Good stress and bad stress

 

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

“There is good stress and bad stress. Good stress challenges us to live each day with enthusiasm and hope as we go  about our daily routine.  Bad stress  is that which causes us to worry, be concerned about  things which we have no control over and generally  causes us to feel tired.  By following our 12 step program  of recovery, we discover that our life can have hope and purpose.

We believe that the God of our understanding makes it possible for us to gradually eradicate our need to worry  and distress ourselves. I am like the addict who continually needs to medicate their feelings of helplessness and hopelessness by saddening  myself when things look bleak and out of control. With the help of my Higher Power, I believe I can begin to feel better as I take the proper means to take care of my physical health.”

SOURCE:  Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for down days:365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pg. 159. August 8th.

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The following is an example of a member of Depressed Anonymous turning  their bad stress  into good stress:

At first I was frightened by my various symptoms of depression. The symptoms proved to be baffling. I was not able to get out of bed of a morning as well as being unable to concentrate or manage a complex thought.  I began to worry that I was losing my mind and I often asked myself if I was going to survive.  But now my ability to handle situations in a meaningful way is due to my frequent attendance at meetings, and by making a daily time for prayer and meditation and a feeling that my life has purpose and meaning. The more I am physically active, i.e., going to meetings even when I don’t feel like it. Working in my Depressed Anonymous Workbook, reading my 12 step literature.

This is where my freedom begins.  And yes, I do feel lousy at times but I also know that nothing can stand in my way to make choices in my own behalf. Previous to my involvement with the group I had no idea that my depression was not so powerful as to prevent me from even thinking that I could choose to feel differently.”

SOURCE: I’ll do it when I feel better. (2016) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 50-51.

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Miraculous power

FAITH, PRAYER AND MEDITATION PROVIDE THE BELIEVER WITH MIRACULOUS POWERS!

 

“Deep down in every man,  woman and child is the fundamental idea of a God.  It may be obscured by calamity, by pump, by worship of other things, but in some form or other it is there. For faith in a power greater than ourselves, and miraculous demonstrations of that power in human lives are facts as old as man himself.

“Faith may often be given through inspired teachings or a convincing personal example of its fruits. It may sometimes be had through reason. For instance, many clergymen believe that St. Thomas Aquinas actually proved God’s existence by sheer logic. But what can one do when all these channels fail? This was my own grievous dilemma.

“It was only when I came fully to believe I was powerless over alcohol or depression, only when I appealed to the God who just might exist, that I experienced a spiritual awakening. This freedom-giving experience came first, and then faith followed afterwards-a gift indeed!”

Bill W., co-founder of AA shares this thought in Alcoholics Anonymous, p.55 and in a letter, 1966.

To thine own self first be true. Honesty is the best policy.

“If I were asked what in my opinion was the most important factor in being successful in the program besides following the Twelve Steps, I would say  honesty. And the most important person to be honest with is yourself…(Bill W., cofounder of AA )

And now back to our Depressed Anonymous Workbook where we continue to clarify our  thinking about the individual Steps and our relationship to them,. We are presently focusing on Step Eleven. (See: The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville)

   Step  Eleven  states “Sought  through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understand God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry it out.”

The following are some questions that you may like to ask yourselves as you continue walking on the path to freedom. In question 12. 9  We are asked  an answer for the following question:  How  has your honesty with yourself made your life more free and more fulfilled with hopeWrite down the areas of your life where you feel your honesty has paid the richest dividends? How has honesty made your life less needful of pleasing others so that  they will like you more?

  Your response here.

12.10 How does our own honesty help us carry the message to others still hurting?

Your response here.

A Power greater than ourselves!

Affirmation

I am conscious today that there exists a power who wants me to be free of my need to sad myself.

” Maybe there  are as many definitions of spiritual awakening as there are people who have had them.  But certainly each genuine one has something in common with all the others.  And these things which they have in common are not too hard to understand. When a man or a woman has a spiritual awakening, the most important meaning of it is that he now has become able to feel and believe that which he could not do before on his unaided strength and resource alone. He has been granted a gift which amounts to a new state of consciousness and being.  He has been set on a path which tells him he is really going somewhere, that life is not a dead end, not something to be endured or mastered,. What  he has received is a free gift , and yet usually, at least in some small part, he has made himself ready to receive it,.”

Clarification of thought

I have learned that people who believe in some power greater than themselves and surrender to it that these same people begin to find hope and start feeling better.

I no longer just have to endure like a passive victim but instead can get active in my own recovery and start  to feel hopeful about my day and my life. I don’t have to feel this way anymore.

Meditation

It is only by our prayer, meditation and self reflection that we will gradually be free of our despair and begin to hope. Our lives have been permanently changed by our understanding that we will get well today, bit by bit. ”

SOURCES: Copyright(c)Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of Twelve Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 164. August 15.

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

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

MORE THAN C0MFORT

When I am feeling depressed, I repeat to myself statements such as these…”Pain is the touchstone of progress.”…”I fear no evil.” …”This, too will pass.” … “This experience can be turned to benefit.”

These fragments of prayer bring far more than mere comfort. They keep me on the track of right acceptance; they break up my compulsive themes of guilt, depression, rebellion, and pride; and sometimes they endow me with the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Bill W., writing in Grapevine, March 1962.

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My mantra, personally,  is the Serenity Prayer.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,  the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

HOW WOULD YOU ANSWER THE QUESTION THAT WAS POSED TO A CLIENT BY HER PSYCHIOLOGIST? (SEE BELOW).

Dr. Rowe in her book WHAT SHOULD I BELIEVE, asked her client Julie this question:

“Suppose you were faced with a situation where you could act only in one of two ways. If you acted one way people would like you, but you wouldn’t respect yourself, and if you acted the way people wouldn’t like you but you would respect yourself. If you were faced with that, which would you choose, respecting yourself or other people liking you?”

Julie answered immediately, “Respecting myself. That’s one of my standards. I realized that at university. One thing about depression, it does make you independent because you don’t care about popularity. You must function without other people anyway, so it doesn’t really matter about other people. I suppose you just live like an observer, observing people, the way they live, and just get a bit cynical. I am very scornful of people who do things just to be popular. I analyze myself and other people constantly, and “honesty and integrity” is the byword.  ….” Page 203-204.

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Hugh’s comment follows

Julie makes an interesting statement where she says that “depression, it does  make you independent.”  That statement, like the one in the above paragraph made me stop and reflect on my own experience with depression.  Did the experience, painful  and immobilizing as it happened to be, did it make me more independent?  In some ways I think it did. Like, I was more sure of myself as I learned more about my character and how some areas of my negative thinking and behavior were the cause of the spiraling downward of my person into the dark pit of depression.  First of all, I became more aware of my thinking processes and nailed the times that I was beating myself up or not watching the way I ate and the fact of my great need of exercise which I was neglecting. No matter what, I now am embarked on a healthier lifestyle and am convinced that the Twelve Steps continually help me assess my strengths and defects of character. Yes, Julie is right. I am more independent. Now,  instead of going about  my life in a  mindless fashion I am mindful of what prevents me from being in the present moment. I now try to center myself, by my daily prayer and meditation times. All this is critical to my staying sane and serene. What do you think?

A POWER GREATER THAN OURSELVES: OUR GO TO PERSON.

A POWER GREATER THAN OURSELVES: OUR GO TO PERSON

The more time that I spend in daily prayer and meditation the closer I feel to this Power greater than myself. Now, let’s be honest, it isn’t everyday that I feel this or think this way, but for most days I feel energized by my time in quiet listening. It was when I first joined a Twelve Step recovery program that I I knew that I was truly home. I had always been looking for a home where I could feel acceptance, nurturing and fellowship. It was at my first meeting, 32 years ago, that in all my brokenness, guilt and shame, that I felt I had made it home. It was here that I could reveal who I was, who I thought I was and get a plan for my life, just one 24 hour period at a time. My own feelings of being totally accepted in this new fellowship created in me the belief, without  doubt, that  sanity would be restored to me. How did I know this? What made me a believer? Simply the fact that the members of the group had pretty much the same story as my own. But for all of this, what stood out was the basic belief among all of the members, that there is a Power, and it is greater than me. And that this Power, whom we understand as God, is my GO TO person every day of my life. And the two things this group taught me early on,  is that THERE IS A GOD, AND IT IS NOT ME!

If today you are feeling alone, lost and frightened, please join me here everyday, as I speak about spirituality and the Power greater than myself,  and what it has to do with my recovery, and how it impacts  on our search for  that serenity that we are all seeking. Remember what you seek, seeks you!

OUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHER PEOPLE IMPROVE. PROMISE # 9 OF THE 12 STEP RECOVERY PROGRAM

“Why wouldn’t our relationships with other people improve? After we have begun to put into place our daily program for recovery, namely through prayer and meditation we now are expectant and hopeful. We reflect upon each step, and we complete a piece of the structure that in time will be the new one.

I think that one of the more critical areas to mend our lives is the thinking part of ourselves. Depression appears to start with the way our minds react and perceive events outside of ourselves. So, from the start we need to promote to those persons depressed to get involved in as much physical activity as possible, namely, walk, express to others, go to DA meetings, talk on the phone with supportive people –in other words, get connected as much as possible. The point where we hope to enter into the life of the depressed is at the point of hope –be it at different stages of recovery.

…I believe that our involvement with other people like ourselves in the group gradually broadens our perspective in the area of hope. We learn to utilize new found tools that help us live with hope as well as enable us to learn that we have to be active in our own recovery.”
THE PROMISES. DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS LOUISVILLE, KY. Pages 19-20.

