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.

__________________________________

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

What happened?

+++   Recollections from the founder of Depressed Anonymous +++

“There was nothing I could do to shake those horrible and painful feelings. My mind was unable to focus on or to concentrate on anything. My memory was affected and it was impossible to retain anything I tried to read. With each new day, I felt my strength ebbing away. I was physically and emotionally drained. I knew that something was wrong – what was it?

The answer to those  question seemed to lie within all the losses that I had acquired over the past months.  I had slipped down into the slippery and dark world known only to someone who has ben depressed. I had to do something besides talking to break out of depression. I had to change the way that I had lived my life. First I had to admit that my life was out of control. I was powerless to overcome my symptoms of depression by will power alone. I needed to believe in a power greater than myself. I had to have a spiritual experience. Having been in the ministry for may years, I thought I had a deep spiritual experience, but I seemed to have lost it along the way.

I began to walk five miles a day inside a mall near my home to shake this awful feeling of emptiness that had taken over my life. I set myself this goal to force myself to walk until  I starter to feel better. This was about a year following that day in August when I felt myself slipping into  the abyss. After doing this exercise of walking day after day,   I began to feel a little better. But then the old message came back and said “yes, but this good feeling won’t last.”  Then I knew that since I had good days before that depression, I could have a good day again. I went on walking, and within time, I walked my way through the fog that had imprisoned me.

But I had to do the work!   Did my symptoms have me imprisoned or did the meaning that I had created in my mind about my life have me imprisoned? I believe it was the meaning I had given to those losses in my life  that gradually threw me to the ground, hog tied  me, and wouldn’t let me go. I had to believe that somehow my walking gave meaning to the belief that I wasn’t going to let these feelings of helplessness beat me down. I just believed that I was going to beat this thing! I learned a great lesson here in that “motivation follows action.”

SOURCE :Copyright(c)  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (1998, 2008, 2011). Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville. KY  Pg. 21.  (Autobiographical sketch of the founder of Depressed Anonymous, Hugh S., in Evansville, Indiana in 1985.)

“All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.” Michael John Bobak

 

How many times have we said “I’ll do it when I feel better(2016). ”  We all know that any new endeavor or activity in our behalf would definitely put us outside our “comfort zone.”  Any movement toward  walking out of our isolation is still too much of a risk. Depressed people do not want to take risks, especially as it involves change of    one’s lifestyle or behaviors.  We feel most comfortable staying parked in neutral! It’s better to know what we have than to  not know and get something for worse. We now know that to make progress in our lives and to live without depression we have to move courageously out of our comfort zone.

The following statement, How Depressed Anonymous Works,  is read at every Depressed Anonymous meeting and we quote it in full.

“You are about to witness the miracle of the group. You are joining a group of people who are in a journey of hope and who mutually care about 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 our own 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 pills and the easy formulas for success.  We believe that to get out of the prison  of depression takes time and work.

We have all been  wounded in different degrees by the experience of depression.  We also know that there is a method to regain control over our lives that is practical and workable. It is successful for all those who want to change their lives. Some of us believed that there was no hope and that suicide was the only way out.

In this natural world one of the first laws is that all growth is gradual -that belief is the bottom line for all of us who are depressed and who want to get better. The  more  we attend meetings the more we will learn and see the various ways to escape from depression. We also learn how important it is  to not give up on ourselves.” (Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Page 182. Appendix A.)

 JIM MOVES OUT  OF THE COMFORT ZONE

“…The group members all expressed to Jim ( a new member to  DA) how they each had made a  mental decision to turn their lives and their depression over to the Higher Power because they had no place to go but up. It was this  to the Higher Power or God as we understood God that was the beginning of the overcoming of some people’s addiction to the comfort of their depression. They are now ready and willing to live with some hope. In time Jim got in touch with his anger and shared it with people who accepted it, and so was able gradually to move out of the shell that kept him from the hope that life would ever be different for him. The depressed person just believed and takes on faith that he/she will always be depressed and sad. Now that negative belief of being depressed forever has  to be reframed and we have to tell ourselves that if we have a positive faith our life will be better and we will begin to see changes. Many times we get what we choose when it comes to our personal feelings.”

