I believe that my life is going to get better! Hope is a hard habit to break!

 

How often have I heard these powerful words at one of our group Depressed Anonymous meetings. In fact, it is  oftener  than one would think, seeing where most of the group members have been before opening the door  into our fellowship.

Not only have we heard powerful stories of recovery but we also witness them with  own eyes. By coming to meetings week after week, we  begin to see the truth of the Promises as laid out for each of us who take that first step into recovery.  In Higher Thoughts for Down Days I read that I am going to be secure in my belief that my life is going to get better.

Today is the day. Doing your best, living each day to the fullest is the art of living. Yesterday is gone forever, and we don’t know whether we will be here tomorrow. If we do a good job of living today, and if tomorrow does comes for us, then the chances are we will do a good job when it arrives – so why worry about it?

This makes sense to me. What about you?  I know that the more I share myself with others, be that with my DA sponsor or with other members of our fellowship, that my life is beginning to change for the better. Also, the more I share with others the more spontaneous I become, and there are now some bright periods  of my life beginning to appear in my life.

I believe that by living in the present reduces my trust in the past fears of yesterday or the anxious moments I thought I needed for tomorrow.

Knowing that others, who are just like me, can make it through   the day with a greater amount of serenity and peace  as they try to live in today-just for the next 24 hours.

We all believe that the more we turn our minds and wills toward God, the more God will turn his love and will for us in unmistaken ways  and with our belief that God is truly with us.

AS Brad Cohen tells us in that great Hallmark Movie, FRONT OF THE CLASS, “Hope is hard to break.”

Hopeful people gather together on  every continent on this planet. Their hope stems from a strong belief  that with God’s help and support from their fellow members of DA (Or any other 12 Step mutual aid group) they become energized by people feeling better and coming more energized about trying to live their life with purpose and meaning.

Every Depressed Anonymous meeting starts with a statement on How Depressed Anonymous Works:

” You are about to witness the miracle of the group. You are joining a group of people who are on a journey of hope and who mutually care for each other. You will hear how hope, light and energy have been regained by those who were hopeless and in a black hole and tired of living. ”

In the Big Book of Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition,  you can read story after story of those persons who have  escaped from the prison of their isolation. These stories tell each of us that there is hope and you can have it too. If it has taken  you a lifetime to find a healing way out of your depression, you then can   appreciate those others who have made it-all now living with hope and trust.

SOURCES

(C) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011). Depressed Anonymous Publications.Louisville. Ky. (Personal stories section).

(C)I’ll do it when I feel better. (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky.

(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowship groups. (1998) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

 

“If you want to eat an elephant, the best way to do it is one bite at a time.”

 

The following quotation is taken from our “Big Book” Depressed Anonymous (3rd edition) as it appears on page 95.

“All of us who are substance addicted (compulsivre overeating, alcohol, cocaine, pre- scription medication) or process addicted–addicted to a behavior ( the workaholic, sex, gambling, depression) know that in order to free ourselves from the intoxicating experience, we have to first want to give it up and live without it.  We best do this   one day or one hour at a time. Don’t say you will quit a self-destructive behavior for one year at a time and see how you do. No, trying to live one day at a time is a lot easier.  As someone once said “if you want to eat an elephant, the best way to do it is one day at a time.” We know from past experience that our  sobriety, our disappearance of sadness is due to letting go and admitting my powerlessness over my sadness. It  is turning it over to my Higher Power and letting it take care of my sadness. I can’t do anything to remove my compulsive behavior until I choose to live without it.”

***

If you happen to be part of our HOME STUDY PROGRAM OF RECOVERY, you will want to turn to page 80 of the Depressed Anonymous Workbook. Both the Manual and the Workbook come together as important tools in overcoming our attachment to the ruminations and isolation that depression brings upon us.

“All of our efforts so far in this Workbook have been directed toward overcoming  –cleaning house if you will —so that our will might be properly disposed to God’s will and that we might feel free and no longer hopeless. We know that our enthusiasm to change will grow the more we desire that change. The more we change the more  we will cast off the shackles from our lives that keep us imprisoned and isolated.”

