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Finding A Healthy Solution

From Each Day A New Beginning, April 11: “’An element of recovery is learning that we deserve success, the good things that come to us, and also that pain is a reality. We have the strength to deal with that reality, and it will pass.’ ~Dudley Martineau Many of us didn’t understand the changing variables in being human. Our coping skills were at a minimum until we discovered what alcohol or pills, even food, could do for us. And then, a drink or two—or six, maybe—got us through many a lonely evening. The desire for an easy solution might still haunt us, but time, new experiences, and program friends have taught us that our past habits weren’t really easy solutions. In reality they increased our problems and led us nowhere.” Some of us who love addicts have found comfort in substances ourselves. But when I make an effort to walk the spiritual path I have chosen, I no longer seek those easy solutions. As they say in the rooms, “My best thinking got me here.” I need to remember that and cease thinking that I have the best answers. Putting my faith in something greater than myself, I can let go of my human frailties. And all will be...

The Comfort Of Faith

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… The experiences we are offered will fail to satisfy our expectations because we expect so much less than God has planned for us in the days ahead… I will breathe deeply and relax. At this moment my every need is being attended to. My life is unfolding exactly as it should.” I’ve wrestled with my faith most of my life, always too self-reliant for my own good. But as I’ve watched my daughter succumb to heroin addiction, it has been a great comfort to me to learn how to harness a newfound belief in the power of something outside of myself, something I can turn to in my despair and know that something beautiful will come out of it. And it has: my whole life, and how I choose to live it now, is a...

Just For Today

“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, but only saps todays of its strength.” ~A.J. Cronin Wow, it takes tremendous discipline to stay grounded in the present. To live “just for today.” On any given day, how do my thoughts wander back to past times, and the inevitable regrets that crop up from time to time? And if I’m not looking backwards, I’m projecting into a future that hasn’t even happened yet. This is natural for some of us who have an addicted loved one. It’s called “anticipatory grief,” and it’s meant to prepare us for the worst. And though it may be a way to soften future blows, the act of being there in a sad future keeps me from smelling the roses under my nose.  Today the sun came up over the mountain and last night there was a beautiful crescent moon. My friend has pneumonia and I’m going to take her flowers in the hospital. I’m reminded to be grateful for my good health. My friends and family in our recovery program are a great comfort to me as I move forward in my life. When I remember to stay focused on the present day and all the blessings that fill my days, I can step out with confidence and faith in my Higher Power, assured that all is...

Laughter is Contagious

From Hope for Today, April 6: “I also used humor as a manipulative tool to get people to like me. …My sense of humor wasn’t spontaneous or appropriate. I used it to please people. When no one was around to please, however, I was miserable… Today my sense of humor is a natural reflection of who I am. I experience the world through smiles and laughter rather than through bitter smirks. I share joy with others rather than seek company for my misery. I help others heal rather than attack them. I allow my sense of humor to unfold naturally, just the way it was meant, and I watch the wonderful results as my Higher Power works through me toward a higher...

No Casseroles

NAddiction is a terrible thief, stealing Angie away from us in the night. She had her whole life ahead of her. There’s still so much shame and stigma in this country around it. Some people think it’s caused by bad parenting. Others say it’s a moral failure. Many believe it’s a choice. Are they kidding? Who is their right mind would choose to stick a needle in his arm and live in the gutter like a wild animal? If my daughter had cancer, friends and family would express sympathy, put their arms around me and ask if they could help. Not so when it’s addiction. Many people look the other way, afraid to mention it. They’re not judging, necessarily; just keeping their distance.  It’s the modern...

Darkness And Light

From Courage to Change, November 27: “’When it’s dark enough, you can see the stars.’ ~Charles A. Beard       Though I once viewed my life with tragedy, I now have a different perspective on those experiences. I know that I am a stronger person as a result of what I’ve been through. Those of us who love addicts have been sorely tested. But it’s what I’ve come away with that makes my life in recovery worthwhile: kindness, compassion, and understanding. Now I can discern the...

Who Has The Power?

W From Sharing Experience, Strength and Hope, p. 329: “Myself, I can change. Others I can only love.” Once upon a time I thought, because I loved my daughter, it was my responsibility to change her for her own good. How could I not? Her choices were killing her. Then I learned that she had a brain disease and the cure was out of my reach. Out of my reach. So I learned to let go and detach, but always with love. Serenity is the gift I give myself when I let go and let...

Empowerment

From Each Day A New Beginning, October 20: “’You don’t get to choose how you’re going to die. Or when. You can only decide how you’re going to live. Now.’ ~Joan Baez How thrilling to contemplate that we can choose every attitude we have and every action we take. We have been gifted with full responsibility for our development.” Those of us who come to these sites are united by the sad reality of addiction, either in themselves or a loved one. Sometimes both. And I find myself coming back in order to learn how to live with that reality. But I long ago stopped playing the blame game. What good does it do? Surrendering responsibility for my fate to others? That attitude strips me of the power to determine my own fate. I would rather retain that power, wherever it takes me. And claim responsibility for my...

Nuts: Not.Using.The.Steps.

N “When I read a step and think about it deeply, I find it opens the door to new insights. When I read that same step again, it reveals new spiritual ideas. They seem to dig into our consciousness and unearth for us the wonderful potential for good in all our relationships with life.” ~One Day At a Time in Al-Anon, pg.141 I’ve heard it said that Al-Anon offers answers to heal many troubled relationships. Those of us in the recovery program share many of the same qualities: being affected by another person’s addiction. So how have I been affected? By having a strong desire to control those around me. Growing up in emotional chaos, I needed to maintain the illusion of control to survive. But carrying that desire with me into adulthood too often became a defect. Examining my motives in some situations has helped me let go of the powerful need I had to be in charge. I’ve learned to let go of things that are not mine to hold onto. Just loosen them in my hands as though they were the reins on my horse. And keep moving...

Anyone But Me

From Each Day A New Beginning, February 19: “’God knows no distance.’ ~Charleszetta Waddles Relying on God, however we understand God’s presence, is foreign to many of us. We were encouraged from early childhood to be self-reliant. Even when we desperately needed another’s help, we feared asking for it. When confidence wavered, as it so often did, we hid the fear—sometimes with alcohol, sometimes with pills, Sometimes we simply hid at home. Our fears never fully abated…Slowly and with practice it will become natural to turn within, to be God-reliant rather than self-reliant There’s a joke in the Program that “our best thinking got us here (into the rooms of recovery).” And it’s so true! I joke at meetings that I’ve always been “CSR,” compulsively self-reliant.” I have been for much of my life, afraid to ask for help and even more afraid to accept it. As a child I had to rely on myself for so many things, and that became a survival strategy. But as an adult, that very façade of strength can become a terrible defect. Appearing as a formidable wall of arrogance, it only served to isolate me and separate me from my peers. I had to tear down that wall. And when I did, when I found the courage to bare my fears and vulnerabilities and ask for help when I needed it, I found my humanity. My faith in a power greater than myself enabled me to let go of my self-reliance and join hands with others as we reached out and helped one another. It hasn’t removed the problems from my life....