Category Archives: Faith

And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today

And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation – some fact of my life – unacceptable to me, and can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake.

Unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world, as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.

© Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Ed., page 417

That passage really speaks to me. After reading it I feel centered.

Life is 1% what the world hands you and 99% how you react to it. I’m not trying to minimize the pain and trauma that people go through, but I know that I can create suffering by not accepting the reality of the present moment.

When my daughter died I thought I was being stoic and heroic by going back to work immediately. I was not accepting on a deep and profound level the reality of my situation. I swallowed my emotions. I picked up an addictive behavior and ran from my feelings as opposed to having the courage to feel my emotions. I really didn’t grieve my daughter until 15 years later in a group therapy session.

Whatever pain you’re going through accept the fact that is where you are at the moment. I don’t mean give up and not find a way out through and past the pain. Stop asking yourself and God “WHY did this happen to me?“. For me the WHY is a way that I create suffering for myself.

I’ve had to learn to accept whatever situation I am currently in. Now is not the time for knowing why. When I die I’m sure my Higher Power will tell me why certain things happened to me and for me. Acceptance is the answer to my problems today. Problems morph into situations. Situations are things that need to be dealt with maturely, serenely and soberly. I hope that you can find acceptance with whatever is troubling you today.

Yours in recovery, Bill R

My Feelings Are Becoming Unfrozen

AFFIRMATION

“I pray that God will give me the courage to live today with hope – hope that God’s leading will take me past the dead end of despair.

If we want to live life fully we must have freedom, love and hope. Life must be an uncertain business. This is what makes it worthwhile.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I  know how the feelings of depression, and the deadness and greyness of my sadness keep me holed up in the narrow confines of my dark past. Today my  feelings are gradually becoming unfrozen as I attempt new things, new connections with other persons. These cause me to reconsider that a life lived in unpredictableness is a risky but nevertheless a healthy way to live my life.

Since I hold on to the  belief that since bad things happened to me in the past, bad things will happen to me in the future.  I need to live each new day with the belief that I can change the way I think, feel and act.   I know now that I am not mentally ill nor am I losing my mind when I am depressed.  I want to live just for today to try to learn how to face the uncertainties of today.  Life is unpredictable . To have any certainty that it will  be other  than that  is clearly an illusion, and for sure one is being set up for many a disappointment.

MEDITATION

We see that it is only in risking., that is, getting a different map, a map that shows a number of different routes instead of the one that leads us down the road to narrow isolation and despair. I ask the God of my understanding to lead me according to it’s guidance. Hopefully the road that leads to hope and serenity.

RESOURCES

(C) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations  for members of  12  Step fellowship  groups.  Depressed Anonymous Publications . Louisville. KY. (January 5th).

(c) I’ll do it when I feel better. (2018) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.

(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.(20ll). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.

Check out VISIT THE STORE for more material that can be ordered online.

Having a secure base in life.

After ten years of repeated meeting  with the depressed of Depressed Anonymous meetings, it’s clear 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.They find not only attention to their story, but find that they are loved 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  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 participants 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 starting and risking information about yourself begins the construction of a new and secure you. The Depressed Anonymous group becomes for possibly the first time in your life, a very secure and stable environment where you can share, trust and grow.”

–Anonymous

Copyright.(C)  Depressed Anonymous. 3rd edition. (2011)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

I am part of something bigger than myself.

By being in a recovery group I am able to beat loneliness.

In the group, I established myself and I got some positive feedback from others who watched me grow and who have seen the genuine change I have made  personally. I am gradually throwing off my personal war  with sadness. The real support comes when I begin to learn that members of the group have the same problems that I have. This helps me trust  others with the story of my life. These people are the ones who want to hear my story of how depression almost cost me my  life. Now, my life is freeing me from my need to sad myself.

I feel more able to attach myself to the group now that I know that they are struggling with the same depression that I struggle with. I no longer have to fight this battle on my own.

MEDITATION

God you are our rock and our refuge, on you I place all my trust. We know and believe easier now than before, that God has something good in store for us today.”

 

Source:

(C) Higher Thoughts for down days:365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of  12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Page 69. April 26.

Did I build my own prison of depression?

How could that possibly be? Build my own prison of depression?  Impossible. Wait. There might be a possibility if I go back to my childhood and think about some of the things that happened to me growing up.

The following are some of the examples that others (my clients)  might have experienced   unconsciously or consciously influencing their thinking, feelings and behaviors in their later teens and adult life.

