Category Archives: Acceptance

You Are Here

A few years back I was driving across a deserted stretch of highway in New Mexico. I noticed that my gas gauge showed that I was getting low on fuel. As I had no idea where the next gas station would be I began taking notice of signs, hoping to find a place to get gas. Having never traveled on this stretch of road before I was starting to get anxious. I didn’t want to run out of gas out here in the desert.

It wasn’t long until I could spot a small building a few hundred yards ahead. Lucky for ne, it was a gas station.I knew that I didn’t want to tempt fate, so I filled up my tank. I still had no idea where I was and so I asked the attendant where I was. He turned around and pointed to a large map on the wall. All the map showed was a long horizontal line across the face of the map. In the middle of the map there was a large X placed over the stretch of the road indicating YOU ARE HERE. My only problem was that I didn’t know where “here” was. My attendant was a man of few words and he said the next town was about an hour down the road. The map didn’t tell me much.

Just like many of us who are looking for some kind of support for our own lives, all we know is that a group called Depressed Anonymous was meeting today. This is the reason why you are here. We showed up today because our lives had come to a standstill. We were starting to feel there was no where to go. The man who is lost in the desert and running out of gas with no hope, can be a metaphor for all of our own lives. And at our first meeting of Depressed Anonymous today we don’t know what to expect – only that I am here and you are here. Let our recovery begin.
Hugh, for the fellowship.

I need to get prepared for a new me today!

I am getting healthier the more I realize that I don’t have to feel the way that I feel. I have the option to feel content and even smile today if I so desire. I will act like I want to smile again even though I don’t feel like smiling.

“If you have made yourself a martyr to your unappreciative family, remember the principle of partial reinforcement and apply it to your family. If you are always at their beck and call trying to meet their every demand, they will not appreciate you, but once they see that they cannot rely on you to to meet their demands, they will appreciate what you do for them.” (Breaking the Bonds, D. Rowe.Fontana, 1991).

REFLECTION
i Know that so often those who are codependent and live all the time in everyone else’s feelings need to remember that the real maturity and happiness lies in being there for me — not for everyone else. I think that reflection points out the fact that I need to reinforce my own worth by going to DA meetings, actively getting involved with my own recovery over anything and everyone else. I am going to begin to be a pleasant person. I will want to learn how to be pleasant to myself.
Now is the time and this is the program where I start to detach from other people’s opinion of myself and start to reflect where I start to detach from those people’s opinions of myself and start to reflect on my own opinion of myself. When I am depressed, I know that I haven’t been able to get angry, not to forgive anyone, much less forgive myself. I feel cheerless. I meet my own demands and continue to work the steps so as to get in touch with what I need to do to reinforce those positive concepts that I am forming about myself. I need to get prepared for a new me today.
“We are now on a different basis: the basis of trusting and relying upon God, our Higher Power. We trust an infinite God rather than our finite selves. Just to the extent that we do as we think he would have us do, and humbly rely on him, does he enable us to match calamity with serenity.” (As Bill sees it.p.265).

MEDITATION
When we gradually work our way to the real self we get closer to the God who made us.

RESOURCE
Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Hugh Smith. Pages 14-15.

Depressed? Looking for a stable and secure environment?

Depressed and feeling alone? This is what many of us have felt when a combination of the many symptoms of depression shackled us physically and put our mind in park.

Some of us felt that there must be a way out of the pain of depression, but as yet were unable to find what might help us. But this feeling changed once I came into the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous, our 12 Step program of recovery. When I was asked if I would like to share with others my own path of recovery I heartily agreed. Here is my story.

I am sharing my story here to give others a chance to read what happens when we land in this circle of friendship with its healing acceptance and support.
After ten years of repeated meetings with the depressed of Depressed Anonymous meetings, it’s clear that that the meetings create a secure base for those who in their childhood had neither kindness nor the life giving warmth and affection of a loving family.
People who keep coming back to Depressed Anonymous continue to grow and become aware of the inner change taking place, week after week, as they find not only attention to their story, but find that they are loved and and cared for at the same time. Possibly for the first time they find that they look forward to each weekly meeting and become attached to the positive feelings that emerge inside themselves as they continue to share the story of their pain. In time they share how their week is suddenly being filled with more good days than bad. It also becomes obvious to the participant that childhood behavior and experiences are carried right on into adult life. Trusting is such a hazard for the depressed, because every person is different. You can’t trust your environment because it could suddenly shift and you would be without a certainty that you were bad and worthless. The meetings gradually present to you an opportunity to be someone worthwhile and valued. Your sharing and risking information about yourself begins the construction of a new and secure you. The DA group becomes for the first time in your life a very secure and stable environment where you can share, trust and grow.
–Anonymous

Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, THIRD EDITION. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Page 162-163. (Personal stories: #25. Depressed Anonymous provides a secure (love and acceptance) base for those who never experienced love nor support growing up.


To read more stories of inspiration (Depressed Anonymous, THIRD EDITION. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Please click onto the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore at www.depressedanon.com. Literature can be ordered online. Ebooks are also available.

…understand what is happening to you

UNDERSTAND WHAT IS HAPPENING TO YOU

Cohen and Taylor recently surveyed the studies of psychological survival and concluded that repeated affirmation by survivors suggest the first rule of any handbook on survival : understand what is happening to you.
(Cohen, S., and Taylor, L. (1972). Psychological Survival. The Experience of Long Term Imprisonment. Penguin. p.138. )

“The same rule applies for those who wish to survive the experience of depression. Ultimately, so many depressed people, when they try to discover what is happening to them, are told that they have an illness which only a doctor can understand. Books on depression are rarely enlightening. What one needs in this situation is someone to talk with, someone who will not give advice and produce solutions, but who with help to unravel the complexities of one’s thinking and feeling and to look at possible alternatives, someone whose presence ensures that the isolation is not complete.” (Rowe, Dorothy.(1988) Choosing Not Losing:The experience of depression. Fontana. London. p.341.)

It is my belief, after these many years of being in a Depressed Anonymous group and as an active participant, I did learn that I no longer needed to be alone and isolate myself from my world, my family and friends. Over time and with the help of the group, the complexities and dead-ends of my thinking and feeling, were brought to bear, time and time again, on seeing myself in a different light. It was in the group where I learned that “free and truthful discussion is only possible between people who see each other as equal members of the human race…Until we learn to talk together without fear we shall not be able to progress in understanding the human race and the world.” p.343.

Hugh

#6 Promise. Promises of Depressed Anonymous

#6 Promise: The feelings of uselessness and self-pity disappear.

“One of the major areas that changes 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 are now listened to by others and we are validated. We don’t hear “snap out of it here.”

Suddenly our years of self pity, isolation and desolation have ben cashed in for a currency that buys us a new competency, a new identity, an autonomy and a burgeoning inter relatedness with others just like ourselves.

We now can speak about our experience with depression in the past tense. We can now share 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.

We know that feeling sorry for ourselves promotes a greater attention to and for the problem, while attention to how our experience can help others promotes not only our own well being but that of others as well.

As we learn how the program works – and this only happens primarily by attending meetings. The solutions and ideas help us all to become more active in the pursuit of our own serenity, as promised by the fellowship.

When we were depressing ourselves, we felt not only useless, but unacceptable to ourselves and to others. It seems that the harder we pushed to fight against depression the sadder we became. When we began to feel differently we also began to believe differently. We learn how to be more helpful and hopeful.

Why do I continue the work of bringing hope to those still suffering? What motivates me to continue to try and help others. What has made the changes in my life where now I want to share what I know and what I feel? Basically,I know that the program of recovery works.

I no longer feel powerless over my symptoms of depression, that I can do nothing about my depression. I have seen that the major solution for my symptoms of depression is in the doing and in the feeling and the expression of my feelings with others in the group. In DA people speak my language. We see how useless it is to waste time looking back over my shoulder to see if the dark shadow of my own inner fears is going to overtake me. I now have attained small amounts of hope and strength as I go from day to day. I am prepared for those moments of despair that can overtake me and cause me to feel paralyzed and out of control.

