Our basic antidote for fear is a spiritual awakening!

 

 

Antidote: “A remedy to counteract a poison.” This is the definition as given by Webster’s dictionary. Fear is truly a poison in some ways and in others it is a gift. We need to fear only that which will keep us locked in the prison of depression. Sometimes our fears are of what tomorrow might bring or might be the fears from the past. One of the better antidotes to fear is trying to live, just for today. Today is all I have.

So often I hear others say that they have been depressed all their lives until – let me repeat- until they hear other stories as to how with work, time and belief in a power greater than  themselves that they did and are feeling better now.  I need to trust that once I have made my conscious decision to turn my life and will over to the care of God as I understand him, that my life will indeed begin to change.

“I am no longer alone in my suffering depression. I believe that by getting more active in my recovery that my life will begin to brighten up.”

“We of (AA) and  Depressed Anonymous find that our basic antidote for fear is a spiritual awakening.” Bill W.

 

SOURCES:

Copyright (c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed  Anonymous Publications. Louisville. May  10. Page 95.

Copyright (c) Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2015 ) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Copyright (c) I’ll do it when I feel better. (2013) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

 

“I realized that I was addicted to the self.”

” As a person that has suffered depression since childhood, I can say that until you start to open up, share your hurts and feelings, listen to the members of the group, watch them as they grow from the support of the group, you will not be able to get out of the prison of your depression. I have been going to Depressed Anonymous for four years and only until recently have I realized that I was addicted to the self.  Only then did I start to take a good look at myself and start to ask God for his help and truly mean it. I am learning to trust in God  and do His will and not mine. I feel better about myself. I can tell you it is a lot easier to be depressed than it is to work on yourself and admit to yourself that there is a problem. It is God’s will for us to live each day to the fullest because of our time on earth is limited. Live each day, not yesterday or tomorrow. Share with the group and your friends and you will be surprised who will be glad to listen  if you would give them a chance. Accept the fact that all of us at Depressed Anonymous are here to listen to you and not make judgments  on you or give advice. Even if you don’t want to share, come to the meetings because you can always get something out of them. Eventually, you will want to share and the group will listen.

In conclusion, trust in your Higher Power – God as you understand God. Support groups are the  way out of our addictions. We may have given  up on God, but God hasn’t  given up on us. Start your day out by asking God: God I pray for the knowledge of your will and the power to carry it out. ”

-Starr writing about her experience with depression and the healing support that she receives in the Depressed Anonymous 12 Step mutual aid group.

Read Starr’s whole story in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. (Personal Stories section/Pages 129-130 ).

Shame, Shame, Shame

On deciding what “go to guy” to help me, when setting up the 12 Step Depressed Anonymous mutual aid group, I went to Aaron Beck’s book, Cognitive Therapy of Depression.  It was there that I found out the why’s and how’s we shame ourselves.  Many times we feel shame to tell another that we are depressed.  I have felt this myself. So, when it came time to form a group for the depressed, it was there that at many of the group sessions the fact of shame came up in the fellowship. I saw that what  was   needed was a therapeutic way to deal with the fact of how to overcome the “shaming” of ourselves.

Beck advises the following to a person saddled with shame:

The patient can be told that if he adopts an “antishame”  philosophy, a great deal of pain and discomfort can be avoided. When, for example, the patient makes a mistake that he believes is shameful, he can turn this experience into an antishame exercise by openly acknowledging it instead of hiding it. If he pursues this open policy long enough, his proneness to experience counterproductive shame will diminish. Moreover, he will be less inhibited and more flexible and spontaneous in his range of responses..

One way a therapist can help a patient to resolve feelings of shame over being depressed is illustrated in the following excerpt.

Patient: If the people at work found out I was depressed they would think badly of me.

Therapist: Over 10% of the population is depressed at one time or another. Why is this shameful?

Patient: Other people think people who become depressed are inferior.

Therapist: You are confusing a psychological condition with a social problem. This is a version of blaming the victim. Even if they did think badly of  you –either out of their own ignorance or adolescent way of rating people –you do not have to accept their evaluation. You feel ashamed only if you apply their value system to yourself, that is, if you really believe it is shameful.