Depressed Anonymous. Pages 57-58.

In the Chapter Eleven we read more about  the COMFORT ZONE

” Every so often we come into contact with a person, place or circumstance that causes some uncomfortableness and we start to withdraw into the comfort of our depression. It is here that we have dumped our trust  of the Higher Power and choose the comfort of our sadness  instead.” DA. Page 112.

“…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 activity. Sadness is overcome by hope.” DA. Page 124.

For the 31 Personal Stories of those persons who no long find depression a comfort and have since left the prison of their own depression, please click onto our Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore and read for yourself the amazing stories of these 31 people in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011)  Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville. Personal Stories, pages 128-176.

For those who would like to order any of our publications, you now can order online.

Get connected! Learn how to get connected and begin feeling better!!

#NINE BELIEF

Excerpts from Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2017) DAP. Louisville. pgs 47-50.

“Withdrawing from friends and other social contacts is the first clue that you are slipping back into the isolation and pain of depression. Move toward a friend,  get a sponsor, and go to a 12 Step meeting. Ask your Higher Power for that  nudge that can guide you into the appropriate path.”

“I know in my heart that when I just sit at home by myself, isolating and ruminating within my head about all the terrible things that have happened to me, or are about to happen, that is when I depress  myself even more. Get connected!”

It’s our addictive thinking, our compulsive way of processing infor- mation, which describes how we habitually store the negative but continue to dump the positive information which continually  24/7 flows into our brain. These negative thoughts and feelings persist in keeping  us falling back into the old habit of staying isolated and avoiding others. We might fool ourselves and say that people have nothing to offer me and that is why I distance myself from everyone. Part of my nature when depressed is to avoid and distance myself from whatever I feel is threatening, like a child afraid of the dark.

We know that depression grows stronger when   isolating ourselves from others.

Dorothy Rowe,  tells us in her award winning book, DEPRESSION: THE WAY OUT OF YOUR PRISON, that

“Seeing yourself as  a basically  good person reduces the need  for other people’s approval. If you see yourself as good, you  can set up a select group of people whose approval you desire and can be indifferent to the opinion of the multitude. But if you see yourself as basically bad then you need everybody’s approval….”

David Karp,   in  SPEAKING OF SADNESS  shares the following thought

” that depression is an illness of isolation, a dis-ease of disconnection. As with much of social life, and consequently with much compelling sociological analysis, it is irony that captures the complexity of things. The irony to be explained in Chapter 2 is that depressed persons greatly desire connection  while they are simultaneously deprived of the ability to realize it. Much of depression’s pain arises out of the recognition that what might make one feel better –human connection–seems impossible in the midst of a paralyzing episode of depression. It is rather like dying from thirst while looking at a glass of water just beyond one’s reach.”

For those who have no Depressed Anonymous mutual aid group to connect with in their own local community, our  Publisher, Depressed Anonymous Publications has made available the HOME SELF STUDY KIT. The HOME  SELF STUDY KIT program of recovery includes both the  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition and The Depressed Anonymous Workbook.  These  two excellent guides provide us with a path out of depression.   By  answering the stimulating  questions  as provided by the WORKBOOK, one also is able to discover the nature of depression while learning how to apply the 12 spiritual principles of Depressed Anonymous to their own lives.

No longer do we have to be alone or feel disconnected in our depression. We provide the necessary resources to help an individual be connected with a community worldwide  who know what it means to be depressed. You don’t have to be alone any longer!

To see what literature is available from our Publisher,   visit the STORE here at our website  www.depressedanon.com. You can now order online.

Higher Thoughts today and everyday

I start my day with reflections from  Higher Thoughts for Down Days,  providing me with a spiritual and meaningful kick start for the hours to follow. This work, contains a daily Higher Thought affirmation, a meaningful reflection,   and closes with an appropriate short meditation.