In the first Step “we admitted that that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable.”

Self-pity is that feeling where we continue to go over and over again of all the hurts that have put us where we are today!

We waste hours and days in our self-wallowing.”

RESOURCE
(C) The Promises of Depressed Anonymous, (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Lpuisville, KY. Pages 13-14.

I Was Accepted

Have you ever went to a meeting where for you it was the first time. It could be a little scary –I know that it was for me.

In our group manual, Depressed Anonymous, I would like to share with you his feelings on going to his first Depressed Anonymous meeting.

Here is what he shares with us in the Personal Stories section of Depressed Anonymous(Page 133).
“So what is the power of Depressed Anonymous? For me, it’s just like attending the first meeting. I was a little scared and apprehensive at first but then I found the Depressed Anonymous meeting was a place to go where there were other depressed people just like me. They could relate to and understand what I was going through. They didn’t judge me or think of me as crazy. I was accepted.”

When he entered through the door of the Depressed Anonymous meeting it opened a new way of living for him. It changed his life. He found hope. He found that he was accepted by total strangers. The miracle of the group was that he was able to feel at home. He was given a recovery program for his everyday life.

The wise Rabbi Nachman shares with us the truth, “All new beginnings require that you unlock a new door.”

And the key which unlocks the door is a belief that just possibly I can get better. Ray tells us how he was somewhat scared, he pushed on, entered into a group where he was not only accepted but one where he found hope and an ever accepting fellowship.

RESOURCE

(C) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY P.133).

Slow down! Road work ahead!

How often do we see these orange warning signs along our highways? Sometimes it seems that everywhere we go, construction is going on. According to Murphy’s law, they only show up when we are in a hurry to get somewhere else.

In our recovery it is a necessity to read the signs that tell us to slow down. There is road work ahead. As we know or will soon find out recovery is about work, using those tools that are provided for our own healing and serenity.

We slow down, stop and reflect on our lives, examining how certain “triggers” not only slow us down but can “shut us down.” We discover how ruminating on the same negative feelings, produce a mood that continues to stifle us and prevents us from seeing it for what it is, namely a warning for us to make some changes in our behaviors. If we let these moods deepen there is a strong possibility that these negative ruminations can push us deeper into symptoms of depression. Before that happens, starting to use our tools can save us from relapsing or experiencing a recurrence of symptoms and get us back on the road again.

There are many things that can keep us motivated to stay involved in our program of recovery. You can read these for yourself here on our website (depressedanon.com) under the menu, TOOLS FOR RECOVERY. They are welcome tools not only providing help but hope.

You can also reflect on the “slogans” used by those of us in the 12 Step fellowships. I am going to list some of them and hope that you will use these as “mantra’s” or “slogans” for your own recovery and “road work.”

KEEP IT SIMPLE. Don’t complicate your life by over-analyzing or by placing judgments on others thinking or behavior. Don’t double yourself up with doing a hundred different things all at once.

DO THE NEXT RIGHT THING Telling yourself I’ll do it when I feel better never gets it. If you are recovering then go to meetings when you don’t want to or an appointment when you don’t feel like it. If you need to go to work go to work. That is the next right thing. Always be there for yourself and your healing. If you are doing Step work with a sponsor, then do the Step work. Do the next right thing. Put that on your bathroom mirror.

PROGRESS – NOT PERFECTION. Do what you can do and then don’t worry about it. The main thing is not that something you do is perfect –but that you are doing what you can do and doing it to the best of your ability.

CONTROL THE EFFORT-NOT THE OUTCOME. Take responsibility for you all that you do and again do your best. Make the effort. Give it your best shot. “To thine own self first be true.”

BE. HERE. NOW. Be in the present. Yesterday is gone forever. Tomorrow is not here yet. All we have is today. Enjoy the moment. Mindful that there is a God-and it isn’t me!

