Category Archives: Focus

The ways we can make a “conscious contact” with our God.

For many of us, this might be the first time that we have run into information on how to make a “conscious contact” with God. In our program of Depressed Anonymous this is what we actually accomplish as we work through the 12 spiritual principles of recovery.

In Step 11 of our mutual aid group, our recovery program, Depressed Anonymous, has a clear and succinct method for making this a strong possibility for those of us who are willing to follow God’s path to freedom.

In Step 11 we learn how to get in touch with the God of our understanding.

“Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry it out.”

The major words that stand out in this Step are prayer, meditation, doing God’s will for us and the and the power to carry it out.

On pages 95-96, Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition we read

“That when we are especially depressed, it is hard to keep our mind on things such as prayer, but with continued effort and practice, we can come to believe that whatever we are doing just might be better than sitting in our pool of self-pity. If we haven’t ever been big on ‘organized religion’ we have a good chance that this new approach in being with God is much less judgemental, and that this God of the Twelve Steps is much more accepting than other concepts of God that we might once have held. Sometimes we have found that our religious background has filled us with a large amount of crippling guilt, shame and hopelessness rather than the complete acceptance that we will receive from the Higher Power.”

By now, here at Step 11 we have made some great strides in not only understanding the nature of our depression, but also to spend some time on what brought us to this point in the first place.

Our journey of hope begins with Step 1, where we admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable. This admission is what brought me into our fellowship, Depressed Anonymous. It is here that my life began to change for the better. I became part of a fellowship where I learned that it was my belief that this Higher Power, who greater than myself, could finally restore me to sanity.

Throughout the process of living with the 12 spiritual principles in my own life and becoming part of the life of all those who are the DA fellowship, I gradually learned the more I placed my trust in my Higher Power,and kept in contact with his will, my life, thinking, feelings and behaviors changed dramatically for the better. The closer I stayed in contact with God, took part in my fellowship meetings, talked with my sponsor on a regular basis the more serenity became big part of my life.

THE YEAR 2022
How to continue CONSCIOUS CONTACT with God and making your life a daily retreat.

In 2022 my daily life will start with prayer and meditation each morning. I will sit quietly, get my mind quiet, start at the same time and be in the same location every day. This regular schedule helps us stay focused on our time with God.
The following is my plan and I hope it might be yours as well. You can use those prayers and meditations that best suit you.

1. I will read my HIGHER THOUGHTS FOR DOWN DAYS: 365 DAILY THOUGHTS AND MEDITATIONS FOR 12 STEP FELLOWSHIP GROUPS.
2. i will focus on a paragraph or two from reading our DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS MANUAL,THIRD EDITION.
3.Answer a few questions FROM THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK

Following the daily retreat I will make an entry into my Journal about any inspiring thought that I can carry with me throughout my day.
Hugh, for the fellowship

ALL DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS LITERATURE CAN BE ORDERED ONLINE FROM OUR DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS BOOKSTORE.

What is known as “the Paralysis of Analysis” was a big factor in my spiraling down into depression

I don’t know what your experience with depression might be, but it may be similar to my own. When I first became aware that I was depressed, I imagined that my wishful thinking would get me to a better place emotionally. You know, I would feel better. Wrong! In fact, the more I tried to figure out in my head what was happening to me, it seemed like the hole I was digging was getting deeper, hurtling me downward into the abyss of hopelessness. Simultaneously, my insides betrayed a foreign activity of being hollowed out, producing an anxiety in me which I can only say was a bad case of unending “jitters”.

I remember how incessant was my need to try and figure out what was happening to me. I looked back on my life’s activities previous to being locked down into this prison. I wondered why I was feeling so awful. There was no relief. I continued thinking about my life unraveling and I there wasn’t an answer available – at that time.

The more energy I gave to try and think my way out of this pain-filled darkness, the more fatigued my mind, body and spirit became. With the fatigue came a total loss of motivation.
Not only did my analyzing mind NOT provide any meaningful clues as to my situation of feeling hopeless and helpless, but I mistakenly felt that my life would never return as before. I gave up. The forever negative thinking loop became a noose around my neck – I was scared.

My analysis, my paralysis of mind, body and spirit came to an end when I joined with our fellowship of Depressed Anonymous. I moved my body and my mind followed. I didn’t want to go to meetings, talk to anyone or even try to get out of bed. Soon after, it became decision time. I had to admit that I was powerless at this time of my life, that my thinking, loopy as it was, felt like I was riding on one of those up and down carousal ponies. I was moving, but not going anywhere but down.

