“The final stage of healing…”

 

“The final stage of healing is using what happens to you to help other people.” Gloria Steinem

 

I certainly endorse that statement. If you have had the life threatening experience of an addiction and couldn’t recover without help then this statement makes a lot of sense to you.

Let’s consider what Dr. Bob S, co-founder of AA has to say, “I spend a great deal of time passing on what I learned to others who want and need it daily. I do it for four reasons:

1 Sense of duty.

2. It is a pleasure.

3. Because in doing so I am paying my debt to the man who took time to pass it on to me.

4. Because every time I do it I take out a little more insurance for my self against  a possible slip.”

Thanks Dr. Bob.

In our program of recovery in Step Twelve this is pretty much what Dr. Bob is talking about and here is what it says:

“Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry  this message to the depressed, and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.”

If there is anything that has been a greater part of my healing from depression it is in telling my story.  I continue to carry the message to anyone who is wiling to listen. Join a Depressed Anonymous group where you live, or if you are alone, then possibly a Home Study avenue might be what you are looking for.

On this coming Saturday I will be honored to be the moderator of a Webinar directed to the Depressed Anonymous groups in Russia and beyond.  For more information please check out this website (depressedanon.com ) for Wednesday the 20th of February and get the details on how to log in.

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

Visit our Store at the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore for how to look at Books available on line.

Today is your day !

 

If you are depressed, this is your day. Yesterday is gone forever, except in our memories. Tomorrow is not here yet, except in our imagination. This is all we got. This 24 hour period of time is  my time.   This is the space in which we will be living for the next 24 hours. For some of us, it won’t pass fast enough.  But  think about it: we’ve told ourselves thousands of time that we will not face who we are and what we want today but only when we feel like it. I will do it when I feel like it. Sound familiar?

The physical and mental pain of our sadness won’t allow us to think about anything BUT  my pain.  I feel like I am in a prison and no matter what keys I am supposed to have to get out, nothing will work.   I won’t accept that I have options for my release. Once depressed –always depressed, that’s my mantra.

Today is your day. This is the day you are going to make a break ! This is your day to do something different.  Namely, to listen for that other voice inside your head. You are going to hear that there is another way out. The lockdown is over.  You don’t have to live this way. Isolated. Imprisoned and without hope.

In “I’ll do it when I feel better is written for all of us who are waiting. Waiting. Waiting for what, I ask? Yes, I know what you are waiting for–you are waiting for   the depression to just  disappear. Poof! And it’s gone. But you and I know better than that. We have been depressed for so long we can’t accept that we can do anything about our life sentence  of misery.   I have personally been at this struggle for so long that I know something very important about leaving behind the misery of our lives.  The fact is that when we begin to take charge of our thoughts, feelings and lives, good things will begin to happen today. How? Talk to a person who has been there and is now recovered-living that life of hope. Read   the hopeful material from folks who have successfully found that  making today decision day  is today.

Let’s be honest. I once faced the same feeling of being hopeless  and  despair. I never thought that I was able to dig out of the hole that I had been living in.  My continuous negative and hopeless  thinking   eroded  all  the  motivational   energy that I might  have had to  try something that might work for me.

This is your day! You still have hours left in this day to make a decision to start   the  life that you have been wishing for.  Throw the sheets off–get off the couch-call a friend–check out this website depressedanon.com discovering how to get motivated for something that will work for you.   Why? Here you will   find the written accounts of folks, just like you  and me,  who have begin to live one day at a time. They are  making the most of each day.  Many of us begin each 24 hours by saying this prayer, the  moment upon awakening:

God grant me the  serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

It’s similar  to putting your toe in the water. Too cold? Too hot? No, just right. Why? Because there is hope here. There are folks here who are available for you to talk with.  There is an International  online SKYPE group that meets every Sunday. People who need to talk with others about their own  recovery using the 12 Steps of Depressed Anonymous.. People who are in recovery. These are those who  are spending today reaching out to others for assistance. They  find kindred spirits everywhere.

