I can’t do anything to remove my compulsive behavior until I choose to live without it!

REFLECTION

I know that I have to continue to work on myself and the way that I speak to myself on an ongoing and daily basis. My letting go and let God take over my life doesn’t mean that I’ll just sit back and let God do all the work. No, it means that I will work on myself and leave the outcome up to my Higher Power. I know that my life can be lived differently if I make the effort to choose to become conscious of the thoughts that I let myself ruminate and think about during my day. The more I monitor my thoughts, the more I  am able to filter out the negative thoughts and have them replaced with positive and constructive thoughts.

So often, when I am depressed I continue a thinking style that was learned as a small child. I am not even counscious as to how I would always select the negative attribute about myself to reflect upon, instead of   thinking  positive and hopeful thoughts about myself and my relationships. The more I believe that I have a choice as to how I am to  feel, the more I become conscious of the thoughts that influence the way I feel.

BECOMING MINDFUL

God, let me just for today, dwell on your mercy and kindness that you desire to bestow on us. We pray that our awareness of your love for us will free us from our sadness.

Resources:

(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous  Publications. Louisville, KY  December 14th.

(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd ed., (2011)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville KY.

(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

Put a HIGHER THOUGHT in your life every day. A spiritual vitamin will increase your spiritual metabolism so that you  begin to replace negative thinking with thoughts of hope and serenity.

You may order online from the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore at www.depressedanon.com

With the compulsion to sad ourselves…

In our “Big Book” Depressed Anonymous the statement is made:

” With our compulsion to sad ourselves, much like the alcoholic’s urge to medicate his or herself with alcohol, we need daily to turn our will over to God and ask for the  Higher Power’s (God) guidance, eventually it is the conscious contact with the loving God that sets us free from the need to sad ourselves.”

11.1 Question: How do you see your depression as a compulsion? What are the triggers that cause you to spiral downward back into the dark pit of depression?

When you think of depression do you  think of it like one big thing or do you see it for the many parts that make up a depression experience, namely, the way that we think, behave or feel. In other words, when we make it to be a thing, that is when we reify it – it holds power over us – like it came out of the blue – we talk about depression in medical terms such as I just had a bout of depression -like it came from outside of us like an infectious germ or virus. In reality, our depression is made up of many parts, such as particular depressiogenic ways of thinking, behaving and feeling.

11.1. Write the way that you perceive your depression? Can you distinguish the various parts ( thinking; feeling; behaving;  physiological; motivational; spiritual ) that go to form what we call the depression experience?  Which of the above parts continue to cause you the most anxiety/fear?

Which of the following Illustrations can you best relate to.

11.2. A need to be perfect!

11.3. A need to be successful!

11.4. A need to please others always!

11.5. A need to never get angry!

11.6. A need to have someone in my life before I feel I am somebody!

11.7. Please write down how one or more of the above items keeps you down, despairing and hopeless? Also, write about where these attitudes come from?

Please respond to the statement:

I can’t do anything to remove my compulsive behavior until I choose to live without it. It is truly living in the will and mind of God that will help us, one day at a time to stop being so compulsive in our rigid and automated thinking about people and things so that we do not let our dated emotions and thoughts predict what the outcome of our perceptions ought to be.”

The Home Study Program is an excellent tool for self reflection and a meaningful way to discover what needs to be changed in our lives.  The Question  and answers provided by the participant provides freedom from the issues (dated emotions) that continue to cripple us.

RESOURCES

(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd ed., (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. pp79-80.

These and other helpful publications  can be ordered online from the Depressed Anonymous Publications  Bookstore at our website www.depressedanon.com.

If God is for us who can be against us?

 

Is this not a strange way to open up our blog today? Depends. It centers around what our topic might be. Today our topic is centered on spirituality and depression.  As a member of a 12 Step fellowship, Depressed Anonymous,  we talk and reflect  upon the fact that  we believe in a Power greater than ourselves.  We also commit ourselves to the belief in Step two  that “a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity.” Following this  we reflect on Step Three which states  that we “Made a decision  to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand God to be.”

