I INTEND TO LIVE IN TODAY!
“As an expert in guilt you cannot live in the present. You are constantly worrying about the past and fearing for the future. As an expert in guilt you cannot enjoy happiness when it comes, for you believe that as night follows day, suffering will follow joy. When good fortune does come your way, you know it will not stay, for you are the guilty ones and you will b punished.” (7)
I have believed for most of my life that since most things never worked out in my life, why should things work out now. I have always had the belief, mostly unconscious, that nothing ever works out for me and that this belief is reinforced by the way I habitually think about my life. I have lived my life so much in the past and in the future that I have forgotten about trying to live for today.
What I have learned is that most of the things that we fear never happen and if they did we would have the resources to deal with them in some effective manner. Steps Four and Five of the Twelve Step program insure that we find a way out of this depression by looking at the way we guilt ourselves and then make amends to those, as appropriate, who we need to make amends to.
God, we ask you to help us to make amends to ourselves as we go through this day. We want you to help us rid myself of the guilt, worry and fear that prevents us from living with any serenity or peace today. We pray that our lives will improve as we make attempts to change the way we feel and think.”
SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for 12 Step fellowship groups. DAP. Louisville, Ky Page 199.
This is a Promise that I can vouch for. When I first became a member of the AA fellowship, a 12 Step Program of recovery, that my entire life was turned upside down. I learned how AA is a spiritual program where I came to believe that a Power greater than myself could restore me to sanity. The first thing I did to bring sanity into my life was to go to as many meetings a week as I could, read every bit of literature as I could which pertained to using the 12 Steps to gain sobriety and sanity.
It was later in 1985 that I developed a program for depression using the same 12 Steps of recovery. I called our organization Depressed Anonymous and have been helping others like myself to know and believe that we are not alone. I talk, e-mail, write and now blog about my own experiences with depression with the view of helping others out of the prison of their depression.
As it says in I’LL DO IT WHEN I FEEL BETTER, “It is almost a truism to say about those of us who want this program, are not now focused on self but on the will of God for our lives. I personally believe that once I have made the first step, and admitted my powerlessness, I set in motion a force, a loving force of the creator in my personal life. In time I am filled with energy and find that this power can change me and restore my life with purpose and meaning. It can prepare me to meet those who are willing to risk leaving the prison of their depression. By my own interest in getting in touch with the Higher Power and getting its direction to “do the next right thing” I find that my own life is gradually becoming more filled with purpose and energy.
There is a saying that to gain energy you must give energy. I found this to be true for my own life.
The spiritual writer Joel Goldsmith stated that: “There is an invisible bond between all of us. We are not on earth to get from one another, but to share those spiritual treasures which are of God. Our interest in each other is, in truth, purely spiritual. Our purpose in life is the unfolding of the spirit within..”
FEELINGS ARE ENERGY IN MOTION
Many times just writing down what you are feeling will help you get rid of the pain of that particular feeling. Also, when you speak to someone about how you are experiencing an unpleasant feeling, then others can and will be with you through the pain. Many persons who are in recovery keep a feelings journal in which they list the various feelings that they experience from one time to another during their day. It’s wise to try and stay with these unpleasant feelings and sort out where they are coming from and how we caused them. Many times when we describe what we feel, we begin to release in ourselves the “stuckness” that keeps us in a mood of hopelessness.”
SOURCE: Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd ed. (2013) Depressed Anonymous Publications Louisville, Ky. Page 90.
Getting into action comprises one of the chapters of the Alcoholic Anonymous Big Book. It was last nite that a person in our weekly phone meeting told us a way that she was “getting into action.” She mentioned how saying STOP to herself when certain thoughts spiraled her down into deeper ruminations that this enabled her to change her thoughts into a physical hope filled action.
There is also another positive mantra that I personally like to use is MOTIVATION FOLLOWS ACTION! Get the body moving and the body will follow. And finally I know that to get out of the hole of my depression is in fact to stop digging. How often have I continued to depress myself with all these unpleasant ruminations.
THE PROMISES #6 The feelings of uselessness and self pity disappear.
