Category Archives: Higher Power

Sharing a part of my Step Eight

When I first joined DA, it was such a relief to find others going through similar challenges with depression. I was also very hungry for concrete solutions; what can I actually do to feel better? I came to find out that some things worked, and some didn’t work for others. Everyone’s journey is different. As I attended the daily DA meetings, I learned to take what I needed and to leave the rest.

Today, as I worked on Step Eight in my workbook, I was able to answer some questions that really put my recovery in action. This plan of action worked for me; it may not work for you. I wanted to share it just in case it could speak to just one other person.

The questions were, “List the ways that keep you Saddicted”, and “List the activities/ways that can free you from your depression addiction”. As I listed all the negative ways I think and treat myself, I was also able to come up with the solutions.

1. Isolation – Ignoring people and responsibilities. <Solution: Reaching out – Calling someone from the program to get out of my own head.>

2. Distraction – Getting sucked into video games or TV shows to run away from my thoughts and symptoms of depression. <Solution: Using distractions as mini-breaks – It’s OK to take a step back sometimes, as long as I am being mindful of the time spent.>

3. Negative thoughts – Thinking about the worst case scenario and running through them in my mind all day. <Solution: Staying present and having thoughts that are relevant to what I am doing NOW.>

4. Finding my faults in everything – I somehow find ways to make everything my own fault, and using that to hurt myself with blame and shame. <Solution: Finding my part in successes – Thinking more about the things that have worked out for me and seeing my part in it.>

5. Over planning – Planning to do an unrealistic amount of things throughout the day, that when I don’t or can’t complete them all I feel guilty and ashamed and like a failure. <Solution: NOT planning, and constantly making it a point to connect with my HP when I find myself not knowing what the next right thing to do is, or if I am unable to do the next right thing.>

6. Thinking about too many things at the same time to overwhelm myself to the point where I feel like I have no choice but to tun to taking depressive actions. <Solution: Thinking about one thing at a time – mainly what is happening at the present moment ONLY, and fighting the urge to think about the past or the future.>

7. Feeling guilty about doing things I enjoy when I have other responsibilities that need to be completed. <Solution: Trying to not feel guilty about anything – because if I am mindful and keep my connection with my HP, everything I do is justified. Being kind to myself because that is exactly what I needed to do at the very moment in time.>

I love working the steps because it helps me reach concrete solutions. I feel that I am done living the reactive life. With DA, I have the freedom to choose joyful and compassionate actions. I still struggle sometimes, but I find that I am reacting less and have moments where the choices are clear. Whether I choose the right one or not is still up to me, but with the help of this program and my fellows I am finding that I am free to make the choices I need to make, one day at a time.

 

Skate to where the puck’s going, not to where it’s been. – Wayne Gretzky

For a world renowned hockey player, Wayne Gretzky, knows what he is talking about. Isn’t it true that when we spend all our time trying to figure out why we are depressed, isolating ourselves, and our mind beating ourselves up, we dig that dark hole deeper.

It’s become obvious to most of us who are in recovery, that we do best when we have a workable plan. We believe that our plan, when lived out in our daily regular routines, will take us to where we want to go. Our plan has a definite focus.

First, let’s figure out who we are. That’s our starting point. To find out who we are can gradually lead us to another important question, what do I want? And finally, who is my God, or my Higher Power.

Today, I am going to attend an important meeting. I am going to meet some new people, plus many old friends and acquaintances, and hearing some great thoughts from those who know where they have been and are now discovering where this plan is taking them on the road to recovery.

I know where I have been. I was depressed. The meeting today is for me, and for those who are depressed now, and those who are discovering and sharing how this 12 Step plan of recovery is working for them. We call this plan, Depressed Anonymous, initially based on the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step model of recovery for the alcoholic. Even though depressed, we find that the 12 spiritual principles, the steps of recovery, work equally well for us.

