Is depression an addiction?

At the weekly Depressed Anonymous meetings there stirs a glimmer of hope for the saddict  as he/she begins to encounter others like themselves at group meetings.  It is a bigger payoff for the saddict  to gradually believe that  the recovering members  of the Depressed Anonymous group are holding out a hope that can be theirs if only they would depend on the serenity of the members of the group rather than depend on the long time comfort of their addiction.

“Whether it is therapy or not, addicts improve when their relationships to work, family, and other aspects of their environment improve. Addicts  have come to count on the regular reward they get from their addictive involvement.  They can give up these rewards when they believe they will find superior gratifications from other activities such as  the DA meetings  in the regular fiber of their lives. Therapy helps this process by focusing on external rewards and assisting addicts in conceptualizing these rewards and obtaining them. What any rewards therapy itself produces must be regarded as intermediate and time limited, as a passage to the stable, environmental rewards that are necessary to create  a non addictive equilibrium in people’s lives. Only when such everyday but potent  reinforcements are firmly in place is an addiction cured. ”  Source: The Meaning of Addiction: Experience and its interpretation. Stanton Peale. Lexington Books. Lexington,  MA, 1988. p,55.

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SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. (2011) Louisville. Appendix  Is depression an addiction?

I can still hope…

AFFIRMATION

I am finding a way out of my sadness and just for today, I will remain hopeful!

“…We have come a long way on our journey,  for the road to coping and recovery is widening and has its obstacles, but we have all fared well, we have braved the storms and found a hope that extends beyond tomorrow.”

  CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

Even though the journey out of this darkness might be longer  than I am wanting to admit, I can still hope that the end will be in sight at some time. There is going to be a light at the end of the tunnel. With time and with work, I will get better. I have already admitted, time after time, that I need help in learning how to free myself from my need to sad  myself, day after day.   This compulsion of mine has been with me for many years, but I have hope that it will not be long until my good days begin to outnumber my bad days with depression. I have the faith of a beginner, a novice if you will, in the ways of recovery. I can’t find a way out of this depression without hope. I know that there is going to have to be a change in the way I view life if I am to get better. I am going to take responsibility for my life and begin to change!

Troubles in one’s life may cause our persistence and endurance to grow and is the reason our faith is strengthened.

MEDITATION

God, help us realize that we are part of your plan and that we have a purpose here on this earth; if for no other reason than to let others like us know that we have a place where hope starts, namely, in you.

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Source: (c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

You can change the way you feel. You are not a victim.

” Who better knows the pain and the isolation of depression  than the person who has been depressed? It is my personal conviction, both as a psychotherapist and as a person who has experienced depression that it was only when I admitted that I was depressed that I could start working my way out of this terrible and immobilizing experience. In my own experience, I thought  I was losing my mind, as I couldn’t cram another thought into my head and couldn’t remember a thing that I had just read or thought a minute before,.  I was tired all the time and would wake up early in the morning and couldn’t get back to sleep. But that’s the best news most people hear when they come to Depressed Anonymous meeting for the first time, namely, that they are not losing their minds. When you’re depressed, you feel your mind is made out of cotton and all life seems grey, cold and lifeless.

The important thing to remember about depression is that you are not a victim. You have bought into the belief that you can’t change how you feel.  You need to believe that once you change the way you think then that in itself can begin to produce a change in the way you feel.”

In Depressed Anonymous,(2011), the  guiding light of the  fellowship of Depressed Anonymous, a 12 Step program of recovery we read that we are not victims of depression.  In fact our basic guides out of the pit of depression are the Twelve Steps. What you have just read in the paragraphs preceding are some basic thoughts  that can help take down the walls that have built your prison of depression. Step One is where we all begin our life giving journey of hope. Step One states quite simply that “We admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our live had become unmanageable.”   By following this program of recovery, step by step, you will soon discover that you not only can be part  of a life giving fellowship but now you possess the tools to live a life free of depression.

SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.  Step One- Page 29.

Belling the cat

“The mice once called a meeting to decide on a plan to free themselves of their enemy, the Cat. At least they wished to find some way of knowing when she was coming, so they might have time to run away. Indeed, something had to be done, for they lived in such constant fear of her claws that they hardly dared stir from their dens by night or day.  Many plans were discussed, but none of them was thought  good enough.

At last a very young Mouse got up and said:

“I have a plan that seems very simple, but I know it will be successful. All we have to do is to hang a bell about the Cat’s neck. When we hear the bell ringing we will know immediately that our enemy is coming.”

All the mice were much surprised that they  had not thought of such a plan before. But in the midst of their rejoicing over their good fortune, an old mouse arose and said:

“I will say that the plan of the young mouse is very good. But let me ask one question: Who will bell the Cat?”

The moral of the story: “It is one thing to say that something should be done, but quite a different matter to do it.”

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In our work, I’ll do it when I feel better (2013), the moral of the story there is pretty much the same as  in  Belling the cat.  We tell ourselves that I’ll bell the cat of my addiction , which is killing me, only when I feel better. Of course, it never  happens. I never feel better.  I tell myself that I can’t even muster up  the energy to even begin the process  of taking on my sadness and those deadly feelings of helplessness.  But bell the cat I did! I knew that either I start helping myself out of the pit of my despair or lose my mind. The “cat” in my fight  had me physically, mentally and spiritually  immobilized.   Only because I had hit the wall did I begin to do something. I admitted that there is a problem and I had to DO something!

In the 1st Step of Depressed Anonymous which tells us quite directly and without equivocation  “We admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become un-manageable.”  OK. There you have it. I began to tie the bell around  the  old cat’s neck! That is the first step–to admit –and then to do something about it. It’s the beginning of a personal movement toward health and peace. But as we all know, this mouse (me) is never alone. I have a whole group of folks just like myself who have tied the ribbon around their addictions. Taking one Step after another we all have found a way to live our life without fear and depression.