EXAMPLES

*My  parents fought all the time and made me scared. (They added   a few   bricks to the structure of your prison).  I would go in my room and hide in the closet.  ( The foundation for our prison is being built).

*Because my Dad was a town drunk he would show up at my school and make a fool of himself…I felt shame and anger at these   times . (Put a few more bricks on that foundation.).

* I was bullied at school and I just wanted to die. I felt worthless. I felt no one liked me… (Bullies added more bricks   to my  prison. The walls are getting higher and higher).

*I was told that I was not allowed to get angry. I was not allowed to cry. I was not allowed to tell my parents how much I hated their drinking.  No expression  of feelings were allowed in my family.  I wasn’t able to trust anyone with my feelings.

*Another message that I always got was  “You’ll never amount to anything,” or “you’ll never be like your older brother.”  (An especially large row of bricks is laid here  when a Third grade teacher tells you this in front  of the whole class and your face  always turns crimson when you think about this shaming event).

*I was given the message that the world beyond  my family was dangerous and threatening. ”

*It was at this  point that my teenage years were spent behind the walls of a nearly finished prison. I was locked down and there was no way out of my prison. No one gave me a key.

*All these  building blocks that produced a prison  for myself all came with  early life relationships.  The messages that I got growing up gradually and effectively locked me down. I was   growing up with out hope. All the messages were  like  building blocks  which further imprisoned me.

Now that I am an adult, I have  begun to take  bricks away, one by one and the structure  is being dismantled,  one brick  at a time. And how did this happen?

It all happened when I became sick and tired of being sick and tired.   I needed help. I needed someone, something, other than the alcohol and opioids that I was abusing  to turn my life around.

Yes, I built my prison and I was not even aware that  each block carried to my structure was imprisoning  me. So many of my toxic relationships, growing up,   all came with another brick to put into my prison.

Taking the wall down, brick by brick we have to have a plan. We have to find ways to remove the bricks and free ourselves from those deadly feelings  of personal worthlessness and feelings that we  are unacceptable  to ourselves and to others. I know now that   I was not to blame for being in a prison and that  I had no idea that all those messages given to me when I was growing up,  influencing my life so directly,  they all were only  other people’s opinions of me. These opinions determined my future. They were responsible for building  my prison. No child or young person wants to live their life in a prison–especially which is not of their own making.  The tragic point here is that their imprisonment is not their fault.  For some youngsters and even older adults the tragedy is that they believed what was told them so that their pain is so great they take their own life.  They wanted  to be free, be  happy and have people around them who love them  and support them in every way possible. The real problem is that none of us  had  a choice when we got our parents,  teachers and relatives.

I think Bill W., the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous says it best when  gives us hope when he   wrote the following:

“We must never be blinded by the futile philosophy that we are just the hapless victim of our inheritance, of our life experiences, and of our surroundings –  that these are the forces that make our decisions for us. This is not the road to freedom. We have to believe that we can really choose.”  (c) As Bill Sees it. A.A. World Services. NY. 1967.

Now the plan that is working for many of us  is  to discover   that when we live out the solution in our lives,  that we focus on the solutions for removing those bricks from   the walls of our depression, that  it wasn’t our doing that the prison was built.  We didn’t choose to have the wall built. Who chooses to live in a prison  anyway? We didn’t know when we were young that these messages were never true but we believed them.   We do not take the blame today for our depression and feeling worthless and unacceptable. We know that blaming others doesn’t do us any good either.

What works for us is a well thought out plan of recovery.   We can begin to learn how to   prize  ourselves and  realize and celebrate who we really are and  the person whom we desire to become. The 12 Steps will get you there!  You will have the tools to rebuild and you will see results. That is a Promise. (See page 109 in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition where it lays out the PROMISES of the Steps  for those who choose to use them).

By using the spiritual principles of the  12 Steps we have begun to choose to dismantle all those negative and hurtful messages from others  that were never true in the first place.

If you want to write your own story as how the 12 Steps helped you remove the blocks from your own prison, please let us know by writing to depanon@netpenny.net., as we would love to hear from you.

Also, please read the   personal stories of those who have chosen to  free themselves from the prison of their own depression in our Big Book:

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

Click onto The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore at our website www.depressedanon.com. Online purchases of our literature is  available.

This is what I need when I am depressed.