Now that I admitted to who I am, my response to the healing ways, provided by my fellowship and the positive Depressed Anonymous literature, I continue to live a daily life, with hope and support. Now, when I get out of bed in the morning I look forward to living my life on life’s terms – not on my terms. Life is good.

I want what I find in my new discovery of a spiritual program, filling me with hope, acceptance. My program of recovery gives me the motivation to maintain a new way of living, filled with a purpose and meaning. I know that I am finally getting what I always wanted, peace, a plan for keeping my focus on where my life is going, not in the negativity and darkness of the past, not only threatened my mental wellness and relationships, but for some, their very lives.

My God? Now, I have a God that I know loves me, supports me in my new life, my new direction. What used to send my feelings and thinking into a spiraling downward, into a deep sadness, but now, since I have ‘made a decision to turn my will and life over to the care of God as I understood God to be’, my life keeps getting better. For that and this program of recovery, I am grateful. (Step 3).

Resource:

Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, THIRD EDITION. 2011. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.

Freedom talks. We listen!

To attend a 12 step meeting is to hear freedom talk. Freedom has many voices for the many, those who are willing to listen.

It is the nature of this fellowship, the 12 Step group of Depressed Anonymous and other 12 Step programs of recovery, that when attending meetings I hear members share their victories over depression, with accounts of personal struggles, and gradually freeing themselves from the bondage of depression.

In the Promises of Recovery in Depressed Anonymous,
We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us, sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly They will always materialize if we work for them.
Depressed Anonymous © Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY

Even though, personal freedom from the tight grip of depression doesn’t happen overnight–it does eventually happen. I am now speaking from my own experience. And since we all have different experiences with the 12 Steps, the results are the same. A lightness of mood, a spirited energy comes into our minds, hearts and body. We begin to thrive.

My own freedom was the result of a simple belief, that a Power greater than myself could release me from my prison of depression. I learned that if we wanted to get out of the hole of depression, we needed to stop digging. That made sense to me. In our fellowship, where freedom speaks, that by listening to the stories of others in the group, and others listening to my story, gave me the incentive to keep coming back to the meetings. I found I am now living with a new hope, without old fears, anxieties, crippling my motivation to grow and thrive.

Now, I speak about my freedom from the past, no longer dwelling on old negative compulsions which once defeated me.
Today, and with each new day, I listen to the loving spirit inside of me, operating within my group, and to all those who speak of their life within a loving community, Depressed Anonymous. Will you join us today?

There is a daily DA online International VIRTUAL ZOOM meeting and to find how to get there, please click onto the HOMEPAGE MENU, MEETINGS and you will be linked to the Journeys of Hope online meeting. Hope to see you at a meeting!

Thank you,
for the fellowship.
Hugh S.

Do I have to do the work of Recovery?

The short answer is NO you do not have to do the work of recovery.

Recovery is about having a choice. A choice to do things differently. I can continue to act, think, and talk in the ways that I have done in the past, but chances are the outcome will be the same.

If I do what I always did, I will get what I always got.
– A slogan heard in a 12 Step recovery meeting

I can choose to stay in stinking thinking. I can choose to continue to look to blame others for my depression and my situation. A far healthier choice though is to accept and take ownership of my part in my depression. There are things, small or large, that I can do, think or say that perpetuate my depression. That is what is meant by saddening yourself.

Taking ownership of your own stuff is hard to do. There is no denying it. But sadly, it is the only way out. I need to accept that my best thinking got me into the depths of my depression. Continuing on with doing it my way is a recipe for disaster.

I have a choice. I choose to do the work of recovery. Not because it is easy, but rather because it is what will bring about healing in my life. There is a saying in Buddhist circles – trying to calm the monkey mind. My mind is fraught with negativity, anger, fear, and self-loathing. I need to walk on a higher path. I need to go the way of recovery. I need to take the pathway where God walks.

The trick is that I don’t have to – I get to choose a better healthier way.

You too can choose to take the higher road. Good luck!

Yours in recovery,
Bill R

Time to plant

To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.
– Audrey Hepburn

Submitted by Robin R.