It was here at this point that Bill W., and Dr. Bob made a very important decision in how God would be presented  to the alcoholic, who  for many different reasons would reject the idea that the God of their understanding had their best interests at heart.  Their idea of what the “preachers” had to say about God was not what they were looking for. In fact, there were the “preachers” in New York’s Bowery, during the Great Depression of the 1930’s who set up store-front churches where the practicing  alcoholics come, get off the street, get a free meal, and hear a Christian message about salvation, redemption and  freedom from drink. But it appeared that some of the preachers emphasized hellfire  and fear instead of giving the alcoholic a way out that included a plan – a simple process of surrender and how “to turn over our will  and life over to  God as we understood God to be.”

I believe with  poet Robert Frost, who wrote that memorable poem, The road less traveled, where he was faced with a fork in the road, one road  went one way and one the other.  The one he eventually took was “the road less traveled.”

This poem speaks to me when I think of Bill W., the cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous, who by his personal experience with the God as he understood God, provided him with a way to understand God, not just a Christian God, a Buddhist God, a Muslim God, but a God as we understand God.  It was only when he had his own epiphany with God, did it prepare him to share this understanding with other alcoholics so  all could choose the God of their own understanding–not just the God of the Christian “preachers.”

This was the freedom that the early A.A., pioneers brought into the discussion where anyone could believe whatever they wanted about a Higher Power. In today’s modern world, you can find AA, NA, DA, Al-Anon in almost every nation on the planet.  If he had not traveled down a road that only God knew where it led, would we have the Twelve Steps be open to all, regardless of their own spiritual beliefs or religious dogmas.

The following is an autobiographical  account of Bill W.,s  own encounter with God.

“My depression deepened unbearably, and  it seemed to me as though I was at the very bottom of the pit. For the moment, the last vestige of my proud obstinacy was crushed. All at once, I found myself crying out,  “If there is God, let Him show Himself! I am ready to do anything, anything!

Suddenly the room lit up with a great light. It seemed to me, in my mind’s eye, that I was on a mountain and that a wind not of air but of spirit was blowing. And then it burst upon me  that I was a free  man. Slowly the ecstasy subsided. I lay on the bed, but now for a time I was in another world, a new world of consciousness. All about me and through me there was a wonderful presence, and I thought to myself, so this is the God  of the preachers!” A.A. Comes of Age. p.63.

And finally, there was another road that Bill W., and others traveled and that was how one alcoholic talking with another alcoholic, sharing their story, would make all  the difference in the world.  It’s a simple story, one recovering alcoholic being open, honest and willing  to share their own painful story with another alcoholic, one person at a time. One day at a time.

I am one of those persons with whom a recovered  alcoholic shared his story. Today, I am celebrating  my 32nd year recovery birthday. I am a friend of Bill W.

Hugh

 

A secure base providing recovery: Depressed Anonymous.

 

One of the areas of my life, when I was depressed, was to begin looking for that personal and secure base    providing me with  hope  and resources for a complete recovery.  My first attempt at finding this refuge and secure base was preceded by a search for answers. Why was mind  always distracted? Why couldn’t I remember anything? I would read a paragraph and within no time I couldn’t remember a word of what I had just read. I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning. I was always tired and just wanted to sleep. Coming home after working all day I would hit  the sack. My mind was like in a dense fog.  I felt like I was driving a car at night with my headlights on off. I was lucky just to be able to get to work. For me it was do or die. No job -no  Master’s degree. My job paid for my education. It was that simple.

What can I do? What is wrong with me? I have never in my life felt so filled with anxiousness. Constant jitters.  I even began feeling tremors in my hands. That is when I got worried.  I didn’t have a doctor to consult. Since I lived back in the “stone age” there was no Internet. So, here is what I did. I forced myself out of bed every morning and I started to walk. I went to a mall located where I lived  and walked. I mean I walked miles around that store. Early morning walkers, like myself, were allowed to walk before the store opened. I  can relate to Forrest Gump in the movies. It was boring but I did manage to do it for over a year.  And then it  happened.

