What’s in your backpack?

Have you ever embarked and planned for a camping trip where you set up camp  for a couple of days. Remember how you would load up your backpack with what you thought you needed? Gradually, it became clear  that you had too much stuff. How could you possibly carry all that stuff on the  mile long trails?  It was obvious that now you had to figure out what to leave behind.  That is the trick: what do I leave behind?

Almost a year ago, my wife and I moved to a new home. We were downsizing. Again, the metaphor of the backpack comes into play. What to give away. What to throw away. It was now that we realized that we no longer needed what we had accumulated over the years. As Ecclesiastes tells us, there is a time to plant and a time to root out.

The American naturalist Sigurd Olson shares that “years of walking through wild country has taught him a great deal about traveling light. Backpackers learn, sometimes the hard way, that simplicity is always a question of knowing what to leave behind.”

I relish listening to the old tape of George Carlin who gives his spiel about  our “stuff.”  We all have more “stuff” that we know what to do with.  We all carry our “stuff” where ever we go.   Too late are we  aware of what our backpack is carrying. I am referring to the “stuff” of   our sad moods  which if not dealt with, will by the sheer weight of it all, overwhelm us.  Our backpacks could be filled with rage, fear, anger, suicidal thoughts and everything else that weighs us down. Not only our body but our mind  is immobilized.

Most of the time now, my backpack has only the essential items  for my life journey. I have opened up my  backpack, looked inside and removed all the situations and feelings that I no longer felt were positive and life giving. Today, I know perfectly well what is in my backpack.  Along with all the solutions that I carry with me day after day, I have my guide book, giving me a Step by Step plan for living my life with serenity and grateful heart.

I no longer let a negative and unpleasant mood spiral  down  so that my backpack becomes heavier and the depression mood darkens a path ahead. Today after years on the road, I now can tell when I need to get on the unpacking thing, take out what I don’t want or need, and move on.  We can  leave behind that which weighs us down

If you want  to know what might be in your backpack, and want to take out that stuff you no longer need or want on this life journey, please join us, get your guide book, and walk with us. In time and with a lighter load, you can join us (Depressed Anonymous).

Together we will get where  we need to be and with what we need to continue to travel on this broad and wide road, not alone but with each other.

Hugh

______________________________________

SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

Visit The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore where you will find your plan for the way out of the wilderness.

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.

 

 

I am able to beat loneliness by repeatedly being with other people in recovery or by doing the Home Study* program with my sponsor.

A HIGHER THOUGHT FOR YOUR DAY

AFFIRMATION

“I’m sure many sufferer’s could find a lot of comfort and support by coming into a group as I’ve done, to help beat the terrible loneliness which is felt by many and who find lasting friendship with lovely people.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

In the group, I established myself and got some positive feednback from others who watched me grow and have seen the genuine changes I make personally. I am gradually throwing off my personal way with sadness. The real support comes when I begin to learn that members of the group have the same problem that I have. That helps me trust others with the story of my life. These people are the ones who want to hear my story of how depression cost me my life.  Now, my life is freeing me from my need to sad myself.

I feel more able to attach myself to the group now that I know that they are struggling with the same depression that I struggle with. I no longer have to fight this battle on my own.

MEDITATION AND BEING MINDFUL OF A HIGHER POWER

God, you are our rock and our refuge, on you I place my trust. We know and  believe, easier now than before, that God has something good in store for me today. (Personal comment).

SOURCE:  Higher thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.  April 26. Pages 84-85.

*HOME STUDY PROGRAM, is an individual approach to a STEP study  program when no  Depressed Anonymous group program is available in one’s community. The participant is helped in working the steps by utilizing the help of a sponsor. The sponsor leads the individual through all the steps using the Depressed Anonymous Manual, 3rd edition as well as coordinating this work with the Depressed Anonymous Workbook. By means of emails the sponsor and participant communicate with each other on  a regular basis.

For more information in how to set up this HOME STUDY program please click onto the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore. Or contact us at depanon@netpenny.net for how you can be part of this individualized study.

The Home Study material  can be ordered online.

 

Moving to a new home means packing, unpacking, and packing up things we no longer need or want.

 

There is a strange but real similarity with moving from one place to another with the packing up and unpacking that  is involved. The same holds true for our lives. We packed  habits of thinking, feeling and behaving from early childhood into our adult lives.  It is no surprise to us then and now that certain habitual modes of behavior and thinking have got us to a place where we either hit an emotional wall or we reflect that something in our lives has to change.  It’s time to pack up stuff in our lives that no longer work for us and discard all the extra baggage. It might be painful to rid ourselves of the stuff that has been such a part of our daily lives, but now we see that  it is time to take a closer look. It’s time to dig up and plant something new that will carry us along with a hope and a feeling of freedom as we continue throwing over board the extra weight (emotional and physical) as we continue on our journey in life.