Beck then goes on to say that “Other standard procedures, such as having patients list  advantages and disadvantages of expressing shame, can be used to deal with this response.”

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Sources: (c) Aaron Beck . Cognitive Therapy of Depression (1979). The Guilford Press, NY. Page 179.

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

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

I am choosing to live now-today!

AFFIRMATION

I am choosing to ask the God of my understanding to help me be open to all the persons like myself who are getting free of their hopelessness.

“Being constantly on guard against the future is exhausting, but it does have the advantage of directing your attention away from the present. Since the past and the future are ideas in our minds we can insist that the past and the future are exactly as we see them.  The trouble with the present is that it has the habit of suggesting that my ideas may not be entirely right.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

To live now takes more courage, on some days more than on others.  What I need to do is to attempt to live right now. The living in the present will make it possible for me to gradually learn some new truths about life and myself.  This opening myself up to the present moment will give me the opportunity to hear how I can live with hope and serenity.

No longer do I have to choose to live in the encapsulated  and isolated prison of my own fears and prejudice about the past and the future.  The past is always full of hurt and unexpected anger. The future never seems to be without its colossal fears and “what if’s.” Now is the time to accept the fact that I want to change the way I think, act and believe. Right now I am wanting a change and am willing to face the challenges that making changes bring. To do this is called living.

The Third Step tells me that I have made a decision to turn my mind and my will over to the care of God as I understand him. This is the freedom that I am looking for. This is the source of my strength today, namely, these healing Twelve Steps. Granted that I have to clean house and admit that I have unknowingly constructed my own depression  (See Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition)

MEDITATION

I will make a decision. This is the first step in getting free. I make a decision to choose freedom  over the security of isolation and a life that is lived in the past.

SOURCE:  (c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of  12 Step fellowship groups. (1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. January 7. Pages 4-5.

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

 

Choices: To be or not to be!

For many, just knowing that they might have a choice and be able to choose to feel differently can be a startling revelation.  I can choose to be happy or I can choose to stay miserable.  ” Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) DAP. Louisville.

The following is a story of how one person, deeply depressed told her story of how by letting go she was able to hang on.  And she not only  was able to hang on but she was able to help others and hang on  and live life to the full.

” I started sleeping more, stayed in bed mostly and let the house and the children go.  I felt empty inside. No one or anything could help me. If I hadn’t thought that suicide was the cardinal sin, I would be dead today. So one night I lay on the floor crying and praying from my heart. In the past when I prayed I wanted God to do all the work, while deep down I  didn’t want to let go of my miserable, yet safe way of life. And as long as I wouldn’t  really let go, God seemed to have no answers for me. This time though, I was at his mercy. Life for me could no longer go on this way. I prayed the most releasing prayer. I offered up my entire self to him. Nothing magical happened after this except the sudden urge to call my Church for Christian counseling. They referred me to this very affordable, warm, lady counselor, who I had seen in the past. She suggested that I start attending Depressed Anonymous,  a Twelve Step meeting. This was a great effort for me. I was SCARED AND SKEPTICAL  Since that first night I’ve been attending weekly Depressed Anonymous meetings and reading Depressed Anonymous literature. I also attend drug free therapy, attend church and church activities and continue to pray and walk regularly.  I know that my life is being richly blessed. I am also using the Depressed Anonymous literature and  listening to the people in the  Depressed Anonymous  meetings where I have received valuable tools which I put to daily use.   The moment that I read that I had a choice to stay in depression, I immediately knew that I could make the choice to get out of my depression.”

And finally, a word from Bill W., the cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous who tells us, “When we look back, we realize that the things  which came to us when we put ourselves in God’s hands were better than anything we could have planned.”

SOURCE:  Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Personal Stories section.

NOTE: Fore more information on a broad variety of subjects dealing with depression and the Twelve Steps click onto the VISIT THE STORE.

