Category Archives: Higher Power

THE BRIGHT LIGHT OF HOPE

If we have worked the 12 Steps on a daily basis, we now realize the value 0f surrender and the power that releases in us, just by making a decision in Step Three to “turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understand God”is the beginning of reconnection with life and ourselves. It is in the group that the depressed person begins trusting their members where they have admitted that their lives are unmanageable, and that they have made a conscious decision to turn their lives over to God, or the Higher Power.The Twelve Step program helps people to become God conscious. It is in working the program while making no excuses for the spiritual nature of our recovery,we can begin to attribute our new-found sense of hope and peace to the Higher Power. For the active member of Depressed Anonymous there begins to glimmer in the distance, the bright light of hope.
Submitted by JANET M.

Motivation Follows Action

AFFIRMATION
I promise to do something positive for myself today.
“When you are depressed you are plagued by tiredness. Indeed, there are many people who experience the major portion of their depression in tiredness.”

Copyright(c) Dorothy Rowe. Breaking the Bonds, Fontana. 1981.

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

I believe that 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 brain and so it and the body begin to show the signs of stress. I also believe that so many unpleasant emotions constantly coming to surface and being felt by the body results in an overload situation in my brain.

Copyright(c) Dorothy Rowe, Breaking the Bounds. Fontana. 1981


QUOTE FROM:
Hug Smith. HIGHER THOUGHTS FOR DOWN DAYS. DAP. LOUISVILLE, KY. 2005 (January 24) Pg.15.

What’s up with the use of the word God?

To me the word God is just a placeholder for the concept of Higher Power.

Imagine for a moment if you had to describe the interior of where you live and you could not use any of the noun names for the items in your living space: table, chair, carpet, cabinet, bed, sofa, sink, toilet, tub. You would need to describe each of these items in excruciating detail to convey their meaning. We don’t do that however. If we use the generic term chair that can be used to label any object that you can sit upon whether it is made of wood, stone, metal, plastic. Whether it is coated in fabric or not. No matter the color. You can understand the concept of chair and you can find items in your surroundings that match the concept of chair.

The term God is just like the term chairit’s just a label. Try not to be so fixed in your judgment that chairs can only be made of wood. God comes in many different forms. The Great Divine is a multifaceted jewel and we only can see one facet of the jewel at a time.

The Tao that can be named is not the eternal Tao. – First chapter of Tao Te Ching, Lao Tszu

God is bigger than any box you try to put Him in.

That is just my limited understanding of God. I know there is a Higher Power and I am not that Higher Power. Whatever understanding I do have is finite and is filtered through my limited human ability to perceive.

Yours in recovery, Bill R

My mind has a mind of its own

One of our family’s favorite camping areas, is a small park that provides many positive experiences for those who love the outdoors. In fact, just the name of the park, brings to mind the days of the past. The park’s name, Buffalo Trace, let us know that thousands of buffalo roamed through this area, years ago, following a beaten path, that led to the open plains of the Dakotas. Even today, there is a physical trace of the path that once saw the presence of these large and majestic animals, crossing the continent of the United States.

Just like the physical trace of those many buffalo, moving along their annual travels, our human brain also creates familiar mind paths. All living beings are creatures of habit.

For example, because of a construction detour, I was forced to take a different route home from work. Guess what happens? My mind’s GPS is confused, everything looks different. Our mental map has changed. This new route to get home, has now been turned into a labyrinth, making a familiar way to return home, now becomes a major problem.

I like to think of our mind as the executor of various tasks, mental, emotional and physical, motivating us to accomplish the need at hand. But, if the human mind, continues to bombard us with those negative thoughts telling us how worthless and hopeless we are, over time, it becomes a veritable impossibility to make a change. Our continued negative thinking, has created a pattern of thinking about ourselves, which holds no hope for change. It is like our mind has created a neurological rut, where the mind has no choice but to stay the course. That is, to stay in the rut, to stay depressed, as there is no way out.

For any of us, to even think of changing one’s mind and behavior, can in itself, be frightening. The motivation and energy needed to change is no longer available. To change our hopeless thinking has reduced us to feel like a robot, losing our autonomy and all formerly meaningful relationships. A false belief has been created in our mind that there is no way out. We begin spiraling downward into that abyss of darkness and annihilation.

What we are describing here is a metaphor for all addictions, be that of a mind altering drug or a process addiction where the mind follows a thinking pattern, which fills our mind with painful thoughts, that we are hopeless, unacceptable to ourselves and others. We are initially unaware that this negative and self-bashing addictive form of thinking and feeling, is potentially a life threatening trap. This mind of our own, which now has become our misguided fellow traveler, tells us there is no hope and that we are powerless! We take this as a truth. We now feel like the hole in the doughnut. Empty, alone, and living as a prisoner of one’s own mind.

So, our mind does have a mind of its own, and when it veers off the path of sanity, of honesty and a willingness to want to change, we discover sadly that we have been led to a place where thriving is not a personal option. The good news for us is that my mind can choose a road that provides freedom and restoration. In time, and with help, I have come to the absolute truth, that our minds do have a mind of their own. I am grateful that I have made the right choice–a choice that says, “I Came to believe that a power, (an eternal MIND) greater than ourselves, that could restore us to sanity.”