You can read hopeful stories  of people like yourself in Depressed Anonymous who have made a decision to live each day with hope.  For example, the following is  Gloria’s story of how her “today”  was on June 6, 1985. (First meeting of Depressed Anonymous was  founded  at this time).

“There are four of us who were together first on June 6th, 1985. We have become very good friends. I still remember what the counselor from the very first meeting told us. “I’ve seen people come and go. Some helped, some for just one meeting, some wanting a magic  wand waved.  It has helped me over the rough spots, and gave me courage to go on as a widow. I have found a peace in life, a special joy in knowing and loving people. In helping others, I have helped myself. I know my background in life has made me depressed at times. My Mother was abusive and I realized later in life that it was an emotional illness. I forgave her.

I will continue t attend Depressed Anonymous. Every time  is different and who knows what mystery each group holds? One never knows who needs me, who needs a smile or a hug or  who needs to feel that they are not alone, or who needs to know that there is a God who loves all. ”

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (1998, 2008, 2011) Depressed Annonymous Publications. Louisville.KY. (Personal Stories section. Page 141/In helping others I helped my self).

“On awakening, let us think about the 24 hours ahead. We ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity and from dishonest or self-seeking motives. Free us of these, we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be on a higher plane when our thinking begins to be cleared of wrong motives. If we have to determine which  course to take, we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought, or a decision. Then  we relax, and take it easy, and we are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for awhile.

We usually conclude our meditation with a prayer that we are shown all through the day what our next step will be, asking especially for freedom from damaging self-will.”  Bill W.

TODAY IS YOUR DAY! WHAT CAN YOU MAKE OF IT?

For more information please contact: depanon@netpenny.net.

  www. depessedanon.com for BLOGS and information about depression and recovery tools.

Visit the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore for more information  on how to order books online

SOURCES:   (Copyright) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (1998, 2008, 2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

(Copyright) I’ll do it when I feel  better. Hugh Smith (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Page 101. Louisville. KY.  (Quote from  As Bill Sees it. The AA Way of Life… selected writings of A.A.’s co-Founder. AA World Services Inc., New York. 1967. Page 243.)

Increase activity-decrease depression. Set goals for your recovery and you will reap its rewards.

One of the greatest lessons  I learned was about setting goals. When I would isolate and withdraw from life, friends and family,  is when my depression began to deepen and worsen.

If you stop taking care of yourself and retreat from living,  you will find yourself  boxed in and all alone. I remember well when I would withdraw  trying  to figure out what I could do  to relieve my   deep sadness. Usually my thinking took the easy way out.   I would  tell  myself that I would do it when I felt better. ( “I’ll do it when I felt better.”)

This excuse was a way out for me, because I would never have to do anything because I would never feel better. It was only when bad went to worse  that I began  to realize that the only way out was up. Instead of spiraling down I needed to spiral up.

When I set a goal  to find  help, I started to work on my recovery using the tools of Depressed Anonymous. That is, I would use the Depressed  Anonymous Workbook, and answer one or two  questions every day—one week I could only answer three of the questions a day. I took it one step at a time.    Some days, I just felt like hanging it up. A  mantra that I kept repeating to myself was that nothing was happening.  I was still depressed. No change.

An amazing thing happened. Even though my goals were small to start with, I  did believe that   this activity was gradually  bringing me closer to who I really  am and who I wanted to be. Nothing  happened overnight.  It was a day by day struggle. But as I moved through  this workbook, I discovered that there were some other exercises that  I could accomplish. I looked at the Depressed Anonymous website, and found ten or more ways to get involved with my own recovery. The one that appealed to me was the one tool called exercise.  I thought, that is definitely one that I don’t have the energy for.  Then  I rethought my decision . I had heard that when you are depressed,  set a small goal in which you find a bit more  challenging, like walking and do that every day. So I forced myself to walk, just as I was forcing myself to read Depressed Anonymous literature I now was setting aside time to walk every morning.   It was like I was in a  high hurdles race, moving over obstacles placed there by my mind and moving  over them one at a time.

I learned that there is physical  activity  as well as mental activity.   By committing myself to these small steps, one at a time, I gradually found myself a bit more hopeful.   I was gradually reaping the rewards of moving on and through my depression resistance  — no longer staying  parked in neutral.

I was  getting my life in gear.  Eventually I  started to attend Depressed Anonymous meetings and  set the goal of going to meetings every week.   Gradually I was aware of something positive shifting in my life–I was actually beginning to look forward to continuing  my activities and began participating in life once again. My mind fog had finally melted away.

The lesson here for me and it will be the same for you is to start with small goals, add a goal as you move along,  and you will find that you now have developed a workable  program of recovery that can get you through every day of your life. Oh, sure there will be other obstacles and hurdles to overcome in your life,  but my point is that you will have what you need to stay on your feet and move forward in hope because you got skin in the game.

Depressed Anonymous Member

SOURCES:  I’LL DO IT WHEN I FEEL BETTER. (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.Ky.

                              Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky

VISIT THE STORE FOR MORE INFORMATION.

The “noise” of my depression decreases…

I accept and believe that however hopeless everything appears right now, I will make a decision to recover from my depression. I am not helpless. I will make a choice to get better.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT.

The “noise” of my depression decreases the more I am able to share my feelings of anxiety, hurt and helplessness with others. I am not going too far to say  that “all my sadness is gone,”  but I am saying it seems to help to talk  about my fears and anxieties. I can do this sharing within a  Depressed Anonymous group, by journaling or talking with my sponsor. I am noticing that my life improves in relationships,  the more that I force myself to get connected with others who are suffering from depression just as I am.

I accept myself now that I feel that I am depressed.  I now have a definite way out of my sadness. I don’t have to be this way all my life, I tell myself. I believe that I can accept  the fact of the way that I feel and that I can choose to feel something other than the misery of my sadness. I am no longer going to run and hide whenever something or someone appears on the horizon of my life that I don’t like. I accept the fact that  I am going to choose to feel better today.     I am going to spiral up instead of down.

Meditation

God, you created us with strengths and a predisposition of sorts that set us up to be a depressed person. We can’t  choose the family we are born into, but we can choose to find out how to get in touch with those persons who seek health,  our  12  Step family of Depressed Anonymous.

Personal comments

Source:   Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for Down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications.  Louisville. Kentucky .  Page 228.

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

Please VISIT THE BOOKSTORE here for more helpful literature on ways to use the 12 Steps to overcome depression. Orders online are possible.

Does being hopeful mean taking risks?

 

“Hope can exist only in a state of uncertainty.

That certainty means total certainty That security means to be without hope.

The prison of depression is built with the bricks of total certainty.

 

Certainty. Security. No hope.

To hope means to run the risk of disappointment.

Avoid   disappointment.  Stay depressed.

To be insecure means to not be in control.

Stay in control. Be depressed.

To be uncertain means to be unsure of the future.

Predict the future with certainty. Stay depressed.

Hope can only exist where there is uncertainty. Absolute certainty means complete hopelessness. If we want to live fully we must have freedom, hope and love.  So life must be an uncertain business. That is what makes it worthwhile.”

Source: Depression: The way out of your depression. D. Rowe. 1996. (2nd Ed.)

Hope is to seek things and  have the expectation that what we desire will come true. In the matter of depression, Dr. Rowe warns us that when we predict that we will ways be the way we are is to predict a life of uncertainty but one that is without hope. In the reality of the way we construct our world we begin to live with some uncertainty  and with the uncertainty we are going to little bit by little  bit accept some pain, hurt and disappointment in our lives. This is not bad but it is not always pleasant. When we are depressed it is not so important always as to how we got to be depressed but what is important, is how we see our depression.  Do we believe, like Dorothy Rowe, that we will always see ourselves as bad, worthless, unacceptable to ourselves and to others, when we are depressed. If this is the way that we want to look at ourselves then we are sure to believe that we will never change. We hold these beliefs about ourselves as immutable truths –absolute and ever binding. This is the thing about depression – we believe that it will always be this way–namely being possessed by this hollow feeling and deadly emptiness which we carry around in our bodies, day after day, year after years.

