Category Archives: Choice

YOU DON’T HAVE TO HAVE YOUR LIFE PARKED IN NEUTRAL!

I just returned from a combined (Edenton and Elizabeth City, North Carolina) Depressed Anonymous fellowship  workshop which I was asked to give. It was an all day workshop, with morning open to the public and then the  afternoon sessions committed to the two groups speaking to each other about their own personal experiences with the Twelve Steps and how their lives have changed since being part of these two groups.

These groups both were formed right before Christmas 2014. Both groups now have a strong presence in their communities because those in recovery now want  to “carry this message to those  who are still suffering from depression.” This is the bottom line for all of us who have found hope and healing in practicing and putting the spiritual principles of the Twelve Steps  into our daily lives. Hope is what we are sharing. You don’t have your life parked in neutral.

“THE MOST COMMON FORM OF DESPAIR IS NOT BEING WHO YOU ARE! ”  —  Soren Kierkegaard

”  Depressed Anonymous is a spiritual  program where you will find people like yourself, honestly, openly and willingly dealing  with their character defects (staying isolated) and gradually admitting that they have to change their lives and lifestyle, if they are going to be a whole and honest human being.  The decision is yours. You make the choice!  The Twelve Steps and your own personal story can now be shared with others and can help them in their own life’s journey. Give the hope that you have now with those who have lost hope. Build it  (mutual aid) and they will come! ”

Source: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 108-109.

I witnessed the “miracle  of the group” again this past Saturday in Edenton, North Carolina when the participants of both fellowship groups came together and shared their stories of how they moved into drive and  out of neutral. I thank  all you beautiful people in North Carolina as you continue to work your program of recovery! You are becoming who you really are and whom God means for you to be!

I GOTTA BE ME! I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR ME

” The sanity of the Twelve Step program is what will eventually help you change how you look at yourself and your experience of depression. The program shows that just because you have always felt miserable is no reason to remain miserable for the rest of your life. The sanity of placing your trust in a Power greater than yourself opens up great possibilities for your personal happiness  and success. If you have felt that you have  to be in total control of every situation in your life, then coming to believe in a power greater than yourself might be a frightening experience.    What would happen if suddenly you couldn’t control your unhappy situation with the comfort of sadness or self-pity?  Haven’t our sadness and thoughts of unworthiness been our last refuge from having to face ourselves, take charge and accept responsibility for  our own lives?

The escape into feelings of worthlessness and resignation over my depressing feelings is no longer an acceptable way for me to delay the hard choice of being responsible for me.  This statement is not made to make you feel guilty but only to help you see that, with time and by working the Twelve Steps on a daily basis and having the ongoing fellowship and support of the Depressed Anonymous group, you can begin to choose a way out!”

SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 42-43.

Makeover Time: The New Me

Helen’s before and after–

“Now that I look back and see the way I was and see how I am now, I can’t believe that I ever knew that other person. This person is different altogether. I like the person now very much.  I am so thankful to the group. They are just wonderful. They are my family. They are my Depressed Anonymous family.  I also have my church family. It is a wonderful feeling to know that there is a Higher Power that can help you through these things.  At first, I thought: “I doubt that very much” when everyone is talking about the Higher Power and peace in my life.  Then it happened to me. Every few days, the world dumps down on you and beats you down. That’s just life. I always think to myself that there is that extra strength that I didn’t have before. I feel that everything is going to be OK with me. I have that peace now myself.”

Read all of Helen’s story in the Personal Stories in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.  Page 148.

THE SIMPLE ABC’s of DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS: THE 12 STEP PROGRAM OF RECOVERY

Yes, learn your ABC’s of Depressed Anonymous and you are on your way to discovering how to live with freedom and with purpose. I learned my ABC’s back in 1982 in another  12 step fellowship. It did take me a little while to get used to them but in due time everything all came together. Once  I got serious about learning my ABC’s things started to happen. I not only found the key that opened a new world of serenity and a fellowship to me,  I also have a daily plan for my life that gives me purpose and serenity to this very day. Just as day follows night I am helping others learn their ABC’s.

First of all, you might be wondering what are the ABC’s of Depressed Anonymous? And how can I learn them? Well, let me tell you about them.

Simply put, the ABC’s stand for three realities which anyone can learn. The first reality is to 1) admit that I have a problem. That is fairly easy to understand. Having a problem is what usually brings a person into our 12 Step fellowship in the first place.  We know something is happening and we know we can’t go on feeling as bad as we do. “We admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable.” There you got it.  You just learned a bit about the A of the ABC’s — to admit. OK, I know that to admit something is out of kilter in our lives is not easy but to also know that the pain  is so great we have to take the bull by the horn and find help. We also know how scary life becomes when we feel we have no control over the way we feel and think. I know. When I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning and had this awful feeling of hollowness in my body which was unbearable I knew then that something serious, possibly deadly serious was going on. Yes,deadly serious.

It was then that I  believed that I had to take action. I had to seek help and find out what was causing my life to take a nose dive or extreme proportions.  For me to feel that I had no control over the way I felt and even to the point that I  could not get myself out of bed in the morning with will power alone, it was then that I knew what I had was serious.  I ” came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” I didn’t know what this Power was that was going to restore me but I had to find out. I sought help and finally got the help I needed. I moved the body and my mind followed. I was forcing myself out of bed a morning and started walking. For awhile I felt I was an incarnation of the movie hero, Forrest Gump. But over time I found the key to my recovery and learned how to use the C of my ABC’s. I learned how to commit myself to this Power that was greater than myself. Actually, it was my decision to commit myself to going to as many 12 Step meetings as  I possibly could. It was there that I learned to live my life. I now had a plan. I had a purpose and I made sure I was about doing the next right thing for my recovery. It has been 30 years since that day when I had to admit that I had  serious problem on my hands. I am still doing my ABC’s every day and helping others learn their ABC’s of recovery. I know the program of recovery takes time and work–but it is worth a life. Your life!

If you want to learn the ABC’s of Depressed Anonymous, it would do you well to get  to a meeting or get the  BIg  Book, DEPRESED ANONYMOUS, 3rd Edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications.  ( By the way, this book was written by a group of depressed persons who learned their ABC.s and wanted to show others a plan that worked for them.  They found HOPE. Their Personal Stories are in the book).

You Can’t Become A Butterfly Until You Leave The Comfort Of Your Cocoon

The depressed, says Dorothy Rowe, can “give a thousand and one reasons why they should stay depressed. They can think up thousands of painful thoughts about how bad they are and how they don’t deserve the cheer and joy that most of us frequently experience in our daily lives. Some run over and over again in their minds the awful things that they have done, and become used to their continual ruminating over their own sense of worthlessness. They have fallen into the depressed persons morbid need to feel bad.  The sadness continues to eat away at the very heart of the person until there is no more hope and the light at the end of the tunnel has been snuffed out. In their hopelessness of ever feeling better, they throw away the only key that unlock the prison, and that is the key called hope. Getting to the hope is at the heart of getting our lives and feelings recognized. We begin to believe that maybe I too can overcome my depression like other members of the group. Not only am I consciously changing the way I think but likewise I am forcing myself to get involved with the  other members of the group and making friends.  I know that withdrawing from others is one of the first signs that we are depressing ourselves. But it is in the continual contact with others like myself that I can begin to find a way out of my depression.”

Source: Depressed Anonymous (3rd Edition)  2011. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. page 42.

I AM FINDING MYSELF ACCEPTABLE TO ME.

AFFIRMATION

“How many times have we heard persons say that ‘my depression is such a comfort to me.’ Many depressed people say that this feeling of worthlessness and hollowness is all they have ever known. In fact, they add, ‘since all I’ve ever known I’m too scared to feel something different.’ It appears that their whole identity is based on how they feel, and so they feel they are bad.” (9)

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I know that I can recover and feel good about myself. Each new day I can choose to think differently about myself. I believe that, with time and while working my Twelve Step program, I can feel better. I will make a list of how I want to feel and then start to experience these brand new feelings of mine.  My spiritual program of letting God run my life is beginning to payoff as I can feel a change in myself occurring.

I am taking out one of the main bars of my prison cell. I am no longer considering myself as someone who is bad, worthless, unacceptable to myself and to others. I am finding myself acceptable to me.

MEDITATION

Our feelings of hollowness  are greatly diminished after and during a meeting where we hear the hopeful stories of those members of the group who are feeling better because of the Depressed Anonymous program of recovery.

-Copyright(c) Higher thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 step fellowship groups. (1993, 1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. page 112.

I Will Trust Myself…

A HIGHER THOUGHT FOR TODAY

AFFIRMATION

I will trust myself to risk getting better by way of the Twelve Step program.  The first step is to admit that I will beat my depression in a group rather than trying to do it all by myself.

“Many  of us can’t allow ourselves to trust anyone. We are so distrustful of ourselves that we can’t trust ourselves to feel.  The painful and terrible hollowness of depression is such that we cannot allow it to be felt…When we hear other members share their stories of hurt and isolation we become more at ease within ourselves and we gradually allow/trust ourselves to touch the nerves of the past pain and hurts. ”   (9)

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

One of the better ways I have found to get out of the prison of my depression is to trust my story with someone who has experienced  the pain and the hurt.  To know that I am not alone in my misery is quite a relief.  To know that there is someone out there who understands where I am coming from does much for raising self-esteem. I know that it is only when I begin, today, to start taking care of myself that my life will improve and so will my thoughts.  I also believe that there is no problem too great to be lessened.

I know that wanting control, wanting things my way, has made my life unmanageable!  I want to trust my Higher Power and give my program and my friends who are in  it my  very best. I trust that I can be as honest with them as I am with my Higher Power.

MEDITATION

God, we  turn our will and our lives over to you and we know things are getting better because of that surrender.

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SOURCE:, Higher thoughts  for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 Step fellowships. (1993, 1999) Louisville. June 1.  Depressed Anonymous Publications.

Follow Your Bliss!

In the  Personal Stories section of Depressed Anonymous (3rd Edition), an anonymous writer shares with us how when she began to follow her blisshappy memories from her past life–something started to happen. In the program of Depressed Anonymous we call them SUNSPOTS.  Let her tell us in her own words.

” Look for SUNSPOTS, memories from the past that were happy times and ones which bring back happy feelings from years gone by. I tried, but none came to mind.  But I did find that just thinking about the book (Depressed Anonymous)  and what it said, did make me feel a little better. Then a piece of a song popped into my mind “Seek you first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness, and all the others will be added to you..”  “Hey! A SUNSPOT  I said to myself

Then I felt a warm glow and then I did feel better — I did it! I made myself feel better. I can un-depress myself. I had mixed feelings. I wanted to feel better, but admitting I depressed myself was not an easy thing to do.

I went back and reread the book, but now with an open mind. I have started to follow the Twelve Steps and with the help of the Higher Power, I can have a brighter future. I am making and putting in my memory a lot of SUNSPOTS for those times when I am feeling depressed and which I can choose to draw upon when I feel that I need them.

I put up a “stop” sign and bring out a SUNSPOT to carry me through.” By Anonymous. Page  114. “I depressed myself. I can un-depress myself.”

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NOTE: I have also found that when I create a picture album in my mind  I can always leaf through them, one memory at a time. It is a well known fact that memories carry with them pleasant or unpleasant feelings.  We don’t want to try to forcibly push away those unhappy memories-as that seems to just make them more persistent- but to just let those unhappy pictures float by – like watching a vehicle passing by. And as we move onto those happy memories in our mind’s album  and place our attention on them, we will with time and practice discover that happy memories produce happy and pleasant feelings. Hugh

I Can Change The Way I Feel

“We  do know that depression, like any other long standing emotion, can and does cause a physiological change in the body. Many scientists also know that positive emotions over time can produce a change in the immunological makeup of our human body and so protect it from illness.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

Depression can be eliminated from my life after I take a closer look at my lifestyle. If I want to conquer depression, I have to take a closer look at the way I think, behave and live out my life.  Of course, to have a belief in some power greater than myself produces the hopeful vision that, in time, I can begin the healing process. My brokenness and fear of risking change is at the core of my depression.  I know that once I begin to get moving in a positive physical and mental way, the healthier I can become.

Someone once said that an emotion is energy in motion. A good description I would say.  My ability to maintain an emotional balance depends heavily on my belief that I can change the way I feel. I know with the help of my conscious contact with my Higher Power that I can find the peace that I am searching for.

MEDITATION

We know that good things start to happen when we give up our will to the one who wills nothing but our personal good.  The power which is greater than the power  of our depression is desirous of eradicating its dominion of our lives.  Let go now your fear to let go and let God.

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Source: Copyright(c)Higher Thoughts for down days:365 daily thoughts and meditations for Twelve Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 106.  Higher Thought for May 25.

Source: Depressed Anonymous (3rd Edition) 2011. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Kentucky.