“When the pain gets bad enough, you will seek the cure.”

“…Recovery is a gradual and pains taking process for both the person addicted to alcohol (depressive feelings)  and the person addicted to the addict…I had journeyed to counselor after counselor and program after  program seeking to get my husband well. But as the saying goes, “when the pain gets bad enough, you will  seek the cure.”  Recovery, however is looking for more than relief from the pain. In my case the cure involved a counselor, Al-Anon meetings, Al-Anon Adult children meetings, daily readings, meditations and new supportive friends. It also involved a constant struggle to be honest with myself, and to stop denying the feelings I had refused to recognize for  so long.  Recovery for me is a miracle. I still remember the craziness, but today my life no longer resembles a jigsaw puzzle of a thousand pieces that someone has dropped on the floor…Painful though recovery may be, it is well worth the effort and is definitely not as painful as no recovery at all.” The Forum, May 1991, Vol.39.No.5. p.11.

Comment: I know that recovery does take time and it does take work. Could this possibly be the worst thing a depressed person hears who wants to leave the prison of depression. Time and work? They tell us that they  can’t even get out of bed in the morning. They  have no desire to do anything, nothing, zilch!   I know what that  is all about. When I was depressed I too felt the pain of living  like a zombie. No energy. No motivation. Stuck in my own juices of nothingness. But like the person said,  quoted above, I knew that I had to do something because the pain became unbearable. That is when the  12 Steps of recovery pushed me toward a cure. They provided me   a way out of my own homemade emotional prison. I had to quit denying my painful feelings and get started  to work on myself. It was here at the Depressed Anonymous meeting that I was given my “toolkit” of recovery. There was no rush to get cured. There was only the desire to find a way to relieve myself from the pain of isolation and the lack of motivation to do anything for myself. My first job was to quit saddening myself.  With my “toolkit” and the 12 Steps I gradually, and with time, dismantled all that was keeping me prisoner.  I found the key that unlocked my prison door.

My life today is good. My feelings are no longer painful and crippling. The Depressed Anonymous Promises are true.  ” …a power greater than myself restored me to sanity.”

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

Please  VISIT  the STORE for literature resources. also, PRINT OUT MENU items from website for more detailed information about who we are and what we offer.

Admit, believe, decide.

These three words appear in the first three Steps of Depressed Anonymous.  These are the words that make us well. These are the words that start us on our journey to a life lived without fear. These are the words that will thrust us into a life filled with hope and meaningfulness. Of the 12 Steps of recovery, these are the first steps that one takes when they want to find peace and hope.

I remember so vividly when I took my first step over the threshold of despair  and isolation into the bright light of awareness and hope at my first 12 step group meeting. Just by walking through the door I admitted that I needed help. My life had spiraled out of control. It was on that day, at that meeting of the fellowship, that others heard my story, that I started to believe that  I could be restored to a purposeful life lived with hope and peace. It was on that day, at that meeting, that I made a decision to turn my life and my will over to the care of God as I understood God.

And here I am  today, 33 years later, not only with a life filled with a purpose designed to help others depressed but by doing so, have kept myself free from isolation and self-pity.

__________________________________________________________________

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

The solution-focused journey out of depression.

Solution-focused is not only a description of a particular type of therapy but is likewise an apt description of the work that is done when one becomes  a member of the Depressed Anonymous fellowship. The Twelve Steps of Depressed Anonymous present to those still “suffering from depression” positive solutions for the overcoming of their own feelings of worthlessness and despair.

By using the Steps you can begin to take the journey that will change your life, your feelings  and your relationship with the world inside yourself as well as the world in which you live.

Step Twelve  tells us that  “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.”

And, that is why we do what we do. Now that we have admitted we had a problem, turned our life over to something bigger than ourselves,  cleared away the rubbish of lives that kept  us imprisoned  (fears, guilt, isolation), we gained a freedom to live everyday in the solution of hope and serenity.

Try the solution! See if our program will work for you. It’s already restored thousands of lives and families.