I might not be planting a garden but I am watching the seed of my faith, service to others, grow as part of my next 24 hours. My efforts to be there for others has a relationship to how I am there for myself. I watch how I can thrive emotionally and spiritually when I believe in a power greater than myself. It is a known fact that when a person has a belief in some higher power, some purpose for living, it usually is due to a belief, that “there is a God and it’s not me.”

I believe in a tomorrow. I believe in living one day at a time. I also believe in keeping my life simple. I try and do the next right thing. As best I can I try to do what needs to be done. I try and do the possible. I have learned that trying to do the impossible, takes a little more time.

I want to live in peace with my neighbor. Treat others as I would like to be treated. Pretty simple and basic stuff. Agree?
I also believe in consequences for what I do or not do in this life. And, do I try and love my neighbor as myself. Yes.

As Bill W., a co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, left the hospital room of Dr. Bob, he heard Dr. Bob tell him, “Bill, keep it simple.”
It’s not that complicated. Though it does take work. Much like “weeding” the garden.

Life is a Symphony

Sometimes, I am plagued with thoughts like, “what is the point?” or “what is this going to change anything anyway?” which leads me to doing nothing at all and just wallowing in my own sadness.  I was having one of those days that I am so familiar with, just to feel safe. But because of this program, I decided to do one thing that brings me joy; playing the flute.

As I played, it reminded me of the joy of being a part of a symphony. To be one part of a whole, even through the secondary melodies and many minutes of rests as the other instruments exploded in their grandeur, being swept away when I harmonized with another or sat in silence waiting for the entrance of my own instrument…

Before recovery, I was the conductor of the symphony of my life. It consisted of a jumble of solos as I reached for the next quick fix that would keep the music going for just another second longer. Now that I am in recovery, I have stepped down from the role, and let my Higher Power do my job. The God of my understanding knows and is capable of actually leading all parts of my life, and will never quit on my musical masterpiece. The 12-steps was my leap of faith to put my trust in God, and now I don’t question why I must play this inaudible sound, because I am not in charge anymore.

My happiness is a beautiful melody and it consists of many tiny sounds and noises. I don’t have to understand to partake in it anymore. I just have to do what I have to do, one day, one hour, one second at a time, and be joyous about making that one part of a whole happen.

I am humbled by this program after being helped so many times, and I am still learning new things every day from my fellows. I am filled with gratitude to be a part of this DA symphony, with all of our strengths and weaknesses, coming together, playing the most serene music I have ever heard.

Yours in Recovery,

Anna T

Spiritual Malady: A spiritual unmanageability.

I have seen so many people come into the meeting rooms over my 25 years of attending 12 step meetings and they stay for a few weeks, a few months, even a few years and they leave. Then they come back and leave again. A few months or years pass by and they come stumbling back to the meeting rooms, tired, exhausted, sick of life, and desperate, in need of help and support. I have also seen people who are consistent with meetings fall into the Spiritual Malady trap. The “syndrome” or repetitive pattern, is truly an indication of a “self will run life.” In other words, I got it all together now and I don’t need this mess anymore. God and these amateurs are wasting my time talking, so I am not coming back. I can figure out my life without any one’s help or shared wisdom! That includes God’s help! Thank you very much! Guess what? That was me! I was the ‘self will run life’ works better than the 12 steps for me.” I went several years, where I stopped attending meetings. I was just too busy. We had finally achieved our goals in our life financially, so I didn’t need the support group, of any kind I thought! I didn’t realize until years later how the support groups and meetings could have helped me greatly through those years! A spiritual malady formed inside of us when we place God on the back burner or up on a shelf. All the while, going on with our life and problems in full force with little or need of spiritual guidance from the Great Creator. We soon come to realize we are in a mental and spiritual sickness. We are running as fast as we can. We are making flipped decisions for our life that had requirement and seeking consent from God. We are on the fast track and there seems to be so many problems and situations that we have to fix them right now. Thus a Spiritual Malady develops. A Spiritual Malady on its most basic level, is spiritual unmanageability. It has taken loose and ran on its own. It’s a horse with out the cart! Without higher guidance or wisdom, we’re just making life decisions like water poring out of the spout! Thoughts are spouting out of our mouths without any self-care as to the consequences! This is a Spiritual Malady and most often wreaks havoc in our life. The fastest and best way to pull out of this self-will-run-riot is Step 3. It will take us there every time. The daily taking of Step 3 prayer cannot be overemphasized to protect us from a Spiritual Malady. It assures us, that a Higher Power is in charge over our life every single morning. We have asked God to take the reins and guide us today. When we take Step 3 every day it is very hard to fall into that worldly Spiritual Malady.

