Healthy Adulthood? What is it?

 

Saint-Exupery said that to “be a man, a woman, an adult, is to accept responsibility.” And during those years that are bracketed by the dawning of conscience and end of adolescence (seven to ten) we  must –by slowly expanding the dominion of what we can be responsible for –become our own grownup.

We must start claiming as ours the welter of hungers and angers and conflicts that dwell inside of us. We must also start learning to tie our own shoes. And as we extend the realm and the reign of our consciousness and competence we will find ourselves moving farther and farther from home. In the phase that Freud labeled “latency” …we leave the benevolent fortress of family life. Our job as a latency kid is to acquire the social and psychological know how without which we cannot manage this new separation, these new necessary losses.

As healthy adults we feel our self to be lovable, valuable, genuine. We feel our self’s “selfsameness.” We feel unique. And instead of seeing our self as the passive victim of our inner and outer world, as acted upon as helpless and as weak, we acknowledge our self to be the  responsible agent and determining force of our life….

Because as healthy adults we know that reality cannot offer us perfect safety or unconditional  love.

We many be a long time learning that life is, at best, “a dream controlled” –that reality is built of perfect   connections. ”

SOURCES:  Necessary Losses, Judith Viorst.  SImon  and Schuster, NY. 1986. p. 142-143; 168-169.  ( Quoted in The Antidepressant Tablet,   Volume 3:2. Page 6. 1991.

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

The “before” and “after” stories of those who freed themselves from the tyranny of depression.

I just want to write a few thoughts this morning about the “before” and “after” experiences of group members  battles  with depression.  Before there was a Depressed Anonymous group for me to attend, where I could address my problems, I joined another 12 step program of recovery. It was at this meeting that I heard and saw people who shared their stories how it was “before”  they got into recovery and  the  “after”  now that they are living the recovery program.

The difference was like night and day. I could listen all day to a lecture on depression, alcoholism, overeating or any other addiction  and not be as moved as I am when I hear the actual person telling  their story of how life is  now by  actively participating in their own recovery. To hear the changes that have taken place in those many people whose lives had spiraled down into the darkness of isolation and hopelessness is a phenomenal  experience in itself.

Most of the books which serve as the basic text of 12 step groups such as Depressed Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous, to name a few, all include many “before” and “after” stories of those who have suffered the loss of their self only to find that with the help of the spiritual principles of the Steps were they able eventually to share how  their lives had changed dramatically.   Their stories are simple, direct and filled with powerful accounts of  human beings who once were lost in the chaos of addiction,  but now have been freed,  living with hope and serenity.

Depressed Anonymous’ basic text  has its own “before” and  “after ” stories as well. All the stories, the “before” and “after” accounts,   give credit to the program of recovery which  has changed the thinking and lives of thousands of persons throughout the world.  I see  these stories manifesting  the miracle of the Higher Power, at work in those persons who made a decision to choose to walk that different pathway out of their addictions.  They then  tell those others “still suffering from depression” about the power  they have received.

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to the depressed, and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.” Step Twelve of Depressed Anonymous.”

Sources:

Depressed Anonymous, recommends its basic text, Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition for the many inspiring accounts of those persons who came to a meeting, like myself, heard what others had experienced and decided that to see how it worked for them.

Also another excellent publication with many “before” and “after”  stories is A MEDLEY OF DEPRSSION STORIES, by the founder of two Depressed Anonymous groups in North Carolina, Debra Sanford.  Her work is available at Amazon.com.

Depressed Anonymous Publications also has books available at depressedanon.com. VISIT THE STORE

12 self-help ways to get undepressed

 

 

+ Attribute the depression to a cause, e.g., loss of a loved one, loss of a childhood, loss of a pet, loss of a job.

+Attempt to rectify the problems considered responsible for evoking the feelings of depression.

+Finding moral and social support (Depressed Anonymous mutual aid group).

+Engaging in diverting and distracting recreations.

+ Keeping busy and working.

+ Focusing one’s attention elsewhere than on the depressing problems or depressed feelings.

+Restructuring one’s  thinking so as to minimize the significance of the depressing events.

