Do you want a new way of living?

 

AFFIRMATION

I now  have a new way of living!

“But with OUR new way of living and thinking we are going to stay in the now. We know tomorrow produces anxiety and fear. Yesterday is there with all the past hurts and anger. All I have is the now!  If I live in the now I can begin to  try to stay out of yesterday  with all its old wounds  and hurts and resist living in tomorrow with its unknown problems.  Negative thoughts about our past or those about tomorrow can numb our feelings so that we don’t have to feel the pain of whatever it is that isolates us from the world around us. We also admit,  like any one person addicted to a person, thing,  place,  chemical or drug, that our lives are out of control. We have to admit, that by depressing ourselves, we have chosen saddening ourselves as our drug of choice. We medicate ourselves with sadness any time we might have to change the way we live our lives. Sometimes, our depression or sadness arises out of guilt as we continue to turn our personal mistakes into giant catastrophes – this continues to make us feel as if we are nothing and valueless. This all adds to our frustration and the feeling of our being out of control. We know that if we just give up our struggle against depression and admit our powerlessness over it, we can begin to surrender it to our Higher Power and practice letting go of it. I can decide that I want to feel happy and put this constant sadness and hollowness behind me once and for all. I know that no longer will I have to retreat or flee from   those sad feelings and escape with sleep, over activity or drugs.  I know that, whenever my sadness seems unending, I then just admit that I am not helpless and that I can do something about it because I have the tools and I can learn the skills that I didn’t know were available to me before.  Now I am deciding to think, act and behave differently, much to my personal credit and a new-found trust in the Higher Power.  I am a sailor who sees the land, knows the right direction and does the rowing to get where I want to go.  The Twelve Steps are my compass. I also   know that this group of people which we call Depressed Anonymous will help me assume a sense of no longer feeling out of control.”

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SOURCE:  Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd ed., Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Pages 34-35.

 

 

Britain’s MD’s prescription for depression? Exercise.

Patients in Britain are receiving  “prescriptions” for exercise.

“A  “prescriptionfor exercise typically provides the patient with twenty – four weeks of treatment. An exercise professional assesses the patient’s fitness and develops an appropriate “activity plan,” with the patient then given discounted or free access to the collaborativeing YMCA or gym. Patients work out on exercise machines, swim. and take various exercises classes. In addition , many exercise referral schemes provide access to “green gyms.” The outdoor programs may involve group walks, outdoor stretching classes, and volunteer environmental work (managing local woodlands, improving footpaths, creating community gardens, etc). Throughout the six months of treatment, the exercise professional monitors the patient’s health and progress.

As might be expected, patients have found exercise on-prescription- treatment to be quite helpful. They told the Mental Health Foundation that exercise allowed them to “take control of their recovery” and stop thinking of themselves as “victims” of a disease. Their confidence and self esteem increased, they felt calmer and more energetic. Treatment was now focused on their ” health,” rather than on their ” illness.”

“The fathers of medicine wouldn’t be surprised about what we are doing, ” McCulloch  said.  They would say, “Hasn’t science gone any further? Diet and exercise? This is what is new? If they could travel in a time machine, they would think we were mad, because people have been saying these things for thousands of years..”

SOURCES:   Whitaker R.  (2010, 2015) Anatomy of An Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America.. New York. Crown. pg.347.

Smith H. (2017) Believing is Seeing: 15 Ways to Leave the Prison of Depression. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.  (Ch.6: Keep physically  fit.)

Smith, H. (2018) I’ll Do It When I Feel Better. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.

I believed depressed people could help depressed people!

I have always believed in the power and the  influence of the group -either serving as a power for good or a power designed for destructive ends. But as for our group Depressed Anonymous, I believe  that it truly builds, enhances and strengthens any one who gets involved with  it on a regular and consistent basis. Those who do interact with our fellowship,  gradually come out of the pit of their depression and start feeling hopeful about their lives. They know  that  they are feeling hope instead of despair. This is actually happening all the time as those involved in the fellowship begin to see personal changes occurring in their lives.

