Category Archives: Acceptance

SAVOR LIFE

“If I had my life to live over I would like to make more mistakes next time. I’d relax. I would limber up. I would be sillier than I have been on this trip. I would take fewer things seriously. I would take more chances. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers. I would eat more ice cream and fewer beans. I would perhaps have more actual troubles, but I’d have fewer imaginary ones.

“You see, I’m one of these people who live sensibly and sanely, hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I’ve had my moments, and if I had it all to do again, I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after another instead of living so many years ahead of each day. I’ve been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle and a parachute. If I had it to do again, I would travel lighter than I have.

“If I had my life to live again, I would start barefoot earlier in the Spring and stay that way later in the Fall. I would go to more dances. I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I would pick more daisies.”

By Nadine Strain
[Nadine wrote this at age 85. She died in a Louisville, Kentucky Nursing home at age 88.]

Copyright(c) The Antidepressant Tablet. Volume 1 Number 3 SPRING 1993, Page 1.

Stick to the plan. A prescription for change today.

It took me awhile to put into practice a simple idea. That idea is to do the same thing, day after day, in the same place and at the same time. If you have trouble following through on ideas or commitments, then you might feel better about reading the next few paragraphs.

With different situations in my life, some upheavals, some turning points, changes in my life goals, plus trying to do to much at the same time. It was somehow never easy to do what I knew needed to be dome. I used as my mantra “I’ll do it when I feel better.” In fact, this idea seemed to express perfectly, what I was doing, so I titled one of my books after it. Gradually, procrastination, I sensed, would not fit into my recovery program. I had put off for too long to knuckle down and start to do the work that I needed to do.

Here is my plan. I know it can work for you as well. There is no particular time limit on how long your prayer time is to be.

1. Everyday, I have found that morning works for me, I go to the quiet place that is best for my time alone with God, and start with a daily reading of Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for 12 Step Fellowships. This reading begins with an Affirmation, then a reflection, and a final meditation. I have my notebook handy and I write down a positive thought that I want to carry me through my day. Most of the time this is a simple single sentence.

2. I then read and reflect on a paragraph or two from our Depressed Anonymous manual.This is coupled with the accompanying Depressed Anonymous Workbook, where personal reflections, in the form of questions, help me clarify how I think about myself. These questions continue to uncover issues which I might have never encountered, becoming the positive basic building blocks, helping with an understanding of the nature of my own depression experience, and developing in myself strategies, the 12 spiritual principles of growth, for my personal recovery, day-by-day.

It’s not complicated. It’s a plan. This time of prayer and meditation is a powerful way to make “conscious contact” with the God of your understanding. (Check out Chapter 10 in “I’ll do it when I feel better.” This chapter discusses more fully the topic of prayer and meditation.

Resources

(c)Hugh Smith. Higher Thoughts for Down Days:365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky.
(c) Depressed Anonymous, THIRD EDITION (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY
(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications.Louisville, Ky.
(C)Hugh Smith. I’ll do it when I feel better. (2020) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky.

+ These works can by ordered online at www.Depressedanon.com. Click onto The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore.

Making “resolutions” on New Year’s Day hasn’t worked for me

My New Year’s resolutions usually self-destruct, sometimes quickly (same day) and most times, a little bit later. What’s the point? Why make them? It sounds good when I hear myself tell others how I am going to do this or I am going to do the other to change my life. Now, today, I tell myself, that this year it’s going to be different. I know that the one major change in my life was a decision I made more than three decades ago…to no longer sad myself. That is the one “resolution”, if you will, that I have kept over the years and has worked for me. It continues to work for me.

I don’t make big “announcements” that I am going to do this or that. What I do now is to keep making decisions that I know with time and God’s help I can change my life, my thinking and my moods.

Recovery’s North Star is honesty – honesty with self and honesty with others. With this in mind, I place the resolution business aside. I know the New Year is about a new start, for some, a new beginning, filled with hope, promises and experiences. Whatever works for others is fine – it just doesn’t work for me.

My life has been geared toward living one day at a time. Keeping it simple, and putting the 12 principles of recovery into practice in my everyday life. My life is as Bill W., points out in Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions,

…service gladly rendered, obligations squarely met, troubles well accepted or solved with God’s help, the knowledge that at home or in the world outside we are partners in a common effort, the well understood fact that in God’s sight all human beings are important, the proof that love freely given surely brings a full return, the certainty that we are no longer isolated and alone in a self constructed prison, the surety that we no longer be square pegs in round holes but can fit and belong to God’s scheme of things – these are the permanent and legitimate satisfactions of living, for which no amount of pomp and circumstance, no heap of material possessions could possibly be substitutes.
True ambition is not what we thought what it was. True ambition is the deep desire to live usefully and walk with humility under the grace of God.

RESOURCES

Copyright © Hugh Smith. I’ll do it when I feel better. (2020) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. p.95.

Copyright © Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. (1952, 1953, 1981) The A.A., Grapevine,Inc and Alcoholics Anonymous.

The ways we can make a “conscious contact” with our God.

For many of us, this might be the first time that we have run into information on how to make a “conscious contact” with God. In our program of Depressed Anonymous this is what we actually accomplish as we work through the 12 spiritual principles of recovery.

In Step 11 of our mutual aid group, our recovery program, Depressed Anonymous, has a clear and succinct method for making this a strong possibility for those of us who are willing to follow God’s path to freedom.

In Step 11 we learn how to get in touch with the God of our understanding.

“Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry it out.”

The major words that stand out in this Step are prayer, meditation, doing God’s will for us and the and the power to carry it out.

On pages 95-96, Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition we read

“That when we are especially depressed, it is hard to keep our mind on things such as prayer, but with continued effort and practice, we can come to believe that whatever we are doing just might be better than sitting in our pool of self-pity. If we haven’t ever been big on ‘organized religion’ we have a good chance that this new approach in being with God is much less judgemental, and that this God of the Twelve Steps is much more accepting than other concepts of God that we might once have held. Sometimes we have found that our religious background has filled us with a large amount of crippling guilt, shame and hopelessness rather than the complete acceptance that we will receive from the Higher Power.”

By now, here at Step 11 we have made some great strides in not only understanding the nature of our depression, but also to spend some time on what brought us to this point in the first place.

Our journey of hope begins with Step 1, where we admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable. This admission is what brought me into our fellowship, Depressed Anonymous. It is here that my life began to change for the better. I became part of a fellowship where I learned that it was my belief that this Higher Power, who greater than myself, could finally restore me to sanity.

Throughout the process of living with the 12 spiritual principles in my own life and becoming part of the life of all those who are the DA fellowship, I gradually learned the more I placed my trust in my Higher Power,and kept in contact with his will, my life, thinking, feelings and behaviors changed dramatically for the better. The closer I stayed in contact with God, took part in my fellowship meetings, talked with my sponsor on a regular basis the more serenity became big part of my life.

THE YEAR 2022
How to continue CONSCIOUS CONTACT with God and making your life a daily retreat.

In 2022 my daily life will start with prayer and meditation each morning. I will sit quietly, get my mind quiet, start at the same time and be in the same location every day. This regular schedule helps us stay focused on our time with God.
The following is my plan and I hope it might be yours as well. You can use those prayers and meditations that best suit you.

1. I will read my HIGHER THOUGHTS FOR DOWN DAYS: 365 DAILY THOUGHTS AND MEDITATIONS FOR 12 STEP FELLOWSHIP GROUPS.
2. i will focus on a paragraph or two from reading our DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS MANUAL,THIRD EDITION.
3.Answer a few questions FROM THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK

Following the daily retreat I will make an entry into my Journal about any inspiring thought that I can carry with me throughout my day.
Hugh, for the fellowship

ALL DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS LITERATURE CAN BE ORDERED ONLINE FROM OUR DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS BOOKSTORE.

When is judgment proper and healthy?

God created humans in His own image. 1

We have emotions, we have passions. We can pass judgment on others. A better question is should we pass judgment on others? This question brings to mind a quote from The Dhammapada:

Let none find fault with others; let none see the omissions and commissions of others. But let one see one’s own acts, done and undone.
Verse 50, The Dhammapada

Having the capacity to judge is a God-given talent. As humans however, we are not God. Judgment of others should be left in God’s hands, where it belongs. It is in our nature to judge others – accept that. Take the higher road however and resist the temptation to judge others. Focus your judgment on yourself: on what you have done, and what you have failed to do. Judgment is not about eternal damnation – it is seeing things as they truly are. See yourself as you truly are and ask yourself could I have acted more loving towards myself and others? If you have fallen short in any way, try to do better next time. Remember it’s about progress and not perfection!

Notes

  1. I use the word God and the pronoun His merely as a shorthand. Please substitute the appropriate words for your Higher Power.

If I do what I always did, I’m going to get what I always got

If I do what I always did, I’m going to get what I always got.
Slogan heard in a recovery meeting

I need to do things differently. If I attempt to go on autopilot I’m doomed as my autopilot takes me to deep, dark places. I have a choice today because of recovery. I don’t have to go with the default dark thoughts and feelings. I can take action, something different, because my old way of doing things have brought me to depression.

Depression can be viewed as being in the habit of (addiction to) feeling bad. The truth is that feelings are not in isolation. They are in a relationship with thoughts and actions.

  • Feelings influence our thoughts and actions.
  • Thoughts influence our feelings and actions.
  • Actions influence our feelings and thoughts.

I’ve got some good news and bad news.

  • Bad news – you can NOT directly control your feelings. It’s just flat out impossible.
  • Good news – you can directly control your thoughts and your actions, which greatly influence your feelings.

Accept the fact that you can’t control your feelings. Have the courage to change your thoughts and actions. That is the way to a better place.

