I said to myself, “if I ignore it maybe it(depression)will go away.”

“There was a time when we ignored trouble, hoping it would go away. Or, in fear and in depression, we ran from it, but found it was still with us. Often, full of unreason, bitterness, and blame, we fought back. These mistaken attitudes, powered by alcohol, guaranteed our destruction, unless they were altered.

Then came AA (and DA. OA, NA,  Al-Anon etc). Here we learned that trouble was really a fact of life for everybody – a fact that had to be understood and dealt with. Surprisingly, we found that our troubles could, under God’s grace, be converted into unimagined blessings.

“Indeed, that was the essence of A.A. itself: trouble accepted, trouble squarely faced with calm courage, trouble lessened and often transcended. This was the A.A. story, and we became a part of it.  Such demonstrations became our stock in trade for the next sufferer.”

COMMENT: It was with my own experience with depression that I tried to deny that it was anything that could keep me from a life lived with hope and joy. I thought that if I just ignored it, like Bill W., stated so well above, it would just evaporate like the morning midst. Of course this just didn’t happen.

As I commented on this denial factor which is a big part of all addictions, I also came to believe that,  “well, what I am going through will surely pass. It isn’t so bad, really. I can put up with a little discomfort.”  Sorry. It didn’t work that way. And as I pointed out in   I’ll Do It when I feel Better  I said  ” we also learn that our depression is a defense and predictable and for some, depression is even come to be a comfort and as has been said before, at least one knows what they have with depression. And to change and risk removing this numbness is better not to be undertaken  because it’s better to know what one has than to risk getting something worse. Much like the example cited before of the debate within ourselves to go to the dentist for the toothache or just tough  it out and hope for the best.  We call this denial.” Page 17.

To examine more literature about depression and using the Twelve Steps in your personal recovery , please taker a look  at VISIT THE STORE here at our website.

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SOURCES:

1) As Bill sees it. Page 110.

2)  I’ll do it when I feel better. (2014)  Depressed  Anonymous Publications.                                  Louisville.

3) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

 

Our thought life will be on a higher plane…

 

“On awakening, let us think about the 24 hours ahead. We ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity and from dishonest or self-seeking motives.  Free of these, we can employ our mental faculties with assurance,  for God gave us brains to use.  Our thought life will be on a higher plane when our thinking begins to be cleared of wrong motives. If we have to determine which of two courses to take, we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought, or a decision. Then we can relax and take it easy, and we are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while.

We usually conclude our meditation with a prayer that we be shown all through the day what our next step is to be, asking especially for freedom from damaging self-will.” Page 243 (As Bill Sees It).

And some more thoughts from our friend Bill W.

“In meditation, debate has no place. We rest quietly with the thoughts or prayers of spiritually centered people who understand, so that we may experience and learn. This is the state of being that so often discovers and deepens a conscious contact with God.” Page 108(As Bill Sees It).

The road less traveled

So to trust oneself can bring to one’s life a new dimension of hope that there might be a possibility for a positive change. But we need to take the road less traveled — not the road that is worn and rutted with the traveled path of hopeless journeys and adventures. The road less traveled is the one that joins with fellow travelers who are filled with hope and purpose.

Rowe says that by listening to our inner voice and so trusting that quiet inner voice is the beginning of getting hope for your self and serves as the key out of depression. Bill W., says that as time passes and we begin  to “get” the program of recovery that we are better suited now to follow those intuitive hunches which come with our renewed trust in self and the god  of our understanding.”

A comment. Most of the worn and rutted paths that are a big part of our sadness and isolation is due to the way we ruminate and fixate  about the way are life is spinning out of control. We  continuously try to think our way out of box which has us imprisoned in those rutted paths, dead ends.  This negative thinking is familiar–it’s like the train that travels on rails that are shiny with years of continual use.

Now, with our Twelve Step program of recovery our minds are taking the path that leads to peace and serenity.  We  have a way out of our isolation and pain.

Are you willing to take the road less traveled? Let us help you do just that. We can chart out a path for you that works and works for as long as you stay on the path. That’s a promise.

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SOURCES: I’LL DO IT WHEN I FEEL BETTER.(2015) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 78. (Chapter on TRUST).