I never really figured out why I was depressed, only that the more I attended Depressed Anonymous meetings, read their literature (written by the depressed), I consciously became aware of a needed change in my lifestyle, the way I thought, and how my behavior might have led me down the path to where I had to admit my life was unmanageable. I sought help. I entrusted my life and decisions to a Power greater than myself and of my own understanding. By doing this, my sanity has been restored and now my life has a purpose and a meaning.

If you have been feeling the same way as I have described here, please send us an email at depanon@netpenny.net and we will help you find a way out of your depression. You can also go to the drop down MEETING menu on the homepage and discover times and places where DA meetings are being held. We hope to hear from you.

Hugh, for the fellowship

Fear

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
Frank Herbert, Dune

I recently watched the film Dune and was struck by this mantra given in the first half of the movie. Most of my fears are imaginations or are irrational. Is it rational to be afraid of being attacked by a tiger on the streets of New York City? No, that is definitely not rational. If however, I was walking in the jungles of India, at dusk, then it is a rational fear for me to have.

I must separate the rational from the irrational – the true from the imagined. If the fear is irrational then I need to focus on the reality of the present moment. Where am I? What am I feeling emotionally? Is it helpful for me to act out of that place of irrational fear? No, it is not helpful for me to act from that place of imagined fear.

What about facing rational and true fears? Courage is not having no fear, but rather facing your fear and acting anyway. If you truly do have to walk in the jungles of India at dusk, wear a backwards facing mask as that greatly diminishes the chances of a tiger attack.

Ask yourself “what can I do, in this moment, to protect myself from this true and rational fear?” Don’t give into the fear. Choose to act from a place of serenity and calm. You’ll be amazed at the results you will see.

Yours in recovery, Bill R

My word for today is “persistent”

PERSISTENT: Refusing to relent; continuing in the face of opposition, interference, etc.; stubborn, persevering.

This word has powerful ramifications for my life today. I am persistent in doing what I know is best for me. As I continue to live in the “present” moment – even though the “what if’s” cloud my mind about the past or the future. Flashbacks from past negative events and mistaken beliefs about myself are part of the opposition we face in our recovery.

I am persistent in writing in my journal about present victories, my strengths in overcoming and limiting all those negative thoughts that my internal mental critic keeps throwing at me. What persists positively is my ability to deal with the “red flags,” alerting my mind to thoughts or feelings which will immobilize me and keep me focused on the negative.

Persisting in coming to Depressed Anonymous meetings, reading the DA literature, having daily prayer and meditation time, I also persist in contacting other members of Depressed Anonymous online or by phone.

Doing some positive activity every day can become a habit, and the habit becomes an integral part of my life and behavior. Good recovery activities persist and provide hope!

Know that in our Depressed Anonymous program of recovery, it’s promised that “We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us -sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always arise if we work for them.” (Depressed Anonymous. Page.109).

I will continue to be persistent in taking care of myself today.

Hugh, for the fellowship

I can’t be held responsible for my first thought

Big news flash everyone – I have depression. Given that fact I can’t be held responsible for my first thought. My first thought more often than not is dark, depressive, critical, judgmental and self-serving. I’ve had to accept that my brain is broken and this is its default. I forgive myself for my first thought. Learn to forgive yourself for your first thought because your brain could be broken too.

Instead focus on your second thought and your first action. What am I choosing to focus on? Am I embracing an attitude of gratitude or am I stuck in a mentality of lack? You can choose what you focus on. That first thought – you are powerless over that. Let the judgment go. Am I focusing on the spiritual aspects of the program? Am I seeking a connection, a communion, with the God of my understanding? Am I choosing to be humble, or am I stuck in false pride?

Regarding my first action – am I taking one step closer to my goal of being a happy and serene person? (pardon the pun there) Or am I taking another step closer to the deep pit of depression? Am I choosing to be self-serving, or am I choosing to act in service of others? Service can be as simple as holding the door open for someone. A great way of doing service is listening to another with compassion and without judgment.

As a depressive and an addict I can’t be held responsible for my first thought. Being in recovery though means I am responsible for my second thought and my first action.

I urge you to forgive yourself for your first thought. Put focus and intention on your second thought and your first action. It will work, if you work it!

Yours in recovery, Bill R

Unhelpful Comparisons vs. Helpful Comparisons

We’ve all fallen into the trap of comparing ourselves to others. This is a losing game if there ever was one. You don’t know the struggles that the other person has gone through to get where they are now. Comparing yourself to others in an attempt to boost your own self-esteem degrades the other person’s worth. These are unhelpful forms of comparison. These forms of comparison create suffering in yourself and others.