I remember when I first proposed my idea, in 1985,   to the Dean of the Psychology Department at the University where I was earning my Master’s degree, that we ought to try and get depressed people together. I mentioned that Alcoholics Anonymous,  with a few fellow alcoholics, got its beginning  with a peer to peer approach. It takes one to know one, so to speak!  The professor looked at me like I was completely  out of my mind – that  I would suggest that depressed people could even muster up the necessary energy  to  even climb out of bed in the morning,  much less get themselves to a meeting with other depressed individuals like themselves. The idea seemed doomed to failure.

With a begrudging approval from the Dean, we got our peer to peer depression group off the ground. It was a success. Just as one alcoholic helping another alcoholic, so it  was true with the depressed person.  This peer to peer model of recovery worked. In a few months, following the groups formation, we opened our fellowship to the public . On May 30th, 1985,  our brand new mutual aid group, Depressed Anonymous was launched. It is still being launched today, globally.

If you believe  you can find hope, plus have a ticket out of depression by going to Depressed Anonymous meetings, then there will be nothing stopping you. I have found that my Higher Power has released me.  I am carrying a hope to those hurting from a life of isolation and feeling alone. We have a message of hope for them.”

SOURCE: Copyright(c) Believing is seeing:15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 64-67. (The 14th Way out of the prison of depression).

For more information about  the lives of  those  individuals who believed in the group power, please read about them in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. There is a special section in  the book where  thirty members of DA share their personal stories of healing and hope.

For more information about who we are  and what we are about, please VISIT THE STORE. Thank you.

 

Miraculous power

FAITH, PRAYER AND MEDITATION PROVIDE THE BELIEVER WITH MIRACULOUS POWERS!

 

“Deep down in every man,  woman and child is the fundamental idea of a God.  It may be obscured by calamity, by pump, by worship of other things, but in some form or other it is there. For faith in a power greater than ourselves, and miraculous demonstrations of that power in human lives are facts as old as man himself.

“Faith may often be given through inspired teachings or a convincing personal example of its fruits. It may sometimes be had through reason. For instance, many clergymen believe that St. Thomas Aquinas actually proved God’s existence by sheer logic. But what can one do when all these channels fail? This was my own grievous dilemma.

“It was only when I came fully to believe I was powerless over alcohol or depression, only when I appealed to the God who just might exist, that I experienced a spiritual awakening. This freedom-giving experience came first, and then faith followed afterwards-a gift indeed!”

Bill W., co-founder of AA shares this thought in Alcoholics Anonymous, p.55 and in a letter, 1966.

Spiritual Kindergarten

 

“We are only operating a spiritual kindergarten in which people are  enabled to get over drinking and find the grace to go on living  to better effect. Each man’s theology  has to  be  his own quest, his own affair.”  Letter. 1954.

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“When the Big Book was being planned, some members thought that it ought to be Christian in the doctrinal sense. Others had no objection to the use of the word “God,” but wanted to avoid doctrinal issues. Spirituality, yes.  Religion, no. Still others wanted a psychological book, to lure the alcoholic in.  Once in,  he could take God or leave Him alone as he wished.

To the rest of us this was shocking, but happily we listened.  Our group conscience was at work to construct the most acceptable and effective book possible.

Every voice was playing its appointed part. Our atheists and agnostics widened our gateway so that all who suffer might pass through, regardless of their belief or lack of belief.”

A.A., Come of Age.

 

SURVIVAL IS TO MEET LIFE’S PROBLEMS HEAD ON!

AFFIRMATION

I am going to take a fearless and moral inventory of myself today and list on paper my strengths as well as my weaknesses, that is those characteristics in my life that might keep me fearful and depressed,

“Step Four and Five really have to be faced head-on if our depression is to go away. Steps Four and Five are all about cleaning house. We must square off with ourselves and begin the rooting out process that will in time, free us from our sadness and our identity as a depressed person. So often a person depressed is afraid, panic stricken really, in facing some issues that were never their fault in the first place.”

REFLECTION

I see so many people are liberated from their depression the moment they begin to look themselves in the eye and reflect on  their character defects. These persons are the ones who are not afraid to make a list of all the persons they have hurt by their isolating depression and by the thought that they are unacceptable to others and to themselves. By working Step Five which states  that “we admitted to God, ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” I am assured by another person’s acceptance of me that I will get through this time of pain and hurt.