STEPPING UP TO HOPE

In Depressed Anonymous I have heard members of the group say what works for them is not to fight depression but instead do the dead man’s float — just let go and feel the sadness –don’t run away from it with lots of activity and doing — this can lead to mania — instead, admit our sadness, our despondency and face the feeling.
Don’t fight it and push it down but DISCUSS it –talk about it and see it for what it is. Since depression is a dependency issue it is only when we begin to surrender to the Higher Power or God as we understand him that we make it possible to recover from this experience. We choose to live, feel and think differently.
THE ANTIDEPRESSANT TABLET
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This approach to depression really works, as the many testimonies in our “Big Book” Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition illustrate. Yes, we know that running away from any difficulty or problem just digs the hole of our sadness deeper. Once we give up our shame or guilt for being depressed–basically our feelings powerless and being isolated –and start to share our story with others, we find our sense of mastery begins to return as our feelings of uselessness begin to evaporate. How often do members of the group, after coming to the group for some weeks, begin to look different–that is, they seem calmer and their faces become softer. The hardness disappears.
Hugh

I AM NO LONGER ASHAMED TO TALK ABOUT MY BEING DEPRESSED…

AFFIRMATION

I am no longer ashamed to talk about my being depressed; when I talk with other depressed persons I feel better.

” I used to be ashamed of my condition and didn’t talk about it. But nowadays I freely confess I am a depressive , and this has attracted other depressed people to me. Working with them has helped a great deal.”

(2) Bill W.,  Co-founder of AA.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I  know that the more I read the literature about the Twelve Steps and daily work my program, the more I am able to help myself grow out of this depression as Bill W.,  did shortly after he wrote the above piece.  So often alcoholism covers up depression so that the original cause of  the depression needs to be looked at.

MEDITATION

God, please help us through this day and help us work through these memories of shame that keep us depressed.  Let us truly believe that we can be free of our shame and live as a free person today.

COPYRIGHT(C) Higher Thoughts for Down days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for Twelve Step fellowship groups. (1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.  Higher thought for  June 24. Pages 126-127.

NOTE:   Because I had experienced depression myself,  this added a  healing assistance  to my encounters with clients who were depressed.  We could speak and understand each other.

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.

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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

BILL W. & DOROTHY ROWE & MARGIE W.

Three persons who made a big difference in my life and how they each  helped me deal with my own melancholia (depression).

First of all there is Bill W., the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, who by his own witness, presented to us the spiritual program of recovery that we know as the Twelve Steps. Not only have they given me personally  a daily step by step program of recovery to follow but helped me fashion a program of recovery for persons depressed using the same spiritual program of recovery. Bill W., makes available through the Steps to any and all who seek a way out of their attachments to whatever is slowly  destroying their lives.

And then there is Dr. Dorothy Rowe, PH.D., a psychologist who has written many great books on depression and how to live one’s life. In 1985, a member of our newly formed Depressed Anonymous group gave me a copy of her book Depression: The way out of your prison. (1983, 1996) Second Edition. Routledge, London and New York. It was this book that opened my eyes and my mind to beliefs about depression that has accompanied me through my encounters with persons with depression in my own clinical practice, as well as  in the formation of  all the Depressed Anonymous  groups  focused and centered on the Twelve Steps. Not only have she and Bill W., been my mentors in this life long effort of mine, but both have given me keys that not only have released me from my own prison of depression, but persons everywhere have their lives back, plus a belief in a Higher Power,  thanks to these two pioneers.

Then there is Margie W., a charter member of Depressed Anonymous (whose account  appears in Depressed Anonymous in the Personal Stories section of our book). She states  “I can’t really remember for sure how I became involved in Depressed Anonymous. I believe a co-worker told me about a professor at the University of Evansville who had students who were helping people in the psychology field and wanted to know if I would be a volunteer to help start this new self help group. And it was free! What did I have to lose? I had seen Doctors, took their prescribed drugs and still ended up on the same old merry-go-round of ups and downs  and “hangovers” from the drugs. I joined a small group at first. We talked, set weekly goals, took short walks, visited with friends or enjoyed a cup of coffee to relax. We had to do something for ourselves. I had to learn to be good to myself, instead of nurturing  everyone else. I found a good doctor who gave me a lot of good advice about “pampering ” myself more. It hadn’t been easy.  I’ve read self help books, positive thinking books and worked hard on my way of thinking for years. I’m a natural born worrier, so things always seemed worse than they really were.  “(I) feel like I have something to offer the group. Hope is the word. I finally got above the edge of the rut that I could barely peer over for years. I know others  can do it too. Don’t give up. It’s a lot of hard work, but it can be done. I know. I was there.” Depressed Anonymous, (2011)  Third Edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville Kentucky.

Spontaneity is the opposite of depression.

Dorothy Rowe once said that trusting  oneself   is an essential part of creativity. And why wouldn’t trust of oneself be an essential part of creativity?  We all recognize how spontaneity is the opposite of depression. The symptoms of depression not only paralyze us into inaction physically but likewise freeze our cognitive facilities so that not another thought can move forward so as to connect with another thought to form some meaningful sentence.

So to trust oneself can bring to one’s life a new dimension of hope that there might be a possibility for a positive change. But we need to take the road less traveled –not the road that is worn and rutted with the traveled  path of hopeless journeys and dead ends. The road less traveled is the one that joins with fellow travelers who are filled with hope and purpose.