A feeling of lightness came over me. Wow! I almost wanted to shout with joy.  That horrible jitteriness stopped for a moment. I felt a cheerfulness that I thought would never come back. My mind was clear. Momentarily I began  reflecting  that something good had just happened.  And then the words, flashing across my mental screen, began spelling out  the words, It won’t last!”

And just as quick as the words flashed in my mind, with it’s lifting mood, it too disappeared.  I retuned downcast to my walking. And then slowly everything started to feel different for me. My mind cleared, my mood spiraled upwards and I began to feel like my old self–now, a renewed guy with a deep gratitude that all my walking paid off. I gradually began to see everything coming back into place.  Whatever it was (it was only later that I could put  a label on my experience and call it what it was, depression.)

Eventually, I designed a pilot project at my university using the 12 spiritual principles of Alcoholics Anonymous to determine if those depressed persons gathered in the  program would respond to the power of the Steps.   The Steps continue to help the alcoholic to recover from alcoholism.   Now we learned  that the 12 Step discussion groups, would also help others  make  progress, like our depressed participants in the study,  as their moods lightened over the 10 week pilot discussion period.  Today, the group that we call Depressed Anonymous is spreading worldwide and its Big Book (Depressed Anonymous)  is now translated into Spanish, Dutch, Russian, Farsi and English.

If you are looking for a secure base, that is a group, where everyone speaks your language of depression, and where you can be accepted and introduced to  a program of recovery that promises healing  and a brand new start in life.

 

RESOURCES

(C) Depressed Anonymous 3rd ed., (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Louisville. KY.

You can check out our literature at The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore at www.depressedanon.com.  You may also order books online.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Dreams of dying but yet managing to come back to life…”

 

” I am a thirty-four year old single female who has been suffering from depression for a long time. Most of my depression was brought on by feelings of insecurity, such  as not being able to express my inner feelings of insecurity, such as not being able to express my inner feelings, being controlled by a dominating adult, loneliness, stress, workaholic, anxiety attacks (related to work  and everyday pressures of living), too much sleep, nervousness, lack of motivation, being tired all the time, sadness, weight gain, digestive problems, a feeling of being trapped, self consciousness, not trusting myself, dreams of dying but yet managing to come back to life, withdrawal from family, or loss of interest in meeting with the opposite sex.

It seemed that I was living in another world until my parents gave me a phone number of Depressed Anonymous. The Depressed Anonymous meetings, plus reading the Depressed Anonymous manual have provided me with the tools to live without being  depressed. Most important  of all, the Twelve Steps mentioned in the book have made me understand that God (my Higher Power)  will give me the strength to deal with my depression and get on with my life and be happy with myself.

The book with its Twelve Steps has taught me that I am not the only one who is suffering from depression. It has taught me to believe more in my Higher Power and to let it handle my depression.

All these new tools have helped me and will continue to do so. They also taught me not to dwell on my past, but to live life one day at a time, and to look toward the future, but not live there. It will take me  a  long time to deal with depression, but I am glad that these tools are available. Life can be good for a change. Please don’t give up.”

– Anonymous

COMMENT  

Even though this anonymous writer was suffering from innumerable problems and life situations, she found   solutions  in the form of meetings, specifically geared to the depressed. By reading the Depressed Anonymous literature she is daily gaining a new motivation  to use the tools that  are promoting positive solutions to her  seemingly insoluble and negative realities. 

The tools mentioned in her story,   showing  that   by using a piece by piece  approach   to dealing with her problems, these have  brought her back to life.    We know there is always hope –please don’t give up!

Hugh

NOTE : For more stories of HOPE please click onto THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS BOOKSTORE.  The Depressed Anonymous  literature  is available by ONLINE ordering.