 

 

 

I am investing in myself

“I am making my recovery my highest priority. I may have been on all the antidepressant medications and I may have seen all the best counselors, psychiatrists and doctors, but now finally, I am going to a room full of depressed people  who understand  me. These people  I discover are investing in themselves. What will I find there? I will find some of the most caring people on the face of the earth. Some of the group will have been coming for months. They say they are having more good days than bad and its getting better.   The more meetings they attend the better they feel and the more support they receive. They are feeling empowered. It’s the miracle  of the group.  Instead of living with a compulsion to  repeat old negative and life negating thoughts and feelings, we now have a compulsion to live with hope plus a desire for a brand new way of  living. We are now about to change  the way we live and not just the way  we talk to ourselves. We are going to get a new life. ”

 

SOURCE: I’ll  do it when I feel better. (2013). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.Page 59

In getting my priorities straight, my depression got better.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

On this New Year’s Day, I find that my work for my life today is to reflect on a happy period of my life  where I have experienced   happiness and contentment.  If I can’t remember such a time,  then  I will construct a situation of contentment in my mind  and just imagine it happening right now.

In my relationship to God, I am beginning to realize that it isn’t so much that I don’t believe that I’ll ever feel better, but that I just  can’t know for sure. My first  priority is to admit that I do have a problem and that with God’s help I can get through my depression.

As soon as I give up my victim stance and begin to take responsibility for my feelings and my life, I can start to work as if my recovery is really up to me and that I will in time, succeed in getting out of this deep dark hole that I call depression. My priority  is to begin each day with the conviction that the Twelve Steps will be an aid in getting out of my depression. I know and believe without a doubt that WE have a solution for depression!

MEDITATION

God, we seek your guidance and your strength for our lives. Whatever we have lost or feel we have lost, please heal the holes in our soul and fill  it with your love and peace. In our quiet time today, show us what part of us needs to be healed.”

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HAVE A NEW YEAR FILLED WITH PEACE !

VISIT THE STORE TODAY AND DISCOVER THE TOOLS THAT WILL BE THE PATHWAY TO YOUR OWN RECOVERY, DAY AFTER DAY.

An excellent tool that is highly recommended for the Depressed Anonymous  group use or individual study is the HOME STUDY KIT which is composed of Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) and The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002) both published by Depressed Anonymous Publications. These two books give a complete listing of the Twelve Steps and a commentary for each Step. The Workbook provides a coordinated listing of Steps with its appropriate questions related to each Step in the Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition..

 

 

 

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.

 

THE RISKS OF FAITH

Dr. Gerald May in his life giving book, Addiction and Grace, shares his thoughts about the risks of faith.

He states  that “Several times now I have said that our real hope lies in  that no matter how oppressed we may be, we always retain some spark of capacity to choose. We can use the ember of freedom to choose to risk ourselves in the goodness of God or to continue to strive for our own autonomy or to give in to the powers that oppress us. I am convinced that nothing whatever determines the choices we make at the primal level, here, finally, the choices are totally up to us; we really are free.” (p.127)

After reading these pieces dealing with hope we are left with the possibility that maybe even I or you have to start today. Yes, obviously to hope is to be living with some risk,  but that beats, by a long shot, living in the unreal world of certainty that things will never get better for us.

The following is a text taken verbatim from the Depressed Anonymous Publication (c) I’LL DO IT WHEN I FEEL BETTER (2009),  PAGES,  66-68.

“Ray (member of Depressed Anonymous fellowship) continues to talk  about the various parts that make up one’s progress on the path to recovery. I think most depression sufferer’s go through a time of hopelessness and this feeling is very disabling for many of us. But with most problems or illnesses there is always hope. Hope that our problems will be solved or that will get better. So if hope is part of the solution, how do we find our  own path of hope?  Before we take that path I think it is important to see how the path is formed.

1. The first item is choices. We make choices every day for  ourselves, some simple, some complex. These choices may affect us for the rest of our lives, that is, what do I want to do in life?  What do I want from my life? What are my goals in life.  Our lives are formed and maybe our own meaning of life is revealed to us.  So our path is first formed with the choices that we make.”

2. Continued tomorrow—-stay tuned! Thank you

Copyright(c) How to find hope and let it blossom. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky 40217. Pages 10-12.