I needed to lay all my cards out on the table…

Affirmation

First I need to forgive myself for not being perfect. I want to accept the fact that I am human and fallible.

” Made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.” Step Nine of Depressed Anonymous

Clarification of thought

When I made up my mind to attend my first Twelve Step meeting that was the beginning of making amends to myself and to others.  It was this taking the step and coming to a meeting that I made my statement that I needed help and that I might change the way that I lived my life.  I need to  lay all my cards on the table and get straight with anyone from my past who I feel that I hurt by my continual withdrawal  from living a full life.  I need to make amends to those who I passively watched when I would have been a support or a partner.  For the readiness to take the full consequences of our past acts, and to take responsibility for the well being of others at the same time, is the very spirit of Step Nine.

This really means that I will take an active role in changing my life. Amends doesn’t mean that we just shift the furniture around the room of our life. I might have to rip out the plumbing, knock out a wall, that is, face a major overhaul on the way I look at myself.

Meditation

Our  God will help us locate the truth about whom we need to make amends; that is, how God  wishes us to be changed and whom we need to have forgiveness from so that we will be God’s  worthy vessels to carry  hope to others still suffering from  the despair of their sadness.”

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Source: (c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of Twelve Step Fellowship groups. Louisville. Page 166.

Other sources of interest:

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

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

    Believing is seeing (2015) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

The secret of life is that there is no secret. Sartre

This morning, before the rising of the sun, I was up and asking God to bless me for this next 24 hour period of my life. All I had left from yesterday was my memories of it. And the memories were good. My family and assorted friends came together for my wife’s brother’s birthday party. It was a lot of fun and lots of old memories from earlier times surfaced. From the youngest, a five year old grandchild to a 94 year old aunt. Anyway, I thanked God for family and friends. Today, I have memories of that time yesterday. But I live here now, in the space of these next few hours left in this day.

I have learned that yesterday is gone forever and tomorrow is not here yet. How true that is. Just try and live today.One day at a time. If I have a worry today about something coming up  tomorrow, I just keep informing myself, that I will have to  worry about that later. Later never comes. That’s the beauty of this strategy… later is interpreted as “push it off ” till another time in the day. It’s really a matter of making a choice at this point–worry or try and let it go. So,right now, I am going to enjoy the sun rising  over the horizon. I am also trying  to be mindful of what is right in front of me. Mindfulness is a very important habit to carry with us these  24 hours.  Be mindful of what is happening around us. Be mindful of the person with whom  you may be having a conversation. In other words, be present with your whole person to the person who is with you. When I look out now, with the sun beginning to cast its warm crimson glow in the East, I think God that I have shelter, food on the table, and a family that I love and care about. Morning is a gratitude time for me as I think about my ministry with the beautiful aged persons in a nursing home, the people  I may be able to  visit in the hospital today.

I also thank God for my sobriety, my spiritual recovery program of Depressed Anonymous, and the fact that I am mindful of  trying to be  honest with myself and others, that I am open about who I am. I  am willing to share with others how it is that I have the tools now  to stay out of the prison of depression. I love to tell the story of how it was when I was depressed and now how it is that I am part of a fellowship that uses a daily program of healing and serenity. (See Depressed Anonymous, 3rd ed., DAP. Louisville). You can also go to our site menu and find important and helpful literature there for your life.

Can you think about and write out all the areas of your life for which you are thankful? Try it. And then tonight before going to bed, reflect on how you still have hope that life can get better. I have found that living life one day at a time—with gratitude —  makes it a whole lot better!

A Power greater than ourselves!

Affirmation

I am conscious today that there exists a power who wants me to be free of my need to sad myself.

” Maybe there  are as many definitions of spiritual awakening as there are people who have had them.  But certainly each genuine one has something in common with all the others.  And these things which they have in common are not too hard to understand. When a man or a woman has a spiritual awakening, the most important meaning of it is that he now has become able to feel and believe that which he could not do before on his unaided strength and resource alone. He has been granted a gift which amounts to a new state of consciousness and being.  He has been set on a path which tells him he is really going somewhere, that life is not a dead end, not something to be endured or mastered,. What  he has received is a free gift , and yet usually, at least in some small part, he has made himself ready to receive it,.”

Clarification of thought

I have learned that people who believe in some power greater than themselves and surrender to it that these same people begin to find hope and start feeling better.

I no longer just have to endure like a passive victim but instead can get active in my own recovery and start  to feel hopeful about my day and my life. I don’t have to feel this way anymore.

Meditation

It is only by our prayer, meditation and self reflection that we will gradually be free of our despair and begin to hope. Our lives have been permanently changed by our understanding that we will get well today, bit by bit. ”

SOURCES: Copyright(c)Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of Twelve Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 164. August 15.

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

Depression is the ultimate state of disconnection.

“…Depression is the ultimate state of disconnection, not only between people, and between mind and heart, but between one’s self image and public mask, writes Parker J. Palmer in  Let you life speak.