 

What one needs when in  this situation  is someone to talk with, someone who will not give advice and produce solutions but who will help to unravel the complexity of one’s thinking and feeling and to look at positive alternatives, someone whose presence ensures that the isolation is not complete,.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

In order for someone to listen to me I have to have the courage to talk. Today, I am going to share as much of my pain and feeling isolated with a trusted friend. I might even make an appointment with a therapist. I know that the most important thing for me to do is to break out of my isolation of negative thinking and behaving and get close to someone who will listen to me but not judge nor give me advice such as “snap out of  it.

Admitting that I am depressed is the first step and best step to walking out of our isolation.”

SOURCE:  Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. November 4. Page 220.

Sharing your story is to save your life!

 

Everyone has a story to tell. Everyone has at least one book inside of them that needs to be written.  In her award winning book, Depression: The way out of your prison, Dr. Dorothy Rowe tells us how getting our story told can be  life- changing, and for some life-saving. Below are  her thoughts on the importance of sharing one’s story with that person who is willing to listen.

Help comes in two ways -from yourself and from other people. But help cannot come from other people unless you are prepared to find it and accept it. You have to find the people to confide in and you have to overcome your habit of keeping things to yourself. Perhaps you are ready to confide in someone, but there is no one available. Your family will not listen, and your doctor prefers to write you a prescription rather than give you his listening attention.

So you need to find someone who will listen. Someone outside the family and, possibly, outside work, is usually best—someone who has no vested interest in keeping you as you are or who has no reason to feel guilty about what you might disclose. It need not necessarily be just one person. On your journey out of your prison of depression you will meet many different gurus, people who throw light on your darkness. A nurse might listen to your fears about your health and the drugs you take, and may find the words to calm your fears. A friend may share with you the burden of family responsibilities. A pastor  or priest might listen and acknowledge your religious doubts and fears and impart the courage and trust which enables you to deal with these. Of course, not everyone you hope to confide in will respond in a  helpful way. ..”

And then Rowe continues to say that “you might like to consult a professional listener of some sort. You may find someone in the Health Service, or you might go to a private therapist. Talking to people who have been depressed and are now coping is tremendously helpful.”   Pages 199-200.  (Copyright)  Depression:The Way out of your prison.  (1996) Routledge. 2nd ed. London.

Our Twelve Step program  tries to ensure that everyone who attends our program of recovery and who shares their story will be given a sponsor, a listener if you will, who too has experienced the pain and anxiety of depression. They are sponsors because they too have been able to share their stories. They know that  powerful freedom that comes when someone really listens to us and our story. People  often say to me “Doesn’t listening to all these depressed people get you depressed? ” And I can honestly say that it does not  get me depressed.  In fact, I know that by listening to someone else’s story, I  find many areas which are  similar to my own. Besides the fact that I myself experienced the chaos and pain of depression,  I know how difficult  it is to come out and share one’s own struggle. But it can be done!

If you are looking for someone or others to listen to your story with compassion and without a judgmental attitude, our group Depressed Anonymous is the right place to come. We are all storytellers. We all have been heard. We all continue to tell our story. Not only the personal account of our  own depression but also the story of how we have recovered from depression. In our program there is always the “before ” and “after” story that we share.  The ” after’  story of all of us is that important account of what we did to recover, how we did it  and with whom we did it,  made all the difference in the world. Out of the darkness into the light.

You  can read the stories in Depressed Anonymous, which contain heart warming  stories of how persons young and old, have come to our fellowship, shared their story and   who now listen to  those new members who share their own story. They want to share that hope, so that others depressed may know that there is a way out and a life to be lived without depression. They are no longer alone!

It takes trust to share our story. Finding the right person or the right group of persons is what we are looking for. There are persons waiting to hear your story. There are    those persons  who have recovered from depression and who are now sponsoring other people and forming other groups. If there is no group in your area, know that we have a long distance group learning program, called the Home Study Recovery program.  This program can be done at home and all it requires is the willingness  to work the Steps with a sponsor through emails.  All one needs is   the Depressed Anonymous manual and The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. There are no fees or dues for this Home Study Program.   As in all our groups, sponsors can accompany new members as long as they like. In time, attending the DA groups our new member can choose their own sponsor.

Please go to The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore at this site and examine the material that is used for this program.  Again, in the event that you would yourself want to start a Depressed Anonymous group in your locality, these two books are our main resources used in all groups, here   in the USA and internationally. If the purchase of the books is a hardship, contact the DA Publisher and they will make it possible for you to receive the books regardless of payment.