COMMENT  Like the quote of how to eat an elephant, we also are most aware that you can’t just wish to get rid  of an obsession or addiction, it takes time and work–one day at a time. There is no easy or comfortable way to battle our demons except through work, prayer and meditation. And for me, one of the best ways to overcome my addictions is to use the 12 spiritual principles of the 12 Steps every day of my life. And again, it’s one bite, one step at a time.  Don’t wait. Do something today. Don’t tell yourself the lie, “I’ll do it when I feel better.” Take the plunge.  If there is no meeting in your  community then work with a DA sponsor/guide and participate in our HOME STUDY PROGRAM OF RECOVERY. Go to the main site depressedanon.com  menu under the title HOME STUDY PROGRAM. The program is operating presently.

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SOURCES:   The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, (2002) Depressed Anonymous          Publications. Louisville. Page 80.

                             Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 95.

Please click onto The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore for more helpful literature on THE HOME STUDY PROGRAM OF RECOVERY  and information on how to order online.

If you would like to participate in the Home Study, please contact the director at Depanon@netpenny.net. Thank you.

 

6 ways to help you through depression.

1) 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 re-live the painful experience several times, to have a good cry, and talk things through. This is part of the mind’s natural healing mechanism.

2)  Do something: get out of doors for some exercise, if even for only a long walk. This will enable 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.

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

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

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

6) 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 the  wisdom to make important decisions and changes in your life which you were unable to do before.”

Source:  Depression: P.9. Pamphlet published as a service to the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

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I find these 6 ways as very helpful for anyone making a choice to change their behavior, the way they  feel and the way they think. With a fellowship of like minded persons, such as Depressed Anonymous,  there is a greater capacity to make better choices as well as to learn ways to gradually move out of the bondage of depression.

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

  The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2001) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

You can change the way you feel. You are not a victim.

” Who better knows the pain and the isolation of depression  than the person who has been depressed? It is my personal conviction, both as a psychotherapist and as a person who has experienced depression that it was only when I admitted that I was depressed that I could start working my way out of this terrible and immobilizing experience. In my own experience, I thought  I was losing my mind, as I couldn’t cram another thought into my head and couldn’t remember a thing that I had just read or thought a minute before,.  I was tired all the time and would wake up early in the morning and couldn’t get back to sleep. But that’s the best news most people hear when they come to Depressed Anonymous meeting for the first time, namely, that they are not losing their minds. When you’re depressed, you feel your mind is made out of cotton and all life seems grey, cold and lifeless.

The important thing to remember about depression is that you are not a victim. You have bought into the belief that you can’t change how you feel.  You need to believe that once you change the way you think then that in itself can begin to produce a change in the way you feel.”

In Depressed Anonymous,(2011), the  guiding light of the  fellowship of Depressed Anonymous, a 12 Step program of recovery we read that we are not victims of depression.  In fact our basic guides out of the pit of depression are the Twelve Steps. What you have just read in the paragraphs preceding are some basic thoughts  that can help take down the walls that have built your prison of depression. Step One is where we all begin our life giving journey of hope. Step One states quite simply that “We admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our live had become unmanageable.”   By following this program of recovery, step by step, you will soon discover that you not only can be part  of a life giving fellowship but now you possess the tools to live a life free of depression.

SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.  Step One- Page 29.

RAY’S TESTIMONY ABOUT THE POWER OF DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS

” What is the power of Depressed Anonymous?  Well,  first let me say that when I started attending Depressed Anonymous meetings, I went for a couple of months and then stopped.  I stopped going because my depression was so bad that I didn’t want to leave my apartment. I didn’t want to be around or talk to anyone. I just didn’t want to do anything except to crawl in a hole somewhere and isolate myself from everything. Then after about six weeks of isolation, I called the residential treatment facility where I had been a client to see if I had received any mail there and one of the members of the Depressed Anonymous  group where I attend answered the phone. I spent a few minutes talking to her and there was something in her voice that told me that for some reason, it was important for me to be at the meeting. I attended the next Depressed Anonymous meeting. After the meeting was over, I suddenly realized the importance and power of Depressed Anonymous.”

SOURCE:Ray, in his personal testimony on pages 133-134 in  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

I WAS ALWAYS THE ONE WHO HELPED OTHERS. NOW I WAS TOLD I NEEDED HELP!

“My life is joyful. The blackness –  the despair – withdrawing more and more into myself – the hopelessness – there was NO joy and I could no longer pretend. My husband said, “You need to get some help.”  I knew that he was right but I was always the one who helped others.  Our newspaper carried a listing of all the support groups in the community and I found the notice for a 12 Step Depressed Anonymous group.  I had never heard of it before but I knew it fit.  The group was just forming and was there when I needed it. I had knowledge of 12 Step programs and actually believed that I lived that life. Today I know that I had a head-knowledge but today I live the 12 – Step life…”   Lois, in her Personal Story in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.  (2011) Pages 110-111. (More from Lois tomorrow)

I AM NO LONGER ASHAMED TO TALK ABOUT MY BEING DEPRESSED…

AFFIRMATION

I am no longer ashamed to talk about my being depressed; when I talk with other depressed persons I feel better.