Some  Depressed Anonymous groups use this daily Higher Thought for their group meeting  discussion topic.   In my effort to produce a meaningful daily  reflection  book for persons depressed, especially those of us who work  a Twelve Step recovery program,  I found this daily  approach  to be most therapeutic for those of us who are or were depressed and isolated.

Now those of us who like the electronic handheld  Kindle  ereader,  Depressed Anonymous Publications has made available a new KINDLE version of Higher Thoughts for Down Days. Not only are you able to put the meditation for that day on your screen,  you are  able to scroll through and find that particular thought which has meaning for you today.

Higher Thoughts for Down Days starts your day off with a hopeful boost, be it by way of a  hard copy of Higher Thoughts or a KINDLE version.

To learn  more about publications produced by DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS, please VISIT THE STORE at this site. It’s in your hands!

STOP SIGNS AND SUNSPOTS

My name is Linda and the first time I read Depressed Anonymous,   I did not like it and got angry. The first part of the book about turning over our minds and life to a Higher Power sounded good.  I was ready to do that. ” Hey, here it is God! You take it! No more depression.”  But then came the part about a moral inventory, shortcomings, and the big one is that I depress myself.

“What’s he talking about?” I said to myself as I read the book. I had tried to un-depress myself many times. I put the book down, and went to work . But as I was walking around at work that night feeling very depressed, bits  and pieces of the book kept popping into my head and I started to think of the  word “stop” just like the book suggested to do.  “I depressed myself, I can un-depress myself” I said to myself.

Look for “SUNSPOTS”, memories from the past that were happy times and ones which bring back happy feelings from years gone by. I tried, but none came to mind. But I did find that just  by thinking about the book and what it  said made  me feel a little bit better.  Then a piece of a song popped into my mind: “Seek you first the Kingdom  of God and His righteousness , and all the others will be added to you.” “Hey! A SUNSPOT!” I said to myself.

Then I felt a warm glow and then I did feel better –I did it!  I made myself feel better. I can un-depress myself! I had mixed feelings. I wanted to feel better, but admitting I depressed myself was not an easy thing to do.  I went back and reread the book, but now with an open mind. I have started to follow the Twelve Steps and with the help of the Higher Power, I can have a brighter future.  I am making and putting in my memory a lot of SUNSPOTS for those times when I am feeling depressed and which I can choose to draw upon when I feel that I need  them.

I put up a “stop” sign and bring out a SUNSPOT to carry me though.”

SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 114. Personal Stories section.

LONG TIME ESCAPISTS

AFFIRMATION

I will not be afraid of the shadows in my life and my personality, but I will face them and look at them and find serenity.

“They knew what to do about those black abysses that yawned to swallow me when I felt depressed or nervous. There was a concrete program, designed to secure the greatest possible inner security for us long time escapists.  The feeling of impending disaster that had haunted me for years began  to dissolve as I put into practice more and more of the Twelve Steps. It worked. ” (1)

 CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I am now having more periods of serenity and quiet as I begin to work the Steps of my program and trust more in my Higher Power. I know that my God is there right now waiting to help me through this time of sadness  and disease.  I believe that my help is coming from a  power greater than myself. I know that it is never to my advantage to run away from my problems or hide from the fact that I need to construct a new way to look at myself.

When you are depressed you are not even aware of the fact that you are unconsciously making an effort to escape from your sadness as this running away that we do is so subtle and so chronic.  Now that I know that I am responsible for setting myself free from my depression the more I am going to face my fear, anxiety and loneliness. I no longer intend to escape my responsibility  for myself, my serenity and happiness. Only I can make myself happy.

MEDITATION

Our fears began to dissolve once we begin the process of believing in this power greater than ourselves. We no longer put our trust  in the sadness that appeared to us to be like a God in that it was all powerful and all important. It ruled every moment of the day. It also comforted us with its predictability.  We are, today, choosing a God who loves us and will lead us into the promised land of hope and security.

SOURCE:  HIGHER THOUGHTS FOR DOWN DAYS: 365 DAILY THOUGHTS AND MEDITATIONS FOR 12 STEP FELLOWSHIP GROUPS. DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS. LOUISVILLE. JULY 14.

DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS IS SOLUTION FOCUSED. THE GROUP PROVIDES US WITH A SECURE BASE.

Depressed Anonymous, as a functioning mutual aid group is solution focused. How do I know? I know because I practice the principles of the Twelve Steps in my daily life–day after day. I have a step by step program of recovery which provides me with an assortment of tools (solutions) to help  dig myself out of whatever has me by the throat.  The  fellowship of a Twelve Step recovery group embeds me in a secure group of men and women who, like myself, are focused on what can rebuild my life and not continue to destroy it. A lot of the rebuilding might be  to repair a faulty foundation that did not provide security  for us as we passed through the various  formative years of our lives.

In a similar vein, it has been our family or significant others who have told us who we are and  who  by their feelings towards us to a large extent  determined who we are today. Our parents for good or for ill have defined  who we are combined with other significant early childhood caregivers.

It was their opinion of us, plus the familial environment that helped create the personality of who we are today. If we grew up with a secure base  — a supportive father and mother who let us pursue and reach out beyond our environment and encouraged this pursuit – most probably we grew up confident and hopeful as if life was a good place to be and which nurtured us and protected us – in other words, we were not afraid to move beyond our family boundaries – we were encouraged to grow and go beyond our family boundaries and explore. But the family where the child doesn’t feel secure –that child was closed in and felt afraid of that which was outside the circle of the family. In one family there was an openness that promoted growth and learning and  in another the closed family system produced fear, aloneness and alienation from self and others.

If a teacher, parent or significant other told you that you would never amount to anything they probably have influenced you for much of your life, that is until you discovered  that something in your life was amiss.  A small child believes so much taught to them by those older people who not only were bigger and stronger but who were like gods compared to our small size and small minds.

I remember well a teacher who told me in the 3rd grade that I would never be like my brother and uncle  (smart guys) –this truly shocked me — but I did believe her and it has influenced me for the remainder of my life–until I found out that she was not correct.  Over  the years I finally caught on and became the person that I am growing to become today. I am not a carbon copy of some other person’s idea of who I was and supposed to be. (The thoughts here of Family Systems  researcher and author (Bowen) have influenced me in my reflections on my own family and its influence on my life)

Are you,  the reader,  still influenced by those old labels and messages that were pinned on you years ago? If so, you can now  do something about it. Are you ready!

See the source cited below.

 SHINING A LIGHT ON THE DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL: A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE FOR HEALING THE DARKNESS . OF DEPRESSION. (1999)  DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS. LOUISVILLE,  KENTUCKY. Pages 1-2

families

A WAY OUT OF DEPRESSION

” During  acute depression, avoid trying to set your whole life in order all at once.  If you take on assignments so heavy that you are sure to fail in them at the moment, then you are allowing yourself to be tricked by your unconscious. Thus you will continue to make sure of your failure, and when it comes you will have another alibi for still more retreat into depression.

“In short,  the ‘all or nothing’ attitude is a most destructive one. It is best to begin with whatever the irreducible minimums of activity are. Then work for an enlargement of these –day by day- Don’t be disconcerted by setbacks –just start over.”

Source: Bill W., in Letter, 1960.

—————

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

Here is my take on the  statement above by Bill W., co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous.

When I first got involved with the Twelve Steps, I couldn’t wait to read all the steps and get busy reading as much as I could about them. But as I continued to stay in the program and get more involved in the Fellowship I discovered that I could not read ahead and think that now that I have read all the literature about the addiction I was done.  I graduated.  Instead, after thirty years plus, I am still working through these Steps and finding material that I need to look at in my life. The Twelve Steps and the study thereof, alone using the Home Study Kit,  and in the context of a fellowship  group, I have continued my quest to live one day at a time. Step Eleven is one of my constant companions which states that I “sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry it out.”

Our guide, Depressed Anonymous 3rd edition,  written by those of us who were depressed, contains an excellent commentary on Step Eleven (Pages 94-103). The Steps provide you and me with a lifetime of hope and help. The Steps continue to provide me  with a lifeline that is available to me, today, every day and every time.  It works for me!

-Hugh

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)