For more information please read Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville and check out other books/ literature at Visit the Store at our site.

I CAN FEEL A CHANGE INSIDE OF ME…

AFFIRMATION

“I am going to handle what has taken a lifetime to develop one day at a time.

“When we saw others solve their problems by a simple reliance upon the Spirit of the Universe, we had to stop doubting the power of God.  Our ideas did not work. But the  God idea did.” (1)

  CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I always doubted the power of God until I started to see and read about other people working their Twelve Step program and getting on to meetings. I also believe that there is surely hope for me as I hear about other depressed persons who are in the fellowship with each other and have a genuine desire to stop  sadding  themselves.  This is all that is needed, a desire to stop sadding  oneself.  I can feel a change inside of me as I begin to rely more on this God who loves me and cares  how I feel. This program of hope works if you work the program.

This is the word that gives hope.  It is a simple reliance, day  by day, hour by  hour, that I will find the serenity, the simplicity of a life lived without the anxiety, hollowness, jitteriness of my depression. It is in  my admission of such that begins me on the road to recovery and hope.

MEDITATION

We trust in our God. We rely on you as we turn as often as we can to be present in your  Presence.  We want to pray unceasingly and learn from you  how to love ourselves.

SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of Twelve Step fellowship  groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 150. July 27.

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.

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.

SHINING A LIGHT ON THE DARK NIGHT…

Today we have made a big step in that we admitted that you, me,  all of us are here to learn how to brighten up our life and begin to take greater responsibility for the way we feel, think and act. We all know that if we want to have the light and warmth of life then  we will have to risk the unpredictable. We have to face the uncertain future. And as we all know, this is the nature of depression in that it predicts sameness and the unending hell that we have experienced, day after day for months and for many years. And as strange as it may sound –for some, the sameness and the predictability of depression is sort of a comfort.  At least we know what we got.

Today, we will take every advantage for discovering how to begin to take full responsibility for our own lives  and how to become hopeful, and help ourselves out of the prison that we have constructed for ourselves over the years.”

“…By diagnosing the problem, and providing a solution and providing a practical plan for getting out of our depression we now can be free of the depression that has imprisoned us for so long.

As we go about attempting to shed some light on our own personal darkness –on our own symptoms of depression –we will gradually begin  to see that we must now hold some different beliefs about ourselves  – -some immutable beliefs which have hindered our development as hope filled happy people. Now,  once we learn what these are and how they defined us these many years we can become free.

We will learn to take responsibility for our lives and our behavior. ”

Source: Shining a light on the dark night of the soul. (1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Pages 2-3.

Tomorrow 5/25/15 we will list the six immutable beliefs which may have held  us behind the bars of depression.

KEEPING OUR DARK THOUGHTS OUT INTO THE OPEN

” Most of us need the fellowship of the group to keep ourselves honest and in recovery and our dark thoughts out in the open.”

I believe that keeping our dark thoughts in the open  is a must for those of us who are depressed. How often when I was feeling sad and without motivation to just go to my bed and sleep.  I couldn’t continue with  the dark thoughts that kept cycling around in my head. They each would take me right back to  where they started. I always ended up back at hopelessness and despair.

This being open, willing and honest with others  in the group is the beginning of a new adventure. The fellowship provides us with that opportunity to get out in the open those very same dark thoughts that forced us down and into the pit. Were they thoughts of guilt, shame or despair? Where they the hopeless thoughts of killing ourselves? Whatever the dark thoughts, I know from my own experiences in recovery that by bringing them (dark thoughts) into the light — the shame that they once made us feel begins to be diminished. When I tell members of our group that I once tried to kill myself, no one falls out of their chair. No one looks down on me–because, just possibly, there are other members of the group who have had the same experiences as have I.

By coming week after week to the group and feeling that those gathered in the group are in the same boat or have the same experiences, does make it easier for me to  trust them with my story–no matter how dark and shameful.   And as it says in our Depressed Anonymous (3rd edition)  big book, “Remarkable things happen to us when we are willing to admit defeat and talk about our powerlessness over our depression and how our lives had become unmanageable. This first step is the beginning of the flight of steps that takes us up and into our new way of living. At our fellowship of Depressed Anonymous, we talk hope, we act hopeful, and we think hope..” Pages 106-107. Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville.

MY INNER MOST THOUGHTS ARE STEPPING STONES

A HIGHER THOUGHT FOR TODAY

AFFIRMATION

I am going to think of my inner most thoughts as stepping stones to a better and more positive way to live my life.

“In the ancient secret Gnostic Gospels Jesus is reported as saying, ‘If you bring forth what is within you, what you  bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is in you, what you do not bring forth  will destroy you.'”(6)

  CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

My sad thoughts which I continually run around in my mind keep me enslaved to inaction and a feeling of being trapped.  I want to let these thoughts  out so that I will be able to look at them and see them for what they are  —  the empty fears that have no power when placed out in the light of day. I believe that the more I express my fears to another, the less powerful they are and the less control they have over my life.

I am going to accept the fact that I have every right to be part of this universe and I am going to do everything in my power to achieve a sense of security and happiness for myself.  The first step  where “We admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable” is what will free me in time from the prison of my depression.

When we get in touch with what we fear, we can get in touch with ourselves. By doing this, we find a way out of the cold and lifeless sadness that we call depression.

MEDITATION

God, please come to us and dwell within us that you might create in us the strength that we need to bring us forth what is within us. This means both those pleasant and  unpleasant thoughts.”

SOURCE: Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for 12 Step Fellowship Groups. (1993, 1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 89. May 1.