Live for today–yesterday is gone forever and tomorrow isn’t here yet.

AFFIRMATION

I am going to begin a program today that includes daily exercise, proper nutrition and the right amount of sleep.

“When we are under stress, our auto-immune system, which fights off all the noxious agents which makes us ill, ceases to operate efficiently. This is why people who are depressed get so many bouts of colds, flu and worse.  What makes any illness   worse is that, because you don’t value yourself, you don’t look after yourself properly and you don’t seek the help that you need.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I want to believe that the more I take care of myself, the less likely I am going to be a victim of my own negative stress. I do want to take good care of myself and be healthy. So often in the past, I would worry, be tense, and continually fret about what happened yesterday. I would try to live in tomorrow with all  its own trials and tribulations as well. I never had much luck just trying to live in the present moment. If I want to start feeling better, then I have to live in today.

There is good stress and bad stress. Good stress challenges us to live each day with enthusiasm and hope as we go about our daily routine. Bad stress is  that which causes us to worry, be concerned about things that we have no control over and generally causes us to feel tired. By following our Twelve Step program of recovery, we discover that our life can have hope and purpose.

MEDITATION

We believe that the God of our understanding make it possible for us to gradually eradicate our need to worry and distress ourselves. I am like an  addict who continually needs to medicate those feelings of helplessness and hopelessness by saddening myself when things look bleak and out of control. With the help of my Higher Power, I believe that I can begin to feel better as I take the proper means to take care of my physical health.

SOURCE: Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for 12 Step Fellowships. (1998) Depressed Anonymous Publications.  Louisville.KY. August 8th.

The 12 Steps are my North Star.

 

   “Depressed Anonymous means hope -as long as you want to get out of the pit of depression just start to believe that little voice which says “Yes,  I am hopeful. I will feel better too.”  The other members of Depressed Anonymous give me hope. Others have made it  out of the deep lonely pit of depression and so can I.  I choose to be happy even if I don’t feel happy right away. I am going to risk feeling different from this wretched sadness that I feel all the time.   I have nothing to lose – except my fear of the future.

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 old hurts and anger.  All I have is the now!  If I live in the now, I can begin 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 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, place, thing, 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 over 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 struggles against depression and admit our powerlessness over it we can begin to surrender to our Higher Power and practice letting go of it.  I can decide that I want to feel good again. 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 these 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 (see Tools of Recovery at Menu)  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 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 get. The Twelve Steps are my compass…”

SOURCE: Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (1998, 2008, 2011). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.KY. Pages. 34-35.

SAVOR LIFE

 

“If I had my life to live over I’d like to make more mistakes next time. I’d relax. I would limber up. I would be sillier than I have been this trip. I would take fewer things seriously. I would take more chances. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers. I would eat more ice cream and less beans. I perhaps would have more actual troubles, but I would have fewer imaginary ones.

You see, I’m one of those people who live sensibly and sanely, hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I’ve had my moments, and If I had  it to do over again, I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day. I’ve been  one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water  bottle, a raincoat and a parachute.  If I had to to do again , I would travel lighter than I have.

“If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the Spring and stay that way later in the Fall. I would go to more dances. I would ride more merry go rounds. I would pick more daisies.”

by Natalie Strain

(Natalie wrote this at age 85.  She died in a Louisville, KY nursing home at the age of 88.)

 

I have more good days than bad days!

AFFIRMATION

I will go to any length to learn the various ways to escape from my addictions. I intend to be  a free person today, just for today. Tomorrow  isn’t here yet.

Bill W., co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous tells us ” Remember, it was agreed at the beginning we would go to any lengths for victory over depression (Editor substituted depression for alcohol). (1)

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I believe that I am well equipped do all in my power to free myself from sadness. In fact, I know that the more I begin to really feel and not run away from my sadness, or my anxiety, that my self esteem begins to rise and I begin to feel better  and more hopeful. I am in touch that  the more I follow my program, the more my days are getting better  and filled with happiness. My bad days are diminishing. I am having more good days than bad days. I am doing all in my power, today, to take all the avenues open to me for my own recovery.

