HIGHER THOUGHTS FOR DOWN DAYS/ FOR SEPTEMBER 24TH.
I make a decision to turn my life and my will over to the care of God as I understand my God.
“Inside the safety of depression you can refuse to confront all the situations that you find difficult. You can avoid seeing people, going to places and most of all making decisions.”
It strikes people as a strange thing to say when I tell them I found my depression a comfort. I found it to be a comfort because I didn’t have to make any decisions about anything or anybody. I could just medicate myself with these thoughts of how bad I was and continue to ruminate until I felt completely numb and immobilized. Thanks to the program and its emphasis on personal honesty, the more I got the energy to take charge of my life and change what I knew had to be changed.
Today, I am not going to allow myself to get into addicting to negative and unpleasant thoughts about myself. I am going to risk being myself and step out of the prison of my depression into the fresh air of living with a certain amount of unpredictability and freshness.
Avoidance is a very big reality when you are depressing. I didn’t want to see, talk to or have anything to do with anyone else while I am depressed. As I learned through the Twelve Step program, I am going to have to force myself to get involved with other people if I want to have a chance of ever feeling better.
“Because of you, O my God, I wait; you O God, will answer.” The more we work our program, God is as near as we are near to God. The more we open up our consciousness to the God of our understanding, the more God draws us to himself. We believe that as we wait on the God of our understanding to speak to us, our God will speak to us in some fashion that we will recognize.. PERSONAL COMMENTS, PLEASE.
SOURCE: Higher thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Page 191.
Higher Thoughts for Down Days: September 23rd, 2014
“My God is a God of mercy not of vengeance and punishment.”
“Indeed, the greater the misery , the more I believed God was putting me on trial.”
One of the steps that I decided to take to get out of my prison of was to get myself involved in this Twelve Step spiritual program. It was hard at first to get involved with the program because I didn’t and wasn’t able to have immediate relief from my sadness. I wanted the program to work right now. I wanted someone to say hang on and in a day or two, it will start to work. Instead, I hear that the more meetings I attend, the more I listen and share at my meetings, the more my attitudes about God will start to change and I will understand how God is truly walking with me out of this prison of sadness, one day at a time.
I do believe that my depression was one of the greatest miseries that I have ever experienced in my life. I know that if I didn’t have a hope that it would be a temporary misery, I would have given up hope of ever feeling better. It is now my experience and my personal truth that I can feel better and that I am feeling better, thanks to the fact that I have admitted my powerlessness over depression. By doing just that, I have learned the rest of the ways I have to live and think to be free from the anguish. My greatest addiction was to the belief that I would never feel happy ever again.
“But I will always hope and praise you forever more and more.” Psalm 71:24
We know that the more our thoughts go to a larger field, namely the consciousness of God’s presence, the more we get beyond the narrow focus of our own little world of pain and isolation. By letting our minds be open to God’s energy and direction, we are open to a new life lived with hope and healing.”
It seems that this is what happens for whatever reason I don’t have a clue. But I do know that what you give out comes back to you. This leads me to our next statement on the 5TH PROMISE OF DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS.
PROMISE # 5 “No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we see how our experience can benefit others.” “Some of us have attempted suicide. A few of us more than a few times. We had despaired of ever finding peace or hope. We believed that we had no future and that our yesterdays were as hopeless as our today’s. It was hard to attend our first Depressed Anonymous meeting. We felt horribly alone. We just know that no one in the group has been through what we have been through. But as we listened and watched the older members of the group speak we saw ourselves in their stories.
Personally, I believe that whatever you give out to others is the amount that comes back to you. Our experience can usually help someone else. As the experience of depression is so isolating, so predictable in its misery that it is bound to have made an impression upon us that it changed our life and the way that we think about our life. And then when our life is changed for the better – thanks to the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous, this precious gift of hope needs to be with those still suffering. Ironically, it appears that the farther we have gone down in mood and up again in our recovery the more powerful can this experience be.”.
Please share your comments.
SOURCE: Copyright(c) I’ll do it when I feel better (2013) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY Page 39.
