Category Archives: Focus

God Is The Rudder Of My Boat. I Am Going To Put My Oars In The Water!

 AFFIRMATION

I will have the peace I desire as I continue to pray to do God’s will.

“Being in God’s will is the beginning of peace and the beginning of the end of your depression with its hollowness and jitters.” (8)

 CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

Most people don’t understand this who have not been in the program very long. What it means is that I must attempt to work and live this spiritual program. I need to let myself be guided by God’s hand in my life and so become open and ready to fiollow his guidance.

The beginning of wisdom is to hear the voice of God. It is imperative that I take an active role in getting better. I often say that God is the rudder of my boat and I have to put my oars in the water if I am going to get to the shore. I believe that one of the best ways for me to start to feel better is to take each step (Depressed Anonymous, Third Edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications) and try to do what it suggests.  Keeping a journal lets me know what I am feeling for each day. I have come to believe that a power greater than myself can restore me to sanity.   I wonder sometimes if this hollow feeling inside myself isn’t more of a longing and hunger for a spiritual food that nothing in my life now can and ever will provide.

MEDITATION

We pray that God will show us the way out of our depression by living and following the program that  has healed other people who have been addicted to a behavior or a substance and which  continued to bring them down instead of up.

SOUIRCE: Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for Twelve Step Fellowship Groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 71.

I Don’t Have To Feel This Way!

As one person told Dorothy Rowe: “When I think of all those years I wasted being depressed, I wish  I would have listened. I’d wish I’d realized that all I had to do was say that I had enough of being put upon and put down,  feeling that there was something wrong with me. I’d like to go up to the hospital and tell everybody: ‘You don’t have to be like this.’ Up there nobody ever told me that.  I’d see those people going on and on being miserable. If I’d have seen someone like me now, it would have given me hope.”

SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous. 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications,. Louisville. P.72.

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How often do we present this message to those who enter into our world.  Our world is one of hope, possessed with the awesome reality that I am different. I have changed.  I can use my tool kit of the 12 steps to gradually dismantle and replace the negative features of my life with new directions, new behaviors and continuing to put into action those positive beliefs about who I am. The Depressed Anonymous fellowship helps us meet others who were depressed and  who now are living a full life.  We are grateful for coming into contact with those who  have a  story of hope to share. So, if you are feeling miserable and helpless, just know  that what you read here will definitely make a difference in your life. We don’t have a magic wand that will take away your pain but we do have a step by step recovery process that can  lighten your load and give you courage to live one hour, one 24 hour period at a time. You are no longer alone. No “snap out of it” from our group. You can make your decision today to join us and  begin a journey that can  lead you eventually  to say,  “I don’t have to be like this.” I did!

Hugh

Remove the letters “d”, “e”, and “i” from the word depression and I have “press on”!

AFFIRMATION

“The idea that we have to be responsible for ourselves and that the ways of the world are neither good nor just is too terrifying for you to contemplate. You cannot tolerate such uncertainty. You do not trust yourself, so how can you take responsibility for yourself?”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I  don’t like facing the fact that ultimately I am the one responsible for myself, no one else. It appears to me that I have to take care of myself, depend on my Higher Power for direction, and go from there.  My Higher Power isn’t going to do it all.  I know that I have to do all that I can to restore my life and my feelings.  God is the rudder to my boat and I have to put my oars into the water if I am going to get moving in the right direction.

I am attempting, day by day, to tolerate the unpredictability  of my life and gradually learn new ways to cope with uncertainty. While I am depressing myself, I want everything to be perfect and under my control. I know now that I will be  happier when I learn how to tolerate a pleasant mood without telling myself that it will not last. (I also know about this last one from personal experience when I started taking care of myself).

MEDITATION

We believe that the closer that we come to God, as we understand God, the closer our God draws to us.  We believe that whatever we want changed in our life this can best be accomplished by approaching the God of our understanding and letting his power greater than ourselves steer us across the stormy sea.

PRESS ON!

TODAY IS ALL I HAVE

AFFIRMATION

I can live each moment as it comes. I can live only in today. Today is all I have.

“Try to work out which is your habitual response to change which you see as dangerous, so that as you dare to explore you don’t suddenly find yourself running away to the safety of old ways, or resisting the new ideas with old prejudices.( 3)

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I find that when I am depressed I find all the comfort in the predictable and the familiar.  Right now, I am in battle for my life and I am going to stay and work things out. My feelings are agitated and make me feel very uncomfortable, but I know that it is only by feeling them and accepting them (not run away) that I will, and can in time, begin to taste the freedom of a new me beginning to be born.  I believe that by desiring change, this desire will produce a greater motivation in my self to think and feel differently.

This is an important concept when I am depressed. I desire the safety of the familiar and the predictable.

MEDITATION

God, help me to live in the peace and the serenity  of the present moment. And let us be aware of the moment when we begin to depress ourselves.  Alert us to the moment that we can CHOOSE to turn our minds to something more constructive.

SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for down days(c). (March 17).

The Risks Of Faith ( Part 2)

Yesterday we talked about the various parts that make up one’s progress on the path to recovery. Now we will continue to see how the path of hope is formed.