__________________________________________________________________________________

VISIT the STORE and check out the HOME STUDY PROGRAM, and order it today.    The solution-focused program consists of The DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK,(2001), and  DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS, 3rd edition. (2011).Both books  and all our literature is written by those of us who have been depressed and who  now live a daily life of hope.

All we have to lose is our misery!

“Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” Step 5 of Depressed Anonymous

“I haven’t done anything wrong, so why do I have to admit anything? And anyway, what does this have to do with my depression?”

In the Depressed Anonymous Workbook these questions there are provided answers for those who are struggling to free themselves from depression. In fact, the more we work through each of the questions posed in the Workbook, we can also go to the Depressed Anonymous Manual, 3rd edition., and find six pages  (pgs. 59-64) of thoughts from members of the fellowship on Step 5.  We discover that the Depressed Anonymous Manual is written by people like you and me. We have been where you are and we came to believe after admitting that we were powerless over our depression and that life was unmanageable we had to make a decision.

In Step 3 we made a decision –that is what life is all about –namely, making decisions. Our decisions are the product of the meaning that we give to those persons, events and circumstances that fill our lives every day.  We make the decisions based on those meanings that we give to those situations and experiences. We are making a decision to day to share part of our dark side with another human being.

In Alcoholics Anonymous it describes the way to make a good 5th Step:

” We pocket our pride and go to it, illuminating every twist of character, every dark cranny of the past. Once we have taken this Step, withholding nothing, we are delighted. We can look the world in the eye.  We can be alone at perfect peace and ease.  Our fear fall from us. We begin to feel the nearness of our creator. We may have had certain beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience…”

Telling someone else seems to be the key to our freedom: When we decided who is to hear our story, we waste no time. We have a written inventory and we are prepared for a long talk. We explain to our partner what we are about and why we have to do it.” (This is why it is so important to write down in a  separate notebook the answers to all the questions in the Workbook which now bring us to the point of sharing our answers with a person we can trust, such as a clergy person or our sponsor. ED).

Steps 1 and 5 are the two Steps where the word “admitted” is used.  When we hear the word “wrongs” such as in this Step 5 – we may induce in ourselves a feeling of guilt. This is NOT the intention of Step 5 at all.

To be depressed is not to be wrong. We are not accusing ourselves of being bad. We are only pointing out the ways that I need to act, think and behave as a non-depressed person.”

SOURCES:  The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2001) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 49-50.

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 59-64.

” We are what we repeatedly do. ” Aristotle

“It is our own real, lived experience which leads us into the prison of depression. It is not a gene, or own hormones, or our dysfunctional and illogical thinking, our lack of faith, or our complexes and inadequacies which have brought depression  upon us, it is what happened to us  and, most importantly, what we have made of what has happened to us: it is the conclusions  we draw from our experiences.

That sort  of conclusions which lead us, finally, into the prison of depression was not drawn illogically or fantastically, or crazily, but were the correct conclusions to draw,  given the information we had at the time.

If, when you were a child, all the adults whom you loved and trusted were telling you that you were bad and that if you  didn’t mend your ways terrible things would happen to you, you wisely and correctly drew the conclusions that you were bad and had to work hard to be good. If, when you were a child, all the people you loved and trusted left you or disappointed or betrayed you, you wisely drew the conclusion that you must be wary of other people and that you should never love anyone completely ever again.  You were not to know that if we grow up believing  that we are intrinsically bad, and that other people are dangerous, we shall become increasingly isolated, the joy will disappear  from our life, and that we shall fall into despair….” SOURCE: Dorothy Rowe. The Depression Handbook. Collins. London.

————————–

I believe that in my own case what Dr. Rowe points out is so true. Our childhood experiences are so important because they set us up for how we think about ourselves as we mature. I remember vividly when I was in the 3rd grade, a teacher shamed me in  front of the whole class because I couldn’t get something right. She told me that I  would never  be like my brother whom was brilliant or my uncle who was also brilliant. For many years after when I thought about that moment in the 3rd grade I could still feel my face getting hot with shame. The worst part is that what she said that day I believed. As I grew into middle age it became important to me that what she said had no bearing on me really, as I was not my brother or my uncle. And that that was OK.

