If you really want to leave behind your painful sadness, the daily fears, and the feelings of worthlessness, then begin now to admit the unmanageability of your depression. You have had it with feeling out of control.
That’s the way it is with depression –over the years you get comfortable with feeling miserable which doesn’t mean that you like it, but that you’re just too afraid to risk something different. When you want to change and leave your depression behind, the choice that you want to make is immediately dashed to the ground because you just feel that there is no hope for you. “I can’t pull myself up by my bootstraps and start to feel better,” you tell yourself. Most of the time, we tell ourselves that we’ll do it when we feel better. Folks, let me tell you something – you’ll never feel better until you begin by physically get moving. We all know that we feel better only when we get in gear and get busy – distracting ourselves from those ever present miserable thoughts whispering how bad we are and how hopeless life seems to be.”
____________________HELP IS ON THE WAY! ___________________________
SOURCE: Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 32.
A HIGHER THOUGHT FOR TODAY
I will trust myself to risk getting better by way of the Twelve Step program. The first step is to admit that I will beat my depression in a group rather than trying to do it all by myself.
“Many of us can’t allow ourselves to trust anyone. We are so distrustful of ourselves that we can’t trust ourselves to feel. The painful and terrible hollowness of depression is such that we cannot allow it to be felt…When we hear other members share their stories of hurt and isolation we become more at ease within ourselves and we gradually allow/trust ourselves to touch the nerves of the past pain and hurts. ” (9)
CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT
One of the better ways I have found to get out of the prison of my depression is to trust my story with someone who has experienced the pain and the hurt. To know that I am not alone in my misery is quite a relief. To know that there is someone out there who understands where I am coming from does much for raising self-esteem. I know that it is only when I begin, today, to start taking care of myself that my life will improve and so will my thoughts. I also believe that there is no problem too great to be lessened.
I know that wanting control, wanting things my way, has made my life unmanageable! I want to trust my Higher Power and give my program and my friends who are in it my very best. I trust that I can be as honest with them as I am with my Higher Power.
God, we turn our will and our lives over to you and we know things are getting better because of that surrender.
SOURCE:, Higher thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 Step fellowships. (1993, 1999) Louisville. June 1. Depressed Anonymous Publications.
To admit that there is a problem is the first step which can move us into recovery. The First Step of the Twelve Steps begins with the word WE. This is a WE program–a program about us as a group of hurting people. Since we have tried to tackle our problems alone and in the confines of our own mind we soon discovered that for most of us this was not enough. We still were saddled with a life destroying and unmanageable situation. There must be a solution we thought. Yes, there is a solution. For many of us who have traveled this path of recovery, living out the spiritual principles of the Twelve Steps and being part of the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous we have found peace and a new way of living,
I personally believe that once I have made the first step, and admitted my powerlessness, I set in motion a force –the loving force of the creator in my personal life. In time I am filled with energy and find that this power can change me — restore my life with purpose and meaning. It can prepare me to meet those to whom are ready to risk leaving behind the prison of their depression. By my own interest in getting in touch with the Higher Power and getting its direction to “do the next right thing” I find that my own life is gradually becoming more filled with purpose and energy.”
SOURCE: Copyright(c) THE PROMISES OF DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS: Planting a seedbed of hope. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Kentucky. P.15.
I like the statement to “do the next right thing.” For me that was a motivator for the times that I wanted to just give up. These were the powers that continued to give me the nudge to keep on doing all those things that could help in my recovery from depression. What, for me was “the next right thing?” For one, it was to continue working the 12 steps in my own life–one step after another. I also found another person to walk with me in my journey of recovery. I also read everything that I could find on my addictions. No “rock was left unturned” that could help me accomplish doing what I knew would keep me on my feet and moving forward with hope. I attended faithfully my 12 step group, read most if not all of their literature and continued to follow the promptings of my God. I heard other members of the group telling how they knew the Promises were working in their lives, sometimes quickly and with most, over time. But they worked. Life began to be better for us as we moved from one step to the next. We discovered that we had less concern about ourselves and gained interest in others. We want to scream it from the housetops –don’t give up! We too felt hopeless and that our lives were unmanageable. Looking back we saw that a change had taken place once we had established a daily plan for our serenity. We followed the direction of our Higher Power as we continued to “:do the next right thing.” The next right thing for me today is to tell you — there is hope for you too. That’s a PROMISE!
” Remarkable things happen to us when we are willing to admit defeat and talk about our powerlessness over depression and how our lives had become un-manageable. This first step is the beginning of the flight of steps that takes us up and into our new way of living. At our fellowship of Depressed Anonymous we talk hope, we act hopeful, and we think hope. We learn that our thinking depressed and negative thoughts might have gotten us in the shape that we are in today. What you think is what you become. For us who find sadness our second nature, we at times continue to revert to the comfort of old familiar negative thinking and are in actuality returning to self destructive behavior. Hope is overcome by sadness.”
SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous. Depressed Anonymous Publications.Page 107.
We all have heard the saying, seeing is believing. I prefer the reverse, namely, that believing is seeing. Once the newcomer arrives through the door of a Depressed Anonymous meeting for the first time, they will hear and see recovery in action.
Possibly for the first time the newcomer to the DA group will hear their story voiced by the various members of the group. They will see that they are not alone. They discover how their own sadness gets a positive jolt as they hear hope expressed in the recovery group. It is easier to believe someone when they share the same conditions of isolation, and feeling hopeless that you feel. In fact, in a group of people much like oneself, you begin to see that maybe, just maybe, there is hope for you as well.
