I thank God for the group and the belief that I have every right to be here..
“Free and truthful discussions only possible between people who see each other as equal members of the human race. Joining a self-help group will be one of the most valuable things you can do. You will meet a group of people who know what it is to be depressed. You don’t have to explain it to them, or apologize, or pretend that you are happy when you are not. In a self-help group you give and receive friendship, and in sharing the responsibility for the group you build up your confidence and self-respect.”
I have learned that there is a miracle of the group that takes place when persons with the same needs and experiences of isolation get together. They discuss with each other how their lives were before they entered their particular Twelve Step group, and how they are now, now that they have a positive program which gives direction to their lives.
In the Fellowship I find that I can be as honest as I like. No one will look down on me for saying how I need to change the way I perceive my world, my life and my thoughts.
The spirit of God is in each of us as we become more conscious of the fact that that its spirit wants to be the leading light of our life. Our Twelve Step program help us see that when we consciously desire that God work in our lives, it is possible for us to admit that we are powerless over our depression. When we start to work the program, we start to find some peace.
See Step 1
In the Fellowship I find that I can be as honest as I lioke. No opne will look dopwnm on me for saying jow I need to change the way I perfceivemy world, my life and my thoughts.
The spirit of God is in each of us as we beecom,e more conscious of the fact that its spirit wants ot be the leasding light of our lifge. OOur Tswelve Step ropgram helps us see that when we consciously desirte that God work in our livesd, it ism [possioble for us to admit that we are powerless over our depression. When we start to work the program, we start to find some peace.” See Step 1.
The First Way (#1) to leave the prison of depression: “WE ACCEPT AND BELIEVE THAT HOWEVER HOPELESS EVERYTHING APPEARS RIGHT NOW, WE WILL RECOVER FROM OUR DEPRESSION”
Often persons depressed give up the hope of feeling different. They can’t believe that they have the power to change the way they feel. They don’t believe that they have a choice either to get well or to remain locked in the prison of depression. This is why the belief coupled with the First Step of Depressed Anonymous, a Twelve Step mutual aid group, has a positive impact on one’s personal belief about the recovery process. The First Step of Depressed Anonymous states “We admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable.”
First we have to admit that our lives are out of control. No matter how hard we have tried, we can’t shake this persistent hollow feeling that has us feeling hopeless and helpless. This admission that we are powerless will begin to free us up and get us the help and support that we want. It’s a paradox. Surrender and win! The group doesn’t pass a magic wand over our head and suddenly you are freed of your symptoms of depression. In fact, the admission that we need help puts us in in contact with a step by step map which leads us out of the land of darkness into the land of light and hope.”
For more information see Literature reference
BELIEVING IS SEEING: 15 WAYS TO LEAVE THE PRISON OF DEPRESSION. (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 1-2.
I will let go of the negative thoughts about myself as soon as I am conscious that I am experiencing them.
“…try to live one day at a time.. We know from experience that our sobriety , our disappearance from sadness is due to letting go, admitting our powerlessness (Step 1) and coming to believe that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity (Step 2).
I know that I have to continue to work on myself and the way that I speak to myself on an ongoing and daily basis. My letting go and letting God take over my life doesn’t mean that I’ll just sit back and let it do all the work, no, it means that I will work on myself and leave the outcome up to my Higher Power. I know that my life can be lived differently if I just make an effort to choose to be conscious of the thoughts that I let myself ruminate and think about during the day. The more I monitor my thoughts, the more I am able to filter out the negative thoughts and have them replaced with positive and constructive thoughts. We call them SUNSPOTS (Depressed Anonymous).
So often when I am depressed I continue a thinking style that was learned as a small child. I am not even conscious as to how I would always select the negative attributes about myself to reflect upon instead of attempting to think positive and hopeful thoughts about myself and relationships. The more I believe that I have a choice as to how I am to feel, the more I become conscious of the thoughts that influence the way I feel.
Going to a mutual aid group, which focuses on depression, enables us to share with others how we talk to ourselves and what we tell ourselves, day after day. Do we like what we hear when we share with others our continued negative thinking? I would think not.
MEDITATION FOR TODAY
God, let us just for today, dwell on your mercy and kindness. Your are not the harsh judge of my childhood. You are the God who loves us just the way we are. God is like the Mother who continues to love the child of her womb.
SOURCE: HIGHER THOUGHTS FOR DOWN DAYS(C) December 14.
“We admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our life was unmanageable.”
