God doesn’t act like gangbusters.

“In Depressed Anonymous, we are exposed constantly to the tough message that we have to give up our self-pity  and sadness if we want to be happy. We have to think in terms of what is possible with God in our lives. Sometimes people come to Depressed Anonymous and don’t want to talk about  God and the Twelve Steps, and can’t understand what this has to do with how bad they feel. If after a number of meetings they still don’t want to work the Twelve Steps, we recommend other groups to them. Depressed Anonymous is a spiritual program and it is allowing the Higher Power into our lives that eventually delivers us from the habit of feeling sad and depressed. We in Depressed Anonymous are committed to working  the Twelve Steps and listening to each other share how God, as we understand God, has worked in our lives….

Jim, a member of Depressed Anonymous admitted that he had seriously thought of taking his own life as he had lost all hope of removing this sadness which, like a cancer, was taking his life by inches. It was only when he had nothing to lose that he made a decision to turn his mind and his will over to the care of God as he understood God. It was at this point that that the God of his understanding or the Higher Power was allowed to work in Jim’s life. God doesn’t act like  gangbusters and force its way into our lives -God has to be invited. Once again there is an invitation from us and we admit our dependence  on God instead of on our own addiction. It is then that our feelings begin to come alive and the flow of God’s love makes its way into our lives. We begin to to find that we are feeling better and that something good as we trust, possibly for the first time,  this God who will give us our heart’s desire. “God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things that we can and the wisdom to know the difference. ” Trust God to be God, and let this power help you, as it has helped millions of other men an women before you.”

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

 

Drinking Depression: One man’s story of recovery from alcoholism and depression.

 

DRINKING DEPRESSION:  One man’s story of recovery from alcoholism and depression and the parallels between the two. 

By Steve P.

“I have had experiences with alcohol abuse since childhood. I have also struggled since childhood with depression. I quickly learned to rely on both.

I call  this paper “drinking depression” because that’s exactly what I did when I no longer had the alcohol. The following thoughts will express my feelings and the parallels that I have seen between these two addictions.

RELIANCE

There was always an excuse to drink, mostly I was upset with something –I should say angry, for it was anger at the root of my depression that I was trying to suppress in medicating myself with alcohol. Later, I learned to do the same thing with my depression except to be in a depressive state high.  I didn’t even have to leave the house and after awhile I didn’t want to break the cycle of reliance that dependency had begun. Where I was absorbing alcohol into my blood stream  I was now   injecting the depression into my soul and absorbing it like a sponge

FAMILIARITY AND COMFORT

As a recovering alcoholic, I can look back on my drinking and see where I took comfort in being drunk because   eventually   the numbness became the only way I could feel better.  When I was drunk I could retreat into myself and not have to deal with everyday life.

The same escape tool was used in the form of depression. I could ball up like a wooly worm and the outside world was not going to hurt me. However, the more I wallowed in the darkness of my depression the deeper I got stuck  in the mud of despair and hopelessness.

DESPERATION

In order to deal with alcoholism and depression I had to hit rock bottom. I had reached a point in both that I had to call out for help or drown in my addiction.  I called on my Higher Power to help  deliver me from alcohol and he led me to a counselor  to  also help me with my depression. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit I am harnessing my talents now and I am seeing incredible results. My recovery has not been overnight but it is a day by day and step by step recovery process.

THE PHYSICAL

After some time had passed,  the drinking affects the physical body breaking it down. Once I saw a film in which the brain of an alcoholic was compared to the brain of a heroin addict and they were very similar. The depression I  experienced also had physical implications. For over twenty years the way my body would respond from too much emotional stress was to pass out. Instead of blacking out from alcohol I was using depression to numb myself and my brain.

THE SPIRITUAL

When I was drinking I felt alienation and guilt. I felt professing Christians did not drink. The more I drank the more guilty I became. I felt  much more distant from God the more I drank and spiraled further down into a cycle of despair.

In my depression,  I felt God had no time for  me and that I was unworthy of his love. Again,  it was a carousal filled with guilt and anger going round and round so that I couldn’t get off the merry-go-round.

SELF-ESTEEM

When I was drinking,  I was sure that no one cared or could understand what I was going through, so I had many pity parties and I was the guest of honor. Why should I care if no one else cared? This was my way of thinking.

From painful experiences in my childhood I felt  I was of no worth and just taking up space. It has taken therapy and the support of family and friends to finally look in the mirror and begin to like what I saw.

HOPE

I have been sober over two years although I often have the desire to drink I daily call  on my Higher Power to help me and march on one day at a time experiencing serenity and a release from my need to take that first drink.