MY victory over depression is not an end in itself. I am beginning to believe that I am no longer a slave of this interminable feeling of helplessness. The more I feel I have mastery over the feelings of helplessness, the more hope I have.”

MEDITATION

God, of our understanding, help us discover all the ways we can use to be a suitable instrument for helping our fellow sufferer’s of depression begin to feel better.” (Personal comments)

SOURCE: Copyright (c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. (Hugh Smith Depressed Anonymous  Publications. Louisville. KY. Pages 134-135.)

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.

 

 

“Hope is Something more, Someone more, so keep going!”

In Man’s  Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl describes  how hope is a key to survival and the heart amid the horrors of a concentration camp. The prisoner who was able to find meeting – in nature, in the memory of a loved one, and a generous act – would more likely not to give up. When we hope, in whatever circumstance, the future we long for comes closer, an experience of mind and heart that sustains us now and impels us forward.

Thomas Aquinas named hope as a theological virtue. It is a gift from God that we receive now, fueling our journey to a fuller union with God. Hope is the way God encourages us. It stirs up memory of God’s abiding faithfulness. Hope expands our vision beyond the immediate horizon. It breaks open our heart to dispel fear. It stokes our imagination to realize unexpected opportunities. Hope whispers, or shouts, when we need it “There is Something more, or Someone more, so keep going!”

Hope is not sentimental optimism. Optimists to easily escape reality, denying challenges in making promises that the are hard to keep. When we hope, we face reality because God is found in what is real. We know that things  may not turn out as we want, but we strive  valiantly nonetheless.  God is faithful, we insist, so there is meaning even in the toughest and most unexpected circumstances.

When we hope, we live generously and gratefully in the present because deep down we know that all will be well – not perfect, but well. With every word or deed steeped in  hope, the future opens up to reveal a present beyond our imagining. ”

Source:  Fr. Kevin O’Brien

The Ignatian  Adventure: Experiencing  the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius in Daily Life.

 

Kevin O’Brien, SJ, is Dean of this Jesuit school of theology of Santa Clara University he is author of the nation adventure: experiencing the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius and daily life.

 

“Only by sharing my pain can I hope to reduce its size.”

Empowerment and prevention are two realities that give us the push and the power for talking day after day with persons still suffering from depression. I know that some who hear about us will go with an expectant faith that they will find hope and peace in this group(Depressed Anonymous).  This hope in itself may keep them from sliding down the slippery slope of depression. Life is too short and the pain so devastating.  Only by sharing my pain can I ever hope to reduce its size.

Today I can experience hope. I will believe I can live this day with pleasant thoughts. I will do one activity that will give me hope and light for today.

Today I will believe that I can live this entire day “hopeful” and that I can return to the above activities anytime and as many times as I need,  just for today.”  

SOURCE: I will do it when I feel better. (2016) . Louisville.  Page 70.  Quoting from  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011)Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 136.

 

THE FEELINGS OF USELESSNESS AND SELF-PITY DISAPPEAR. THIS IS A PROMISE OF DA.

Why do I continue the work of bringing hope to those still suffering?  What motivates me to continue to try and help others?  What has made the change in my life where now I  want to share what I know and how I feel? Basically, I know that the program  of recovery works. I no longer feel powerless over my depression.  In Depressed Anonymous  group meetings members speak my language. We see how useless it is to waste time to  look back over our shoulder to see if the dark shadow of my own inner fears are going to overtake me. I now have attained small amounts of hope and strength as I go from day to day. I am prepared for those moments of despair that at times overtake me and cause me to feel paralyzed and out of control.

In the First Step “we admitted we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable.” It is a paradox that it is in the admission that our lives are out of control that we begin to take control of our lives.”

Source: I’ll do it when I feel better. Depressed Anonymous Publications.(2013) Louisville. Pages 42-43. Promise # 6.The feelings of uselessness and self-pity disappear.