The experience of surrender involves the ” letting in ” of reality.

                                                     ” Serenity is in the letting go!”

Alcoholism ( depression) and addiction, characterized as they are by the rigid clinging of obsession and compulsion, help us to understand  the experience of release. Perhaps the greatest paradox in the story of spirituality is the mystical insight that we are able to experience release only  if we ourselves let go, This is the paradox of surrender. Surrender begins with the acceptance that we are not in absolute control of the matter at hand – in fact, we are not in absolute control of anything. Thus the experience of surrender involves the “letting in” of reality that becomes possible only when we are ready to let go of our illusions and pretensions  (our “unreality“).

If surrender is the act of “letting go” the experience of conversion can be understood as the hinge on which the act swings – it is the turning point, the turning from “denial” as a way of seeing things,  to acceptance of the reality revealed in surrender. The self-centeredness that undermines spirituality is rooted in a self-deception that reflects a false relationship  with reality, and that false relationship begins  with distorted seeing, with some kind  of false understanding about the nature of reality and our relationship with it. Breaking through  that denial and confronting reality is what members of Alcoholic Anonymous mean by “hitting bottom.”

The experience of release most frequently comes at the point of exhaustion, at  the moment when we “give up” our efforts and this permits ourselves to just be…

“What blocks release more than anything else is the  refusal tolet go” that comes from the demand   for security, for certainty, for assured results.  Release, like spirituality itself, requires   risk.”

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SOURCE: The Spirituality of Imperfection. Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham. Bantam Books, 1992. pages 168-169.

NOTE: This excerpt was reprinted in the  Volume 8, Number #1 Issue of The Antidepressant Tablet. Louisville. KY.

No pain–no gain! We pay a price to free ourselves from any and all addictions.

 

First of all we know that the first step to freeing ourselves from the deadly clutches of any and all addictions is to ADMIT that our life is out of control, unmanageable and that  we are powerless  over what has us by the throat! Our lives have hit the wall and there is no place to go but to seek HELP. Humbling it is. To ask for help. But it is absolutely necessary if we are to free ourselves from the pain of any addiction.

I am speaking from my own experience with that deadly and scary reality that we all know as  depression. I finally came to the frightful reality that if I wanted my life back then I would have to do something that I had never done before.  I had to admit that I was beat. I had it. My life was a mess and I had created it by gradually drifting away from taking care of my mental, emotional, physical and spiritual life. Just by my admission that my life was in shambles, I realized, begrudgingly, that I had to take full responsibility for cleaning up the mess. And where was I to find that  solution to the cancer-like illness  which was eating me up with each depressed and hopeless breath?

From Alcoholics Anonymous I found my solution. They told me that my pain was the door that I had to go through if I was ever to find any peace for my troubled life.  And so I went through that door which opened me up to hope and belief that there truly was a way the  out of the daily mental grind of sadness and despair. It came  to me that the fellowship of those using and working the 12 Steps of recovery  had all found a home.

“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 the destruction, unless they were altered.

Bill W., continues sharing,     “Then came A.A. 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.”

Because of my own terrible pain of an insufferable depression I founded a group centered on the 12 Steps  and which made these spiritual principles part and parcel of my daily life.  This group is aptly called Depressed Anonymous.

Yes, I still have troubles, but now I can help others by sharing my own story of hope and serenity . Even though we may not be alcoholics, we can have a hope that these Steps can help me as well to leave the prison of depression.

For more information about who we are and what we are about please take a look at the menu that appears on the first page of our website Depressed Anonymous.

The Depressed Anonymous Workbook  tells us  how “Where humility had formerly  stood for a forced feeding on humble pie, it now begins to mean the nourishing ingredient which can give us serenity.

This improved perception of humility starts another revolutionary change in our outlook. Our eyes begin to open to the immense values which have come out of painful ego puncturing. Until now, our lives have been largely devoted to running from pain and problems.

We fled from them as from a plague. We never wanted to deal with the fact  of suffering. Then in A.A., we looked and listened. Everywhere we saw failure and misery transformed by humility into priceless assets.  We heard story  after story  of how humility  had brought strength out  of weakness. In  every case pain had been the price of admission into a new life.  But this  admission price  had purchased more than we expected. It bought a measure of humility, which we soon discovered to  be a  healer of pain. We began to fear pain less and  desire  humility more than ever. ”

Are you will to pay the price?

SOURCES:    As Bill sees it: The A.A. Way of life…selected writings of A.A.’s co-founder. Alcoholics Anonymous World Services Inc., New York.