“Hope is the oxygen for the soul.”

Hugh S., for the fellowship.

Please join with us at our daily program of recovery at: depressdanon.com. You will be happy that you made the right choice!

When you’re depressed all you’re interested in is survival – Dorothy Rowe

 

THE ORIGINS of MISTRUST

I want to share with you how Dr. Fitzgibbons, a psychiatrist, provides examples how our lack of trust can originate in early childhood. Patterns of isolating behavior and negative thinking, grow strong in a home environment where the child is not loved and nurtured.

Dr. Fitzgibbobs, tells us “that the seedbed of mistrust resides in childhood. Many times this lack of trust, of others and ourselves and the world around us, may have begun with the loss of a parent, sister, brother, or a close friend. A serious illness in a parent, sibling or oneself can be the cause of depression. Many times mistrust comes about because of an alcoholic parent so that a child never knows if a drunken loved one is coming home, or in an angry drunken stupor. Anger and rejection by caregivers and/or peers can also have an effect on the ability to trust. Parental divorce or separation can have an effect on a child. Also a cold distant, and unloving parent can have a negative effect on a child. Add to this, a legacy of mistrust and fear in the family will negatively influence a child. Finally, poverty may also be a cause of mistrust”

Brenda, (not her real name ) shares with us some of her own story:

” I have often reflected on how a lack of trust in myself and in others, had a crippling effect on my early childhood development. It was only until I began examining my own childhood, later in life, that I discovered reasons for my mistrust of others. I accomplished these discoveries by getting in touch with those early negative feelings that constantly bombarded my everyday thinking. Most of these early feelings remained unconscious and hidden, until I started to examine my childhood relationships, especially with those significant others who were my caregivers. ”

By utilizing the Depressed Anonymous Workbook with its’ 12 STEP COMMENTARY, and questions, directed toward one’s early life experiences, special attention was centered on those caregivers and significant others in one’s family, who, charged with caregiving, to provide the child with the love that a child deserves. For many children, who grew up in a home environment, filled with anger, parental arguing, and violence, made it impossible for a child to defend themselves against such abuse, including mental, sexual, and physical abuse. Some children create fantasy worlds, some with imaginary friends, with whom they can confide in and feel secure in a home environment where chaos reigns.

In our Depressed Anonymous fellowship, we can begin to open up to group members, giving us that opportunity to share and trust,\

others, who are like ourselves. We happily discovered that we are now no longer alone. Most of us come to our program of recovery, looking to find help, and that welcome relief from the daily crippling burden of depression, which has forced us to isolate from others, believing that we are not good enough.

Earlier, Dr, Fitzgibbons has listed some of the major causes of our childhood depression, and we can resonate with them within our hearts and minds. And in your moments of personal quiet and reflection, celebrate who you are and not who others say you are.

So get a notebook, and begin to write down your answers to those questions in the DA Workbook, which hold meaning for your own personal life and recovery, to which you can relate. Share your DA Workbook with your therapist, sponsor or friends in Depressed Anonymous at the ZOOM meetings online, and/or face to face meetings.

So now, not only will you be a survivor, you will no longer be a victim of those circumstances, which made you believe that you were worthless, unlovable and unacceptable. Progress, not perfection.

By completing my Fourth Step inventory, it became possible to uncover those areas of my early life which made trusting an impossibility. As mentioned earlier, and later into my early adult life, it was my own spiraling downward, into the darkness of depression, the only thing that I could think of was my survival. I was desperate to stop the descent into the darkness and physical pain. I knew that I must get active, preventing my paralyzing desire to take comfort in sleep and shut out the world.

My life is very different now. I continue to take inverntory of my life on a daily basis and I finally believe in myself and the Higher Power that has helped me believe that I have a purpose and a meaning for my life. I also believe in a power that is greater than myself and who continually leads me, everyday, on this wonderful journey of hope! Progress and not perfection.

TRUST IS A FEELING OF BEING SAFE IN RELATIONSHIPS AND IN LIFE.

HUGH S., FOR THE FELLOWSHIP

As I understand God

Does God forbid me to go out into the sunshine so as to overcome my addiction? He obviously doesn’t.

Does God advise me to go out into the sunshine to overcome my addiction? He does.

Does God MAKE me (= moves my two feet) go out into the sunshine so as to quit addiction? No, he doesn’t.

In other words, God asks me to do things. He will  not raise a hand and physically punish me. I had to reach the age of 11 to come to terms with that.

God wants my good.  He tells me how to reach goodness.  He knows that throughout  not  abiding his advice and even his commands I will be unhappy.  It is I who have the physical tools.

Even the 10 Commandments are nothing but words.

In  fellowship,
Bernard

Summertime and the living is ………

Happy June, companions of my heart!