ONE DAY AT A TIME. We are only given one 24 hour period at a time. Use it well. Keep a journal and list three things that you are grateful for today.

Thank you for doing a little road work for yourself today. I hope that some of what I have written may have motivated you to look deeper into how you can “accept the things that you cannot change, the courage to change the things you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

If you would like to read more about depression please go to The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore.

(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.
(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY

Hugh

A litany for living life on life’s terms

These affirmations can produce in us positive feelings, with a desire to make the most of our day’s activities. Please take a few moments after each affirmation to see how these can best be brought to life.

  • I will live my life today with daily positive affirmations of who I desire to be. Pause.
  • I will live my life in service to others today. Pause.
  • I will live my life today with compassion for others. Pause.
  • I will live my life today in discovering God’s will for me and not my own. Pause.
  • I will live my life today in being empathic with those hurting and isolated. Pause.
  • I will live my life today in being thankful. Pause.
  • I will live my life today in prayerful moments throughout this day. Pause.
  • I will live out my life today by being a friend to those isolated by depression. Pause.
  • I will live out my life today with courage and hope. Pause.
  • I will live out my life today by being generous with my time and talents for our fellowship. Pause.
  • I will live out my life today in the present moment. All I have is today’s 24 hours. Pause
  • I will live out my life today with a quiet and receptive mind to the promptings of my HP. Pause.
  • I will live out my life today on life’s terms. Pause.
  • I will live out my life today in simplicity and truth. Pause.
  • I will live out my life today without a need to control others. Pause.
  • I will live out my life today with the firm belief that God loves me just the way I am. Pause.

What is Acceptance?

What does acceptance look like?

whatisacceptance

Stop complaining about the rain. It is what it is. Your complaints about the rain are not going to make the rain stop. The only thing that the complaining creates is suffering. Suffering for you, and for the people around you. The rain is something that you cannot change. Accept it, or if you need another way of thinking about it: surrender to the reality of the fact that it is raining.

Acceptance is acknowledging that it is in fact raining. It means getting out your umbrella or raincoat and doing what you had planned on doing. If you were going to talk a walk – then take a walk. You’re not made of sugar and you won’t melt away. Go out and meet with friends if that is what you were going to do before. You may not be able to go out and have a picnic on the grass, but you could go out and have a picnic under a pavilion. You may have to give up your plans of bathing in the sun, but there are plenty of other things that you could do that would be productive.

I remember a time – it was summertime and I was 16 years old. Myself and two of my friends were hired to dig out this man’s crawl space so he could put in a full basement. No power tools – pick ax and shovel only. Our work was done for the day and I had to walk the 2 miles home. About 10 minutes into the walk the skies opened up. I don’t know about raining cats and dogs but it was coming down in buckets. At first I started to run. Then I stopped running and accepted the fact that I was going to be soaked. I began to dance and I recreated the scene from Singing In The Rain – including singing. Granted I’m not a good singer, but I had a blast.

Accept whatever rain storm you are in. You don’t have to like it, but you do have to accept that the rain is real. You have a choice. Accept and have serenity or resist and have suffering. Choose wisely.

There is no bad weather, there is only bad clothing.
Canadian proverb

Yours in recovery, Bill R

Serenity Prayer flowchart

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I can not change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.

The Serenity Prayer confuses some people. Why wouldn’t it? The prayer begins at the end where they ask God to grant them serenity. There are things that happen prior to that point. Have you determined what is and is not possible to change? Have you prayed for wisdom? I found this infographic online and this is more like the process that I go through.

serenityprayerflowchart

What problem has the fates put in front of me? Can I change the problem? If I can change it, then I will pray for courage to actually change it. If I’m unsure if I can change it, I will ask the God of my understanding for wisdom to discern if it is possible to change it. Only when you determine that it’s not possible to change the problem do you pray to your Higher Power for serenity. The Accept it state is not a static thing. Acceptance ebbs and flows, you have it and then you don’t. You will need to pray to God multiple times to get to a state of complete and utter acceptance.

I hope this helps.

Yours in recovery, Bill R