marilea.rabasa@gmail.com

“Let Go And Let God”

Not of everything! I still have to do the wash and take a shower. I still have to move through my life with a minimum of conflict and get things done. The bumps occur when I try to control what I have no power over. And that’s a whole encyclopedia of opinions that there’s no room for here. Regarding the addiction of my daughter, Angie, I did spend years trying, but ultimately I gave up the fight to save her from the disease that was destroying her life. I gave up because the effort was slowly killing me as well and all the other relationships in my life. How many lives had to be sacrificed before the altar of addiction? So I made a choice: I chose life. God Bless all of us who face the same choice and must let go of that which we cannot change. I hope we will find the God-given wisdom to see the difference between white-knuckling it through life—and leaning into it. Surrender. Acceptance. Peace....

Staying Humble

“Know-It-Alls,” Beware: We Don’t! 🙂 Or, more gently put by Roman philosopher, Seneca: “As long as you live, keep learning how to live.” As long as I stay right-sized and humble, my relationships will flow more smoothly. Aware of my place next to God’s in the scheme of things, I will remain teachable. And I will keep...

Mirrors

From Each Day A New Beginning, February 11:  “’It’s odd that you can get so anesthetized by your own pain or your own problem that you don’t quite fully share the hell of someone close to you.’ ~Lady Bird Johnson Preoccupation with self can be the bane of our existence. It prevents all but the narrowest perspective on any problem. It cuts off any guidance…that may be offered through a friend…When we open our minds to fresh input from others, insights emerge. We need the messages others are trying to give us.”   An end to my isolation. Opening my mind and heart to what others offer me. For many years, I closed myself off from these offerings. I was busy with my life, self-sufficient…but unhappy. I was pretty bewildered about that—yet resigned to it. Then—for the worst possible reason—I joined a recovery program that provided tools to help me climb out of my self-imposed misery. There are many new attitudes that I have adopted over time. But the most critical, I think, has been taking the risk to open myself to others and learn about myself using others’ perspectives to add balance to my own. I’m not afraid of mirrors anymore. I’ve had to let go of years of denial and preconceived notions about myself. I’ve had to learn how to be honest. And in doing that, I have discovered my own humanity. I am not unique but part of a fellowship of equals who share a common bond. No longer alone or lonely, I’m learning how to accept life on life’s terms…and be...

Spring Is A New Beginning

From Hope for Today, April 20: “For me letting go is like a tree shedding its leaves in autumn. It must let go of them to produce even more beauty in the following spring and summer. Letting go of what I do not truly need—whether it be old thoughts, things, or behaviors—makes room for new growth in my life. Turn that problem over…Then begin to do something about your own life.” This is a great way to usher in the spring. Those of us who have suffered through the disease of addiction understand what a living death it can be. But seeing new growth on the trees and in my garden gives me hope for healing and regrowth in my life. Miracles happen every day. I just need to take my hands out of my pockets....

The Gift Of Faith

“It wasn’t until I was tested as her mother that I found my ability to harness any faith at all. My sadness as a child paled before my growing despair as an adult child. The journey I’m on now has given me fresh new insights as I’ve confronted myself and understood where I have come from. My journey has in turn helped me understand where I have taken my own family. What was given to me has been passed down to my children. Yet I understand now that I could not have turned out differently, nor could I have been a different parent. My behavior as an adult was scripted from my childhood. What I need now is faith in something outside of myself to help me carry the burden—and gratitude that I’m finally able to ask for help. My faith has everything to do with turning over my self-will and accepting the will of another. I have found peace and serenity in acceptance of life as it is happening every day. Letting go and handing over the reins has given me the freedom to live my own life now without feeling shackled to the past or frightened of the future.” Excerpt from my award-winning memoir, A Mother’s Story: Angie Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, by Maggie C. Romero...

I’m Glad I Stayed

From “The Forum,” March 2017: “’I came for a quick fix and found a way of life.’ ~Bertie P., Florida As I look back, when I walked through the doors of Al-Anon, I had planned to stay long enough to find out how to get the miracle of sobriety in my home. I’m still there! I was broken spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I had given up on everything and everyone. A friend dragged me to Al-Anon, but I was sure it was hopeless. After my first meeting, I was still very angry. How could all those people be happy and smiling? Their homes could not be as bad as mine. Fortunately, I wanted to laugh and smile too. A member, who later became my sponsor, took an interest in me as a newcomer, and I kept coming back. The slogans and all the tools annoyed me, and I didn’t share…Did I ever have a closed mind! But…I kept going… I started taking care of myself and gave the alcoholic a choice to get help or go his own way. Five years later, the real miracle was finding me…I learned how to change my life and really live.”   Wishing/hoping/praying that my daughter Angie will tire of her life and seek recovery is holding myself hostage to something I have no control over. And I don’t want to be a hostage. I want to be free. My recovery program has given me the tools to live my life unencumbered by other people’s choices. “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the...

A Quiet Mind

From Courage to Change, September 4: “As we let go of obsession, worry, and focusing on everyone but ourselves, many of us were bewildered by the increasing calmness of our minds. We knew how to live in a state of crisis, but it often took a bit of adjustment to become comfortable with stillness. The price of serenity was the quieting of the constant mental chatter that had taken up so much time; suddenly we had lots of times on our hands and we wondered how to fill it.” Over time, I’ve learned how to “be still in the stream.” It took a long time for me to accept my powerlessness. But obsessing over Angie and living in all her drama was threatening my health. I was suffering from severe PTSD and endured many other negative consequences in my life as a result of my constant worry over something I couldn’t control. So, I took the first three steps in my recovery program. It was hard to do that because I felt that letting go was giving up on my daughter. Not loving her anymore. But that’s not how I feel now. Once, not so long ago, Angie was a loving daughter to me, a college graduate with her whole life ahead of her. Then, like the great cosmic crapshoot that afflicts millions of families, she fell out of her life and into addiction. She’s been lost to us all for a long time now. But my daughter Angie, not the addict that lives in her body, would want me to reclaim my life as I have, and learn...

Turning It Over

From Courage to Change, January 23: “In Step Three, we “made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.”  This is a big decision for those of us who have a tough time making even small decisions. Until I found Alanon, I tended to let others decide how I should live, where I should go, and what I should do. The paradox is that, though I took little responsibility for my own life, I saw myself as an expert on everyone else’s life and felt accountable for all that happened. The order in which the first three Steps are written helps me overcome these attitude problems. First, I accept my inability to control the disease of alcoholism and admit that my life is unmanageable (when I try to exert control, my words). Next, I come to believe that a Power greater than myself can help. After taking these two Steps, it becomes possible, desirable, and even logical, to make the enormous decision to trust my life to a Higher Power’s care.”   Many feel that the First Step is the hardest: to admit that we are powerless to help our loved one through addiction. We love, and intuitively, we want to rescue him from the disaster than might be coming. But—and this is a process that takes longer for some than others—once we accept the reality of our powerlessness, and ask for help to let go of our loved one in his addiction, there is a freedom that defies description. And we can move on with our lives....

Humanity Is Changing the Face Of Addiction

A while back a friend in Naranon shared this link with our group. I watched it and was so heartened to see how attitudes are changing across the country. This PBS special focused on a program in Seattle, WA. It is a practical and above all humane way to deal with addicts. The more we talk about alternative ways to treat addiction, the more likely there will be people to bring pressure to bear on government officials and on insurance companies. And the more likely our addicts will feel embraced with compassion and understanding instead of fear and judgment. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/chasing-heroin/  ...