  The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. pg.60-61.

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

For more literature please VISIT THE STORE. Also note that the HOME STUDY SELF HELP STUDY combo can be purchased together. All purchases can be made online at this site.

 

I believe that misery is an option.

“If surrender of our wills to the ‘care of God’ is of the essence of the spiritual life, for anyone who truly desires to free themselves from a chronic and compulsive behavior such as depression, then the Twelve Steps can be your stepping stones to the path of a hope filled life.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I used to hear the word “surrender” as it made me feel like I was in the hands and under the total domination of another.  It was like I had no control whatsoever as to what I was to do or what I was to be. I was blind to the fact that in reality I had already surrendered my life to my sadness so that whenever I wanted to hide, or isolate myself, I just saddened myself and  so didn’t have to feel anything. I am surrendering to the God of my understanding;  slowly my life is filling with light and hope and this is what I really want for myself. I am finding that the ‘care of God’ is much better than anything I could ever  wished for.  My life is one filled with hope rather than being hopeless.

The spiritual life for me is filled with the excitement of knowing that  this God of mine, as I understand him, is  today wanting to lead me further into the light of his healing power. My spiritual life is filled  now with a close and personal relationship with a God who loves and guides me on a minute-to-minute basis.

MEDITATION

We are going to get as close to God today as we choose to get.

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SOURCE:  Copyright (c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups.  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 257-258. December 29.

 

 

 

 

Spirituality requires risk.

Alcoholism  (depression)   and  addiction , characterized as they are by the rigid clinging of obsession and compulsion, help us to understand the experience of release. Perhaps the greatest paradox in the story of spirituality is the mystical insight that we are able to experience release only if we let ourselves go. This is the paradox of surrender. Surrender begins with the acceptance that we are not in control of the matter at hand –in fact, we are not in absolute control of anything. Thus the experience of surrender involves the “letting in” of reality that becomes possible only when we are ready to “let go” of our illusions and pretensions ( our unreality).

If surrender is the act of “letting go” the experience of conversion can be understood as the hinge on which the act swings – it is the turning point, the turning from “denial” as a way of seeing things to acceptance of the reality revealed in surrender.  The self-centeredness that reflects a false relationship with reality, and that false relationship begins with distorted seeing, with some kind of false understanding about the nature of reality and our relationship with it. Breaking through that denial and confronting reality is what members of Alcoholics Anonymous and Depressed Anonymous mean by “hitting bottom.”

The experience or release most frequently comes at the point of exhaustion, at the moment when we “give up” our efforts to just be…

What  blocks release more than anything else is the refusal to “let go” that comes  from the demand for security, for certainty, for assured results. Release, like spirituality, requires risk.”

________________________________________________

SOURCE: The Spirituality of Imperfection. (1992) Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketchum. Bantam, NY. , Page 173.

 

THE SERENITY PRAYER (complete version)

 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.

Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time,

accepting hardship as a pathway to peace.

Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;

trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to your will,

so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with you in the next. Amen.

Reinhold  Neihbuhr

I EVEN TRIED TO CONTROL GOD!

I THINK I WAS A CONTROL FREAK!

“If surrender of our wills to the ‘care of God’ is of the essence of the spiritual life, for anyone who truly desires to free him or herself from a chronic and compulsive behavior such as depression, the Twelve Steps can be your stepping stones to the path of a hope-filled life.” (8)

REFLECTION

My thinking is what has been keeping me depressed these many years.  I haven’t thought of myself as being addicted to sadness or that I might even be a saddict. Now the truth is becoming clear to me as I work the Twelve Steps and attempt to change the way  I think and feel. I  no longer want to be  a victim of my past, but I am becoming a person filled with hope and a new found zest for living. I am finding that my expectations for myself have decreased as my need to be perfect is yielding to a greater acceptance of myself as I am. Being perfect is such a bore. By letting go of my need for perfection it seems that my self-acceptance is beginning to grow.
One of the great freedoms I am experiencing  in my life today is that I don’t have to be in control of everyone’s life or behavior. One of my character defects has been a need to always have everything and everybody under my control. I have even tried to control God until I learned that it is only when I surrender to God that my life can be filled with hope and peace.
MEDITATION
We will no longer allow ourselves to continue to obsess about hiow bad our lives are when all we need to do is learn how to find our peace by allowing God to guide our will and our life on a daily basis. We don’t have to choose to live a life of misery –we can  make different choices which restores my sanity.

SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for Down Days(c)