+Engaging in in self-care and self maintenance activities.

+Venting one’s feelings.

+Taking prescribed medication as long as you and your doctor agree that the medication is working on your behalf.

+Finding compensations and boosting feelings of self esteem or self sufficiency through useful purposeful activity.

+Taking comfort in one’s religion.

SOURCE: Wounded Healers.  V. Rippere & W. Ruth.  John  WIley and Sons, Ltd, 1985. pgs. 86-87. (Reprinted and published in the ANTIDEPRESSANT TABLET.)

++ 6 Ways to help yourself through depression ++

    6 WAYS  TO  HELP YOURSELF THROUGH  DEPRESSION.

+ Don’t bottle things up. If you’ve recently  had some bad news, or a major upset in your life, try to tell people close to you about it and how it feels. It helps to re-live the painful experience several times, to have a good cry, and talk things through.  This is the mind’s healing  mechanism.

+Do something.  Get out of doors for some exercise, if only for a long walk. This will help you to keep physically fit, and you may sleep better. This will help you take your mind off those painful feelings which only make you more depressed when allowed to sweep over you.

+ Eat a good balanced diet,  even though you may not feel like eating. Fresh fruit and vegetables are especially recommended. People with severe depression can lose weight and run low on vitamins, which only makes matters worse.

+Resist the temptation to drown your sorrows. Alcohol actually depresses mood, so while it may give you immediate relief, this is very a temporary and you may end up more depressed than ever.

+Don’t get into a state of not sleeping.  Listening to the radio or watching TV  (it’s on all night) while you are resting your body will still help, even if you’re not actually asleep, and you may find that you drop off because you’re no longer worrying about not doing so!

+Remind yourself that you are suffering from depression–something which many other people have gone through –and that you will eventually come out of it, as they did, even though it does not feel like it at the time. Depression can even be a useful experience, in that some people emerge stronger and better able to cope than before. Situations and relationships may be seen more clearly, and you may now have the strength and wisdom to make important decisions and changes in your life which you were unable to do before.”

SOURCE: Depression. pg. 9. Pamphlet published as a service to the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Reprinted in THE ANTIDEPRESSANT TABLET,  Number 1  Number 4.

NOTE: This post was first published as a BLOG in September 30, 2015.

You can click onto the “tools of recovery”  listed on the  drop  down   menu at the Depressedanon.com website to discover more helpful tools for recovery from depression.

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.”

____________________________________________________________________________

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.

SAVOR LIFE

 

“If I had my life to live over I’d like to make more mistakes next time. I’d relax. I would limber up. I would be sillier than I have been this trip. I would take fewer things seriously. I would take more chances. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers. I would eat more ice cream and less beans. I perhaps would have more actual troubles, but I would have fewer imaginary ones.

You see, I’m one of those people who live sensibly and sanely, hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I’ve had my moments, and If I had  it to do over again, I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day. I’ve been  one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water  bottle, a raincoat and a parachute.  If I had to to do again , I would travel lighter than I have.

“If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the Spring and stay that way later in the Fall. I would go to more dances. I would ride more merry go rounds. I would pick more daisies.”

by Natalie Strain

(Natalie wrote this at age 85.  She died in a Louisville, KY nursing home at the age of 88.)

 

I need a sponsor to help me follow the “plan” of hope.

 

You may  choose someone to help you stick to this plan. This person is called a sponsor and should be someone who has experienced depression themselves. You can also exchange phone numbers with other members of the Depressed Anonymous group. As life gets better for you and the emotional pain gets less and less and you are no longer experiencing isolation and pain,  you can use your past experiences in helping the new members of the Depressed Anonymous group see that there is a way out of their prison of depression. The way out of the prison of depression is by connecting with the fellowship and experiencing a “vital spiritual experience.”

A newly developed approach to working the Steps and becoming familiar with the “plan”  is to learn more about  THE HOME STUDY PROGRAM OF RECOVERY,  at the Depressed Anonymous Publications Book store (VISIT THE STORE).

SOURCE: (c) Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression.  Hugh Smith (2017. Depressed Anonymous Publications.) Louisville. KY. Page 75.

