THE PROMPTER

 

The prompter  is a person who prompts; specifically one who cues performers when they forget their lines.  Other speakers use Tele-Prompters, which enables the speaker to read their  speech from a screen.

In the Depressed Anonymous program of recovery, we  find ourselves listening to a spiritual Prompter —  an inner  voice, a Higher Power, providing us with a brand new line of thinking. An action oriented  prompt, where we come to believe in a Power greater than ourselves nudging  us to change the way we think and behave.

But who is this Prompter? What is its name? And why  am I hearing it’s voice now. I am hearing it now because I am ready to hear it. Fair enough?  I have surrendered.  Once beat down by my addictions, I now no longer follow the cues which produced for me  a life of negative moods and behaviors. I told the  God of my understanding that I’ve had it! No more beating myself up   with blame and  negative thinking.  Negative thinking  produced those painful  moods  spiraling me   down into feelings of hopelessness and depression.  I had the  feeling that all my efforts at finding hope were futile.

The  Prompter which I have been  listening to in the inner depths of my soul has been leading me towards serenity and filling me with a powerful meaning for my life. After having been introduced to the spiritual principles of the Twelve Steps I continued to listen  to the Prompter in the quiet of those daily moments of meditation and prayer.

It was my decision to put my life on a brand new trajectory of wellness and healing. I had a spiritual awakening, ever so gradually. I just knew it was the Prompter itself who was placing a new life script into my heart.

Each and every day of my life I pray, I quiet the chatter in my mind, and draw near to the God of my understanding.   When we draw near to God, God draws near to us. What you seek, seeks you.

I believe that  my daily conscious contact with  God in prayer and meditation  I am able to  discover that we  are no longer dependent on our will but on God’s will for us. And just as Bill W  tells us  in Alcoholics Anonymous that when we are faced with the indecision about something, we then ask God for inspiration and we let go  of struggling for an answer.  He tells us that you will be surprised at how the right answers will come after we have practiced  this way of living. It also comes to pass that our hunches are more right than wrong. We also pause throughout the day when we are fearful, puzzled or anxious. We pray to the Higher Power for which direction to take. I like the suggestion the best when AA  says,” We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self pity, or foolish decisions. We become more efficient. We do not tire so easily, for we  are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves..”  (Depressed  Anonymous, Page 101).    We  all know that our new life script which  the Prompter has provided us  gives our life  direction and meaning.

Depressed Anonymous   shares with us Meister Eckart’s   thoughts on that  Vital Spiritual Experience which comes to each of us when we surrender our lives and wills to the  God of our understanding.

“This work (birth), when  it is perfect, will be due solely to God’s action while you have been passive. If you really forsake your own knowledge and will, then surely and gladly  God will enter with his knowledge shining clearly. Where God achieves self-consciousness, your own knowledge is of no use, nor has it standing. Do not imagine that your own intelligence may rise to it,  so that you may know God. Indeed when God divinely enlightens you, no natural light is required to bring that about. This natural light must in fact be completely extinguished before God will shine in with his light, bringing back with God all that you have forsaken and a thousand times more, together with a new form to contain it all.” (Depressed Anonymous, Page 161).

“Made a decision to turn our will and lives   over to the care of God as we understand God to be.

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SOURCE:  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.  Page 101, 161.

Author pens new book, “A Medley of Depression Stories.”

The following are excerpts  from a recent article, from the Edenton, North Carolina Newspaper,  written  by Staff writer  Rebecca Bunch.  Portions of the article have been edited and paraphrased.

“Author Debra Sanford has accurately captured the struggles behind depression in a deeper  way in her new book, “A Medley of Depression Stories.” The book most ably points out with stories the personal observations on the mental health issues that plague members but also shares the stories of others in their own words.

In the Introduction to the book, Sanford describes  it  as  a Medley  of  powerful  short stories from  different perspectives  and  experiences — meant to help  the  depressed person –  relate and to  understand that they are  not alone.

The author has the hope that the reader will be able to relate to the stories from others.  Debra hopes that you will find your wellness here.