-Debra, NC
Copyright(c) Debra Sanford. A Medley of Depression Stories. (2017). pp. 15-17. ( Used with permission). This work can be ordered online from Amazon.com/books. We recommend it!

Motivation follows action

I find that if I am depressed and want to start to feel better, or at least get my mind off depression, I need to go for a walk and get moving. In DA we say that MOTIVATION FOLLOWS ACTION. WHAT THIS MEANS IS THAT YOU’LL NEVER GET MOTIVATED til YOU GET BUSY DOING SOMETHING. This was my feeling much of the Time. It was only when I actually started walking that I wanted to walk. I didn’t want to do anything to help myself. I didn’t want to do anything to help myself until I forced myself to do something.

I believer much of one’s tiredness, when depressed comes from having too many things going through one’s brain at the same time. The strain of being overwhelmed is too much for the human mind and so it and the body begin to show the stress. I also believe that so many unpleasant emotions constantly coming to surface and being felt by the body results in an overload situation for my brain.

COMMENT
The best way to get into action is to get into action. I know this is so obvious–but when the time comes for me to actually do something–that is a different story. Then my mantra becomes “I’ll do it when I feel better,” and course this doesn’t get me out of bed. This doesn’t get me walking. Instead, what happens, is that my thinking gets caught in that neural rut, much like a merry-go-round. Round and round we go. Nothing ever changes.

Tell yourself that this day is going to be different .Make a commitment to yourself today! Make up your mind that you are not going to ride the merry-go-round horse today.You are going to start small. Take the “baby steps” that just might push you out the door and put some fresh air into your lungs. MOTIVATION FOLLOWS ACTION. Check it out. See, for yourself if this doesn’t work for you.

Copyright(c) Hugh Smith. Higher Thoughts for Down Days:365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY January 24, p.15.

The three questions I need to answer

I have learnt that in order to do any sort of recovery, there are three questions I need to answer. Basically, the three questions are simple in nature and not complicated.

When the Depressed Anonymous Workbook was being considered for publication and to be utilized as a critical piece of the recovery process, the Workbook was the other piece amplifying the message of the Depressed Anonymous Manual. As I began to use the Workbook, I had to reflect upon my own feelings of depression, clarifying the effects of sadness in my life. Also, I am poised to examine my relationships with family, friends and others with whom I was in contact over the years of my life. It is in the circle of these friendship and relationships that my life has been lived. We don’t live as hermits.

I guarantee that you will find a plethora of information about who you are, and how you think about yourself. Your response to so many situations that have brought you to the point where you are today. I believe, having gone through the Workbook myself, question by question and chapter by chapter with those with whom I served as a co-sponsor. I am amazed at the self-awareness that is stimulated for so many of us when we put our energies into this personal and unique process of gaining a new self-awareness of the real me. Many are surprised at the Workbook questions and one’s own responses which the questions elicited from us. The whole Workbook/Manual helps each of us face the real me and not the person whom you believed you were. So many times I find the person going through the Steps, gradually replaces mistaken beliefs about themselves, while Slowly coming into contact with the “real” and not the “false” self that others have wanted us to be, even from our earliest childhood days. Now, by finding answers to questions which were never asked and if they were asked, were not much help. Not that we didn’t want to share, but that we didn’t have an answer. Now, we not only are providing answers about who we are, we also are finding ourselves empowered as we continue to empower ourselves with the right to feel, think, and behave in ways that fits who we know we are. The three questions and their answers are unlocking those of us who were in “lockdown” but now are free.