I have been in therapy for almost a year off and on, although in order to recover one has to stay with it. I have to take my emotional and spiritual healing, like my drinking —one day at a time knowing   I can make it.  It is only by opening the door of the past that   the light of the present can get rid of the darkness  today,  providing  hope for the future.

It is my hope and prayer that this has helped you,  in some small way.  It has helped me by writing about my experiences. May God put walls of protection around you so that the way ahead for you may be crystal clear so that today may be your first step towards recovery.”

God bless.

Steve P.

+This article first appeared in THE ANTIDEPRESSANT TABLET, Spring 1994.

 

 

Valuing yourself is risky business

MY PERSONAL  AFFFIRMATION FOR TODAY

I choose again to read my 12 Step Manual (Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition) on a daily basis and from it find the courage to make decisions that promote my well being and my joy.

“There  are two problems about deciding things for myself. First, it means that you can’t blame anyone else when things turn out badly. (But you can take credit when things turn out well). Second, other people can get very angry with you for not doing what they want. Valuing your self is a risky business. What risk is preferable?  The risk of making your own decisions or the risk of not valuing yourself? ”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT
I  see myself as part of the solution to recovering from my attachment to sadness. I was a sadness addict. Now I am attached to the joy of risking myself so that I can live. That is what I value most now — the desire to live with uncertainty  and be unafraid.

I blame when I no longer want to look inside of myself. I feel that when I admit my former need to sad myself, I no longer blame anyone, but instead, I am putting my energies into sharing how I feel with others.

MEDITATION

God, we trust in you. We commit ourselves to you. We know that you are ready to act in our behalf the more we commit ourselves to you and your will. Give us the courage to keep in contact with you daily. Our time with you is our daily bread. (Personal comments)

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

I am beginning to feel a change stirring in my relationships with others because I am changing. It’s all positive!

A HIGHER THOUGHT FOR YOUR DAY TODAY

AFFIRMATION

“The journey out of the prison is not just a matter of changing yourself, for in changing yourself, you change your relationship with other people.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

 As I look around me I begin to see others like myself talking the language of hope and experiencing the sometimes occasional lightening of  their mood. I know that it is in the wealth of individual interactions among members of the group that I am beginning to withdraw from my need to sad myself. I am seeing that any change in myself has a direct bearing on others and the relationship that we have with each other.

I came  to believe that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity, and in fact, it already has. My addiction to my sadness has come more to be my habitual response to the stressful, day in and out thoughts that say that I am worthless. I am now changing these negative thoughts remembered from childhood into a new personal language that speaks to me and about me in positive ways.

I know that when I am depressed I don’t want to be around people because I felt so tired and sad. But now, the more I attempt to make new relationships and get  involved with other people, the more I desire to grow and become what I want to be. Progress is our aim and we tend to grow in little spurts, day by day.”

MEDITATION

God, we pray that our relationship with you will grow stronger day by day. (Personal thoughts)

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SOURCES:  Copyright  (c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 75.

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

 

“My depression is such a comfort to me.”

How many times have we heard this from those who are depressed.  Many depressed people say that this feeling  of worthlessness and hollowness is all that they have ever known. In fact, they add. “since it is all I’ve ever known I’m too scared to feel something different.”  In other words, their feelings of sadness is like a life-long friend and to change now is asking the impossible. Their whole identity has ben centered on how bad they always feel. Even though they are sick and tired of being sick and tired they cling on to the familiar and secure sadness.  This is all they know and can’t trust themselves to surrender this debilitating sadness and attempt to feel something different. It’s a risk to try and feel cheerful. Being sad all the time is predictable –at least  they know what they have. Getting oneself undepressed is almost too frightening to think about, much less spending  a lot of time  and energy trying to figure out how to escape it.

How can I help myself out of this deep pit if I believe what I have is better than what I might get?  I recommend first of all that a person admit that their life is unmanageable  and out of control because of their depression.  Your compulsion to depress yourself might make you feel secure but it does  make for a life lived in misery and fear. You have to admit that you no longer want to live this way.  You have to say that you are NOW wiling to listen to other people and find out how they are able to risk feeling something  other than sadness.  You have to want to quit  saddening oneself!  If you have felt this sadness all or most of your life then you can now learn a way to escape the personal sadness and constant fatigue that feeling disconnected from yourself and your world makes you feel.”

SOURCES:  Material taken from the Home Study Combo:

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) and The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, (2001)  Depressed Anonymous  Publications. Louisville. [VISIT THE LiTERATURE STORE for more excellent resources. ]