marilea.rabasa@gmail.com

I Believe

From Each Day A New Beginning, May 1: “We may see clearly how and why we get in our own way. But unless we have faith in a power greater than ourselves, we won’t step aside. We won’t let go. We’ll do the same things and “understand” ourselves in the same ways. We may even use our “insight” to keep ourselves stuck—to  protect ourselves from the risk of change. Now, having had a spiritual awakening, having come to believe that a higher power can restore us, we possess a gift more powerful than the keenest insight—faith in our ability to grow and change. We are children of God. All the creative power of the universe streams through us, if we don’t block it.” The unseeable. The unknowable. Faith. Before recovery, if I didn’t see it, it wasn’t there. Now, like Indiana Jones, I’ve learned to take that leap of faith that frightened me most of my life. And I’ve been rewarded. God has become the pilot of my ship. I can sit back and enjoy the ride. I don’t have to be in charge anymore. And I know that all will be...

Breathing Lessons

From Hope for Today, June 10: “I find the lessons of Al-Anon appearing in the most unexpected places—for example, in pre-flight safety instructions. Along with the details of how to fasten the seat belt and where to find the nearest emergency exit, the instructions always advise how to deal with the loss of cabin pressure. The suggestion is that I apply my own oxygen mask, thus ensuring my survival, before attempting to help others…Only then, when I have taken care of these responsibilities to myself, am I strong and stable enough to help others.”   It seems like a no-brainer, the above advice. But for a long time I ignored my own needs, not taking care of myself, close to throwing myself under the bus, because of my obsession with my daughter Angie and saving her from her addiction. I loved my child to distraction, and I felt that self-sacrifice was a way to demonstrate my love. But I found after years of it that it just wasn’t working. All the “help” I gave my daughter, all the protection I provided, shielding her from the logical consequences of her drug-induced behavior, just kept her in her disease. What motivation did she have to change her behavior when I kept getting in the way? And as if that weren’t bad enough, my enabling behavior just made me sicker than I already was. Deep down, I knew I wasn’t doing the right thing  when I was over-protective. I felt guilty, torn, sleepless, and eventually the signs of PTSD were clear. I broke down. That’s when I put my oxygen mask on....

Look To This Day

From Each Day A New Beginning, February 21: “’We can never go back again, that much is certain.’ ~Daphne DuMaurier Yesterday is gone, but its experiences will be reflected in those of today. We learned from both the good and the bad situations of yesterday. Where we travel today, likewise, will influence our direction tomorrow. We can’t do over what has gone before, but we can positively incorporate all that life is offering us from this moment forth…We move forward, only forward. The doors behind us are closed forever. Facing what comes to us, with strength, is a gift from the program we share…And trust that what we face along with what we let go will weave the pattern of our rightful unfolding.”   For a long time my feet were stuck…in the past. A time when things occurred that I can’t do anything about now. A dark place that held me hostage: regrets, guilt, sadness. I lacked the will, the wisdom, and the means to get out. My work in recovery has given me a lot of freedom from all the negativity that had weighed me down. I feel lighter now and able to move forward with my life. I’ve learned to let go of things I have no control over—like the passage of time, lol! So I’m paying attention to what’s right in front of me. Things are unfolding as they are meant...

How Fear Inhibits Us

From Courage To Change, May 29: “Worry and fear can alter our perceptions until we lose all sense of reality, twisting neutral situations into nightmares. Because most worry focuses on the future, if we can learn to stay in the present, living one day or one moment at a time, we take positive steps toward warding off the effects of fear…When we anticipate doom, we lose touch with what is happening now and see the world as a threatening place against which we must be on constant alert…Most of our fears will never come to pass, and if they do, foreknowledge probably won’t make us any better prepared. Today I will recognize that worries can be potent and mind-altering. I choose not to indulge in them at...

Turning It Over

              From Courage To Change, January 23: “Today’s reminder: At the start of each day I can make the decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God. This way I begin my day with a strong assertion that I choose to accept the reality of my life. I am growing in a healthy direction, growing ever more able to live a good life and to love those I meet along the way. ‘Decision is a risk rooted in the courage of being free.’”   My will(fullness) has gotten me into trouble often. I’ve exercised bad judgment and made questionable decisions, especially around my daughter Angie. I wanted to help her beat her addiction—as if I had any power over that. When I was finally, after much trial and error, able to accept my powerlessness, a weight was lifted off my shoulders. Nothing changed in our situation except the way I began reacting (or not) to it. Taking my attention away from Angie and the struggle that is hers alone, what was I going to do with all my energy? Focus on myself and all the blessings God has given me. When I turn my burdens over to Him, I am free....

“T.H.I.N.K.”

Thoughtful. Honest. Intelligent. Necessary. Kind. From One Day at a Time, p. 20: “If only I can learn to quiet my mind before I speak! I do not want to act with impatience and hostility, for I know it will react on me. It is a mistake to think this requires self-control; patience can be acquired by learning to let go of self-will. Jonathan Swift said: “Whoever is out of patience is out of possession of his soul. Men must not turn into bees who kill themselves in stinging others.”...

“Keep It Simple”

One of my favorite sayings. Simplify. Makes my life much easier to manage when I clear out the unnecessary stuff. I try to focus on essentials. Everyone has a different set of them, but mine are important to me. What is necessary for my well-being every day? Food, exercise, rest, some human contact, some kind of work—in an office, in the garden, on my computer, shopping, cleaning. If I start to feel overwhelmed, then I’m doing too much. Back to basics. Simplify. And the world will keep...

“But For The Grace Of God…”

My sister lost her husband a few months ago and she’s just starting to come out of the fog. I called her for her birthday last week but she couldn’t talk. She was sobbing. So she decided to spend her birthday visiting a friend of our mother’s, a 96-year-old woman who is bedridden with round the clock care. And my sister experienced how things could be so much worse for her. It’s all a matter of perspective, how we see things, how our attitudes govern the way we live our lives. Gratitude in hard times takes the wisdom of knowing that my life could be worse in an infinite amount of...