Remember the canary in the coal mine? The canary, carried by miners into the mine was the first one to smell potential disaster, alerting miners to get out of that mine. Today, with so much emphasis on medical treatments, David Karp, a sociologist, in “Speaking of Sadness” comments in his chapter Sociology, Spirituality and Suffering that “once individuals realize that medical treatment is unlikely to fix their problems, their thinking moves away from the medical language of cure toward the spiritual language of transformation.” He also tells us that “…(T)he Iroquois Indians, for example, believed that when any single person suffered, it reflected the suffering of nature, of the whole world, in fact.” The reality is that all life is interconnected with other living organisms. We see this illustrated best when a culture becomes narcissistic and centered primarily on the individual. Karp maintains that “the social disconnection generated by an ethic of individualism is an important element in the proliferation of affective disorders in America.”
While I believe that medications can alleviate the pain of some of those who are depressed and seek clinical help, the meds in themselves cannot remove whatever caused the pain, or the initial hurt. But the depression itself will allow us to take a deeper look at how we live out our lives. And for this reason that is why I am an advocate for mutual-aid groups where persons can come together, form community/fellowships and follow a procedure for healing ourselves while assisting in the healing of other members of the community.
The first step of Depressed Anonymous states that “We admitted…” and in Steps three, eight, ten, eleven, twelve again the word “we” is used. If anyone wants to find a community and a spiritual antidote to individualism, the 12 step fellowships provide a solution focused recovery program. I am an advocate for 12 step programs based on helping each other out of isolation into a fellowship of hope and healing. No longer is it just about me, me alone, but about something bigger than just me .It is a “we” program.
We are all connected!
IF YOU WANT SOMETHING THAT YOU NEVER HAD BEFORE, YOU HAVE TO DO SOMETHING THAT YOU NEVER DID BEFORE.
Well, that pretty much says it all. We all have our comfort zones–that is for sure. About two weeks ago, a friend of mine wanted to know if I would join him in getting out the vote here in the USA. I told him I would. All it entailed was going to certain neighborhoods and knocking on people’s doors and asking them if they were going to vote in the Midterm elections. If they said yes, then I would tell them where the polling place was located. I spent two days of this–knocking on doors and asking them to get out and vote for their candidates. I had never, in my whole life done this before–going and knocking on strangers doors and asking them to vote. (Only time before was when I was a kid and went “trick or treating” on Halloween.) Anyway, the whole point here is that I was very uncomfortable knocking on doors and talking to total strangers. It was way out of my “comfort zone.”
When I was depressed I entered into another type of “comfort zone” namely an isolation zone–where all I wanted to do was just do nothing. Just absolutely nothing. Except sleep. My comfort zone was like I was living in a glass house–I could see everything around me but I had no interest in or connection to what happened outside my walls. I had no desire to get involved with former activities that provided me with a sense of purpose or happiness. My mantra was “I’ll do it when I feel better.” Finally I made up my mind, crawled out of my comfort zone and walked through the doors of my first 12 Step meeting. This was a very un-comfortable move for me as I forced myself to go and get help for what could possibly kill me.
Reader, just know that if you want help for yourself or a loved one–knock on our door–come on in– know that if you are depressed, or a friend is depressed, we have the tools to help you find your way out of your prison of depression. You’ll be taking a step into a new way of living.
To really believe, possibly for the first time in my life that I can free myself from the prison of depression and begin to feel better. I know that I need to be proactive in my efforts at self-recovery. But what causes our outlook and attitude to change?
I have begun to believe that hope and healing is possible. Once we have gone through some painful inner changes, such as dealing with our character defects and our isolating tendencies we see there is a way out. We have to have a positive attitude that will move and motivate us to want to go and get to the next step. Watching someone actually take these steps week after week and watch that feeling of wellness rise up in them can provide a belief that with work and time, their lives do improve. Soon we see that a sense of purpose begins to manifest itself the more time and work we put into our personal recovery.
A door opens every slightly, and there appears a way out! I do know that when hope and faith in recovery rises, my symptoms of depression go down.
From: I’ll do it when I feel better. (2013) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Page 46.
All growth is gradual and today I am taking another step toward my recovery.
“We just pray to be set free, and gradually, with small steps and subtle changes taking place inside our selves, we feel a change occurring.” (8)
It’s clear to me that only by making a conscious effort, can I begin to get better and feel better. The truth is that only by taking steps toward my own recovery, learning what I need to do to change, is when change begins to take place. I have the tools which I can build a new edifice upon which my depression can gradually be eliminated. by admitting my problem (see Step One of DA), that is, my need to hide and withdraw, my need to be perfect, wanting everyone to like me, are all considered and dealt with one by one. (See DA Workbook).
Any changes that takes place in my life are going to have to be initiated by myself. To take the risk to change is to take life as it comes. I want to change so I will have to take the risk and change.
God, you are the source of the power inside of us to change what we can change. Help us determine what we need to change first, so that we might find the peace and serenity that comes to those who believe in your assistance.
(Post your comments)
Waiting in truth implies trust –a trust in a promise. In the last number of weeks we have been talking about the PROMISES of Depressed Anonymous and how with time, patience, work and trust we can gradually free ourselves from the ravages and pain of depression. Truly it does take one to know one when we are speaking of depression and how that painful and isolating experience is such a debilitating experience. When I was depressed more than a few years ago, I trusted that the Promises of the 12 Steps of AA and now Depressed Anonymous would help me too. It took time and work–something that had its root in my childhood was not going to be healed in a matter of days or weeks. With a firm trust in those people who, in the context of a group fellowship, said it was because of using the 12 steps that gave them hope and discovered a new way of living.