marilea.rabasa@gmail.com

Happiness Is A Choice

From “The Forum,” December, 2016 “Someone else’s drinking brought me to the meetings, but day-to-day living keeps me coming back.” When I joined the rooms of recovery, I thought that if my daughter would just change, then I would be happy. I looked everywhere for the magic bullet to bring about this change. Time passed, and for a while it looked like Angie was changing. And then she wasn’t. I was confused. How was I ever going to be happy if I kept riding on the roller coaster with her? It was time for me to get off. I needed to realize that a lot of my problems were of my own making. And allowing my happiness and well-being to depend on other people isn’t wise because I have no control over them. But I do have power over my own life and the choices I make. So I’ve learned to put the focus back on myself and change in ways that will help me to live better. I’ve let go of obsessing over a disease I can’t control. And I’ve turned my attention to other things and people in my life that bring me joy. My recovery program has shown me how to work the tools “in all my affairs.” It has shown me how it benefits me everywhere. It started with my daughter. But, with or without success on that front, I can still lead a good and productive life elsewhere, enjoying healthier relationships to really make my life worth...

Enough

“Enough is enough when the hurt inflicted is greater than the lesson learned.”   I felt that because I was Angie’s mother, I just had to put up with things. But underneath that martyred attitude was a shaky self-esteem that whispered to me, “This is what you deserve. It’s your fault.” When I recognized the truth of that, I became willing to take up the yoke and start working on myself. After many years of working the steps and arriving at a place of self-love, I no longer hear those voices. I’ve gotten my life back, and concentrate on what I can control in my life. I give thanks, multitudes of thanks, for what I’ve been given. This year on Mother’s Day, I’m able to celebrate myself. And I’m grateful to Angie for getting me into recovery. God Bless Us, Mamas. We do the best we...

The Power Of Faith

  From Hope For Today, June 13: “…What I had overlooked in Step Two was the word ‘Power.’ The day I started placing my attention on that Power instead of on insanity, I began to see miracles in my life. One such miracle was my ability to talk about my fears in Al-Anon meetings. Other miracles included taking the Twelve Steps that lead me to serenity, and engaging in the process of forgiving and healing.” It has taken many years of hearing Step Two read at meetings for me to really hear the word ‘Power.’ Now I realize how much more awesome my Higher Power is than this disease. That power has always kept me from tumbling into the chasm. Before recovery, I was spiritually bankrupt. I had no faith in anyone other than myself. But that wasn’t working for me: I needed to bet on another horse. As I slowly accepted that I was powerless over other people, places, and things, it became easier for me to bring God into my life and let Him take over. Suddenly, I felt much lighter. Instead of dwelling in fear, today I am striving to pass on the miracles of recovery to my children and grandchildren. With faith and hope in my heart, I look forward to getting up every day. I’m just glad I stuck around long enough for the miracle to happen.  ...

Resentment Hurts Us

When I feel resentment it’s uncomfortable, and I’m prone to want to stuff my feelings. But that’s never good for me. It’s an old bad habit that my years in the program have enabled me to give up. I need to stay in tune with my resentments every day and deal with them constructively. Sometimes that means airing them; other times I need to bury them. Otherwise, they will come back and destroy me. I’m so grateful to be able to look at negative behaviors and try to replace them with positive ones. It’s “progress, not perfection” that keeps me moving forward to calmer waters. “Resentment is like swallowing poison and waiting for the other person to die.”...

Reconciliation

When I met my partner, Gene, twenty-four years ago, he was an experienced canoeist, and he loved paddling every summer. So I figured I’d better learn fast. One memorable incident was during a trip to Quetico Provincial Park across the Minnesota border in Canada. It was there that I added a chapter to my “Life Lessons” journal. Gene and I always went canoeing with his friend, Stewart and his wife, Joan. I didn’t like Joan from the beginning. She talked non-stop, endlessly showing off how much she knew about everything. And worst of all, because I can’t even boil a carrot, she was a gourmet cook. So the two weeks of wilderness paddling and camping were a challenge for me. At the end of one day, we scouted around for a stellar camping site and I showed Joan the one we had found. “This island sucks,” she sniffed, “Stew and I’ll stay on that one over there,” she informed us, pointing to another one across an inlet. “Okay,” I chirped. “See you tomorrow.” I was awakened in the morning by the smell of smoke in the air. “Gene, get up!” I screamed, looking across the water. “There’s a fire on Stew and Joan’s island!” We piled into our canoe and raced across the inlet to find them frantically trying to remove the underbrush from the flames. Soon we heard the Canadian Forest Service arriving by helicopter to douse the area. It took twenty-six hours, but they finally extinguished the fire. Joan had neglected to stamp out her cigarette while she was shitting in the woods, and, well, shit happens....

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...