Resources:

(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd ed., (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.  Personal stories : # 29.  I am no longer alone. Pages 148-149

+ International Online Skype Depressed Anonymous Meeting (See Homepage Menu (depressedanon.com )for Link. Meetings Thursdays and Sundays. Format is same as a f2f DA meeting.)

+ See Homepage (depressedanon. com)  drop down Menu for TOOLS OF RECOVERY.

I have a program that works!

AFFIRMATION

I am learning today how to think in more positive terms about myself.

“Once we admit that our depressed thinking is what conditions us to see our world as a hopeless place to live, the more we will try to change the way we think.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

When I was able to admit that I have need of improvement   for some area of my life, things begin to happen. I believe that now I have a program in front of me that can help me to feel better, the more I   use it on a daily basis. As one member of the Twelve Step group, Depressed Anonymous points out, “I had to go and open that door for the first time because there was no other place to go. I had already used up all the hiding places in my life.” Now that we admit we need help, help is on the way.”

It is always difficult to change.  Millions of others are leading lives of peace, sobriety and hope as they place their trust in  their Higher Power and commit themselves to learning how to get better.  They are learning that by having faith in God, themselves and the fellowship of the group, life does indeed get better. I am going to get better, the more I work and live the Twelve Steps.

MEDITATION

O God, we know that our hope in you will make it possible for us to find hope in our lives  every day. That’s a Promise.

RESOURCE

(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.(2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

(c)Higher Thoughts for down days. DAP. December 4th, Pages 198-199.

Ordering Online is possible from this website @ The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore.

I can get out of this mess!

AFFIRMATION

I am not going to let my mind drift out of where I want it to go.

 

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I know from the way that I live out my life, the way I think, act, and believe, my life is far from simple. I have created this monster called depression because of my fears, anger and general feelings of disgust  about myself. I do know that it is by admitting that my life has been very complicated, my thinking centered on my unworthiness, that I became depressed.  I want to learn how to keep my life simple. I plan to do that by, first of all, admitting that I am powerless over my depression and that my life is unmanageable. I also believe that I can get out of this mess by focusing on respected and workable solutions  rather than keeping focused on my ever present difficulties.”

COPYRIGHT (C)  Higher Thoughts for Down Days:365 daily thoughts and meditations for member of 12 Step fellowship groups. Louisville, KY. June 26th. Page128.

“I have learned and I have grown.”

 

“As I began working on the abuse issues in therapy, the pieces of my life began to fall together in a way they never could have before, as I had never  dealt   with this catastrophic event. In the book, Depressed? Here is a way out! the author talks about how people find their time of depression to be one of the great gifts in their life. The first time I read this, I thought it was the craziest thing I had ever heard. Yet during this time of depression, I have learned and I have grown. I have come to understand myself and my God in a way I never could before.

It has been many years now. Life is starting to come together for me again, one day at a time by the grace of God and the fellowship of this program. From the very first time I walked through the doors of Depressed Anonymous I knew that I was in the right place. Having been an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous for so many years, I was already a firm believer in the Twelve Steps. I attended meetings, I worked the Steps with my sponsor. I used the Depressed Anonymous phone list and talked to people about my pain and my day to day problems. I read the book and followed the suggestions in it.

With God, through Depressed Anonymous, this program and the fellowship literally carried me through the darkest time of my life and God did not let me die. I have truly experienced the ‘miracle of the group.’  I have heard it said that sometimes God’s greatest miracles are unanswered prayers. I  believe it.  After all, I am one.”

Anonymous

Copyright(c)  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.(2011)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Pages 119-120.

Magic wands and silver bullets are not available here.

AFFIRMATION

“…seeing and talking to other people are amongst the most helpful experiences for depressed people generally.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

What a novel thought: a  depressed person talking  to another depressed person.    When I tell people I am going to a Depressed Anonymous meeting their first response is   “Isn’t that depressing?” “Actually,”  I respond, “it isn’t.”  I know from my    experiences in other 12 Step groups how sharing with persons who have the same problems as  my own,   is always helpful and therapeutic.