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd ed., Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

The Depressed Anonymous Email address is Depanon @Netpenny.net.

No pain – no gain! We pay a price to free ourselves from any and all addictions

 

First of all we know that the first step to freeing ourselves from the deadly clutches of any and all addictions is to ADMIT that our life is out of control, unmanageable and that  we are powerless  over what has us by the throat! Our lives have hit the wall and there is no place to go but to seek HELP. Humbling it is. To ask for help. But it is absolutely necessary if we are to free ourselves from the pain of any addiction.

I am speaking from my own experience with that deadly and scary reality that we all know as  depression. I finally came to the frightful reality that if I wanted my life back then I would have to do something that I had never done before.  I had to admit that I was beat. I had it. My life was a mess and I had created it by gradually drifting away from taking care of my mental, emotional, physical and spiritual life. Just by my admission that my life was in shambles, I realized, begrudgingly, that I had to take full responsibility for cleaning up the mess. And where was I to find that  solution to the cancer-like illness  which was eating me up with each depressed and hopeless breath?

From Alcoholics Anonymous I found my solution. They told me that my pain was the door that I had to go through if I was ever to find any peace for my troubled life.  And so I went through that door which opened me up to hope and belief that there truly was a way the  out of the daily mental grind of sadness and despair. It came  to me that the fellowship of those using and working the 12 Steps of recovery  had all found a home.

“There was a time when we ignored trouble , hoping it would go away. Or, in fear and in depression, we ran from it, but found  it was still with us. Often, full of unreason, bitterness, and blame, we fought back. These mistaken attitudes, powered by alcohol, guaranteed the destruction, unless they were altered.

Bill W., continues sharing,     “Then came A.A. Here we learned that trouble was really a fact of life for everybody – a fact , that had to be understood and dealt with. Surprisingly, we found that our troubles could under  God’s grace, be converted into unimagined blessings.”

“Indeed, that was the essence of A.A. itself: trouble accepted, trouble squarely faced with calm courage, trouble lessened and often transcended. This was the A.A. story, and we became a part of it. Such demonstrations  became our stock in trade for the next sufferer.”

Because of my own terrible pain of an insufferable depression I founded a group centered on the 12 Steps  and which made these spiritual principles part and parcel of my daily life.  This group is aptly called Depressed Anonymous.

Yes, I still have troubles, but now I can help others by sharing my own story of hope and serenity . Even though we may not be alcoholics, we can have a hope that these Steps can help me as well to leave the prison of depression.

For more information about who we are and what we are about please take a look at the menu that appears on the first page of our website Depressed Anonymous.

The Depressed Anonymous Workbook  tells us  how “Where humility had formerly  stood for a forced feeding on humble pie, it now begins to mean the nourishing ingredient which can give us serenity.

This improved perception of humility starts another revolutionary change in our outlook. Our eyes begin to open to the immense values which have come out of painful ego puncturing. Until now, our lives have been largely devoted to running from pain and problems.

We fled from them as from a plague. We never wanted to deal with the fact  of suffering. Then in A.A., we looked and listened. Everywhere we saw failure and misery transformed by humility into priceless assets.  We heard story  after story  of how humility  had brought strength out  of weakness. In  every case pain had been the price of admission into a new life.  But this  admission price  had purchased more than we expected. It bought a measure of humility, which we soon discovered to  be a  healer of pain. We began to fear pain less and  desire  humility more than ever. ”

Are you will to pay the price?

SOURCES:    As Bill sees it: The A.A. Way of life…selected writings of A.A.’s co-founder. Alcoholics Anonymous World Services Inc., New York.

  The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. pg.60-61.

                           Depressed Anonymous,3rd edition.(2011 Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

For more literature please VISIT THE STORE. Also note that the HOME STUDY SELF HELP STUDY combo can be purchased together. All purchases can be made online at this site.

 

First, be true to one’s own self.

Way 13 of the 15 ways to leave the prison of depression.

“I’d rather be imperfect and happy than always trying to be perfect.”

One of the areas in my life where I strive to excel is in the area of trying to be perfect. Somewhere in our early development as children we got the message that if we were perfect we could be more acceptable to others. I gradually began to believe the more I tried to please others that this would bring me  happiness. Instead, all it brought me was a loss of myself. The loss of self reduced me to a shallow self without direction or meaning. I also had the false belief that the more predictable life is, I felt the less stressed my life would be. But in reality, just the opposite happened. By holding onto life with a tight grip, I needed to make sure that any decision that I made would have to have a predictable outcome.  I could only operate if there were no risks involved in what I planned to do. This kept me gradually pulling away from forming new relationships  and trying new things in my life.