I have more good days than bad days!

AFFIRMATION

I will go to any length to learn the various ways to escape from my addictions. I intend to be  a free person today, just for today. Tomorrow  isn’t here yet.

Bill W., co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous tells us ” Remember, it was agreed at the beginning we would go to any lengths for victory over depression (Editor substituted depression for alcohol). (1)

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I believe that I am well equipped do all in my power to free myself from sadness. In fact, I know that the more I begin to really feel and not run away from my sadness, or my anxiety, that my self esteem begins to rise and I begin to feel better  and more hopeful. I am in touch that  the more I follow my program, the more my days are getting better  and filled with happiness. My bad days are diminishing. I am having more good days than bad days. I am doing all in my power, today, to take all the avenues open to me for my own recovery.

MY victory over depression is not an end in itself. I am beginning to believe that I am no longer a slave of this interminable feeling of helplessness. The more I feel I have mastery over the feelings of helplessness, the more hope I have.”

MEDITATION

God, of our understanding, help us discover all the ways we can use to be a suitable instrument for helping our fellow sufferer’s of depression begin to feel better.” (Personal comments)

SOURCE: Copyright (c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. (Hugh Smith Depressed Anonymous  Publications. Louisville. KY. Pages 134-135.)

I have found a new life and a new freedom. Will you join with me?

AFFIRMATION

My freedom today is growing inside of me as I hope for new life, new friends and new opportunities for serenity and peace.

“We pocket our pride and go to it, illuminating every twist of character, ever dark cranny of the past. Once we have taken this Step Five, withholding nothing, we are delighted. We can look the world in the eye. We can be alone at perfect peace and ease.  Our fears fall from us. We begin to feel the nearness of our creator. We may have had certain  spiritual experiences. The feeling that the drink (insert depression) problem has disappeared will often come back strongly. We feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe.” AA Big Book.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

“…When I am in the early days of my recovery, it is so natural for me to begin thinking how bad things will be today, or when will I actually begin to feel better? I don’t believe that these good feelings will last. I set myself up for sadness. This  type of thinking is similar  to the alcoholic who think they  can take one drink but continue to drink til they are drunk.    For us to think that we can start to bash ourselves with sad thoughts without getting drunk with the numbing effects of sadness is sorely mistaken. This is called  denial.

I believe with all my power that even though I walk through the valley of darkness that my God will always be there  with me. I believe also that my sadness will not last forever, but that today is all  I have and I have hope for my day, today. I know that the more I turn to my Higher Power, the more  my Higher Power turns to me.

MEDITATION

God, please don’t let us get attached to anything that isn’t of your making. Our thoughts that we will never feel better are really thoughts  that aren’t   based on fact as most people admit, since they have both good days and bad days in  the future. God, help us to have a good day, today!  Help us to be free today!”

Copyright(c)  Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Hugh Smith. (Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville. KY. Pgs 133-134.)

VISIT THE STORE for information on ordering online this work and many others.

Higher Thoughts is  now available of KINDLE.

Cleaning house: Steps 4 & 5.

AFFIRMATION

I know that I can be forgiven.

“Our moral inventory had persuaded us that all around forgiveness was desirable, but it  was only when we resolutely tackled Step Five that we inwardly knew we’d be able to receive  forgiveness and give it, too.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

In Step 5 we really get serious about our life and our thirst for freedom.  It is especially evident when we work this step that a new spirit of freedom penetrates the very fiber of our being. I know that it is when I look myself in the face, list and spell out each and every fault/defect that keeps me locked into my prison of depression. I can say with all truth and humility that I am more free now than I have  ever felt in my life because of my working the Fourth and Fifth Steps.  I am learning that what it takes to be set free from our painful past is the total honesty in speaking about it.

I gain forgiveness by giving it. When I release my anger or revenge toward another human being I am then free.

MEDITATION

God, please release in us our need to hang onto our guilt and anger. Cast your light on our pain and let us find peace. (Personal comments).

SOURCE:  (c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of Twelve Step fellowship  groups. (1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. pg 129.

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

(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. (2009) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

To order ONLINE please VISIT THE STORE at this site.