Don’t compare your insides to somebody else’s outsides.
Slogan heard at a recovery meeting

What then is a helpful comparison (lessen the suffering in yourself and others)? The best way is to compare your current self and situation to an earlier incarnation of yourself. Have you improved or have you gotten worse over time? This is a comparison that provides you valuable information about yourself. This type comparison can show you how you have improved over time, that you are not stuck and stagnated in your present state. You do change, even if that change is slight.

To overcome the challenge of managing your depression stop comparing yourself to others and begin comparing yourself to your past self.

For further information on this please watch Dean Furness’s TED Talk To overcome challenges, stop comparing yourself to others on YouTube. https://youtu.be/IOrmS8vJDQw

Yours in recovery, Bill R

Keeping my Higher Power Highest

Throughout my life, different things have been my Higher Power.  A certain job that I loved and prioritized above all else, or the person I was dating.  When I was in active addiction, different substances were a higher power.  Before recovery, the looming black cloud of deep depression was a higher power.  

Once I got into recovery and the steps, I was encouraged to find a true Higher Power, or God of my understanding – a Power greater than myself that could restore me to sanity.  In other words, Step 2.  I can honestly say that after many months of praying and working the steps, this Power relieved me of the obsession to drink and helped me to recover from the hopeless dark pit of deep depression. 

My challenge today, now that I am not in that deep dark hole of depression, is to keep my Higher Power the highest priority in my life.  For example, I recently started a short term job in a field that I am very passionate about.  It has been very demanding and time consuming, and I’m finding that this position is consuming my thoughts, actions, and life.  When I talked to my sponsor about this, she asked “So, has this job has become your Higher Power?”  I realized she was right!  Where was God in my life?  In my thoughts?  How can I be working Step 3 if I am not cognizant of my Higher Power and turning my will and my life over to His care?  I realized this job had become my priority in life, instead of my Higher Power and my recovery.  I am grateful for this reminder, so that I can get back on track.  I know that when I don’t place my Higher Power and my recovery first in my life, I start to slip back into old thinking patterns and old behaviors, which for me will lead me back into depression. 

Thank you, God, that You are always there for me, ready and willing to help me, no matter how many times I stray.

The voice of hope

STEP ONE OF DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS
“We admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable.”

“Let’s listen now to the long-denied part of us that speaks out in favor of a change – that voice of hope that says we will feel cheerful one day. The small part of us says that we should risk going to this meeting and admit that: “Yes, I am depressed, and yes, I am going to find my way out of this prison by taking stock of my strengths and by beginning to want to hope.” You do have a choice. You can begin to let go of your fears of what life will be like without the constant gnawing feeling inside of you that produces that awful jitteriness. You will find lots of acceptance from the group as you listen to the many ways others like yourself have surrendered their problems to their Higher Power and begun to find a sense of peace and sanity that they never thought existed. The old issues in your head will whisper that there is no hope for you that no one is as badly off as you are and that nobody will want to help you as you don’t deserve anything anyway. Often these old tapes have been with us since childhood and many of our adult depressions have their roots in our childhood. Many people do not remember much of their childhood, but repressing memories does not mean that the emotions belonging to these experiences in childhood disappear.”

Depressed Anonymous, THIRD EDITION. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Kentucky. PP.33-34.

Keep your stick on the ice!

If you are a hockey player you know how important it is to keep your hockey stick on the ice. In fact this is one of the first lessons I learned when I started playing hockey. The reason was so that when a flying puck bounces around in the court and heads your way, you want to be ready. It might mean making a goal or losing a critical opportunity to score.
In Baseball we were told to “keep your eye on the ball.” Good advice. And in basketball the ball handler knows when he has a “good look” and needs to shoot the ball.
In our Twelve Step group of Depressed Anonymous, we have many short sayings like the ones mentioned that help keep us focused on our game. They are simple, direct and easy to understand. Not only do they help me continue to keep my life on track, but they also serve as “guardrails” reminding me of the various ways I can use them in my recovery. These short and pithy sayings are like my daily vitamins, providing some healthy immunity for fighting off all the negative thoughts that might be floating about in my head. What I am accomplishing by doing this simple activity is replacing a negative feeling with a pleasant one. I am replacing sunspots with darkness.
Here are some of my favorite slogans:

  • Keep It Simple
  • Take It Easy
  • One Day At A Time
  • Think
  • Easy Does It
  • Stick To The Plan
  • Let Go And Let God
  • Have A Nice Day Unless You Have Made Other Plans
  • God Is My Friend
  • All I Have Is These 24 Hours
  • This Too Shall Pass.

My advice to you is to keep your stick on the ice, get a good look, and keep your eye on the ball. You will score every time!
Have a great day!
Hugh S.