Our identity as persons depressed is to believe that we are always going to be the way we are now and be depressed forever. We know that it won’t always have to be this way. Our identity is that of a free agent who has the option to choose misery for the rest of their lives or to choose hope and so live with some uncertainty that may bring us to a life filled with hope.  The more we allow the feelings of pain and the unpleasantness of our feelings to surface the more we will live in uncertainty and hope. To live with uncertainty is to live with some hope that our tomorrow will be different than our today. We hope for things not yet seen. We hope for things to be different. This is the identity of a person  who is working the 12 Steps of Depressed  Anonymous. This person is the one who withholds judgment about whether this first Anonymous meeting is going to do any good for them. This is where they learn how to cope. They hear other members of the group tell them that they have to keep coming back to  the meetings if they are to get help and find release from their feelings of despair.”

Source: How to hope and let it blossom. Hugh Smith. Depressed Anonymous Publications.  (1999). Louisville. Ky.

For more helpful literature on depression and 12 Step spirituality please click onto The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore. Online purchases are possible.

Hibernation works for bears!

 

One of the situations that develop for those of us who are depressed is to isolate. To hole up. To hibernate.  This of course works for bears –but just makes things worse for those of us who are depressed. Isolation from life causes a fracture–a disconnectedness from others and our daily activities. We find that we are gradually slowing down–withdrawing from others and choosing to be alone rather than being connected. Our minds  go round and round choosing to do nothing,  circling around like a dog chasing its tail,  rather than finding solutions. Basically, isolation is our solution.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

A mantra that needs repeating in our minds is to tell ourselves that we need to move our bodies if the mind is to break free from the chains of immobility. Move the body and the  mind will follow.  Once we have committed ourselves to   get physically moving the more the mind will challenge our isolation and inactivity. At first we will have that ongoing debate inside ourselves telling ourselves “I’ll do it when I  feel better.” I know,  I’ve been there.

I am going to keep myself physically fit.

“Keeping physically fit! It is a must for us, who are and who have been depressed.  Walking not only restores harmony to the body, it likewise restores my self-esteem and self-confidence.”

Try walking. It costs nothing. No gym fees or dues.  Walking can make a difference for those of us who find ourselves with our thoughts of suicide, despair and hopelessness. In the very act of walking, I move outside  the narrow and limited circle of my life and move into relationships with other people, places, and situations. Walking releases mood elevating chemicals in my blood  and like others, may cause me to feel a slight elevation of mood. Walking also helps distract me from the ever present round of negative thinking that continues to oppress me.

With time and perseverance, I discover that exercise not only reduces physical tension in my life, but it also makes it possible for me to feel better about myself.

For me to feel good about myself, I have to first want to like myself. I want to attempt to live just for today and not be concerned about what if this , or what if that happens. I am deciding today, that for me to feel better, I must get active and exercise.

God will help us and motivate us to get out into the world of fresh air and the diverse beauty of creation so that we may enjoy God’s goodness manifest itself all around us.

***

Please click onto the TOOLS FOR RECOVERY menu here at the website.  See items EXERCISE and BEING in NATURE.

SOURCE: (c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days” 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups.  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.Ky. Pages 222-223. November 8.

  I’ll do it when I feel better. Depressed Anonymous  Publications.  Louisville.

The only person I can control is myself.

 

 

The only person I can control is myself. I will keep the focus of my recovery on myself.

AFFIRMATION

“Admitting our helplessness, we can abandon our desperate attempts to control everybody and everything and simply ‘go with the flow,’ taking life as it comes. Many people emerging from depression or from a major trauma, do this when they  decide to take one day at a time.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I am more convinced than ever that one of the best ways to get out of my depression is to live one day at a time. and to spend that day thinking thoughts that reflect hope rather than thoughts that spiral us deeper into sadness and despair.  I am much more in need of admitting that I am depressed instead of denying to myself and to others that everything is all right when it isn’t.