“It takes one to know one”  as the saying goes. The reason that meetings with the depressed are not depressing is that all of us speak the same language. All of us come with a  HOPE that they  can find a way out of the  isolation and pain. The depressed person  is discovering  meetings which are hopeful and solution focused. No “poor me” attitudes here.  No ” pity party”   going on here.

I find the meetings upbeat and focus on the solution. The solutions are found in the 12 Steps;  spiritual principles presenting a Step by Step plan  for recovery and freedom from sadness and isolation. At the core of these meetings is a belief in a power greater than ourselves, who is restoring us to sanity. This power, for some, is the group meeting and while for others it is a being  called  God, the God of our understanding.

How Depressed Anonymous Works.

At each Depressed Anonymous meeting the following message  is read to the group  by a volunteer:

“You are about to witness the miracle of the group. You are joining a group of people who are on a journey of hope and who mutually care for each other.  You will hear how hope, light and energy have been regained by those who were hopeless and in a black hole and tired of living.

By our involvement in the group, we are feeling that there is hope – there is a chance for me too. I can get better. But we are not the people with the magic pills and the easy formulas for success. We believe that to get out of the prison  of depression takes time and work.

We all  have been wounded in different degrees by the experience of depression. We also know that there is a method to regain control over our lives that is practical and workable.  It is successful for all those who want to change their lives. Some of us believed that there was no hope and that suicide was the only way out.

In this natural world, one of the first laws is that all growth is gradual – that belief is the bottom line for all of us who are depressed and who want to get better. The more we attend meetings, the more we will learn and see the various ways to escape from depression. We also learn  how important it is not to give up on ourselves.”

_____________________________________________________________________

RESOURCES

(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Pages 156-157.

(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

(c) Believing is seeing:15 ways to  leave the prison of depression.  Hugh Smith (2016) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. .

Please VISIT THE STORE @THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS BOOKSTORE   if you would like to order online any of the books  listed here.

Approval seeking and emotional dependency.

 

I have observed that many depressed persons, including me, are given to approval seeking, some more so than others.  It seems fair to call it a kind of emotional dependency. Little children are truly and completely  dependent on their parents or whoever is taking care of them. They have no choice and are helpless. They’d better have their parents approval or else.

Some of these children carry this kind of dependency right into  adulthood, even to their graves unless they do the hard work of unlearning it. They have become so unsure of themselves, their opinions, thoughts and skills, that they feel an imperative urge to get someone’s approval that they are doing the right thing and that they  are still OK.

When we, the former children, reach physical maturity, we find that people soon resent those who become dependent on  them. They often become contemptuous of them – leaners, clinging vines, etc.  We literally drive them away from us with our constant demand for reassurance, hanging onto them, and begging them to throw us a few crumbs of approval now and them. We become fearful of asserting ourselves at all,  for fear of retaliating with outright ridicule, not being given a seat around the campfire,  prolonged silent treatment, or stopping cooking for us, etc.  How can we avoid this treatment? Please them more, of course? Hardly. That brings us more contempt.

What will become of us? We will spend our lives doing what others want us to do. Not what we want to do. If it gets bad enough, we will have feelings of total worthlessness and self-loathing. Some will reach the point  where they would rather die than to continue living with that yoke around their neck.

You can free yourself from this fetter, but it’s really rough depending how badly you are addicted. It will take determination and sustained effort. It’s worth it to finally breath the air of freedom. And you, give it to yourself. Start with a proven self-help program like Depressed Anonymous. Here you will learn how to prize yourself.

I include some words by Lao Tzu, 500 BC, who wrote the TAO TE CHING.

“Care about people’s approval

and you will be their slave.

Must you value what others value

and avoid what they avoid?

How ridiculous!

When you are content to be simple yourself

and don’t compare of compete

everybody will respect you. ”

(c) Quote from The Antidepressant Tablet.

NOTE : Bob P., author,  of Evansville, Indiana, is  founding member of Depressed Anonymous and one whose friendship I cherish. (Hugh S.)

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