Here are those three questions that you will be answering, at your own speed, in your own time, in more depth, as you’ve move through the Workbook.

  1. Who am I?
  2. What do I want?
  3. And who is my God?

If I am depressed or a loved one is depressed-the depression doesn’t define all that I am. Even though I may feel depressed all over- this can’t define all that I am. Just as someone who has an eating disorder – this eating disorder doesn’t define their whole person, just as being an alcoholic doesn’t define the whole total person. We might call someone an alcoholic or an addict but the label never defines the whole person.

If you are in a recovery program, such as Depressed Anonymous, it’s obvious that you are seeking help to find a way out of the prison of your own depression. The Workbook will provide you with many questions, and answers, (many your own) to help you find what you REALLY want for your life. The entire Workbook is a process of turning over each and every rock of sadness and gradually provide you with the tools, the support and the faith to overcome a life built on fear, anxiety and misery. You have the solution with credible answers that can and will provide you with a way out – the problem is no one ever told you that you have a choice or gave you the tools to gradually work your way out.

Hugh S., for the fellowship

RESOURCES
© The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.
© Depressed Anonymous, Third Edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.

Both of these books can be ordered from the Depressed Anonymous Publications website Bookstore @depressedanon.com
These two book can be purchased as a combo editions at a reduced price. They are also available as eBOOKS, and are less expensive as you have the ability to print them on your computer.

Statement
All books sold here on our website, the monies go back into buying more books, so as to keep our organization functioning. All work is done by Depressed Anonymous member’s service work. WE receive no outside help as we are self-supporting.

Stick to the plan. A prescription for change today.

It took me awhile to put into practice a simple idea. That idea is to do the same thing, day after day, in the same place and at the same time. If you have trouble following through on ideas or commitments, then you might feel better about reading the next few paragraphs.

With different situations in my life, some upheavals, some turning points, changes in my life goals, plus trying to do to much at the same time. It was somehow never easy to do what I knew needed to be dome. I used as my mantra “I’ll do it when I feel better.” In fact, this idea seemed to express perfectly, what I was doing, so I titled one of my books after it. Gradually, procrastination, I sensed, would not fit into my recovery program. I had put off for too long to knuckle down and start to do the work that I needed to do.

Here is my plan. I know it can work for you as well. There is no particular time limit on how long your prayer time is to be.

1. Everyday, I have found that morning works for me, I go to the quiet place that is best for my time alone with God, and start with a daily reading of Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for 12 Step Fellowships. This reading begins with an Affirmation, then a reflection, and a final meditation. I have my notebook handy and I write down a positive thought that I want to carry me through my day. Most of the time this is a simple single sentence.

2. I then read and reflect on a paragraph or two from our Depressed Anonymous manual.This is coupled with the accompanying Depressed Anonymous Workbook, where personal reflections, in the form of questions, help me clarify how I think about myself. These questions continue to uncover issues which I might have never encountered, becoming the positive basic building blocks, helping with an understanding of the nature of my own depression experience, and developing in myself strategies, the 12 spiritual principles of growth, for my personal recovery, day-by-day.

It’s not complicated. It’s a plan. This time of prayer and meditation is a powerful way to make “conscious contact” with the God of your understanding. (Check out Chapter 10 in “I’ll do it when I feel better.” This chapter discusses more fully the topic of prayer and meditation.

Resources

(c)Hugh Smith. Higher Thoughts for Down Days:365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky.
(c) Depressed Anonymous, THIRD EDITION (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY
(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications.Louisville, Ky.
(C)Hugh Smith. I’ll do it when I feel better. (2020) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky.

+ These works can by ordered online at www.Depressedanon.com. Click onto The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore.