Category Archives: Faith

Willingness to Take Baby Steps

A common question in other 12 step fellowships is “Are you willing to go to any lengths to achieve recovery?” When thinking about willingness and my depression, I don’t know how well this applied to me. I mean, if I had the willingness to go to any lengths when I was in my deepest darkest depression, I would have just hopped out of bed, embraced the day, and ran a 5K! But that is not how it worked for me!
When I was in the depths of my depression, my willingness had gone out the door. “What was the purpose anyway?” I thought. I didn’t think I could get any better. But Depressed Anonymous showed me that there is hope, and there is a way out. For me, that path to recovery has been a series of baby steps. After coming to meetings, I saw people who were like me; people who really suffered from depression, and I saw that they were recovering. Once I had the realization that there was hope, I needed to ask myself a question. “Just for today, am I willing to take a baby step to help myself recover from depression?”
This was something that I could comprehend and that I thought might be possible. Yes, I can take a baby step and get out of bed. Yes, I can take a baby step and call someone from the fellowship. Yes, I can take a baby step and order the literature, then take another baby step and read a page of the literature. I can answer one question in the workbook today. Yes, I can do one little thing to help myself today!!
That is how my recovery began. That is how I climbed out of that 80-foot hole of depression-one baby step at a time. And the beautiful thing is that I don’t have to do it alone! Honestly, I don’t think I could have done it alone. I tried for years, and although I met with sporadic success, I inevitably fell back into that pit of depression. Today I have the DA fellowship surrounding me. I have a Higher Power. I have a sponsor and friends in the fellowship who help me along my path. I am also here to help others on their path to recovery. Today, I am grateful for the willingness to take baby steps.

Happy Independence Day

I live in the United States and today we celebrate our freedom. We are all captives of something or someone. Some of us are captives to addiction: drugs, alcohol, or some behavior. Many of us here have been captives of anxiety and depression. Many people are trapped in consumerism.

There is however a way out. Apply spiritual disciplines to your life, you will be surprised by the results. We are all trying to find our way to the God of our understanding. Some of us go down the side roads of addiction and depression, but you don’t have to continue down that route. Get in communion with the God of your understanding.

If you’ve been burned by past interactions with religion – theory and doctrine, or by people who misinterpreted God’s message I have a suggestion for you. Explore the mystical sects of the religion of your youth. Islam has the Sufi’s, if you’re Christian read the works of Thomas Merton, or Saint John of the Cross. The mystics all talk about experiencing the presence of God in your life. Explore.

You have a choice: you can either be a host to God, or a hostage to self. Choose to be free!

I will keep physically fit. Exercise is my priority now!

MOTIVATION FOLLOWS ACTION

AFFIRMATION
I promise myself that I will walk today to regain a positive feeling about myself and my world.
Keep physically fit. It is a must for us who are and have been depressed. Walking not only restore harmony to the body, it likewise restores my self-esteem and self confidence. Remember that motivation follows action.

REFLECTION
How can motivation follow action? Isn’t it the other way around, namely that action follows motivation? In a sense the criticism is true, but in another sense, it isn’t quite that accurate. When speaking about the paralysis of depression the individual’s motivation is almost completely nonexistent. That is why it is important for me, a depressed person to force myself to get moving -that’s right, force myself into an activity because even though I say “I will do it when I feel better.” I never usually feel better. So I need to find that point in my day, when I feel better and get out in the air and walk, if nothing else, it tends to distract from my wanting to sad myself.
When I take care of myself physically and begin giving myself p[permission to express my feelings, especially the unpleasant ones, I begin to speak more assertively and begin to like myself.

MEDITATION
Today, help me sort out what needs to be thrown away and what we need to keep. Help us keep those memories that had love attached to them.

RESOURCES
Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 Step fellowship groups. (2002)Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Pages 150-151.

Copyright(c) Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Chapter Six. Pages 33-36.

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

Isolation and Covid-19 – We Offer Skype meetings – Check Our Past Posts On The Blog Here For More Info

NOTICE: Whenever a blog post mentions an online meeting be sure to consult the page Online Depressed Anonymous Meetings for the most up to date and correct information. If the blog post is more than a few days old there is a chance it could be incorrect.

Updated 29 Dec 2020: The US based ZOOM meetings are no longer being held.

In our basic text, Depressed Anonymous, one of the words that show up most frequently are the words, Isolation, trust and surrender. It is not surprising that the word isolation is at the top of the list. Isolation is one of those behaviors that can keep us in depression, alone, and deepening a mood of feeling hopeless.

With the corona virus causing death, terror among all people of the earth, it has also forced us to quarantine ourselves from everyone else. Our isolation, in this case, can save our life and keep us from getting infected and suffer a painful death.

Let’s say I am depressed already and isolating because of my need to withdraw from, family and friends and suffer with my pain alone. What do I do now? Who and what can help me? I am feeling desperate. I used to go to the market, the park and at least get out of my apartment. I could feel part of the world and the life around me. At least I had the knowledge that I could go out and be with others, without having to talk or even say hello. Now I feel like I’m all alone on a deserted island.

If you are depressed and reading this now, you can find help online at the Depressed Anonymous website www.depressedanon.com. There are also daily meetings of the group International Online Depressed Anonymous which hosts the meeting via SKYPE meeting at 12:30 pm (EST).

We hope that you can take advantage of these peer led 12 step meetings. I recommend them to you. Please come and join our fellowship. We are people with hope.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

For the fellowship.

A Pathway To Hope

Ray, a member of DA, tells us how to talk about the various parts that make up one’s progress on the path to recovery.

“I think most depression sufferers go through a time of hopelessness. This feeling is very disabling for many of us. But with most problems or illnesses there is always hope. Hope that our problems will be solved or that we will get better. So if hope is part of the solution, how do we find our own path to hope? Before we take that path I think it is important to see how the path is formed.

The first item is choice. We make choices everyday for ourselves, some simple and some complex. These choices may affect us for the rest of our lives, that is, what do I want from my life? What are my goals in life? Our lives are formed and maybe our own meaning of what life is, is revealed to us. So our path is first formed with the choices that we make.

Next comes acceptance. Acceptance for who and what we are, accepting our own ideas, values, feelings and emotions but even more important is accepting the fact that we can change our ideas, values, feelings and emotions. Accepting the fact that these changes can and will be made by ourselves, as other people can’t do that for us. They can only add to or detract from those changes, By accepting our choices and taking responsibility for these choices for our journey on the path of hope has begun.

The third item is trust. Trust in ourselves to make the right choices. Trust, in ourselves to overcome any obstacle we face no matter how difficult it is. Also, trusting another person, especially when that person loves, cares or just believes in us. Trust is important, it tells us we are not alone and we can accept and trust in another to lead us down our chosen path as well as trusting in ourselves.

The last item is faith. Faith in ourselves that things wil be solved even when no answer or situation is in sight or seems impossible. Faith in others to help us when we need help and that they will be there for us. Faith in God or our Higher Power and through Him our anguish, our sorrow, our pain will be lifted. Faith in our path of hope.”

The path of hope for depression sufferers is not easy to build or to find sometimes. That’s why I think it is so important to take your medicine, if medications are prescribed, see your Doctor, counselor, 12 Step sponsor or therapist. Go to a Depressed Anonymous meetng as often as you are able. Remember – when all seems to be lost, there is always hope.

Resource

I’ll Do It When I Feel Better, Hugh Smith. © 2017 Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Pages 66-68.

Please go online and click onto DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS BOOKSTORE for more literature on the 12 Steps and depression. You’ll be happy that you did.

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.