Recovery works – if you work it!
“We discover that we receive guidance for our lives to just about the extent that we stop making demands upon God,to give to us on order, and on our terms.
In praying, we ask simply that throughout the day, that God place in us the best understanding of His will that we be given for that day, and that we be given the grace which to carry it out.
There is a direct linkage among self-evaluation, meditation and prayer. Taken separately these practices can bring much relief and benefit. But when they are logically related and interwoven they result in an unshakable foundation in life.”
(c) As Bill sees it, page 33. Hope, service, fellowship March 1, 2014.
“THE MORE THAT YOU HAVE A NEED TO SERVE OTHERS, IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOUR NEED TO BE SERVED.”
The Depressed Anonymous LOGO has these three words written on it: HOPE, SERVICE, FELLOWSHIP. SERVICE IS OUR MIDDLE NAME.
If you are part of a Twelve Step fellowship group, you learn pretty fast about service work. Service is at the center of our recovery. It is the keystone. And, paradoxically, the more we serve others in the fellowship, the more we give to others, the more I am part of living a life filled with hope. When you attain this need to help others, making it your passion, you discover a growing purpose to serve, gradually unfolding in your life.
Let’s say that you came into our fellowship, feeling the hopelessness and helplessness of depression, having lost all hope. You found a fellowship of caring persons. The members do not tell you to “snap out of it.” The group is there because those before them, welcomed them, and let them know there is help. Each of us who are at the meetings today, are getting better, because others are there, willing to serve, in any capacity, using their strengths, hope and experiences,for the service of others. We are not alone. I am not a newcomer, but I am a member who knows, from personal experience, how service from others in the DA fellowship, changed my life. For them, I am grateful.
Hugh S., for the fellowship
“Humility is not a constant harping on your faults and errors and general worthlessness. When you find yourself doing this (like being unable to say anything good about yourself or constantly apologizing or feeling quite unable to do anything even moderately well) remember what Archbishop Fenelon wrote to one of his parishioners,
It is mere self-love to be inconsolable at seeing one’s own imperfections, but to stand face to face with them, neither flattering nor tolerating them, seeking to correct oneself without becoming pettish – this is to desire what is good for its own sake and for God’s.
Humility, self-acceptance and forgiveness are all aspects of the one process where we come to see ourselves as we are and other people as they are. Since we no longer have the pride and arrogance to try to control ourselves and our world so as to make ourselves and our world into something which they are not, we can now be spontaneous. Since we no longer have to hide ourselves from other people, to put a barrier between ourselves and our world, and so feel ourselves to be alive. Since all desire leads to suffering, ceasing to desire perfection reduces our desires and so our suffering. We then know along with Lao Tsu Tau, that,
It is more important
To see the simplicity,
To realize one’s true nature,
And temper desire.
Learning to accept oneself and others, to be courageous, loving, humble and forgiving, and to face death with equanimity, is no small task. But this is what you must undertake if you are to find your way out of the prison of depression.”
Copyright(c) Dorothy Rowe. Depression: The way out of your prison. Second Edition. Routledge and Kegan Paul. New York, 1986. P.230.
For the fellowship,
“Hope can only exist in a state of uncertainty.
That certainty means total certainty. That certainty means to be without hope.
The prison of depression is built with the bricks of total certainty.
Certainty. Security. No Hope.
To hope means to run the risk of disappointment.
Avoid disappointment. Stay depressed.
To be insecure means not to be in control.
Stay in control. Be depressed.
To be uncertain means to be unsure of the future.
Predict the future with certainty. Stay depressed.
Hope can exist only when there is uncertainty. Absolute certainty means complete hopelessness. If we want to live fully we must have freedom, love and hope. So life must be an uncertain business. This is what makes it worthwhile.”
Copyright(c) Dorothy Rowe. Depression: The way out of your prison. NY. Kegan Paul. 1996.
“Hope is to seek things and have the expectation that what we desire will come true. In the matter of depression, Dr. Rowe warns us that when we predict that we will always bw the way we are, is to predict a life of certainty, but one without hope. In the way that we construct our world we begin to live with some uncertainty and with this uncertainty we are going to little bit by little bit, accept some pain, hurt and disappointment in our life. This is not bad, but it is not always pleasant.
When we are depressed, it is not so important as to how we got depressed, but what is important, is how we see ourselves. Do we believe. like Dorothy Rowe, that we will always see ourselves as bad, worthless, unacceptable to ourselves and to others when we are depressed? If this is the way that we want to look at ourselves, then we are sure to believe that we will never change. We hold these beliefs about ourselves as immutable truths, and ever binding. This is the thing about depression – we believe that it will always be this way – namely, being possessed by this painful hollow feeling and deadly emptiness, which we carry around in our bodies, day after day, year after year.”
Copyright(c) Hugh Smith. How to hope and let it blossom. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Pages 1-2. 2004.
By Nan Van Den Bergh, Ph.D.
- The theme, limit control or mastery over the environment, often begins with the child’s realization that he or she cannot control parental drinking, arguing. Illness or other major and repeated parental behaviors that are consistently detrimental to the child’s home life.