“Then”, he continues, “there were the visitors who began by saying “I know exactly how you feel…”  Whatever comfort or counsel these people may have intended to speak, I heard nothing beyond their opening words, because I know they were peddling a falsehood: no one can fully experience another personal mystery.  Paradoxically, it was my friends emphatic attempt to identify with me that made me feel even more isolated, because it was  over identification.  Disconnection may be hell, but it is better than false connections.

Having not only been “comforted” by friends but having tried to comfort others in the same way, I think I understand what the syndrome is about: avoidance and denial.  One of the hardest things we must do sometimes is to be present to another’s pain without trying to fix it, to simply stand respectfully at the ends of  the person’s mystery.  Standing there, we feel useless and powerless, which  is exactly how a depressed person feels – and our unconscious need as Job comforters is to reassure ourselves that we are not like the sad soul before us.”——————————————————-

Comment.  It is extremely important for others to understand that not only is the person depressed feeling useless and powerless, so to is the person who is in the company of the person depressed. It is not hard to understand that this is exactly what happens with all of us when we cannot “‘fix” someone who we know needs help.  Our statements of the false disconnection type, do not build bridges between peoples, but widens the gap between them and us. I know and believe that it is the person who is present to us, as Parker points out, that is standing by, on the outskirts of an understanding  of our pain, and who  continues  to be there without a ” toolkit” to “fix” us.

I CAN FEEL A CHANGE INSIDE OF ME…

AFFIRMATION

“I am going to handle what has taken a lifetime to develop one day at a time.

“When we saw others solve their problems by a simple reliance upon the Spirit of the Universe, we had to stop doubting the power of God.  Our ideas did not work. But the  God idea did.” (1)

  CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I always doubted the power of God until I started to see and read about other people working their Twelve Step program and getting on to meetings. I also believe that there is surely hope for me as I hear about other depressed persons who are in the fellowship with each other and have a genuine desire to stop  sadding  themselves.  This is all that is needed, a desire to stop sadding  oneself.  I can feel a change inside of me as I begin to rely more on this God who loves me and cares  how I feel. This program of hope works if you work the program.

This is the word that gives hope.  It is a simple reliance, day  by day, hour by  hour, that I will find the serenity, the simplicity of a life lived without the anxiety, hollowness, jitteriness of my depression. It is in  my admission of such that begins me on the road to recovery and hope.

MEDITATION

We trust in our God. We rely on you as we turn as often as we can to be present in your  Presence.  We want to pray unceasingly and learn from you  how to love ourselves.

SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of Twelve Step fellowship  groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 150. July 27.

NO MATTER HOW FAR DOWN THE SCALE WE HAVE GONE, WE SEE HOW OUR EXPERIENCE CAN BENEFIT OTHERS.

This is another one of the Promises that helps promote our purpose in life as well as gives our life  meaning.

“Some of us have attempted suicide. A few of us more than a few times. We had despaired of ever finding peace or hope.  We believe that we had no future and that our yesterdays were as hopeless as our today’s.  It was hard to attend our first Depressed Anonymous meeting. We felt horribly alone. We just know that no one in the group has been through what we have been through. But as we listened and watched the older members of the group speak we saw ourselves in their stories.

Personally, I believe that whatever you give out to others is the amount that comes back to you. Our experience can usually help someone else. As the  experience of depression is so isolating, so predictable in its misery that it is bound to have made such impression upon us  that it changed our life and the way we think about our life. And then when our life is changed for the better –thanks to the fellowship of DA, this precious gift of hope needs to be with those still suffering. Ironically, it appears that the farther we have gone down in mood and up again in our recovery,  the more powerful can this experience be.

New members of our fellowship see the “after” of our lives lived in recovery and so they themselves get involved in the fellowship. The fact that we have recovered so completely is in itself a message of tremendous hope for those who are newcomers to the group. Isn’t it amazing that those who can do the most for those still suffering are those who have worked themselves out of the pit of isolation and began sharing their story of hope and personal empowerment.”

Copyright(c) I’ll do it when I feel better. (2013) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 39-40. PROMISE # 5.

MAKEOVER TIME: THE NEW ME.

Helen’s before and after–

“Now that I look back and see the way I was and see how I am now, I can’t believe that I ever knew that other person. This person is different altogether. I like the person now very much.  I am so thankful to the group. They are just wonderful. They are my family. They are my Depressed Anonymous family.  I also have my church family. It is a wonderful feeling to know that there is a Higher Power that can help you through these things.  At first, I thought: “I doubt that very much” when everyone is talking about the Higher Power and peace in my life.  Then it happened to me. Every few days, the world dumps down on you and beats you down. That’s just life. I always think to myself that there is that extra strength that I didn’t have before. I feel that everything is going to be OK with me. I have that peace now myself.”

Read all of Helen’s story in the Personal Stories in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.  Page 148.

LIFE CAN BE GOOD FOR A CHANGE. PLEASE DON’T GIVE UP!

” I am writing this information with the hope that it will help anyone who is suffering from depression that is brought on by stress, anxiety, loneliness, physical or mental emotions, death or insecurity.