But, according to one entry in the book by someone identified only as “Anonymous” the Depressed Anonymous meeting is promised as a ” safe place to fall.”

The meetings are  described as an accepting place with friends who truly understand what you are talking about, a place where you don’t have to be ashamed to have a mental illness or to be depressed.

Meetings of Depressed Anonymous are scheduled every week in Edenton, NC., as well as in Elizabeth city.These meetings are there to offer support and comfort to those who need not to feel alone or as they live out their day to day lives.

 Copies of Sanford’s book are available at  Amazon.com.

You can reach the author at www.depressedanon.com/edentonnc. You can also contact Debra at (252) 333.8855.”

She will be happy to hear from you.

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A short review of A Medley of Depression Stories by Hugh Smith,  Depressed Anonymous member.

First off, I met Debra and  members of the newly formed DA groups from Edenton and Elizabeth NC., about three years ago. It was a wonderful experience for me to meet face to face with a very enthusiastic and dynamic bunch of people. Yes, they were there to support each other and discover the ways the 12 Steps would lead them out of depression.

Debra’s work has stories, 35 of them written by Debra and some who struggled with the pain and isolation of depression.  I could pick out a few titles of these short stories but as I look over and read the stories I must admit that they all definitely strike home. I am inspired and given hope that  I  can get  help.

Everyone who reads these stories will find parts of themselves in each of the accounts. I find myself in so many of them myself.  If you are looking to find hope, and a way out of depression which has imprisoned all of us, then you have found here a  key that will free you.

If you are a member of a local DA group looking for topics to give hope, especially to Newcomers, then I advocate that this book and its stories be selected to be read at all the meetings.

I am proud to have the opportunity to know Debra personally and to see how her love of others is the reason for it being written. And with Debra, we all can say “my story is not over yet.” At every DA meeting another hopeful page has been added to our own story !

Hope is the door that leads into tomorrow!

YOU DON’T HAVE TO HAVE YOUR LIFE PARKED IN NEUTRAL!

I just returned from a combined (Edenton and Elizabeth City, North Carolina) Depressed Anonymous fellowship  workshop which I was asked to give. It was an all day workshop, with morning open to the public and then the  afternoon sessions committed to the two groups speaking to each other about their own personal experiences with the Twelve Steps and how their lives have changed since being part of these two groups.

These groups both were formed right before Christmas 2014. Both groups now have a strong presence in their communities because those in recovery now want  to “carry this message to those  who are still suffering from depression.” This is the bottom line for all of us who have found hope and healing in practicing and putting the spiritual principles of the Twelve Steps  into our daily lives. Hope is what we are sharing. You don’t have your life parked in neutral.

“THE MOST COMMON FORM OF DESPAIR IS NOT BEING WHO YOU ARE! ”  —  Soren Kierkegaard

”  Depressed Anonymous is a spiritual  program where you will find people like yourself, honestly, openly and willingly dealing  with their character defects (staying isolated) and gradually admitting that they have to change their lives and lifestyle, if they are going to be a whole and honest human being.  The decision is yours. You make the choice!  The Twelve Steps and your own personal story can now be shared with others and can help them in their own life’s journey. Give the hope that you have now with those who have lost hope. Build it  (mutual aid) and they will come! ”

Source: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 108-109.

I witnessed the “miracle  of the group” again this past Saturday in Edenton, North Carolina when the participants of both fellowship groups came together and shared their stories of how they moved into drive and  out of neutral. I thank  all you beautiful people in North Carolina as you continue to work your program of recovery! You are becoming who you really are and whom God means for you to be!

I AM FINDING MYSELF ACCEPTABLE TO ME.

AFFIRMATION

“How many times have we heard persons say that ‘my depression is such a comfort to me.’ Many depressed people say that this feeling of worthlessness and hollowness is all they have ever known. In fact, they add, ‘since all I’ve ever known I’m too scared to feel something different.’ It appears that their whole identity is based on how they feel, and so they feel they are bad.” (9)

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I know that I can recover and feel good about myself. Each new day I can choose to think differently about myself. I believe that, with time and while working my Twelve Step program, I can feel better. I will make a list of how I want to feel and then start to experience these brand new feelings of mine.  My spiritual program of letting God run my life is beginning to payoff as I can feel a change in myself occurring.

I am taking out one of the main bars of my prison cell. I am no longer considering myself as someone who is bad, worthless, unacceptable to myself and to others. I am finding myself acceptable to me.

MEDITATION

Our feelings of hollowness  are greatly diminished after and during a meeting where we hear the hopeful stories of those members of the group who are feeling better because of the Depressed Anonymous program of recovery.

-Copyright(c) Higher thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 step fellowship groups. (1993, 1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. page 112.

I THINK I HIT A HOME RUN!

“During my first night in the hospital, a member informed me of a support group known as DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS. I decided to give it a try. By telling me about this wonderful, miraculous, and very spiritual program, this person had not only worked the Twelfth Step, but has   also given me a key, a key which would open many doors for me.  Walking through these doors  was like admitting defeat. I was playing first base in a  ball game in which I would eventually win. If I struck out, I was back on Step One. By playing ball with a positive attitude, I was allowing my Higher Power to walk the Steps to recovery with me. With the help and the positive sense of fellowship that I enjoyed in the group, I began to understand God’s will for me. With the love, support, and true friendship of three faithful members in the group, I began working on my driver’s license when  two members of the group took me in for my road test. A new sunnier life had begun for me. The worst was finally over.”

–Lena

SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous (3rd.Edition) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky.  “We never talked about our feelings.” Page 112-113.

PRESCRIPTION FOR A HAPPY LIFE

How wonderful is the feeling that we do  not have to be specially distinguished among our fellows in order to be useful and profoundly happy. Not many of us can be leaders of  prominence, nor do  we wish to be .

Service gladly rendered,  obligations squarely met, troubles well accepted or solved with God’s help, the knowledge that at home or in the world outside we are partners in a common effort, the fact that in God’s sight all human beings are important, the proof that love freely given brings a full return, the certainty that we are no longer isolated and alone in self-constructed prisons, the surety that we can fit and belong in God’s scheme of things  –these are the satisfactions  of right living for which no pomp and circumstance, no heap of material possessions, could possibly be substitutes.” Bill W., in  his work TWELVE AND TWELVE, P.124

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I particularly am struck by the phrase from the quote above, namely,  “the surety that we can fit and belong in God’s scheme of things.” I find this thought especially attractive because it happens to be true for my own life. The reason being, that after these many years (25+)of working with persons depressed that I have come to believe that my own experience with depression, is in some mysterious way, prepares  me to be a fit messenger of hope for those who still suffer from depression. Been there. Done that. I heartily believe that just by  writing this BLOG God continues to inspire me and help me promote the will of God for those of us who want to walk, work and live the spiritual program of recovery as given to us in the Twelve Steps. I know that when I speak with that person who says they are depressed and I encounter them with accounts of my own past brokenness and recovery, so that the love I show them is returned back to me a hundredfold. To share my story is really a way to save my life. And as I move through my life I just know that truly I am working out what God wills for me in being part of his scheme of things.

In Depressed Once -Not Twice. Depressed Anonymous Publications, I  share how the mutual aid group Depressed Anonymous .came to be. That was back in1985 and here I am still being used by God as I try and help others realize that their own depression experience  fits them well for God’s scheme of things.

“TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE.”

“To  thine own self be true.”  is an old axiom that has much merit for those of us who work the spiritual  program of the Twelve Steps.    Often in therapy I ask people to list as many strengths as they can, and for some this is a difficult task when they are depressed and the world appears to be a grey and fearsome dark place.  But this is a n inventory that we must make– we must begin to look at  our strengths and stop wallowing in the self-pity which denies the new directions and progress occurring in our lives through the life of our depression, namely that we can’t seem to see the gracious goodness in ourselves that has been placed there for all time by the Higher Power. This in itself is the attitude that keeps alive our depression, sadness and self-deprecating attitudes.  We need to look at our assets and list our strengths as we gather together time after time in our Depressed Anonymous group or our individual working ( HOME STUDY PROGRAM)  of the Twelve Step program  in our lives.  We  need to remove as quickly as possible all the old excuses and reasons that we cling to which  keep us depressed and out of healthful recovery. Let’s be objective about ourselves and admit that just as we possibly have caused ourselves to be depressed, we likewise can un-depress ourselves in the same way.”