How joyous am I to share my DA recovery here with all of you!!  I know that Summer is a time to be a little laid-back, to take it just a little easy.  Oh I do so love losing all those layers, the hats, gloves, and all that jazzzzzz…..  Yes, Summer is my lovely season, and recovery is my day-by-day diary.

Recovery, that one-day-at-a-time recovery is like a Lady Justice, blind-folded and at the ready for every new day’s work and wonders.   And although I may be or feel “blind-folded,”  because of this Spiritual Program, the sponsors, the meetings, the Co-Sponsor Step Study groups, all the tools and the brilliant, informative, transformative readings and interchanges, I am not blind-sided.  I will repeat that:  I am not blind-sided.

For me, the crux is the Steps and sharing my recovery with all of you.  I feel/know I am not only not alone, it is not me and my Higher Power  but me, HP, and all of you:    God as You: the most sincere, authentic, heart-felt, hard-working recovering brothers and sisters ever.  With complete earnest I say that I can be glad of my depression because without it, I would never have known this remedy:  your kindness, your perception, your  care.  I would never have traded roads from in-the-dark  diminutive,  to in-the-light expansive.  I am truly blessed.  The promises are my anchor and you all are my buoy.  Thank you for this exquisite fellowship, your love, your light, your caring. I will be holding your hands in my heart until we meet again.

Doreen from Boston.

“…like all attempts t o do anything “absolutely” are ultimately doomed.”

The Three Layers of Attachment

“…theologian Mary Reuther and the spiritual director Richard Rohr, echo Pascal’s triple abyss in their analysis of the attachments that undermine our “spirituality.” Both Rohr and Reuther emphasize the psychological and emotional attachments that can devestate our spiritual lives, making their point that “attachment” does not have to be to material things to be spiritually destuctive.

Reuther suggests three layers of attachment that need to be peeled back sequentially, like an onion. First, we need to become detached from material gain, second from self-importance, and third from the urge to dominate others. Only through this process of stripping away these attachments, she writes, can we lay claim to spiritual progress.

Rohr uses a language more familiar to those steeped in twelve Step spirituality. In an article on A.A.’s Third Step he counsels that spirituality involves the “letting go” of three needs, the need to be in control, the need to be effective, and the need to be right. For Alcoholics( as well as the depressed) in early sobriety, the last point may be the most important, for attachment from the need to be right, surrender of the “demand to have the last word.”

“…release flows from the understanding that all absolute attempts to control our own destiny–like all attempts to do anything “absolutely” are ultimately doomed, for inevitably we will come up against something we cannot control. The attempt to control the future and the demand to be in charge of everything in our lives, sentences us to a daily existence obsessed with life numbing worry.”


This article, excerpted from the “Spirituality of Imperfection: Storytelling and the Journey to Wholemess”. Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham. Bantam Books.1994. NY. Page 172-173.

Published by THE ANTIDEPRESSANT TABLET. Volume 10 Issues 3 & 4 SUMMER/FALL 1999.

Being Addicted to the Outcome

“Being addicted to the outcome I came to realize after deep examination of my character defects that I am still being addicted to the outcome of situations in my life. Which means I am trying with all my might to control the outcome. I don’t want to accept what God has planned for my outcome in certain situations. I want to steer the situation and control iT into my absolute vision of what I want and needed it to be. My addiction here is the projected outcome of the situation. My character defect is control. Control is a very hard character defect to change and one that I strongly believe needs God’s help to see it clearly and be granted the willingness to change it. Most humans want and deeply desire control of something in their life, so much so, that they would do anything to sway the matter, thus control things deeply to obtain their desired outcome. But there is another serious character defect in this equation. Far more important to examine than our desired outcome to the point of being controlling. This is an amazing spiritual arrogance that we know better, than the highest power knows, what is the right and proper outcome for us. But there is another serious character defect in this equation. Far more important to examine than our desired outcome to the point of being controlling. This is an amazing spiritual arrogance that we know better than the highest power knows what is the right and proper outcome for us. We are essentially saying we don’t believe your outcome, God. We don’t believe you could possibly be as good and perfect as are our chosen outcomes. This is a serious mistrusting of God.

The next thing we must look at is acceptance. Because once we are able to let go of the strongly desired outcome, which we are addicted to, we must stop and allow ourselves to accept whatever God has lined up for the outcome. This is sometimes difficult. It takes a good close walk with our higher power every single day, which is exactly what develops the needed trust in God. Once we begin to move into a place where we accept that our higher power loves us and wants good things for us, it then becomes easier to let go and let God in all the outcomes. This is where the step 3 prayer, taken every day, is so helpful with acceptance of God’s will in our life, instead of our own will and dominating the outcome that we insist upon. We can’t possibly know more than God, so who are we to think that we know exactly what the outcome should be to the situation days from now. How arrogant to think that we know everything. Letting go and letting God and acceptance, are the keys to the overcoming of the defects of control and arrogance.”

Debra C. NC


Copyright(c) Debra Sanford. A Medley of Depression Stories. #35. Pages91-92.(First Edition) 2017. ISBN 978-197 4499601. This book can be purchased at Amazon.com.