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, such as being controlled by a dominating parent, 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 one of my parents gave me a phone number of Depressed Anonymous(502.569.1989).   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 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 alone. And 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.

I read the Depressed Anonymous manual, go to counseling, and attend the Depressed Anonymous meetings. The meetings are a must. I need them to survive. The support group’s members help each other by listening, talking, expressing their feelings, and give support on how to cope with depression.   By letting my Higher Power help me, I am beginning to feel free from depression.  I am not so nervous and tenses up. My Christian inner faith is getting stronger. I am not so stressed out and I am beginning to get confidence within myself.  I still have trouble with sleep pattern and I am getting some motivation back. I have learned how to handle anxiety by getting some motivation back.  I have learned how to handle anxiety by taking deep breaths while I am nervous or troubled.  This was suggested by my therapist.  I am also learning how to stand  up for myself.

All these  new tools have helped me and will continue to do so.  They also taught me not to dwell on my past, to live life one day at a time, and to look toward the future, but not live there.  It will take 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

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SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous (3rd edition). (2011)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 148-149.  # 29 of Personal Stories

WHEN THE STUDENT IS READY THE TEACHER APPEARS.

The following is an excerpt from Higher Thoughts for Down Days for June 17th.

AFFIRMATION

I will make a point of it today to trust that my Higher Power is going to restore me to sanity and wholeness, the more I let go of what I want and let it move along the way of what it wants for me.

“Actually we were fooling ourselves, for deep down in every man, woman and child is the fundamental idea of God. It may be obscured by calamity, by pomp, by worship of other things, but in some form it is there.  For faith in a Power greater than ourselves, and miraculous demonstration of that power in  human  lives are facts as old as man himself.” ( Bill W.)

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

Sometimes I have been brought to my knees by some calamity or some traumatic loss in my life only to find that in time, by admitting my defeat, I was instead raised up and I found hope. It is a mystery how the Higher Power works but I am certain  about this, namely, that deep down inside of me I believe that my conscious contact with my Higher  Power will bring me what I need when I need it.

The more I believe in the daily demonstration of the Higher Power, the more I place my trust in its ability to free me from all the memories that holds me captive in my isolation and aloneness.”

WHEN THE STUDENT IS READY THE TEACHER APPEARS!

THE SIMPLE ABC’s of DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS: THE 12 STEP PROGRAM OF RECOVERY

Yes, learn your ABC’s of Depressed Anonymous and you are on your way to discovering how to live with freedom and with purpose. I learned my ABC’s back in 1982 in another  12 step fellowship. It did take me a little while to get used to them but in due time everything all came together. Once  I got serious about learning my ABC’s things started to happen. I not only found the key that opened a new world of serenity and a fellowship to me,  I also have a daily plan for my life that gives me purpose and serenity to this very day. Just as day follows night I am helping others learn their ABC’s.

First of all, you might be wondering what are the ABC’s of Depressed Anonymous? And how can I learn them? Well, let me tell you about them.

Simply put, the ABC’s stand for three realities which anyone can learn. The first reality is to 1) admit that I have a problem. That is fairly easy to understand. Having a problem is what usually brings a person into our 12 Step fellowship in the first place.  We know something is happening and we know we can’t go on feeling as bad as we do. “We admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable.” There you got it.  You just learned a bit about the A of the ABC’s — to admit. OK, I know that to admit something is out of kilter in our lives is not easy but to also know that the pain  is so great we have to take the bull by the horn and find help. We also know how scary life becomes when we feel we have no control over the way we feel and think. I know. When I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning and had this awful feeling of hollowness in my body which was unbearable I knew then that something serious, possibly deadly serious was going on. Yes,deadly serious.

It was then that I  believed that I had to take action. I had to seek help and find out what was causing my life to take a nose dive or extreme proportions.  For me to feel that I had no control over the way I felt and even to the point that I  could not get myself out of bed in the morning with will power alone, it was then that I knew what I had was serious.  I ” came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” I didn’t know what this Power was that was going to restore me but I had to find out. I sought help and finally got the help I needed. I moved the body and my mind followed. I was forcing myself out of bed a morning and started walking. For awhile I felt I was an incarnation of the movie hero, Forrest Gump. But over time I found the key to my recovery and learned how to use the C of my ABC’s. I learned how to commit myself to this Power that was greater than myself. Actually, it was my decision to commit myself to going to as many 12 Step meetings as  I possibly could. It was there that I learned to live my life. I now had a plan. I had a purpose and I made sure I was about doing the next right thing for my recovery. It has been 30 years since that day when I had to admit that I had  serious problem on my hands. I am still doing my ABC’s every day and helping others learn their ABC’s of recovery. I know the program of recovery takes time and work–but it is worth a life. Your life!

If you want to learn the ABC’s of Depressed Anonymous, it would do you well to get  to a meeting or get the  BIg  Book, DEPRESED ANONYMOUS, 3rd Edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications.  ( By the way, this book was written by a group of depressed persons who learned their ABC.s and wanted to show others a plan that worked for them.  They found HOPE. Their Personal Stories are in the book).