Bill W., the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous had a spiritual awakening on night as he truly was at the lowest point in his life and begged God to help him. God’s love lit up the room for Bill and he was never the same after that. He was a changed man. I need to make restitution to my family, my friends, my spouse and to whomever for my withdrawing from life and hiding from my responsibilities. This is the work that is needed if I am to get free of the shackles of sadness.

MEDITATION

God, shine the light of your wisdom into our hearts so that you might help us find the way out of our depression and get on with living our  lives the way you would have us live them.  Our fears and anxieties are definitely not the way you would want us to live. You have shown us the way out of our misery by bringing us close to those who once were depressed, but now in recovery, are doing better.”

SOURCES: Copyright (c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for all members of 12 Step fellowships. Depressed Anonymous  Publications. Louisville. Page 224/ November 10th.

Now available in the KINDLE format. Check out our STORE for more information as how to order online or snail mail.

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

Depressed Anonymous. Pollyanna or the real deal ?

Is Depressed Anonymous the real deal or is it just too good to be true. Are we much like the novel character Pollyanna, over optimistic about everything or are we the realists who take life on lives terms and then deal with it the best way that we can. For all of us who are program people we know the answer to that question.

The best way to deal with any problem or life situation  is to face it squarely and deal with it.  Feelings and all have to be felt, looked at and then dealt with. Take it from me and the  many others who come into our program depressed and who discover that we are not the” pie in the sky “people,  the people with the magic potions or the magic wand wafted over  our heads. But, we are the solution focused folks who will help you build a program that will last a lifetime, giving hope, with a fellowship of hopeful people with whom one can always be in contact with.

One of the areas of life that the depressed has not much experience with is to be like  little  Pollyanna of Porter’s  novels.  Most times the gloom that settles in our minds and heart are those feelings of despair and darkness which we are unable to shake off. It’s that feeling of hopelessness, the feeling of being completely helpless as we gradually make our whole existence one of inner pain  and anxiousness. We can’t sleep–or we sleep too much. We eat too little or we overeat.   Our life is lived out in what feels like a prison cell. It’s a prison without bars, granted, but we cannot  leave it just because we will to.  Will power is initially useless. I know, I tried that route. The Depressed Anonymous fellowship is one of the means which provide  us with a key–a way to leave this prison of isolation.

And then here comes this group called Depressed Anonymous.  Why go to a  group of people who are depressed and listen to stories  about their sense of futility and oppression? That would be depressing! That is, unless they are using in their lives the 12 spiritual principles of Depressed Anonymous. This is the  blueprint which build one step at a time the rest of the structure  that, like the Alcoholic, overeater, all build a structure that can  last a life time. Once they are onboard and begin using Steps for their own personal recovery to build a new life of hope, no adversity can force them to go back to their old and addictive behaviors.

The depression experience is what brings them into our fellowship and it is here that hope is gradually restored. But please, we don ‘t have the easy answers or  magic pills, or the magic wand to make our pain go away.  What we do is provide a plan, a blueprint if you will, a daily dose of hope with a lively  fellowship, sponsors and literature.

There is no sugar coating here. No whitewashing the pain of an individual depression experience. But just like the alcoholic who makes a commitment to keep from alcohol one day at a time, we too have the same program. We come in and decide that yes, I have a problem,  and yes  I will do all in my power,  plus with the ever present  God of my understanding,  change what needs to be changed in my life, one  day at a time.  This is the real deal. And so won’t you join us in this program of recovery and make the effort to discover how you too can live a life of hope and happiness.

Hugh

 

 

I said to myself, “if I ignore it maybe it(depression)will go away.”

“There was a time when we ignored trouble, hoping it would go away. Or, in fear and in depression, we ran from it, but found it was still with us. Often, full of unreason, bitterness, and blame, we fought back. These mistaken attitudes, powered by alcohol, guaranteed our destruction, unless they were altered.

Then came AA (and DA. OA, NA,  Al-Anon etc). Here we learned that trouble was really a fact of life for everybody – a fact that had to be understood and dealt with. Surprisingly, we found that our troubles could, under God’s grace, be converted into unimagined blessings.

“Indeed, that was the essence of A.A. itself: trouble accepted, trouble squarely faced with calm courage, trouble lessened and often transcended. This was the A.A. story, and we became a part of it.  Such demonstrations became our stock in trade for the next sufferer.”

COMMENT: It was with my own experience with depression that I tried to deny that it was anything that could keep me from a life lived with hope and joy. I thought that if I just ignored it, like Bill W., stated so well above, it would just evaporate like the morning midst. Of course this just didn’t happen.

As I commented on this denial factor which is a big part of all addictions, I also came to believe that,  “well, what I am going through will surely pass. It isn’t so bad, really. I can put up with a little discomfort.”  Sorry. It didn’t work that way. And as I pointed out in   I’ll Do It when I feel Better  I said  ” we also learn that our depression is a defense and predictable and for some, depression is even come to be a comfort and as has been said before, at least one knows what they have with depression. And to change and risk removing this numbness is better not to be undertaken  because it’s better to know what one has than to risk getting something worse. Much like the example cited before of the debate within ourselves to go to the dentist for the toothache or just tough  it out and hope for the best.  We call this denial.” Page 17.

To examine more literature about depression and using the Twelve Steps in your personal recovery , please taker a look  at VISIT THE STORE here at our website.

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SOURCES:

1) As Bill sees it. Page 110.

2)  I’ll do it when I feel better. (2014)  Depressed  Anonymous Publications.                                  Louisville.

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

 

Service gladly rendered…

Carrying the message of hope to those still suffering from depression.

“Service gladly rendered, obligations squarely met, troubles well accepted with God’s help, the knowledge that at home or in the world outside we are partners in a common effort, the fact that in God’s sight all human beings are important, the proof that love freely given brings a full return, the certainty that we are no longer isolated and alone in self constructed prisons, the surety that we can fit and belong in God’s scheme of things –these are the satisfactions of right living for which no pomp or circumstances, no heap of material possessions, could possibly substitute.” Twelve and Twelve, AA World services. Page 124.

 

Also, in The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002) we read

“The part about carrying the message is so important if we are to remain out of the clutches of depression. It is important to keep in touch with the newcomers and others in the program. It is in this carrying the message that reminds us that we once needed help and it was through the unselfishness of the older members of Depressed Anonymous that got us through our depression.” Page 85.

“We soon discover in the program that no compulsion can be controlled by will power alone. It must be surrendered to the Higher Power or to the care of God of our understanding. It alone can remove in time the burden from our backs. This is the spiritual awakening that keeps us free from sadness as we take the message of healing to others in the group who are new to the program. We admit that we make no promises to anyone and that there will be no magic answer and quick solutions to their saddiction.  No, it all takes time and this is the message of the group. Such slogans as: “Take it easy,” “Keep  it simple,” and “Easy does it” are all meant to help you and me to live one day at a time and continue to try and live with serenity. When we practice these steps on a daily basis, starting our day with asking the Higher Power for guidance for the rest of the day we can then be  assured of God’s presence and help in our lives.”

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 106.

 

I am responsible for me!

Higher Thoughts for Down Days

I am responsible for me!

” Responsibility is the name of the game in recovery…people who want to change begin to swallow their pride and ask for help.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

The ability to respond to the truth of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous comes particularly forceful when we have hit bottom in our lives and there seems to be no way out of what troubles us. This is where I begin to take responsibility for myself and ask others for help. Who is the best person to ask for help when you are depressed? Obviously, it’s that person who ha been where you are now. I believe that one of the biggest assets of being a member of Depressed Anonymous is the fact that so many people begin to live with happiness, peace, and hope after they have given up control of their lives to the Higher Power.  They indeed have hit bottom and there is no way for them  but up.

To say that my life is out of control is usually hard for any of us to have to admit. The pride that said that I had to please everyone to be happy, or in order to get other’s approval, had to do everything perfect, has resulted  in my depressing myself until I can hardly stand it. Now that I am telling it like it is and I begin to accept myself as I am and refuse to  let other’s opinions of myself overwhelm or dictate life to me, I begin to feel better.

MEDITATION

God, put your love into our hearts and your guidance into our minds as we struggle, day after day, to live with the understanding that we can only do your will by beginning to be responsible for ourselves.

 

SOURCE: Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 Step Fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 244.