Granted this is not the most happiest of thoughts to read as we get going this day. But you know what? It’s at this point in your life that something, some attitude change is going to give you courage to take back control over your life. Years ago when I was doing a project for my degree work I discovered, (like I didn’t know it by my own life experiences) that when a person feels they have control over their life and life’s circumstances that their symptoms of depression start to disappear. So, is this a fact or is it something somebody just told me, without any foundation in fact. The truth of the matter is, that when I felt most helpless and hopeless and my life was falling apart, I had no control. It was literally the feeling of sliding down that slippery slope. I actually felt at that moment like my life was truly spinning out of control. I can even remember the place, the time of day when it happened. That was in 1985. I was completely powerless. Helpless. All alone in my pit of isolation. Alone with my secret. I looked the same. No one knew the disabling effect this paralyzing had in my life. But I knew. That was the important issue here. I knew. I felt the total pain of the isolation.
And now these many years latter, I still use the Steps for CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT. Back to Step One where we say we “admitted…” In our Workbook it states that “But what good is it to admit that our depression has made us feel powerless? I already know what you might say? That is why I have spent thousands of dollars on hospitals, doctors, counselors and drugs!” But really for a person to admit that they are powerless is what gives us new power –paradoxically. It’s like in the letting go of a death grip on our continued sadness that makes the sadness gradually wither and die.. But somehow – again I don’t know how it all works –when I say I am depressed, deflated, and down and have the 12 Steps and the fellowship at my side there is a small ray of lite starting to shine in my mind and heart. It’s like saying I’ve had it this way all my life —depressed and isolated- now I’ll try it your way.”
Here is the next question that can help clarify some of your thinking today.
One of the major ways people help build the walls of depression is to believe the following statement: “Since bad things happened to me in the past, bad thing are bound to happen to me in the future. ” Today, reflect, be aware of your own feelings, write down on paper your response, then get motivated to do something now, today. Do something which will motivate you to move and perform an activity that you can achieve just today. You are building a future one day at a time. Keep it simple!
” But I’ve always done it this way.”
“But I have always been this way.”
“This is just how I am.”
Stuck! How often does someone tell us one of the above excuses or all of the above on first showing up at a Depressed Anonymous meeting. They tell us that they are “sick and tired of being sick and tired.” They come to those of us who have said the same thing in the past. Like those who stick with the fellowship of persons like themselves, persons depressed, they learn how our lives were before participating in our program of recovery and how our life is today. The change that we talk about is like night and day. The BEFORE describes a life of darkness and despair and the NOW describes a life filled with light and hope.
Now, by using the four stage process of change: 1. Be aware 2) Be motivating 3) Be doing 4) Be maintaining we can examine our past. We begin to see how our excuses which keep us imprisoned in depression many times originate growing up in a dysfunctional family. This loss of trust and love and in some cases, even loss of provision for basic survival needs such as food, shelter and physical safety, conditions us to a feeling of being helpless and depressed. Sometimes this chronic depression is masked and defended against by compulsive activity and perfectionistic kinds of striving. Becoming “tireless” and “limitless caretakers of others defends a person against his or her own neediness and yearning to be care for.
So, how can we promote a positive change? How does this change come about? Well, first of all, we admit we have a problem. For some of us, a life-threatening problem. We became aware something is wrong. Then we believed that we had to do something about this problem. We came to the DA group. We discovered that the members of the group learned how to motivate themselves and get into action. We found a way that gave us hope. We found a map that continues to lead us out of the darkness. Finally, one’s motivation is followed by action. We got into action and continued to find ways to change ourselves. We have the tools to change our selves, one Step at a time. We are no longer alone. No more excuses. We now have a solution. How about you?
The car I drive is a manual shift (stick) and has 5 gears. I like the stick shift better than automatic–it seems that I can feel the power of the engine when I go from one gear to the next.
When I bought an older Honda this last month, I made sure it was a shift. I gave it a test drive and the gears shifted smoothly from one gear to the next. I bought the vehicle.
How does this Test drive idea apply to depression? I’m glad you asked. Many times people when they come to a Depressed Anonymous meeting for the first time–it’s similar to test driving a car. They want to check out how many miles the car gets to a liter/gal of gas. Like, they want to know if this group will give them all that it promises . Is there a warranty with the group? Well, as a matter of fact there are. On page 109 in the Depressed Anonymous book the warranty itemizes everything that is yours. You will see them as the Promises of what can happen if you work the recovery program as outlined in our manual. I guess you would call the Depressed Anonymous book our manual. In fact, it has been written by persons who test drove the program and found it helped propel them into a life of healing and a fellowship of those many others who found it did what it promised. It always put them on the road.
When I was setting up Depressed Anonymous, a spiritual program of recovery in a State Prison a number of years back, one of the members of the group told us that he didn’t believe in God. He had been test driving the program and discovered that Step Two, (Gear 2?) “came to believe that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity.” “Well,” he said his “Higher Power was his Prison DA group.” This is the engine that gave him the most mileage. In fact, after test driving it for weeks it was just what he was looking for–a trust worthy vehicle that would take him to the end of his journey–one day at a time. This group was the only engine with a warranty that was good all day, every day, and was good for the life of the engine. Since everyone in the group were all affected by depression, or the same engine problems they could speak to each other in the same language. No one was alone and isolated. The toolbox was there for each of the group and all of them had engines that were humming because they were all familiar with each of the gears and knew how to keep learning more about how all the gears (steps) were to work together.
Sign up today if you would like to test drive our vehicle of tested quality. We have everything you would like to know about our vehicle. Keep in touch. There is always a “pit crew” standing by to offer help.
Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications Louisville, Kentucky
An excerpt with some modifications and additions from Higher Thoughts for today, November 15.
NO LONGER WILL WE ACCEPT OUR PAST THINKING THAT OUR WORTH IS BASED ON OUR ABILITY TO PRODUCE.
I am going to be alert to those times during the day today, when I give myself the message that I could have done something better. These messages are from an old hypercritical tape from my childhood. Guilt rides roughshod over us when we fail to live up to the expectations we have of ourselves or those held by others about us. ( My 3rd grade teacher compared me to my brother, who was very smart, and said that I would never be like him, meaning brilliant. She was right, I am not brilliant. But it was only until I was in my 30’s did I realize that I had other qualities. Like it really didn’t matter anymore what she thought.) Since I have admitted that I am depressed, (Aware, motivated, doing, and maintaining positive behaviors) I am able to change certain old ways of thinking and behaving.
Our worth comes from the earliest childhood memories. The more we are able to get in touch with early images and feelings that we hold about ourselves the more clearly can we see that what we feel as adults is many times based on early childhood emotions. I am depending more now on my Higher Power to get me safely to those early days and those feelings. I will also talk to a friend today about my childhood experiences. I am not perfect–so what?
With God on our side, we can’t fail. God loves us just the way we are.
IF YOU WANT SOMETHING THAT YOU NEVER HAD BEFORE, YOU HAVE TO DO SOMETHING THAT YOU NEVER DID BEFORE.
Well, that pretty much says it all. We all have our comfort zones–that is for sure. About two weeks ago, a friend of mine wanted to know if I would join him in getting out the vote here in the USA. I told him I would. All it entailed was going to certain neighborhoods and knocking on people’s doors and asking them if they were going to vote in the Midterm elections. If they said yes, then I would tell them where the polling place was located. I spent two days of this–knocking on doors and asking them to get out and vote for their candidates. I had never, in my whole life done this before–going and knocking on strangers doors and asking them to vote. (Only time before was when I was a kid and went “trick or treating” on Halloween.) Anyway, the whole point here is that I was very uncomfortable knocking on doors and talking to total strangers. It was way out of my “comfort zone.”
When I was depressed I entered into another type of “comfort zone” namely an isolation zone–where all I wanted to do was just do nothing. Just absolutely nothing. Except sleep. My comfort zone was like I was living in a glass house–I could see everything around me but I had no interest in or connection to what happened outside my walls. I had no desire to get involved with former activities that provided me with a sense of purpose or happiness. My mantra was “I’ll do it when I feel better.” Finally I made up my mind, crawled out of my comfort zone and walked through the doors of my first 12 Step meeting. This was a very un-comfortable move for me as I forced myself to go and get help for what could possibly kill me.
Reader, just know that if you want help for yourself or a loved one–knock on our door–come on in– know that if you are depressed, or a friend is depressed, we have the tools to help you find your way out of your prison of depression. You’ll be taking a step into a new way of living.
I remember in my early days of my sobriety the PROMISES (See Past Posts for Depressed Anonymous) were the thing that kept me coming back to the meetings and gave me hope in the power of the 12 steps.
It was then and is still hard for me to turn over my fears and my hopeful thoughts to God. I was told early in my first years to write all these things that troubled me down on a slip of paper and put them in a GOD BOX.
I remember thinking how silly this really was. Well, I continued to go to meetings and do my work within the 12 steps and forgot all about my GOD BOX. Sometimes afterwards — probably going on a year or so later I found this slip of paper buried in a drawer in my desk. Everything that I was concerned about at that time, namely, all my fears, all of my guilt from the past which I had I turned over to God had been worked out. It was amazing to me. I had forgot I had even written them down.
I must admit that I have really worked hard and that God has given me the strength to do the work, to take a look at myself. Now the Promises are a reality for me. I do have a new freedom and a new happiness. I also have new fears, but that’s life.
So now I am going to put these in my GOD BOX. I am letting go and letting God work on those areas of my life that I still need work on so that I can continue to “carry the message” to others still suffering.
Tell me what you think?