Category Archives: Higher Power

There is no spot that God is not

That is great assurance when we wonder if God is with us. Obviously, God is. And why is it obvious? Because, everywhere we look, we see th work of God’s creation. Someone once commented that there is more of God’s creative life under our feet than what surrounds us above ground. In a clod of dirt, there are billions of life forms engaged and interconnected with each other –much like any loving community.

“Good bye” is a common expression when we leave someone’s company.
Actually, the original saying was “God be with you.” WE can always appreciate that departure gift.

From my standpoint, and from my own experience, I have found the Higher Power, or God as we understand God,, manifesting itself in our group recovery program of Depressed Anonymous. I call it the “Miracle of the Group.” Most time, I find that there is more talk of God, and God’s presence in one’s life, than you could imagine.

Many times, I have heard members of our fellowship speak of how there was a “before” and “after” in their lives as they began their recovery from depression. Once they came to believe that a power greater than themselves could restore them to sanity, life began to change. Again, and not surprisingly, we personally find that “there is no spot that God is not.” The freeing spirituality of the Twelve spiritual principles of recovery, the Steps, shows how God loves us just the way we are. Even though we may feel broken and alone, when we come through the door of recovery, we gradually feel a special presence of God, surrounding us each, with it’s love, acceptance and guidance. That love and sharing creates a mutually supportive community, above and below ground.


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

For more information on ordering our literature online, please see The Depressed Anonymous Bookstore at Depressedanon.com

Acceptance that “we are partners in a common effort”

How wonderful is the feeling that we do not have to be specially distinguished among our fellows in order to be useful and profoundly happy. Not many of us can be leaders of prominence, nor do we wish to be.

Service gladly rendered, obligations squarely met, troubles well accepted, solved with God’s help, the knowledge that at home or in the world outside we are partners in a common effort, that in God’s sight all human beings are important, the proof that love freely given brings a full return, the certainty that we are no longer alone in self-constructed prisons, the surety that we can fit and belong in God’s scheme of things, these are the satisfactions of right living for which no pomp and circumstance, no heap of material possessions could possibly be substitutes.

SOURCES
The Twelve and Twelve/Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. Ny, NY.
–Quoted in DEP-ANON: A 12 Step Recovery Program for Families and Friends of the Depressed. DAP. Louisville, KY 40241. Pages 14-15.

Lois, wanted to get rid of her pain

“It was December of 1992 that I made that decision. I know that I was powerless over depression and that my life had become unmanageable. I was willing g to do anything that Depressed Anonymous offered. I wanted to get rid of the pain. If Depressed Anonymous had told me that I would get well if I stood on my head three times a day, I would have done it. Daily, I read from the book and consciously worked the Twelve Steps. I worked them one Step at a time, from Step One through Step Twelve. Working the Steps to me meant posting the Step I was working on and consciously pondering it throughout the day.”

Our friend and member of our fellowship, Lois, continues to share with us her story and her experiences as a member of Depressed Anonymous.

“I no longer experience those black, bleak, and hopeless periods. My life is joyful. Then why do I continue to go to Depressed Anonymous meetings five years later? The Twelfth Step of this program “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to the depressed, and to practice these principle in all of our affairs.” I am so grateful to Depressed Anonymous that I want to be there for those who are still suffering.
The final situation that brought me to my knees and to Depressed Anonymous has not improved. In fact, it appears to be deteriorating. Our book tells us(in the section which discusses Step Six) that many would no longer express themselves if they could be sure there wouldn’t be any more pain. No one can be promised a bed of roses without pain.

Today I view the situation as ‘unfolding’ and my spiritual journey is unfolding with it. My Higher Power is in charge.”


Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous (2011) 3RD EDITION. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY Pages 110-111. Personal Stories.

All Depressed Anonymous publications can be ordered online. Check our our Depressed Anonymous Bookstore at Depressedanon.com.

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!