marilea.rabasa@gmail.com

Letting Go: Let Me Count The Ways…

Memoir Excerpt:

“We walked up to this Italian place just beyond the intersection on Market. They served fabulous take-out in big bins, like a salad bar but hot food. Angie and I got what we wanted and sat down. We talked a little about her massage therapist, the apartment she had found and was planning to move into, the pending suit against Wayne Chin. These were safe topics—topics of her choosing. Conversation was awkward. There was no real engagement, no honest connection between my daughter and me. Blissful dishonesty; play it safe. Don’t push her away. I can’t begin to describe the loneliness I felt carrying on this meaningless conversation—and being with this stranger I barely knew anymore. All I could think of was how much I missed her bangs.

I chose to spend these five days in San Francisco in blissful dishonesty, knowing full well that Angie was using drugs right under my nose, but saying nothing about it. Maybe that’s a sign of my ongoing recovery, my letting go. Is it possible that I could have halted in its tracks more than a decade of methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin abuse with a reprimand?

‘You little, fill in the blank. What are you doing now? How could you ruin my visit this way?’

No, I don’t believe so. I’ve known it for years, knew it then and put it into play this last time I saw her on her turf: whether or not my daughter chose recovery and gave up drugs was not up to me; it was up to her. She herself had to embrace recovery from addiction—using whatever method worked for her. I know many addicts who have recovered, and I’ve prayed that she would join them.”

 

2 Comments

  1. “Conversation was awkward. There was no real engagement, no honest connection between my daughter and me. Blissful dishonesty; play it safe. Don’t push her away. I can’t begin to describe the loneliness I felt carrying on this meaningless conversation—and being with this stranger I barely knew anymore.”
    How this hit home. My daughter whom I obsess about getting better – when I am with her, I don’t like her, and think that if she were not my daughter I wouldn’t have anything to do with her. How can I love someone so much whom I don’t even like?

    Reply
    • Sheila, I understand your confusion and frustration. But as I’ve gotten educated over the years about drug addiction and what it does to addicts’ minds, I’ve learned to separate my daughter Angie from the addict that has taken over her body. It’s utterly surreal and heartbreaking to see this person in front of you who looks like your child but who in fact is not. Drug addiction is a brain disease, and constant flooding of the mind with dangerous chemicals changes, among other things, one’s personality. My Angie, I don’t know where she is, and I haven’t seen her in a very long time. As you said, I don’t like the person she is now. She has lost the moral compass she was raised with, so it’s hard to be around someone who I can’t trust. Angie is split right down the middle: my daughter on one side and the addict on the other. But right now, the addict has taken over, and I miss my daughter. I will always love my child, but I despise the addict who has hijacked her. If you can make this separation in your mind, it might be easier to feel the love and compassion you have for your daughter when you see her. Hope this helps a little. God Bless, Mama!

      Reply

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