SOURCE: DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS, (3rd Edition, 2011).. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky 40217. (p. 56)

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Only when I had taken a complete inventory of my own life (Step Four) did I realize that certain ways of personal  thinking, feeling and behaviors gradually spiraled me physically into the painful pit of my own personally  manufactured  melancholia. (Some depression experiences can also be the result of physical illness/diseases. That is why it is best to talk to a medical professional before we diagnose ourselves. )  Now here is the part that people can’t quite understand –that we caused ourselves to be depressed. How could that be? Why would I want to cause myself so much pain? Good question. The real issue here is that I discovered over time that because of emotional issues that were mine, mostly unpleasant to reflect upon, such as guilt, shame producing isolation from family, friends and the world, plus the grief over lost employment and relationships. And then, because of this continued mental and emotional beating myself up it all came crashing down  as no longer could I think of anything but disaster, grief  and gloom. I became paralyzed emotionally, physically and spiritually and mentally. My body responded by not responding so that in time it was a battle just to get out of bed. So, there you have it. I caused all this by the way I thought about myself. In Step Four I was able to take each issue by itself and then to see how I might restore myself before my experience with depression. I learned how to un-depress myself. Remember, most of the things that come “out of the blue” are  the rain, snow and lightening. And now that I know where my melancholia originated and why, I am un-depressed today.

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TODAY, I AM LIVING IN THE SOLUTION AND NOT THE PROBLEM. DO THE “WHAT IF’S” RULE YOUR LIFE?

AFFIRMATION FOR TODAY, DECEMBER 27/ A HIGHER THOUGHT FOR TODAY.

My serenity lies in my living in  the solution and not in the problem.

“…We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves…

Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us- sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.”  (8)

REFLECTION

I  am beginning to understand how this program of recovery works in my life. First of all, I learned that after a number of meetings, I was beginning to feel more hope for myself. I heard other older members of the group express the fact that the more they came to meetings, the more they began to learn how to live one day at a time and how to let go of all the fears and the “what if’s” that ruled their lives. Since the recovery program is a spiritual program, I have realized that I will be helped by my God as I understand him with whatever I need for my own growth in personal peace and harmony.

Before my eyes, I see lived out the promises for those who work the suggested Twelve Step program of recovery.  My belief in a power greater than myself is the priority of my life. I am  gradually  loosening the grip of sadness which once controlled my life.

MEDITATION

We keep the promises of God in our hearts which states that if we ask for anything it will be given to those who believe.”

I believe!

MOTIVATING STAGE

Today, we can look at the Motivating Stage –One of the Four. We have talked about the first stage, namely that of just being Aware. And in the context of BLAMING ourselves, others or God, we have made ourselves aware of a character defect where blaming others works against our self. It is in the Aware stage that we realize that “something is really wrong with me” as David Karp points out in his insightful book Speaking of Sadness. I know the feeling. I knew that I couldn’t just stay in bed but had to do something to get rid of that all encompassing fatigue as well as reduce the tremors in my limbs and eliminate that horrible jittery feeling in my gut. This led me to make a decision –to get motivated— hoping against hope that I wasn’t losing my mind. I wasn’t going crazy.
In the Motivating Stage we are using our awareness to show us how our negative thinking and talking to ourselves has helped continue our sadness. It’s like we have a “wake-up” call telling us how all this negative and emotion laden self talk is making us depressed. And now I am making up my mind to change the way I talk to myself as well as motivate myself to follow the spiritual program of recovery–step by step. I also am trying to live in the present. All I have is just this 24 hours. This Motivating Stage prepares me to move to the DOING stage. I will do all it takes to quit the BLAME game and gradually accept responsibility for my life.
MOVE THE BODY AND THE MIND WILL FOLLOW!