In the Promises of Depressed Anonymous we see that “One of the major areas in our lives that change quickly by our attendance at the group meetings is that we pity ourselves less and less. We begin to be grateful for all that we have and all that we are. We begin to see that once we start getting connected to others like ourselves on a regular basis, through our Depressed Anonymous meetings, we now are listened to by others and we are validated. We don’t hear “snap out of it” at our meetings. Suddenly our years of self pity, isolation and desolation have been cashed in for a currency that buys us a new competency, a new identity, autonomy and a burgeoning interrelatedness with others. We know we are not alone.
We now can speak about our experience with depression in the past tense. We can now show how we have the tools of self-care whereby we can dig out and begin to construct an edifice of hope that will last the rest of our lives. As long as we continue to use the tools of the program we are bound to feel different as well as think differently.”
SOURCES: Depressed Anonymous (2011) 3rd edition; The Promises of Depressed Anonymous (2002); I’ll Do it when I feel better (.2013) Page 41.
DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PHONE MEETING EVERY MONDAY AT 8PM (EST) in USA
Use the following phone number to join our phone meeting–
the access number is 8060825#
Please come and join the discussion.
Dave is our moderator.
Higher Thoughts for down days for September 27.
I am not going to have any expectations about any person, place or situation.
” The great attraction of telling ourselves that we know how other people see things without making the effort to check whether we are right is that we can claim that other people will reject us, we do not have to make the effort to meet people and get to know them. If we tell ourselves that other people will find us boring , we do not have to make the effort to talk to people.” (3)
I am less prone to read people’s minds, but I am beginning to check other peoples feelings instead of trying to read their minds. I am finding that the more I am in tune and in touch with my own feelings, the more able I am to feel comfortable around other people. I am less concerned about their opinions of me as I am concerned about the feelings that I have about myself. I am no longer going to operate out of the belief that I am worthless or unacceptable. Gradually, the fellowship of the Twelve Step program has made me aware that I am acceptable, especially now that I am part of a group that talks of being wounded and in need of repair. I am no longer alone.
In the fellowship, we are all equal. When I first came into the program, I found it a safe haven and I felt strengthened by the support of the other members of the group. The people who are like me understand me. They never tell me to snap out of something that has been going on in me for many years.
The words that give us the most hope, are the words that by experiencing a spiritual awakening, we can find the serenity and life that we have been wanting to find all these years.
SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for Down Days:365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 Step fellowship groups.. Page 193-194.
I know that nothing is so hard for me that I cannot endure it.
“Depression is an attempt to shore up the splintering, brittle timbers, an attempt to catch on to something solid as you fall into the abyss.
Once you have shored up some brittle structure or have placed your feet on a fragment of rock, you dare not move lest what little safety you have crumble.” (3)
I was afraid to change anything in my life because I thought that this feeling of fear that I have most of the time would devour me and I would lose my mind. I am always terrified that I will lose my mind. I will not lose my mind and go crazy when I am feeling all alone. My safety lies in the fact that I no longer want to sad myself. I want to get better, and I do this best when I let go of my fear of change, or my anger, and start to look at myself. By facing my fears, I can be free and happy. I do feel that I am feeling a new hope grow inside of me as I gain more courage in facing my sadness.
So often my mind came up with all sorts of terrible images. There is the image of the swamp, and I am walking knee deep in it. There is the image of the prison and I am sitting in isolation and complete darkness. There is the image of being surrounded by glass walls. I see everything around me, but no one ever sees or hears me and I do not hear them. This is and has been the abyss of my depression.
We are trying to live just for today. We want to live only in these 24 hours today.
SOURCE; Higher Thoughts for down days. Page 192. September 26.
“…things do not disappear just because we ignore them ( depression symptoms), and everything else remains the same. Everything is changing all the time, and we are always part of that change.”
“Decision making is a very difficult thing for me when I am depressed. I have learned that I have to make a decision if I want to begin to make a decision if I want to begin to feel better. First of all, I have to have the faith that I will feel better. I have had some good days in the past and this is in itself, a hope to me, that I can have some good days now, today. If good days came to me in the past, they surely can come to me again today.”
SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for Down Days. Page 192 (September 25).