My recovery is a step-by-step process and I try to live one day at a time. My best recovery occurs when I am conscious how my depressed thinking distorts the way I look at the way I live out my life and I have to make the effort to think differently.

MEDITATION

We thank God for our lives and the opportunity that we have to come into conscious contact with this Higher Power who is now providing us with his love and his hope.

Source: (c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.KY.  October 30.

What is the power of Depressed Anonymous?

 

“What is the power of Depressed Anonymous? Well, let me first say that when I started attending Depressed Anonymous meetings, I went for a couple of months and then stopped. I stopped going because my depression was so bad that I didn’t want to leave my apartment. I didn’t want to be around or talk to anyone. I just didn’t want to do anything except crawl in a hole somewhere and isolate myself from everything. Then after about six weeks of isolation, I called the residential treatment facility where I had been a client to see if I had received any mail there and one of the members of the Depressed Anonymous group where I attended answered the phone. I spent a few minutes talking to her and there was something in her voice that told me that for some reason, it was important for me to be at the meeting.  I attended  the next Depressed Anonymous meeting. After the meeting I suddenly realized the importance and power of Depressed Anonymous.

So what is the power of Depressed Anonymous? For me, it’s just like attending that first meeting. I was a little scared and apprehensive at first, but then I found the Depressed Anonymous meeting was a place to go where there were other depressed people just like me. They could relate to and understand what I was going through. They didn’t judge me or think of me as crazy. I was accepted.”

–Ray

Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (1998, 2008, 2011). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky .

Was finding this phone number a coincidence?

 

Helen shares her story about finding help–when she needed it most.

”   I finally knew after two year or more of sleepless nights that someone had to help me.   I found a card saying Depressed  Center, in the back  of the phone book. It has a phone number and that was all. I talked to a man on the other end of the phone.  I said to myself this man is too  busy to talk with me, but anyway I made the first appointment myself. I made myself go. I thank God I did. I thank God that I went for help. It was a whole new beginning for me. I wanted to get well so badly. I think people do have to want to change. I went in with an attitude that I have to get well. I had heard things about counselors that scared me, but this was just all the old negative feelings that caught up with me and boxed me in. I got better and started to think differently. I started to get rid of some of my negative thoughts. I began to feel better and I continued to see my counselor. I started in Depressed Anonymous  some weeks later.”

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

If you are curious about how the mutual aid group changed Helen’s life you’ll need to read her full account in the Personal Stories section of Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition,  pages 169-172.

She also has something powerful to say about pleasing people and how  she needed to get her priorities straight and begin taking care of herself.

Sources:   Seeing is believing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2017). Hugh Smith. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

 I’ll do it when I feel better.(2018) Hugh Smith. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY

Thanks to Depressed Anonymous, I am a healer instead of being a victim.

 

“These Twelve Steps work for those who work the program and who try to live one day at a time.  Many times  we have been so scared of being rejected once more and that we have withdrawn deeper into the anguish of our shame and hurt.  We need to air our hurts, our shame, and let others hear our story. There is something healing about hearing ourselves speak to others about our  own journey in life an the many emotional potholes that we have fallen into from time to time. We have felt that our lives were jinxed! But now we can begin  to feel hopeful when other members of the group shake their heads in knowing approval of what we are saying when  we tell our story. Most have been where we are now. And the more we make an effort  to come  to  meetings regularly,  the more  we will find members of the group telling us how they  see a change in the way we talk, act and look.   We will accept the group’s comments as being true and honestly expressed. These people speak our  language  and they  al l   have been where we  are now.  You  gradually begin to see yourself as healer instead of victim the  more  you  work  this program and  get  excited  about  the  possibility  of  helping  others. When you start reaching out to others in the group, it is  at  that  point  that  you  are  carrying the  message of  hope  to  others.  You have  a future with  Depressed Anonymous.”

COPYRIGHT (c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Page 105.