For my own life I gradually found a way to unpack stuff that had me imprisoned and bound up without hope of ever being free of the shackles. Don’t get me wrong, packing  and unpacking certain areas of our life is not an easy thing to accomplish.  It takes time and work. Today I am still unpacking. With work, time and prayerful reflections on my changed thinking, feeling and behaviors I came to the conclusion that with help I could at least get through one 24 period at a time. And this is the point of my writing this piece today. I am pleased to say that it was when I first was introduced to the 12 spiritual principles of recovery with the tools which these principles provided, I now had a plan, a path, on how to live with hope and serenity.  I feel lighter as I reflected upon what I need to let go of.  I learned what exactly I needed to let go of.

It was after reading the literature of a 12 step program dedicated to help with my addiction that I gradually was  learning   more about me. I found what worked for me.   It was in the  Big Book, as it is called,  and written by Bill W., and Bob S.,the co-founders of AA..  There were questions in this book that helped me unpack those areas of my life that needed to be thrown overboard.

In the past years, when not everyone had the opportunity to join a Depressed Anonymous group in their locality, our Publisher Depressed Anonymous Publications decided to offer a HOME STUDY KIT where a person could begin to learn more about themselves by using the Home Study Kit. This includes the Big Book of our fellowship Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) and the Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002) –both published by our publisher (DAP). Starting in November,  I will be offering those persons who want a guide to help them with  the Question and Answer part of the Kit, the DA Workbook, which is coordinated with each  chapter of the companion volume   Depressed Anonymous.

Through the years,  persons who have used this method of recovery, have found it has changed their lives. And this, without a group. When I founded this group in 1985 I knew that each persons depression really was unique even though it had many similarities with others depression experience. So with  our Home Study program your own unique experiences can be examined and reflected upon. This is how the healing can begin for you.

I can take only ten persons initially to start this online Home Study program,  which has been  successful  for those who utilize its process. Soon our program will be published in Spanish, as it has already been published in other languages.  One of the fellowship who lives in another region of the world has just written and shared how she feels the program has changed her for the better. I agreed with her that I have seen a change in her thinking and feelings toward herself as she continues to answer questions from the workbook that has enlightened her about her own life. . It’s as she has had a spiritual awakening. A realization that she is not alone.

So, if anyone is interested in a long distance Home Study approach, by email, then you might find it particularly useful. The whole process will be done via our emails. It will be strictly confidential and I will work with any  person who wants to find a way out of depression.   Basically our work will enable us to clarify our thinking about ourselves and help us formulate strategies for gaining back our freedom to be whom we want to be.

We will start our HS program on November 15th, 2017.  If you are serious about committing yourself to this self study then please contact me here at our website or email me at depanon@netpenny.net.

You may find this individual effort challenging as  I was, but in time and with work and the interaction with a sponsor–you will be happy you did. You will learn how to unpack those areas of your life which have kept you imprisoned.  This time you will be living with hope.

I am looking forward to hearing from you. Reading the Depressed Anonymous  literature, which I might add,  has been written by those persons who have been depressed and are now depression free and in recovery will be a great benefit to you and your daily living.  More information will be coming on this BLOG tomorrow.

Please click onto our literature store and discover more about the Manual and the Workbook which will be used for our Home Study program.  I hope that you will be joining us soon.

With gratitude, for the fellowship,

Hugh S

 

 

 

 

It’s time to Bloom!

It’s definitely Spring.  Here in Kentucky, USA,  everything is suddenly turning green. The tulips, the daffodils, jonquils and the trees are all budding.

Spring can only start in my mind and today I want to be a beautiful flower. I will visualize myself growing tall and bright and filled with God’s most beautiful colors. Go out and smell the roses. Don’t get stuck in the prison of your grey  colored depression.

“One of the reasons I am depressed is because I have made this an absolute belief of mine, namely., “Since bad things happened to me in the past and only bad things will happen to me in the future.” Dorothy Rowe

 

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

Now that I am working on myself and admitting that I have work to do, beginning  some house cleaning on myself, I am beginning to hope and see a light at  the end of the tunnel. I also believe that I will begin to feel better the more I attend my Depressed Anonymous meetings and /or work my Home Study Program of Depressed Anonymous. I also will be attentive to how other people in the 12 Step program are  working out their healing, one day, one hour at a time..

The future is now. The future is where I live right now. The future now is the yesterday tomorrow. I am making my future now.

I no longer believe that only bad things will happen to me in the future, because now I hear how people who once were ready to give up on life now speak of how they have found a hope in the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous and are getting better, one day at as time.

MEDITATION

God, please help us live up to our belief that each day we will get better as we live only in today and not in the fears and anxious moments of a tomorrow that may never come.”

Personal comments please.

________________________________________________

SOURCE: Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for members of Twelve Step Fellowships. (1993, 1999). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. March 21. Page 58.