Eventually, my depression became sort of a comfort as it kept me from having to risk an unpredictable life. In other words, this way of living took away all hope. This is what keeps many  of us depressed. We hold onto the mistaken belief that since bad  things happened in the past, bad things will continue to happen to us in the future.

This belief keeps us locked up in the prison of depression. We don’t believe anything will change. What a set up for depression. We have a difficult time realizing that we do have a choice in the way we think, feel and behave. We can live a life free of misery by following a recovery program as outlined in the suggested 12 steps of Depressed Anonymous. By coming often to meetings and getting involved with others not only gives us reason to have  days filled with friends and help, it also provides us with a daily program  step-by-step,  for leaving the prison of depression.”

_______________________________________________________________________

SOURCE:   COPYRIGHT(C) BELIEVING  IS SEEING: 15 WAYS TO LEAVE THE PRISON  OF DEPRESSION  (2017) . Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 63-64.

For more information about literature that is available please VISIT THE STORE here at this site.

The Rabbit who made our Easter special!

Our Easter Rabbit  made his first appearance on Easter Sunday in 2015. He showed up early Easter morning in our back yard as we waited for our four  grandchildren to arrive for their annual Easter egg hunt. Now this was not one of those fancy chocolate Easter bunnies, all shrink wrapped  in  gold foil, whose presence you see in all the stores readied for sale before Easter Sunday.   No, this bunny  was very much alive. My wife and I were both happily shocked to see him. There he was, nestled in the green spring grass, like  he was waiting for the annual hunt  to start.

How did the bunny know it was his day?  This day all Christians celebrate Resurrection day. We know that  rabbits and eggs  have traditionally been part and parcel of the Easter feast. It appeared that not only had  we all the eggs, children egg hunters readied to the hilt with their baskets, but we had our special guest, our very own Easter rabbit.  It was quite a day for all of us. The rabbit  was unaware of his special status I am sure.

Now fast forward one year later to the year  2016, our bunny showed up one day before Easter. We had been talking about him earlier in the week and wondering if he would come again. Yes,  here he was again. Wow! This time  he showed up a day before Easter…could he be following a different calendar? It was like seeing an old friend come home again. Maybe he just wanted to make sure he was at the right place, and  on time.

Now it is Easter morning, 2017 when  we went to our back yard performing our annual ritual of placing eggs all around, and confidently expecting our Easter rabbit to be joining us this Easter as well. Sorry to say, he was a no show. No Easter Rabbit this year.  And so we were very  saddened. What made us think he would be here this Easter as well? Expectations are many times based on all that has happened before. If he made it on Easter two times before it seemed like he could surely make  again this Easter. The odds were in our favor. Maybe he forgot, we thought, as he was usually here either on Easter day itself  or at least before.   Oh well. maybe next year we thought.   We’ll have to wait for Easter  2018. We had high expectations.

Then yesterday, just a day after Easter, who shows up in our yard? Yep, you guessed it.  A spontaneous joyful shout went up from our daughter and her friend–when we heard her scream “Our Easter bunny is here! Our Easter bunny is here!”  And like magic  there he was hopping, back and forth, with a spring in his hop,  through our yard, from one end to the other. In a way it was like he was saying, “did you miss me?”

Not only did we miss him, we expected him to be here on Easter. So what if he was a day late–he showed up. We know that he will always be our special Easter rabbit. For our family, he continues to be   our special gift on Easter Sunday, the day before,  the day after, or whenever.

Hope for us is that he will be back next year. We just know, believe and expect that he’ll be here.

Life is much like our bunny.  Sometimes when we hope for things to turn out the way we wish, it works out that way. And then sometimes , when we feel shaky inside, when we begin to feel a little doubt creep into our soul, that is when our expectations for something good to happen shut down. Somehow, our lives have received a precious gift, the gift of expecting a miracle, such as  our Easter rabbit’s continued  annual appearance at Easter…on, before or after.   We knew  at some level that he would return –we just knew he would come back.  We looked for him and here he was. Believe. Expect, don’t give up. Hope. We never want to let doubt cloud our hopes  and expectations from coming true.  Each new day can brings us closer to what we hope for. Live in hope. Just believe that your dreams will come true.

Hugh