If God is for us who can be against us?

 

Is this not a strange way to open up our blog today? Depends. It centers around what our topic might be. Today our topic is centered on spirituality and depression.  As a member of a 12 Step fellowship, Depressed Anonymous,  we talk and reflect  upon the fact that  we believe in a Power greater than ourselves.  We also commit ourselves to the belief in Step two  that “a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity.” Following this  we reflect on Step Three which states  that we “Made a decision  to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand God to be.”

It was here at this point that Bill W., and Dr. Bob made a very important decision in how God would be presented  to the alcoholic, who  for many different reasons would reject the idea that the God of their understanding had their best interests at heart.  Their idea of what the “preachers” had to say about God was not what they were looking for. In fact, there were the “preachers” in New York’s Bowery, during the Great Depression of the 1930’s who set up store-front churches where the practicing  alcoholics come, get off the street, get a free meal, and hear a Christian message about salvation, redemption and  freedom from drink. But it appeared that some of the preachers emphasized hellfire  and fear instead of giving the alcoholic a way out that included a plan – a simple process of surrender and how “to turn over our will  and life over to  God as we understood God to be.”

I believe with  poet Robert Frost, who wrote that memorable poem, The road less traveled, where he was faced with a fork in the road, one road  went one way and one the other.  The one he eventually took was “the road less traveled.”

This poem speaks to me when I think of Bill W., the cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous, who by his personal experience with the God as he understood God, provided him with a way to understand God, not just a Christian God, a Buddhist God, a Muslim God, but a God as we understand God.  It was only when he had his own epiphany with God, did it prepare him to share this understanding with other alcoholics so  all could choose the God of their own understanding–not just the God of the Christian “preachers.”

This was the freedom that the early A.A., pioneers brought into the discussion where anyone could believe whatever they wanted about a Higher Power. In today’s modern world, you can find AA, NA, DA, Al-Anon in almost every nation on the planet.  If he had not traveled down a road that only God knew where it led, would we have the Twelve Steps be open to all, regardless of their own spiritual beliefs or religious dogmas.

The following is an autobiographical  account of Bill W.,s  own encounter with God.

“My depression deepened unbearably, and  it seemed to me as though I was at the very bottom of the pit. For the moment, the last vestige of my proud obstinacy was crushed. All at once, I found myself crying out,  “If there is God, let Him show Himself! I am ready to do anything, anything!

Suddenly the room lit up with a great light. It seemed to me, in my mind’s eye, that I was on a mountain and that a wind not of air but of spirit was blowing. And then it burst upon me  that I was a free  man. Slowly the ecstasy subsided. I lay on the bed, but now for a time I was in another world, a new world of consciousness. All about me and through me there was a wonderful presence, and I thought to myself, so this is the God  of the preachers!” A.A. Comes of Age. p.63.

And finally, there was another road that Bill W., and others traveled and that was how one alcoholic talking with another alcoholic, sharing their story, would make all  the difference in the world.  It’s a simple story, one recovering alcoholic being open, honest and willing  to share their own painful story with another alcoholic, one person at a time. One day at a time.

I am one of those persons with whom a recovered  alcoholic shared his story. Today, I am celebrating  my 32nd year recovery birthday. I am a friend of Bill W.

Hugh

 

“We’ve got work to do.”

 

When my grandson  was  3 years old  and older he would always say “papa, we ‘ve got work to do. ”  When he would see me with a hammer in my hand or a can of paint and ready to work on some repair project around our house,   without fail he would always be willing to pitch  in and do his part. As a little guy he always seemed so much older than what he was because of his strong desire to help his papa. He is 19 today and now he is doing his own  work. But not surprising is his continued willingness to help me when he can. Now that I am in recovery, thanks to our Depressed Anonymous program of recovery  and  after these many  years,   I am still free from depression.  I attribute that  this freedom is due to what I did learn  when I was depressed and continue using these tools on  every basis. I have found  that it does take some work to get through the darkest periods of the depression. It also takes a supportive group of men and women who know what we know,  and feel what we have felt when depressed.

Every meeting that we attend, and every step that we take on the road of our recovery, we find the fog lifts, the desire  to live again returns. Not all at once–but in short spurts – the fog lifts and we feel the hope churning in our hearts and minds.  And at every Depressed Anonymous meeting we hear the following words read from HOW DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKS.

“You are about to witness the miracle of the group. You are joining a group of people who are on a journey of hope and who mutually care for each other. You will hear how hope, light and energy have been regained by those who were hopeless and in a  black hole and tired of living.

By your involvement in the group we are feeling that there is hope – there is a chance for me too – I can get better. But we are not the people with the magic wand and the  easy formula for success. We believe  that to get out of the prison of depression takes time and work.

And so at each and every Depressed  Anonymous meeting the group listens as we hear  what it will take to escape  from the prison of depression. ”

Also, at every meeting of the fellowship we hear how by using the spiritual tools, our Twelve Steps, we can gradually find the path that will that can lead us out into the light of freedom. We come to believe that a power greater than ourselves  can restore us to sanity. And then we make a decision to turn our lives and our wills over to the care of God as we understand God.”

SOURCE:  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Page  67.

PLEASE VISIT THE STORE for more info on depression and ways to free ourselves from the agony of sadness.

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I GET IT!

I GET IT!

I didn’t get it at first when I walked through the door and into the fellowship of a Twelve Step meeting. I was there with  a bunch of people that I didn’t know.  Instead of feeling threatened by the fact of being like a stranger in a foreign land I was made to feel welcome. I sat down and listened to what members of the group had to say. When I was asked if I had something I would like to share I said I would pass. That was the first meeting.

But the longer the meeting went the more I began to feel that these people were talking about me and my life.  They were sharing how their lives had fallen apart, how they were despairing of any help.  They said that  just by walking  through the door was an admission, a public admission (public only to this group) that their life was unmanageable and out of their control. They felt helpless and alone. Wow! I thought to myself. I just might be in the right place. No one told me to “snap out of my pain” they just listened and  responded with how their lives were before coming to the Twelve Step meeting and how, after work and time  living out the Steps, how their life was today. I hung on every word as to how their life was today.   By  the members honesty, willingness and openness to come to terms with what they needed to work on, I finally  saw the light. I got it!

There are no magic potions, no magic wands–no, all that is needed to start the process of personal recovery is to believe that, with the group’s help and with the map of the Twelve Steps to follow,we can find our way out of the prison of depression.  Finally, just as a final thought, I still get it!

(Read: Depressed Anonymous (2013) Third edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications)