Category Archives: Positivity

Mother’s intuition

We all have experienced our mother’s intuition, especially as children. They always had the ability to take one look at us and sensing that we had been up to something. That something was more in the line of a Dennis the Menace something. You know, the kind of look that messaged “Yea, Mom, I did break that antique vase given to you by the President.”

In our 12-step program of recovery, we read the Promises of AA at all our meetings. And of the thirteen lines or so, there is one of the Promises that I have been thinking about this past week. A member of Depressed Anonymous and I have been sharing our thoughts with each other about these Promises. Here is the sentence that I find to be full of hope for our recovery. “We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.”

The dictionary defines intuition as “The direct knowing or learning of something without the conscious use of reasoning: immediate apprehension or understanding.”

It has taken me some years to realize, without even thinking about it, that there was something that really baffled me, was powerful and cunning. I am not talking just about abusing alcohol, even though the three words apply to addictive drinking, and how the thought to drink suddenly popped into my mind and I thought one drink wouldn’t hurt. The one drink did matter.

Now that I have been in recovery, I have learned that there is such a thing as “red flags” which automatically pop up in my mind and my thinking starts to slide down into that slippery slope which always brings my mood down and my feelings aching. In the past I could not stop these thoughts from pulling me downward. Now, I get “red flags” warning me. intuitively, that no good is going to come from going down this path.

Like any addiction, which once enslaved us, the thinking, as messed up as it was, suddenly threw me down and put the shackles on my mind.

Now I intuitively know, recognize, that I will not be overpowered, or let these old tapes, old playbills, take over my mind, my body, and soul. When the old deadly thoughts come knocking at my door, I know, no heavy-duty thinking, no conscious reasoning about what is available, I just know. DON’T GO THERE!

I do know this for a fact when an addictive thought starts to take me to where I know I cannot go, I have enough warning now, a “red flag”, where I don’t even have to think of the consequences–I intuitively know that there will be hell to pay if I start to go through the “should I” or “shouldn’t I” internal dialogue.

Hugh

To keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insanity

Maybe and maybe not! We use this slogan many times in our recovery groups, thinking the statement to be true. For example, to keep missing our recovery meetings week after week may result in a possible relapse. I believe this to be true! Insane? It is definitely not helpful when one is trying to find sobriety or a way out of their depression

For the depressed to isolate oneself from family, friends and the world, is to gradually move self into a deepened mood of sadness and ultimately depression. The isolation is not going to defend the individual from depression but is only going to make it worse.

To look at the slogan from another angle is to find that the statement is false. In fact, to keep going to meetings week after week or more often is doing the same thing – expecting different results. By doing the same thing over and over again, in this case, the different results are a strengthened recovery with hopefulness coupled with serenity.

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.

I will keep physically fit. Exercise is my priority now!

MOTIVATION FOLLOWS ACTION

AFFIRMATION
I promise myself that I will walk today to regain a positive feeling about myself and my world.
Keep physically fit. It is a must for us who are and have been depressed. Walking not only restore harmony to the body, it likewise restores my self-esteem and self confidence. Remember that motivation follows action.

REFLECTION
How can motivation follow action? Isn’t it the other way around, namely that action follows motivation? In a sense the criticism is true, but in another sense, it isn’t quite that accurate. When speaking about the paralysis of depression the individual’s motivation is almost completely nonexistent. That is why it is important for me, a depressed person to force myself to get moving -that’s right, force myself into an activity because even though I say “I will do it when I feel better.” I never usually feel better. So I need to find that point in my day, when I feel better and get out in the air and walk, if nothing else, it tends to distract from my wanting to sad myself.
When I take care of myself physically and begin giving myself p[permission to express my feelings, especially the unpleasant ones, I begin to speak more assertively and begin to like myself.

MEDITATION
Today, help me sort out what needs to be thrown away and what we need to keep. Help us keep those memories that had love attached to them.

RESOURCES
Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 Step fellowship groups. (2002)Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Pages 150-151.

Copyright(c) Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Chapter Six. Pages 33-36.

Powerless does not mean No Power

People get hung up on the word powerless.

powerless –

  1. devoid of strength or resources
  2. lacking the authority or capacity to act

Source: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/powerless

Personally I don’t believe that I have NO POWER. Instead I have less power than the average healthy person. There are things that I can do to help manage my disease. OK, so I know I don’t have all control (100% control) and I believe that it’s not a case of having no control (0% control), so I’m somewhere in the middle – between 1% and 99% control over my depression. Wherever I fall on that spectrum I am compelled by my Higher Power to act. My Higher Power has given me the authority and capacity to act and attempt to influence and manage my disease of depression. I may wish and yearn for 99% control over my disease of depression but wherever I am I must act. I need to get out of my familiar zone (I don’t call it a comfort zone as it is NOT comfortable), and take action.

That action could be as miniscule as bringing the dirty dishes to the sink (washing may take another burst of commitment and action), or it could be as major as cleaning out and organizing the garage. I have it within my power to take my dog for a 20 minute walk. I may not have it in me today to go on a 45 minute walk, but I can do the 20 minutes and work towards improving my mood. Progress, not perfection.

If the love of your life was sick and in bed, wouldn’t you feed them? Wouldn’t you bring them tissues? Show yourself the same compassion and commitment! You are worthy of action and of love. Love is not a feeling, it is a choice and an action. Have the courage to choose to love yourself and put that choice into action. You are worth it!

Yours in recovery, Bill R

Stop saying ‘I suffer from depression’!

stop-sign
Words have amazing power. Guess what happens when I say ‘I suffer from depression’? Yep, you guessed it – I. SUFFER. FROM. DEPRESSION. The very action of saying that I suffer from depression creates further suffering.

Don’t say ‘I am depressed’ as there is a sense of finality and futility in that statement. Saying ‘I am depressed’ sounds like you are defining who and what you are by your depression. You are more than that. Depression is but one small sliver of yourself. Choose different more affirming language. You’re not sugar coating the existence of your depression, you’re merely using different words to describe it.

I’m suggesting you use different language. My first suggestion is that instead you say ‘I’m recovering from depression’. You’re on a journey to wellness. You may be at the beginning or at the end of your journey, but you are on the journey. You are not stuck in the hopeless state of suffering depression. You are seeking wholeness and serenity. You haven’t given up and chosen to wallow in your depression.

OK, what if you can’t even say that you are ‘recovering from depression’? I have another more neutral statement for you to try on: ‘I have depression’. It’s something you have, it doesn’t define you fully. By saying you have depression you open up the possibility that in the future you may not have depression.

OK, you don’t like that one? How about ‘I feel depressed’? Feelings may last a long time, but they eventually do pass. The only permanent thing is life is impermanence.

This too shall pass.
– Slogan heard in an AA meeting

The deep dark depression will pass eventually. If you are feeling good at the moment, well that will pass as well. I’m not saying ‘woe is me’, but rather pointing out the universal truth of impermanence. This dark cloud that you are under may be massive but it will eventually pass, and the sun will come out.

Please choose your words wisely. The words you use influence your thoughts. Your thoughts influence your feelings. Your feelings influence your actions. You want to be on a different path, well the first step (pardon the pun) is by choosing to use different words to describe your current state.

Good luck.

Yours in recovery, Bill R

Thinking causes feelings, feelings cause moods and moods cause behavior

This sounds right for me. When my thinking is negative and my mind cycles around and around, these negative thoughts can create sad feelings which are negative. If I feel sad enough and for prolonged periods of time my sad feelings will create moods which can last for a short time or deepen into moods which gradually darken our thinking to the extent that hopelessness begins to rule our emotions-our lives. Once our moods deepen, we begin to find ourselves prisoners, not of any iron bars and locked cells, but the change in our thinking, now negative and hopeless , not only will change our behaviors so that any physical, mental or spiritual activities will come to a halt All those activities that were once such a large part of our lives, providing pleasure for us, gradually have all disappeared. From this time on, our thinking, our feelings, frozen with fear and anxiety are stuck in a place which is unable to provide any possible solutions providing a predictable escape.

I WILL LIGHTEN UP TODAY!

AFFIRMATION

When I take myself less seriously, I find myself less hard on my self, and this in itself, is an expression of my hope..

“Giving up taking things personally makes life much more pleasant. But to give it up can be as hard as giving up certain hopes.” (7)

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

To hope means to expect something to happen that we are wishing for. I know that when I hope, I am going to be in a better state of mind and have a more positive attitude about myself, my future and my world.  I find that most of my hope comes after I throw off my fear of change and take on the ability to risk living, without having to know exactly how the day will finish. I want  to laugh and have humor in my life. Maybe in seeing that my life isn’t  so deadly serious, I can afford to lighten up a bit.

This is  a word that I have placed on a shelf for most of my life as nothing ever seems to work out for me. But I have found this to be true –whenever I find my attitudes changing and starting to shift in positive directions, the more I find that good things begin to happen to me in small ways.”

MEDITATION

We  want to know it is God’s will for us to have hope and see the inconsistencies in life. Nothing is ever meant to be perfect. We are more concerned that we stay and live in God’s will –that’s the place where we want to live today.”

SOURCE: (c)Higher Thoughts for Down Days. Pg. 77