Many times in one’s life there is the impulse to make a first move …a move to help someone who cannot help themselves, a hunch that you are on the right path even though other tell you it will never work. In the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous Bill W., gives some examples: Orville Wright who made that first airplane flight at Kittyhawk in the US or Stanley who made the first river steamboat, the Stanley Steamer. You can add others.
I remember well the moment when I requested from the Dean of the Masters level Psychology Department that I might set up a pilot project for depressed persons using the 12 steps. Using the 12 Steps for other human addictions, to my knowledge, had not been adapted for persons depressed. This was in 1985. His response was that “if you couldn’t even get them out of bed in the morning–you surely wouldn’t be able to get them to a meeting with other persons depressed.” Then he added, “don’t be surprised if it doesn’t work, but go ahead and try it.” I tried it. I got referrals from Psychiatrists, psychologists, and assorted others and set up my group. After meeting twice a week for ten weeks, charting the pre-test for depression and post-test levels of depression I found that most participants had significant improvements over the time frame of ten weeks.
In May of that year we opened it up to the wider community and the rest is now history. Depressed Anonymous is now a global and growing reality, using the 12 Steps of Recovery. I could never have even dreamt of what has happened since that time with this hunch that people depressed could get well using the 12 Steps of recovery. And thanks to Bill W., and Dr. Bob. co-founders of the AA program of recovery we now have a healing approach for overcoming our own depression using the Steps that they developed. We no longer have to stay isolatd and alone!
WHO WILL MAKE THE FIRST MOVE?
“People are practical. They want change but feel powerless alone, do not want to be the blade of grass that sticks up above the others and is cut down. They wait for a sign from someone else who will make the first move or the second. And at certain times in history, there are intrepid people who take the risk that if they make that first move others will follow quickly enough to prevent their being cut down. And if we understand this we might make the first move.
“SOURCE: You can’t be neutral on a moving train. A personal history of our times. Howard Zinn, Beacon Press. Page 10.
“Both you and the new man must walk day by day in the path of spiritual progress. If you persist we believe remarkable things will happen. When we look back, we realize that the things which came to us when we put ourselves in God’s hands, were better than anything we could have planned. Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstance.” Bill W., co-founder of AA.
Sounds good to me! I remember how scared I was to turn over my will to God and let the God of my understanding direct my life. And because I thought my God was tyrannical and aloof that I in no way would let God run my life. Who knows, I thought to myself, he might want to put me in China to be one of his missionaries. It was not until I hit rock bottom and had no place to go but up–taking each of the 12 Steps, one at a time, did I gradually know and put faith in the belief that it was only through a belief in this Higher Power which would deliver me from disaster and possibly death. And it was through the mercy and compassion of the 12 Step fellowship that I found a God of my understanding who is merciful, loving and accepting of me just the way I am. And so it’s true, now my life is better than it has ever been, even though I still face difficulties. It is by letting go of my ego and pride that God can continue to work his miracles in my life. Thank God for this wonderful world and that I want to continue to walk hand in hand with the Spirit of he universe who always has our best interests at heart.
Motivation follows action.
As I continued to spiral down into that dark pit of the gloom of despair — an experience totally foreign to me- – I thought I was going crazy. My mind no longer able to hold on to a single thought. A memory that was unable to capture and retain material just read. It was as if I had to read a piece repeatedly in order for the mind to capture the essence of what was read. I began to fight myself in order just to get out of bed in the morning. Saddled with a growing physical fatigue it was a moment looked for just to come home after work and go to bed. And this was at five -thirty in the early evening.
If I was in the company of someone laughing, smiling or just plain happy I just wanted to go up to them and tell them “STOP! What right do you have to be so happy when I feel so miserable?” And with my steps taking me further down into the pit of sadness and isolation it was as if I was in a place where I could just let life pass me by.
But I couldn’t let life pass me by. I knew that I couldn’t just put a halt to living my life. I had to keep my job. I had to free myself from this prison of sadness. So, I had to try and shake this horrible jittery feeling making my insides feel like a basket filled with spiked bouncing balls. And little did I know what was happening to me. I had no label on which I could attach some meaning to my dreadful experience. I just knew something was out of kilter – big time.
I decided to get moving–just walk. Walk! And walk some more. I felt like Forrest Gump who walked long and hard. I walked my five miles every day. I walked in the morning forcing myself to get out of bed, even though the mental struggle to stay in the comfort of a soft bed beckoned me like the ‘sirens’ of the ancient world–beckoning those who followed their call–to perish.