1. The first item is choices and we discussed how our path is first formed with the choices that we make.

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

3. 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 so important, as 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 our self.

4. The last item is faith.  Faith in ourselves that things will be solved even when no answer or solution is in sight or seems impossible. Faith in others helps us when we need help and that they will be there for us.  Faith in God or our Higher Power and that thru 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 medications  if medications  are prescribed, see your Doctor, counselor or therapist and go to a Depressed Anonymous meeting as often as you are able. Remember –when all seems to be lost there is always hope.”

Source: Copyright(c) How to hope and let it blossom. 1999. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky 40217. Pages 12-13.

And more from How to Hope — “As I attend more meetings I sense growing within me a personal competency to meet head-on the challenges of what were formerly fearful feelings of just existing  –just going through  the motions of life.  Now I attempt not to run when I feel so miserable but instead I stand and feel what  I am feeling. It seems the more I gain a sense of personal competency about how to love life, the more I am able to be willing to express my feelings whenever I feel them, This seems to be the secret of my gaining more hope on an ongoing and daily basis  — namely,  that the more I am able to feel less insecurity in having to have everything nailed down in my life and a willingness to express my feelings whenever I need to express them and with whomever I choose to share them with.” Page 5.

This is empowerment!

THE RISKS OF FAITH

Dr. Gerald May in his life giving book, Addiction and Grace, shares his thoughts about the risks of faith.

He states  that “Several times now I have said that our real hope lies in  that no matter how oppressed we may be, we always retain some spark of capacity to choose. We can use the ember of freedom to choose to risk ourselves in the goodness of God or to continue to strive for our own autonomy or to give in to the powers that oppress us. I am convinced that nothing whatever determines the choices we make at the primal level, here, finally, the choices are totally up to us; we really are free.” (p.127)

After reading these pieces dealing with hope we are left with the possibility that maybe even I or you have to start today. Yes, obviously to hope is to be living with some risk,  but that beats, by a long shot, living in the unreal world of certainty that things will never get better for us.

The following is a text taken verbatim from the Depressed Anonymous Publication (c) I’LL DO IT WHEN I FEEL BETTER (2009),  PAGES,  66-68.

“Ray (member of Depressed Anonymous fellowship) continues to talk  about the various parts that make up one’s progress on the path to recovery. I think most depression sufferer’s go through a time of hopelessness and 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 will get better. So if hope is part of the solution, how do we find our  own path of hope?  Before we take that path I think it is important to see how the path is formed.

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

2. Continued tomorrow—-stay tuned! Thank you

Copyright(c) How to find hope and let it blossom. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky 40217. Pages 10-12.

I Choose To Live In My Skin And Feel My Feelings Today

AFFIRMATION

I choose to live in my skin and feel my feelings today.

ALAN WATTS SAID, “THERE IS NEVER ANYTHING BUT THE PRESENT, AND IF ONE CANNOT LIVE THERE, ONE CANNOT LIVE  ANYWHERE.” (3)

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

To live in the present is difficult because usually when I am depressed I live in the faults, losses, guilt, and shame world of the past. The horrible past with all its hurts, imperfections and sins make it impossible but for me to live in yesterday.

I am gradually learning how to live, one day at a time. I am also picking up on how to see the red flags that pop up in my mind whenever I have a thought, or an action that indicates a need to sad myself. I have to admit defeat over what  happened yesterday, accept myself for today and just thank God that I am alive and that I can choose to feel differently right now.

I accept the present as my only dwelling place . I find that the more I am in touch with my present feelings, the more I can grow into a healthier human being.

MEDITATION

God you told us that we had enough troubles today and that we didn’t need to live in tomorrow.  Our depression will be diminished the more we take charge of our lives today, utilizing your guidance that we receive in quietly listening to your voice.

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SOURCE: Higher thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 Step fellowship groups.

What Happens If I Decide To Change? Will I Feel Better? I Have To Know For Sure Before I Change!

TO LIVE IS TO CHANGE

(March 12, 2015)

To live is to change. I choose to live with uncertainty today so that I can live with hope today.  I choose to monitor all the negative and unpleasant things I say to myself today.

“TRUSTING MEANS ACCEPTING UNCERTAINTY, AND THAT IS NOT ONE THING THAT YOU ARE PREPARED TO  DO.” (3)

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

How often do I hear others who were once depressed say that it is only when they become vulnerable –that is, trusted others, that their lives took a turn for the better.  So often, because of my need to completely control past, present and future, I can give my trust to no one else, including God.  I must live my life with total certainty which the certain sad feeling of depression assures me, that what always  has been (sadness) always will be.

To believe that my depression will never lift is to possess  an irrational belief like saying the sun will never shine again because the sky has been overcast for days. It is living with certainty that gets me so depressed.

MEDITATON

God, we want to begin today to trust you with our lives. We hear others who work the Twelve-Step program claim   a new feeling of hope for their lives when they begin to live with trust in their Higher Power. We accept your plan for us today. We surrender our will to you now –we’ve only got our depression to lose. ”

Again we can’t promise anything about what will happen if you decide to change.  I just can talk about my own experiences with depression. The only thing I knew was that I had to do something–I had to take responsibility for my life–I didn’t know for sure that my walking everyday and forcing myself out of bed a morning would make a difference in my mood. I didn’t know for sure that the Twelve Step Promises would work for me. I just knew that I was vulnerable and was willing to live with that uncertainty that possibly the sun would shine again for me. I just believed that if I moved the body–the mind would follow behind (which it did) and soon my own uncertainty about me ever feeling different than my everyday sadness–changed into hope as I did feel different. The fog of my depression did lift. I was almost caught up in one of those six immutable beliefs that Dr. Rowe speaks about, namely, “since bad things happened to me in the past, bad things will happen to me in the future.”  The certainty of this belief will definitely hinder us from taking responsibility for our lives.

Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for Down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 step fellowship groups. 1993, 1999. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. 40217. (p. 53))

HELP IS ONLY A KEYBOARD CLICK AWAY!

For many of you who are scouring our website for a Depressed Anonymous group in your location, you will find that there are none. This is what made this  WordPress BLOG site so necessary for the formation and development of groups around the globe. Truly, we are only a keyboard click away for those who are seeking help with their own depression or the depression of friend or family member. The beauty of this Twelve Step program deals specifically with the human angst of depression by using the spiritual principles of the  Steps. To date, persons representing over  70 national groups, have visited our website resulting in over 14,000 hits since August of 2014. And the best scenario for getting  started on one’s own recovery is, of course, the face to face group. Those persons who have set up groups in their own location, around the world, are most fortunate to have those persons who take up the challenge of getting a group started. But, not all of us are able to do that. Just the thought of starting a group is overwhelming I know. Just getting out of bed is an almost Hurculean effort for those of us depressed. So, what can we do? You can start your own Depressed Anonymous HOME STUDY PROGRAM. This process of using the DA Manual and Workbook together is a format used by some of our groups at their  face to face meetings.

Depressed Anonymous Publications has offered different ways to get our material. A person can download our combo set of our main Depressed Anonymous plus the Depressed Anonymous Workbook off the website bookstore. This makes it possible to print out these two major works immediately on your home  computer printer. This is also the least expensive. Then you can order the DA Manual and Workbook together off of our own website www.depressedanon.com  or at AMAZON.COM. We also have other pieces of literature written by persons like ourselves, who once were depressed and now, thanks to our recovery program and the Steps, one is  no longer shackled by the isolating prison of depression.

SO, once you do click onto our site, check out all the website Menu offerings, where you can get a true picture of who we are, and what we do. You may like to download the many pages of info about our program onto your own computer and print it out  as you prepare to set up your own group in your own community. Help yourself while helping others.

My Life Was A Sinkhole!

MY LIFE WAS A SINKHOLE!

If you know anything about a sinkhole you  know one thing–you know that everything is gobbled up which sits on the sinkhole spot.  I mean, houses, cars, buildings, streets, etc.  And if you throw anything else down the hole it too gets gobbled up.   Just recently, at the Corvette car museum in Bowling Green,  Kentucky, a number of their vintage  cars ended up at the bottom of a sinkhole–ironically,  it  occurred in their showroom.  There was no way anyone was going to drive these vintage cars out of there.

In our Big Book, Depressed Anonymous as quoted in our recent publication  ” I’ll do it when I feel better,” it states that

The overeater, gambler, smoker, sexual addict are all driven by their compulsions. The emptiness of our lives is like a hole  that  continuously  needs to be filled with some compulsive and addictive behavior.  By letting go of our excessive tightfisted hold on our life, which paradoxically it causes us to lose hold; we start to face reality for the first time without the crippling crutch of our compulsion. We let go of our compulsion to repeat –the ritual of addictions.

…Gradually over time, and due to being able to say no to the impulse to smoke, or sad oneself, you feel stronger and so the pained  withdrawal becomes less intense.  The same applies to the addiction of  depression in that at first it’s difficult to stop completely the compulsive repeating of sad thoughts, but with time and working our Twelve Steps, and by our active involvement with DA we have the strength to say no to these sad thoughts and begin to choose hope and serenity.”

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I use the analogy of a sinkhole because it truly expresses what happened when I was depressing myself. I couldn’t stop these incessant flow of thoughts that continued to gobble up my serenity,my peace and/or the desire to do anything positive for myself.  All I could do was to sit in a room, look at the four walls and reflect on how hopeless I felt. As my pain intensified ( like a total body toothache) I found myself getting  more isolated from life: meaning  family, spouse, friends, groups, you name it.

How did I get out of the sinkhole? The first thing I had to admit was that I was IN A SINKHOLE. If this is where you find yourself today, you might want to go back to the Menu of this Website and read all the stuff there that tells about the” what” of Depressed Anonymous. And if you want to begin your own personal home study program for a further clarification of thought, you can get the Depressed Anonymous Manual and the Depressed  Anonymous Workbook.  I believe you’ll be happy you did. You’ll get some answers. It happens to be written by folks like you and me. That’s the good part.

Source: I’LL DO IT WHEN I FEEL BETTER, (2013) Smith, Hugh. Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville, Ky  40217.(p.60).