Depression is the ultimate state of disconnection.

“…Depression is the ultimate state of disconnection, not only between people, and between mind and heart, but between one’s self image and public mask, writes Parker J. Palmer in  Let you life speak.

“Then”, he continues, “there were the visitors who began by saying “I know exactly how you feel…”  Whatever comfort or counsel these people may have intended to speak, I heard nothing beyond their opening words, because I know they were peddling a falsehood: no one can fully experience another personal mystery.  Paradoxically, it was my friends emphatic attempt to identify with me that made me feel even more isolated, because it was  over identification.  Disconnection may be hell, but it is better than false connections.

Having not only been “comforted” by friends but having tried to comfort others in the same way, I think I understand what the syndrome is about: avoidance and denial.  One of the hardest things we must do sometimes is to be present to another’s pain without trying to fix it, to simply stand respectfully at the ends of  the person’s mystery.  Standing there, we feel useless and powerless, which  is exactly how a depressed person feels – and our unconscious need as Job comforters is to reassure ourselves that we are not like the sad soul before us.”——————————————————-

Comment.  It is extremely important for others to understand that not only is the person depressed feeling useless and powerless, so to is the person who is in the company of the person depressed. It is not hard to understand that this is exactly what happens with all of us when we cannot “‘fix” someone who we know needs help.  Our statements of the false disconnection type, do not build bridges between peoples, but widens the gap between them and us. I know and believe that it is the person who is present to us, as Parker points out, that is standing by, on the outskirts of an understanding  of our pain, and who  continues  to be there without a ” toolkit” to “fix” us.

The Vital Spiritual Experience

The Twelve Steps are the essential beliefs and at the very core of Depressed Anonymous. The Depressed Anonymous recovery program, modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous which originally developed to help men and women to deal with their addiction to alcohol, one day at a time.  The Twelve Steps have been found to be a potent means of recovery for those who desire to free themselves from their compulsions. The Twelve Steps are basically a program of letting go of our compulsions and handing our will to the  care of God, as we understand God.  Essentially our program is a step-by-step way to change not only our addiction but also our way of lifeChange happens when we choose to change.  The fellowship of the group and our desiring to make change in our life is what provides our life-giving spiritual experience. Many people get organized religion and spirituality mixed up and Depressed Anonymous achieves strength from a spirituality without set creed, dogma or doctrine.  All the program asks of a person who come to the meetings is only to have a sincere desire to stop the compulsion of sadding themselves… “Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.(2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 94.

REVISED POST

A POWER GREATER THAN OURSELVES: OUR GO TO PERSON.

A POWER GREATER THAN OURSELVES: OUR GO TO PERSON

The more time that I spend in daily prayer and meditation the closer I feel to this Power greater than myself. Now, let’s be honest, it isn’t everyday that I feel this or think this way, but for most days I feel energized by my time in quiet listening. It was when I first joined a Twelve Step recovery program that I I knew that I was truly home. I had always been looking for a home where I could feel acceptance, nurturing and fellowship. It was at my first meeting, 32 years ago, that in all my brokenness, guilt and shame, that I felt I had made it home. It was here that I could reveal who I was, who I thought I was and get a plan for my life, just one 24 hour period at a time. My own feelings of being totally accepted in this new fellowship created in me the belief, without  doubt, that  sanity would be restored to me. How did I know this? What made me a believer? Simply the fact that the members of the group had pretty much the same story as my own. But for all of this, what stood out was the basic belief among all of the members, that there is a Power, and it is greater than me. And that this Power, whom we understand as God, is my GO TO person every day of my life. And the two things this group taught me early on,  is that THERE IS A GOD, AND IT IS NOT ME!

If today you are feeling alone, lost and frightened, please join me here everyday, as I speak about spirituality and the Power greater than myself,  and what it has to do with my recovery, and how it impacts  on our search for  that serenity that we are all seeking. Remember what you seek, seeks you!