Therapists Views on Depressed Anonymous

The “Birth” of a Depressed Anonymous Group. Judith Bouffiou, Ph.D. (Cand.), Olympia, Washington

Isn’t life just full of expected and unexpected challenges, synchronous happenings, joys and griefs. Your life and mine. Following is a synopsis of a time in my life when I experienced all of the above. The summer of 1991 saw the dissolving of a business partnership for me; a painful, but healthy decision. The counseling center my ex-partner and I operated had provided the community with a Domestic Violence/Anger
Management (DV/A M ) Program for court and self referred clients, plus each of us had a private practice. M y decision to dissolve the partnership was motivated by a number of reasons, among them a desire to go back to school, and to spend more time and energy in my private practice. Over time my private practice had evolved into a growth and development type of practice, which I loved doing. A long with the dissolution of the partnership came the decision to no longer do the DV/A M work. I had a desire to still give the community some type of community service, but what?

Then I remembered reading some time earlier in one of my professional journals about a man who had developed a Twelve-step program, Depressed Anonymous for individuals who suffered from depression. Like most therapists, a significant number of the people I saw (and still see) in my practice were experiencing depression to one degree or other.

The more I thought about the concept of Depressed Anonymous, the more intrigued I was, so I contacted the founder of Depressed Anonymous for information and details. Information was sent to me and that was the start of the first Depressed Anonymous group in Washington State.

From the Depressed Anonymous material I received, I photocopied, organized, prepared and prepared and advertized. I decided on a start time and date, sent notices to our local paper, our Crisis Clinic, therapists and physicians in this area, tacked up flyers all over town, and of course, lots of word of mouth advertizing. The Depressed
Anonymous group originally met in a group room at my office, and eventually moved to a local church when I moved into a smaller office space.

A s a therapist I organized, started, sponsored, and “mothered” the Depressed
Anonymous group for a time, before withdrawing to just being the phone contact person that people can call in for information. From the very first meetings, which had 8-10 people, a “home” group evolved; fine people, some of whom had previous Twelve-step experiences. One of fine traditions and legacies of Twelve-step groups is the willingeness of folks to be and do the supportive and necessary work (the glue) that holds the Twelve-step groups together. The Twelve-step tradition and service continues on.

As is often the case, I have received more than I’ve given as the person who organized and started this Olympia, Washington Depressed Anonymous group. Now that I’m not a person who suffers from depression, other than short term appropriate situational depression; nothing ever deep or prolonged. A s I organized and started this Depressed Anonymous group little did I know that I would benefit from the Depressed Anonymous process and group in such a personal way.

The Depressed Anonymous group had only met two or three times when my middle son unexpectedly died from a type of cancer that years before had taken his father. So, in a synchronous manner, for a time and in a different way, the Depressed Anonymous group supported me as much as I supported them. In my prior work as a nurse, I had often been witness to dying and death, also in my personal life. However, the death of one son and then a year and half later, the death of my oldest son (two out of three) have been devastating experiences for me.

So in many, many ways being the organizer and sponsor of the first Depressed Anonymous group have been an exceedingly enriching experience for me. A s mentioned before, because of the wonderful people in the group, and with great confidence on my part, I turned the operation of the Depressed Anonymous group over to the capable hands of the home group people. I remain the telephone contact. The Depressed Anonymous group continues to thrive and grow. Just recently I talked with a man from Portland, Oregon, who is thinking about starting a group in the Portland area

MY VIEWS ON DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS

Denise L ., Louisville, Kentucky

One of the greatest resources I’ve used in working with many depressed persons has been Depressed Anonymous. The transformation it causes in an individual’s life is truly miraculous. This stems from it being primarily a spiritual program of healing and recovery. It encourages a person to seek a personal relationship with God, whoever they understand him to be. In doing this it helps a person to look inside for healing, rather than in a pill or some quick “cure”. M any persons who suffer with depression look on God as a being who judges them harshly. This thinking usually leads to much anger towards God, which results in more negative thinking. I know this from my own
experiences with depression, and the angry relationship with God I had during those times. This is where Depressed Anonymous offers hope by getting a person connected to a group who also suffer with depression, and are working the twelve steps. In doing this, it helps a person come to a realization that it will only be through a power greater than themselves, that they will find sanity in their life. Depressed people cannot do this alone because of the compulsion to ruminate endlessly over negative thoughts. It is only through coming together with a group of people like Depressed Anonymous, that they are able to break the cycle of negative thinking.

A client I was working with is a good example of the above. H e spent his time alone and many countless hours thinking of all the disappointments in his life, which continually reinforced his depression. Then he started going to DA, and found that through being with other people like himself, he didn’t feel as alone as he did before. H e started sharing his pain, and found understanding and support. I noticed his face began to soften, and he started smiling more. Then I noticed his face began to soften, and he started smiling more. H e also found help spiritually from DA, for he started
working the twelve steps, and as a result he started trusting God more for his healing. H e is one of many persons I’ve worked with who have found help and encouragement through attending DA .

The spiritual emphasis of DA is it’s greatest strength. People come together and hear from one another how their higher power is healing and guiding their lives. They realize that in being part of the group they are not alone, and also encourage true healing. DA has been a wonderful healing tool in the lives of many depressed persons I’ve worked with. It will always be one of the greatest resources I use in my work. It is true that “it works if you work it.”