One of the main paths that leads out of the prison of depression is for those of us who are depressed is to begin to believe that a power greater than themselves is what is going to set us free. Bill W., a cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous reminds us of the reality of that power greater than ourselves.
“I had always believed in a power greater than myself. I had often pondered these things. I was not an atheist. Few people really are, for that means that blind faith in the strange proposition that this universe originated as a cipher and aimlessly rushes nowhere. My intellectual heroes, the chemists, the astronomers, even the evolutionists, suggested vast laws and forces at work..Despite contrary indications, I had little doubt that a mighty purpose and rhythm underlie all. How could there be so much of precise and immutable law, and no intelligence? I simply had to believe in a Spirit of the Universe, who neither knew time nor limitation. But that was as far as I had gone. ” Bill W., AA. p10)
Like any person addicted to a chemical substance, a relationship or a behavior, we know that our will power doesn’t get us free. Our disabling attachments are more forceful than the power of our wills. Our will is essentially like an alcoholic’s first drink or that first dip of ice cream. (I have an attachment to ice cream!)
All of what I have written down so far (Depressed Once-Not Twice) has to do with creating meaning. Humans have as their occupation to constantly create meaning for their lives. Whatever we do has to have meaning for their lives. Whatever we do has to have meaning. I saw that my Dad was gone, my girlfriend was gone, a ministry of 20 years was gone, friends of many years were now gone, and my role as a Christian minister were gone, and most important of all, I had felt that I had lost myself. I lost touch with my real self. I felt alone and worthless. I even had the thought that if someone were seen laughing or having a good time –this made me angry. How dare anyone could smile while I felt so miserable, This feeling made me think that my brain felt as if it were made out of cotton. I couldn’t shove another thought into my head –not even with a jackhammer. It was as if the cells of my brain were filled to the brim.
There was nothing that I could do to shake these horrible and painful feelings. My mind like wise was unable to focus or concentrate on anything. My memory was affected and it was impossible to retain a passage from whatever I happened to be reading. I no longer could keep my mind on anything and to read even a paragraph from a book wore me out.
” ‘ I asked myself “Why can’t the Twelve Steps work to release me from this unbearable depression? ” By the hour, I stared at the St. Francis Prayer:” ” It is better to comfort than to be comforted.”
Suddenly I realized what the answer might be. My basic flaw had always been dependence on people or circumstances to supply me with prestige, security and confidence. Failing to get these things according to my perfectionist dreams and speculations, I fought for them. And when defeat came, so did my depression.
Reinforced by what grace I could find in prayer, I had to exert every ounce of will and action to cut off these faulty emotional dependencies upon people and circumstances. Then only could I be free to love as Francis had loved.
SOURCE: Bill W., co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous
It was 80 years yesterday (12/11), an alcoholic named Bill Wilson was admitted to a New York hospital.
He had just celebrated his 39th birthday.
Alone in his room he cried out, “I’ll do anything, anything at all!” He described what happened next:
Suddenly, my room blazed with an indescribably white light …Then, seen in my minds eye, there was a mountain. I stood upon its summit, where a great wind blew. A wind, not of air, but of spirit. In great clean strength, it blew right through . Then came the blazing thought, “You are a free man.”
I became acutely conscious of a presence which seemed like a sea of living spirit. I lay on the shore of a new world.
Wilson said that after this experience, he never again doubted the existence of God. And he never took another drink.
Bill Wilson is the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. (C) Diocese of Saginaw Advent Book for 2014
IT ALL STARTS WITH ONE
Bill W., co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous wrote this about those who found themselves alone with the message of hope appearing in the first Alcoholics Anonymous book , in 1939.
“Someday, we hope that every alcoholic (depressed person) who journeys will find a Fellowship of AA (DA) at his destination…Little clusters of twos and threes and fives of us have sprung up in other communities…Thus we grow. And so can you, though you be but one man (woman) with this book (Depressed Anonymous) in your hand. We believe and hope it contains all you will need to begin.
We know what you are thinking. You are saying to yourself. “I’m jittery and alone. I couldn’t do that.” But you can. You forget that you have just now tapped a source of power much greater than yourself. To duplicate, with such backing, what we have accomplished is only a matter of willingness, patience and labor.” (AA, 1976)
Ane Brun in her song “:ONE” has the following lyrics
“It all starts somewhere/ It all starts with one/ Everything comes from something/It all starts with one…First everything is quiet/A breath of fresh air from lips and tongue/Then the sound makes the world wild/ One, two, three more/ We can do more/ Much more, let’s do more/ Much more, lets say more/We are more”
Yes, I agree with Ane. It all starts with one. Even though you might be just one person and are reading our book Depressed Anonymous for the first time, and just by talking to one other person about help gained from the reading, you now have a 12 step group. You are part of a group. You now have a group which is a power greater than you alone or yourself.
Even though you are alone and feel jittery and anxious just know that by picking up our Depressed Anonymous book and reading the personal stories contained in it, that you will know that you are not alone. You now can take this message of hope and share it with another one. We speak your language!