Rowe  says that by listening to  our inner voice  and so trusting that quiet inner voice is the beginning of getting help for your self and serves as the key out of depression.   Bill W., says that as time passes and we begin to “:get” the program of recovery that we are  better suited now to follow those intuitive hunches which come with our renewed trust in self and the god of our understanding.

SOURCE: Copyright(c) I’ll do it when I feel better.  2013. 2nd Edition.  Smith, Hugh. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Kentucky. 40217  (Pgs.  77-78).

SPIRITUALITY AND DEPRESSION AND THE POWER GREATER THAN OURSELVES.

The following discussion about depression and spirituality has been excerpted from a recent DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS (2013)  titled I’LL DO IT WHEN I FEEL BETTER. ( 2nd edition )Smith, Hugh.  Louisville, KY  40217. (p.86-87).

Bob P., a charter member of Depressed Anonymous shares his thoughts on the subject of SPIRITUALITY AND DEPRESSION.

Spirituality involves the recognition and acceptance of a Higher Power beyond your own will and intelligence, with whom you can have a relationship. The Higher Power can provide you with an experience of joy, security , peace of mind, and guidance that goes beyond what is possible in the absence of the conviction that such a power exists. Spirituality can be seen as being distinct from religion. Different world religions have proposed various doctrines and belief systems about the nature of a Higher Power and humanity’s relationship to it.  Spirituality, on the other hand refers to the common experience behind these various points  of view – an experience involving the awareness of a relationship with something that transcends your personal self as well as the humane order of thinking.

The ‘something” has been given various names –“God being the most popular in Western society  — and is defined in ways too numerous to count.  You can choose to define what that means to yourself in whatever way feels most appropriate to you.  Your own sense of Higher Power can be as abstract as cosmic consciousness or as down to earth as the  beauty of the oceans and the mountains. Even if you consider yourself a non-believer,  you may get a sense of inspiration from taking a walk in the forest or contemplating a beautiful sunset or a small child’s smile may give you a special sense of joy.  Whatever inspires to and takes you beyond yourself into a larger perspective is the direction of what is referred here as your Higher Power. ”

In the following quotation, Bill W.,  gives uis his concept of God.  By doing so he has basically reframed all of our understanding of God.

When therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God. This applies too, to others spiritual expressions, which you may find in this book (Alcoholics Anonymous). Do not let any prejudices you may have against spiritual terms deter you from honestly asking yourself what they mean to you? At the start,  this was all we need to commence spiritual growth, to affect our first conscious relation with God, as we understand him. Afterward  we found ourselves accepting many things, which often seemed entirely out of reach. That was growth, but if we wished to grow we had to begin somewhere. So we used  our own conception, however limited it was.

We had to ask ourselves but one short question: Do I now believe, or am I even willing to believe, that there is a power greater than myself?  (see, BELIEVING IS SEEEING: 15 WAYS TO LEAVE THE PRISON OF DEPRESSION. DAP, (2114)  Louisville, KY 40217.) As soon a person can say that he or she does believe or is willing to believe, we emphatically assure him or her that they are on their way. It has been  repeated proven among us that upon this  simple cornerstone a wonderfully effective spiritual structure can be built.”

For literature, focused  on the subject of Depression and the  12 Steps of Depressed Anonymous, please visit our store.

We will continue our discussion about depression and spirituality in the posts to follow. Please, stay tuned. Your comments are always appreciated.

ALL OR NOTHING.

ALL OR NOTHING

“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.”  Bill W., As Bill Sees it. (p.308)

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I know  about this “all or nothing ” experience. It was really made manifest in my daily study of the Twelve Steps and writing down my thoughts in my journal. Now I use the HOME STUDY PROGRAM, which lets me go at my own speed and examine my own life in relationship to the Steps as spelled out in the Depressed Anonymous Manual and  with questions asked in the Depressed Anonymous Workbook. Together,  these really have helped me focus on one piece of the puzzle at a time. When I first entered the Twelve Step fellowship I wanted to devour everything there was to know about addictions in one big gulp.  Gradually I learned that if I took my time, read the literature and continued to use Workbook and Manual one day at a time, that my life began to have that promised serenity and a hope that continues to this day.

“I find the insights of Bill W., to be at the cutting edge of whether or not a person depressed gets better or just simply gets., that is,  gets more isolated and disconnected from life.  Many hurting folks come to  Depressed Anonymous with the mistaken belief that they are coming to a class; while there, someone will teach them about how to quickly get out of their depression. They want a quick fix and then get right back to living the way they used to – never realizing that they have to do some work on themselves if they indeed want to stay free of depression…” DEPRESSED ONCE – NOT TWICE.