” I used to be ashamed of my condition and didn’t talk about it. But nowadays I freely confess I am a depressive , and this has attracted other depressed people to me. Working with them has helped a great deal.”

(2) Bill W.,  Co-founder of AA.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I  know that the more I read the literature about the Twelve Steps and daily work my program, the more I am able to help myself grow out of this depression as Bill W.,  did shortly after he wrote the above piece.  So often alcoholism covers up depression so that the original cause of  the depression needs to be looked at.

MEDITATION

God, please help us through this day and help us work through these memories of shame that keep us depressed.  Let us truly believe that we can be free of our shame and live as a free person today.

COPYRIGHT(C) Higher Thoughts for Down days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for Twelve Step fellowship groups. (1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.  Higher thought for  June 24. Pages 126-127.

NOTE:   Because I had experienced depression myself,  this added a  healing assistance  to my encounters with clients who were depressed.  We could speak and understand each other.

ARE YOU READY?

That’s right, I am ready for a life turn-around.. I am not a victim.  The First step of Depressed Anonymous says “We admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable. ”  We know and believe how we are no longer victims. Instead, we are learning how to be survivors, and much more. We refuse to be victims.”

Now that I have admitted that I am powerless over my depression and that I don’t do myself any good blaming myself with those daily reminders of how bad and unacceptable I am. I now am conscious of a new path out of my misery.”  BELIEVING IS SEEING: 15 WAYS TO LEAVE THE PRISON OF DEPRESSION.  Smith, Hugh (  2014) DAP, Louisville, Ky  40217 (p.54).

One of the best parts of being a member of Depressed Anonymous (Online or f2f group) is that we don’t have to be alone if we don’t want to be. That might sound strange to some of us but we have to admit that what keeps us depressed is our need to keep apart from others…to remain disconnected and isolated.  We have a need to be by ourselves and to stay apart from human contact.  For to be in contact with others means that we will have to take some risks and to make some  choices. But when I am depressed and alone I don’t have to make many choices or take any action except to keep isolating myself and staying apart.” THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK. DAP. Louisville, KY  40217. (p.4)

Until I could put a label on the feelings of pain, shame and need to be isolated from others — all I could do was to think how hollow and empty I continued to feel. And, the feelings grew stronger day by day…”  I had to make a decision. I had to do something. I believe that this is where many of us begin our journey out of depression. We know we have to do something. We will not just lie down and die. We will not be a victim.

As it states in our Big Book, DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS, (3rd edition ) 2011. (p31).

” But don’t get me wrong – I do not  believe that you can snap out of your depression or suddenly and dramatically get your life turned around by going to one Depressed Anonymous meeting or reading the Twelve Steps five times an hour. We know it just doesn’t happen that way, especially if you have lived with your depression any length of time…”

So, here we are. Decision time. What to do and where to go to find help. For myself and others, I have found it in a program of recovery that works (HOME STUDY PROGRAM AND/OR DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS MEETINGS)). It works for me. It has provided me with a “tool box ” of  ways where I gradually can loosen up the tight and deadly grip of depression on  my life and begin to live with the belief that I am going to get  better and feel differently. ARE YOU READY?

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!

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THE 12 STEP DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PROGRAM OF RECOVERY?

Depressed Anonymous  

1) Educates and informs us about our experience of depression. 2) Nurtures us so that we can begin to share and to trust our unpleasant feelings with others.  3) Accepts us and does not make   judgements  about  our experiences with depression. In other words, we don’t hear “snap out of it” in the group. 4) Teaches coping skills by our frequent meetings and group  membership interaction.  It provides us with a  “toolbox” of new skills we can utilize in our overcoming of sadness. 5) Empowers us to believe that there is truly a way out of our depression. One of the major benefits of our group is you can hear how other persons depressed have made it out of depression. (Read the Personal Stories in Depressed Anonymous).   It is clear that the program works best for those who keep coming back to meetings.

There are multiple benefits that come to those of us  who  are committed to being  active participants in our fellowship of Depressed Anonymous. I should know, I am one of the active participants.