. I took a large leap toward healing myself so that I could be well enough to enjoy all my blessings. As I conclude in the final chapter of my memoir, “What could be a better testament to Angie, to all her gifts and possibilities, than to go forward with my life savoring every moment?” Many friends in Al-Anon have expressed gratitude to their addict/alcoholic for getting them into the rooms of recovery— these same friends who, like me, deeply mourn the lost years with our loved one—but who, also like me, refuse to offer another victim up to the altar of addiction. We have made it through the storm, and have found that we have something to sing...

There Is No Glory In Martyrdom

“Early in Angie’s illness, I flailed around in denial, sometimes strong, as when I handed her logical consequences for being abusive. I felt like a moth turned into a butterfly then. But I later added, ‘Oh how this butterfly would flutter and die in the years that followed, as I backtracked over and over again, trading in my courage for equal does of martyrdom.’” ~except from A Mother’s Story: Angie Doesn’t Live Here Anymore by Maggie C. Romero It’s been quite a roller coaster ride these past fifteen years. At first I wouldn’t believe it was really happening. “This sort of thing happens to other people’s children,” I wrote in my memoir. What arrogance! I simply couldn’t accept it. But when she was living with me and stealing anything that wasn’t nailed down, it was hard to ignore. So for a while I got tough, even told her to live elsewhere more than once. But addicts are, if nothing else, resourceful. I often write that deep pockets are dangerous, enabling us to be generous and feel good about it. I was able to put Angie through rehab four times, but one time would have been enough to teach her the tools of recovery. For recovery to be successful, whether it’s once or ten times, the addict has to be ready.  I was just buying time, trying to keep her off the streets long enough to get sick and tired of being sick and tired. In the program there’s a wry saying: “Sit there. Don’t do anything.” And so I was the one who was getting sick and tired. I...

Let Go…And Strive To Be Happy Yourself

“Third Step Prayer: God, I offer myself to thee to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy power, Thy love and Thy way of life. May I do Thy will always!” My willfulness has always been my Waterloo. But I never saw it as a bad thing. I saw it as strength, determination, and power—the opposite of weakness. But I’ve had to modify my will and determination to save Angie. After years of using my strong will and stubbornness to fight a battle that wasn’t mine to fight,  I’ve learned to let go. From well-meaning friends over the years, I’ve heard these comments: “But how can you drop the ball like that? How can you give up on your own child? She’ll think you don’t love her anymore! How can you be so cruel?” Those people need to walk a mile or two in my shoes. The cruelty belongs to the Monster (if it had an appearance), the brain disease, that is claiming millions of our children. After years of educating myself about the nature of addiction, I have settled on my own path to recover from the effects of this illness. I have  no more power to cure Angie of her addiction than I would have if she had schizophrenia. Drug addiction and co-existing mental illness is very common, and there are many treatments out there. My daughter suffered from depression for...