When I began to take action and get the body moving it seemed that my mind followed right behind. Move the body and the mind will follow. The more I FORCED myself to walk–day after day-I found that my motivation improved and I felt more empowered to keep doing what I was doing, namely, walking. Now don’t get me wrong, just getting out of bed of a morning produced quite a struggle within myself. It was always the same thought that continued to bludgeon me every day: “Oh, I’ll just wait to walk when I feel better.” Folks, I never did feel better. Whatever you are feeling and when feeling depressed, get moving. Get into ACTION. The more you take some physical activity for yourself the more motivation you will accumulate to get yourself undepressed It worked for me. You do have the key to the prison of depression. Try it and see how it works for you.
4th PROMISE OF DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS
‘WE COMPREHEND THE WORD SERENITY AND WE KNOW PEACE OF MIND.”
“The quality or state of being serene all takes time, work and discipline. I believe that the big Book of AA says it best: When we sincerely took such a position, all sorts of remarkable things followed. We had a new employer; being all powerful he provided what we needed, if we kept close to him and performed his work well. Established on such a footing we became less and less interested in plans, our little designs and ourselves. More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life. As we felt new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of his presence, we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow or the hereafter. We’re reborn.”
SOURCE: I’ll do it when I feel better (2013) DAP. Louisville KY. Page 38.
3. We do not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. (Continued)
Many of us have lived with guilt, shame and regret for our past. Until we get down to business–that is, taken a moral inventory (Step Four) did we desire that the God of our understanding help us see what we needed to do to forgive ourselves and get on with our life.
As the Promises state in so simple a manner, this does not mean that “oh well, we made some mistakes so let’s forget about everything that happened in the past –after all it’s in the past.” And we can spend a lot of wasted time wallowing in the self-pity that occupies any addiction. We also might regret all the time that we wasted staring at the blank wall, alone and trying to figure out in the circling of our thoughts the whys of our immobility, passivity and pain.
It is in Steps Four and Five where our past regrets are played out and dealt with. Once we have made a list of all of our resentments and fears and spoke of them to a trusted friend (sponsor) we can begin to find a new freedom.”
Copyright(c) The Promises of Depressed Anonymous. (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Page 7
Believing is seeing!
1. “We accept and believe that however hopeless everything appears right now we will recover from our depression.”
“We know that this belief is one of the most important things that we can hang onto as we move through our experience of depression. I have spent almost three decades of working directly with the depressed in individual counseling. Also, by my active participation in the recovery program of Depressed Anonymous I know from personal experience that those persons who kept coming back to the group meetings week after week always got better. So often people depressed have given up hope of ever feeling different or that they even have the power to change the way they feel. They don’t believe that they have a choice as to whether to get well or to stay locked in the prison of depression. This is why this belief coupled with the first Step of Depressed Anonymous, a 12 Step mutual aid support group, has so much impact on one’s personal belief about recovery. The 1st Step of Depressed Anonymous states that “we admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable.”
First, we have to admit that our lives are out of control because no matter how hard we have tried we can’t shake the awfulness of the despairing and hollow feeling that has us feeling powerless and hopeless…”
More to come…stay tuned.
SOURCE: COPYRIGHT(C) Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression.(2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Page 1.
The 3rd Promise of Depressed Anonymous
WE DO NOT REGRET THE PAST NOR WISH TO SHUT THE DOOR ON IT
How do we know that this particular Promise will come true for us? The only thing that we can rely on is our own experiences. Our experience tells us that the more we live in the solution of the Promises of Depressed Anonymous the more serenity and peace is ours for the moment.
We have discovered that it is when we begin to live in the solution that our solution focused program leads us past the fear of what might happen to the serenity of the present moment. Our freedom begins when we start to reflect consciously on what is happening now at this very moment. I have noticed that it is when I become conscious on what is happening now at this very moment. I have noticed that it is when I became conscious about what I am feeling–the direct result of my thinking–it is at this moment that I make the conscious decision to bring myself back to the present.”
SOURCE: Copyright(c) The Promises (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY Page 8.