- The second theme of learned helplessness is passivity in the face of disturbing stimuli, while simultaneously worrying, being angry, frightened and thinking about them. At the same time the child feels powerless to do anything about the problem…
- Disturbed normal routines are the third theme of “learned helplessness.” Here the child has difficulty in knowing what is normal for what is expected will change depending on the cycle of the drinking or the abuse. This means it is difficult for the child to develop clear expectations and to have a sense of security at home, This fact of feeling secure translates over time to low self esteem and poor self concept.
- Avoidance of social support is the fourth theme of learned helplessness. The child becomes fearful of what he or she will find at home and gradually begins to disengage socially. The child begins to feel different and reach out to others less often, as he or she is not sure how to share with what is happening at home. Withdrawal also serves to protect the child from being seen by others as dysfunctional and helpless. And, you first learn by watching our parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles model appropriate behavior within our family. If one of more family members are codependent, meaning they adopt a powerless stance, in times of stress, then this pattern is internalized. We may acquire some of this information through screen memories that are acquired so early that do not have words attached to them. Such memories include being in a crib, throwing food or playing. There may also be sensations around us that we record as fear or pleasure. By learning to trust external cues only, the child learns dependency, as well as the belief that feeling good comes from sources external to the self. This explains why many children of alcoholics become dependent on others when in a relationship. It also explains why such children learn to eat, drink, take drugs, work, gamble or have sex compulsively.”
NOTE: Persons who claim that they have been depressed all their lives might want to reflect on the above material.
Does God forbid me to go out into the sunshine so as to overcome my addiction? He obviously doesn’t.
Does God advise me to go out into the sunshine to overcome my addiction? He does.
Does God MAKE me (= moves my two feet) go out into the sunshine so as to quit addiction? No, he doesn’t.
In other words, God asks me to do things. He will not raise a hand and physically punish me. I had to reach the age of 11 to come to terms with that.
God wants my good. He tells me how to reach goodness. He knows that throughout not abiding his advice and even his commands I will be unhappy. It is I who have the physical tools.
Even the 10 Commandments are nothing but words.
Viktor E. Frankl, in his esteemed book, Man’s Search for Meaning, shares with us how we cannot avoid suffering, but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward.
As I was faced with my own depression, I was able over time to restore sanity and meaning to my life. Eventually, I have learned how to help others who are depressed, cope and come out on the other side of a life lived without meaning. For me personally, I found that essentially, by sharing my own story with others, they found that there was hope. And as they shared their story, they found strength, telling others who they are and what brought them to the point of seeking help.
Having spent time in Nazi death camps, during World War II, Frankl shares his story about spiritual survival. Many of those who faced death in the camps gradually lost faith in a future. They felt that there was nothing to live for, believing they were destined for death anyway.
His book, and his story, inspires us to look at how meaning gave hope to his own life and now my own. The struggle with depression, coupled with that sense of helplessness and hopelessness, brought to life a great awakening when I discovered that there is hope. We can live without depression. Not only have I had a spiritual awakening, I now am able to lead others on a path where they too, can find what I found. I found a spiritual program of recovery, that actually came with tools that gave me answers to my life’s questions. Not only did I learn how to thrive in the present, but to continue thriving day after day.
I am now able to share with others, how the meaning for my life comes by helping others find meaning for theirs. When you thrive, We thrive.
So, become aware, get motivated, gear up for action, and maintain a gratitude for how your own meaning for life is sustaining your hope everyday.
I am writing this prayer I wrote some five years back now for deeper peace and acceptance, during this challenging time I’m experiencing. Sharing this Hope in case I too can 0ffer Strength for others.
Affectionately, Janet M.
Thank you dear Creator of love and joy in action for the fellowship of your presence. Move me, I pray, for the Stillness of this Love. Why I abide there always gathering in your Strength, Peace and Wellbeing as kindling to feel the fire of your Spirit within. As I walk this path today, should I become disturbed return my heart to you. Purify my motives and direct my attention back into Awareness and Unity with your Spirit, which is the hand of Peace. Help me to offer kindness for the many Seeds of Blessings which feed my growing into Trueness of Being. Help me to understand your Passion in laughter, tears, joy and pain, knowing all of your Provision and how Precious that gift is that lies within the Earth of us all. Thank you for my children, family and friends. Bless ua your light, nurturing our hearts and strengthen our vision and relationships. May a seeming separateness burn up into the flames of letting go of all illusions while Liberating the Soul and setting Freedoms flight to soar and all resistance fall away. Gather us together, this day in Body, Mind and Spirit manifesting your Love. Amen.
I have been known to drive with my brakes on at times. It sure slows things down. Anyway, here is a thought from Anthony De Mallo who shares some positive thoughts on how to navigate through the tough times in our lives.
When you get rid of your fear of failure, your tension about succeeding… you can be yourself. Relax. You’ll no longer be driving with your brakes on.
Anthony De Mallo
When we are depressed, we isolate, we abandon ourselves to what others think about us, who we should be, a life that is lived as someone that we are not. If you can’t be free of what others want you to be, you’ll spend time with the brakes on, afraid to make courageous choice to change!
Depressed Anonymous, is a 12 Step fellowship where we learn how to relax, see ourselves as we really are, restored, and ready for a new adventure, as we thrive and continually prize our newly restored self.
Hugh S., for the fellowship