Move a muscle, change a thought.
Slogan heard in a recovery meeting

Yours in recovery, Bill R

What is known as “the Paralysis of Analysis” was a big factor in my spiraling down into depression

I don’t know what your experience with depression might be, but it may be similar to my own. When I first became aware that I was depressed, I imagined that my wishful thinking would get me to a better place emotionally. You know, I would feel better. Wrong! In fact, the more I tried to figure out in my head what was happening to me, it seemed like the hole I was digging was getting deeper, hurtling me downward into the abyss of hopelessness. Simultaneously, my insides betrayed a foreign activity of being hollowed out, producing an anxiety in me which I can only say was a bad case of unending “jitters”.

I remember how incessant was my need to try and figure out what was happening to me. I looked back on my life’s activities previous to being locked down into this prison. I wondered why I was feeling so awful. There was no relief. I continued thinking about my life unraveling and I there wasn’t an answer available – at that time.

The more energy I gave to try and think my way out of this pain-filled darkness, the more fatigued my mind, body and spirit became. With the fatigue came a total loss of motivation.
Not only did my analyzing mind NOT provide any meaningful clues as to my situation of feeling hopeless and helpless, but I mistakenly felt that my life would never return as before. I gave up. The forever negative thinking loop became a noose around my neck – I was scared.

My analysis, my paralysis of mind, body and spirit came to an end when I joined with our fellowship of Depressed Anonymous. I moved my body and my mind followed. I didn’t want to go to meetings, talk to anyone or even try to get out of bed. Soon after, it became decision time. I had to admit that I was powerless at this time of my life, that my thinking, loopy as it was, felt like I was riding on one of those up and down carousal ponies. I was moving, but not going anywhere but down.

I never really figured out why I was depressed, only that the more I attended Depressed Anonymous meetings, read their literature (written by the depressed), I consciously became aware of a needed change in my lifestyle, the way I thought, and how my behavior might have led me down the path to where I had to admit my life was unmanageable. I sought help. I entrusted my life and decisions to a Power greater than myself and of my own understanding. By doing this, my sanity has been restored and now my life has a purpose and a meaning.

If you have been feeling the same way as I have described here, please send us an email at depanon@netpenny.net and we will help you find a way out of your depression. You can also go to the drop down MEETING menu on the homepage and discover times and places where DA meetings are being held. We hope to hear from you.

Hugh, for the fellowship

Accept what is…

When I argue with reality, I lose — but only 100 percent of the time.
Byron Katie

Reality is what it is. When I fight the reality of my present moment I will lose. I need to accept what is and make it the foundation for the future. Acceptance is not about resigning and giving up the fight. It merely mean to see things as they are, not as I perceive them to be.

All of us have things about our present moment that we don’t like. A certain amount of dissatisfaction is part of the human experience. I don’t like the fact that I’m visited often by negative thoughts and dark moods, but to deny and not like those things is not truly helpful. I need to accept what is: I’m visited often by dark and negative thoughts. What do I do with that then? I need to accept that as my current reality. That is my present, but it need not be my future.

I can put into play better thoughts and better actions that have the possibility of creating a better future for myself and those around me. The future has not yet been written. I can have an influence over that future with what I do and what I think. I need to put in the work and do those things that have the potential to lessen my suffering. The outcome is in God’s hands, but I can do my part in creating that better future.

I have to humble myself, clean house, and trust in the God of my understanding. By doing these things persistently I have a real shot at creating a better future, but first I need to accept what is. May you have the courage to accept your present moment without judgment and work towards creating a better future.

Yours in recovery, Bill R

Metaphor for my depression

OK, I’m acknowledging and admitting in public that I have depression. I choose not to say that I suffer from depression, as I believe suffering is a choice. Here I mean the Buddhist interpretation of suffering, the mental and emotional anguish that we put ourselves through when we don’t accept the present moment for what it is.

Pain is part of the human experience, suffering is optional.

I choose to say instead that I have depression, or that I sometimes experience the symptoms of depression. This simple change of the words I use to describe my condition allows for space for the possibility that someday I won’t have depression, or that I don’t experience the symptoms of depression.

Why all this talk about words? Well words have great power. If you read Genesis, God first spoke “Let there be light”, then light existed. Words are the first step of creation. The words I choose to use help create my reality.

Many of us view life as a series of metaphors. Some view life as a race, others view it as a game, still others see it as a constant struggle. What metaphor do I use to describe my depression?



As I mentioned in a prior post, humans are dualistic beings. I see myself as two beings in one:

  1. a wounded inner child
  2. a mature outer adult

My depression shows itself by a lack of energy, a lack of progress, and a lack of emotion. The swing is not moving.

The depression is a manifestation of my wounded inner child. It is sitting in the swing. It is petulent and drags its feet in the sand. Sometimes it goes so far as to pump its legs in the opposite direction to prevent progress.

My outer mature adult is smaller than the depression. I can’t give a single push to get the depression swinging. I have to time my pushes, and consistently apply positive actions in my life. I have to encourage the inner child to lift his feet. After that I can encourage the inner child to begin pumping his legs so swinging isn’t relying totally on my smaller outer self.

It’s not a perfect metaphor mind you, but it is fairly consistent with my experience with my depression. I am hopeful that consistently giving gentle pushes I will emerge from the depression, free and happy once again. This future is possible for you too.

Yours in recovery, Bill R