MarileaRabasaWe’re pleased to feature Marilea Rabasa this month!

Marilea grew up in New England in a small Massachusetts town. How she got from there to the desert Southwest is an interesting tale.

For a number of years she was an ESL teacher in northern Virginia. Before that, she lived overseas in the Foreign Service. Just as she provided “springboards” for her students in writing class, her travels are something that she draws from to write stories.

She lives with her partner in New Mexico where they grow fruit in their orchard. They still get away to enjoy hiking all over the United States.

Her Book

Memoir-of-RecoveryA Mother’s Story: Angie Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

This is a story about the disease of addiction and shows how it is often passed on from one generation to the other. It’s a family illness, and most of the main characters in the memoir are my family members. But Angie and I, mother and daughter, are the central characters in the story.

Watching our parallel struggles with addiction and how we resolve them is what drives the plot. Growing up in a dysfunctional alcoholic family, addiction is passed down to me and I become an addict. An adult child, I marry and have three children, one of whom inherits addictive disease.

I begin my story with a prologue that gives a brief picture of the early years of Angie’s illness. But it’s mainly a window into Angie’s conflict and an invitation for the reader to turn the page and find out how it unfolds and is resolved.

However, my conflict precedes Angie’s. The memoir therefore begins at the beginning with a section about my childhood where the roots of my addictions take hold. I follow through my troubled youth to my marriage. The second half of this section focuses on Angie, her childhood and development as a young adult.

The meat of the story starts in 2001 when Angie’s drug addiction begins and follows the roller coaster ride up to June 2014. But the story is less about my daughter’s addiction than it is about my reaction to it and eventual recovery from it – from her addictions and my own.

I shine a light upon my own demons, and that is what both holds me back and propels me forward in trying to save my daughter. How I’ve been able to reach for recovery on the bones of my daughter is a testimony to the power of transformation through spiritual recovery.

I introduce my recovery program a couple of years into her disease and illustrate how I struggle with it. Seven years into Angie’s illness, frustrated and depressed that she is unable to follow a lasting recovery program, I have a breakdown and take early retirement from my job. This is the turning point, or climax, of my story, when I start to separate from my daughter and embrace my own recovery in a serious way.

The memoir ends on two emotional notes: somber, because Angie continues to struggle with drug abuse; joyful, because I embrace recovery with gratitude and love for all the blessings in my life. This is a journey of transformation toward wellness that I may never have undertaken without my daughter falling into addiction. The memoir ends with a letter to Angie that she may never see – a letter thanking her for being an instrument of change in my life, for the hard lessons learned and my determination to benefit from them.

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