Category Archives: Serenity

..we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life

Promise #4: We comprehend the word serenity and we know peace of mind.

Agitation, anxiety and jitteriness were all part of my life as I muddled through day after day, one foot in front of the other.  Serenity was definitely not a part of my life.

As with any attachment to a negative behavior, serenity and peace was the farthest thing from my life. The new beliefs and thoughts which I heard expressed at Depressed Anonymous meetings started to help me change the way I thought about myself, my world and my future.

I believe that it takes work, time and prayer and quiet periods of meditation to achieve the peace and serenity that we are talking about here.

  PEACE OF MIND IS THE RESULT OF:

  1. A clear conscience
  2. Living in the present
  3. Gratitude everyday
  4. Belief that the God of my understanding will get me through the problems of my life
  5. Forgiveness of myself and amends to all person I have harmed
  6. Doing God’s will means letting go

I am firmly convinced that in order to continue any semblance of peace and serenity I will have to structure a daily quiet period into my life. This is an essential part of the prescription for getting well and staying well. Also, I believe that when I am quiet, God can give to me all that is mine to have. My will and my life  have to be attuned to God’s presence and love.  We will know that in order for God to make itself present to us and demonstrate its love we have to sit still, be quiet and listen with purity of heart. This is an essential part of the formula where we will find our sobriety and serenity.

It is my belief that God does speak to those who remain quiet and have a design to listen. Peace is defined as “an undisturbed state of mind, absence of mental conflict.”   Serenity is defined as “a quality or state of being serene; calmness, tranquility.”

The quality or state of being serene all takes time, work and discipline. I believe that  the big book of AA says it best: ” When we sincerely took such a position, all sorts   of remarkable things followed.  We had a new employer; being all powerful he provided what we needed, if we kept close to him and performed his work well.

Established on such a footing we became less and less interested in plans, our little designs  and ourselves.  More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life. As we felt new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of his presence, we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow or hereafter.. We’re reborn.” ( Page 63, AA).

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SOURCE: Copyright(c) I’ll do it when I feel better. (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 36-38. The Promises of Depressed Anonymous.

 

How to live outside the box? The depression box!

If you really want to begin to “live outside the box“, a description of what the box feels like and looks like might be helpful to you.  First of all, a box has an identifiable shape. It is a box mainly because it contains something–whatever that might be. And when we speak of the subject of depression, we talk about depression having us boxed in. The box as it is used here, in this context is a metaphor for feeling enclosed and which there is no exit. It is like being trapped or like in a prison.

Now, in order to live outside the box we want to live creatively, which means  that we are having to learn  how to live outside the box. Now, if you  find  this hard to believe -stick with me now  as I will explain what I mean.

Just briefly, my own experience with depression can be used as an example. First of all, when I was depressed I thought that I was losing my mind. The box that I put myself in was getting more restricting by the day and making my life hell. I could see no way out. I was trapped. What could I do I asked myself?  As hard as I tried, I couldn’t just will these feelings and scary  thoughts away–like taking a broom and brushing them out of my life. No matter which way I turned I hit a wall. With no answers forthcoming on how to keep my head above water, my body slowly  was being sucked down into  the quicksand of despair. The thought came to me, much like that small glimmer, a tiny light so far away, but nevertheless  a light. It was  like the lighthouse which with its  intense brightness warns seafarers that rocks were nearby and to be watchful before approaching. My mind began to race here and there for a way out of the box and then it hit me —   get moving. Move the body. Get busy.  The key out of this prison was already in my hand. And now, those of us here in the Depressed program of recovery,who have been putting “out of the box” ideas to work in our daily lives, we want to share what has worked for us and we know, if you actually use them for your own recovery, they are  bound to  ultimately free you. That is the promise I share with you today.

The following activities,  listed below  are some of  the tools that will get you “out of the box” when you get serious about using them.

I think taking a close and personal look at the following tools will not only help you get  “out of the box” but can be tools that you will be able to utilize, day after day as you continue your recovery.

  1. Exercise is a great tool if you happen to be depressed.
  2.  Getting out into nature will also help put your mind on beauty and your surroundings.
  3. Overcoming fear is also a great place to learn how to get out of the box. Learn about “first fear” and “second fear.” Fear doe seem to be at the center of our life when depressed.
  4. Recite the “SERENITY PRAYER” as often as you need it.
  5. The present. Staying in the now.
  6. Making use of the God box. This is an exercise, a simple one at that, which helps us learn the discipline of “letting go.”
  7. Feelings need to be examined and expressed. We will look at why expressing feeling is  so important,  instead of having them bottled up and causing all sorts of physical and emotional problems.
  8. Disable negative thinking: learn how to short circuit negative thoughts when they pop into our minds.
  9.  Reading Depressed Anonymous literature and all material on the subject of depression.
  10. Learn how we all have choices. We make those decisions that bring us closer to freedom–not those that continue to imprison and box us.
  11. Journaling is a great tool for writing down what has been our experience for the day.  It helps to clarify our thinking and puts things into perspective.

NOTE

In the next post, I will begin placing attention on each of the eleven ideas listed above.  Gradually we can take time to evaluate  our response to each individually and make our own notes as how to use these recommended ideas  for our own recovery.

Hugh

LONG TIME ESCAPISTS

AFFIRMATION

I will not be afraid of the shadows in my life and my personality, but I will face them and look at them and find serenity.

“They knew what to do about those black abysses that yawned to swallow me when I felt depressed or nervous. There was a concrete program, designed to secure the greatest possible inner security for us long time escapists.  The feeling of impending disaster that had haunted me for years began  to dissolve as I put into practice more and more of the Twelve Steps. It worked. ” (1)

 CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I am now having more periods of serenity and quiet as I begin to work the Steps of my program and trust more in my Higher Power. I know that my God is there right now waiting to help me through this time of sadness  and disease.  I believe that my help is coming from a  power greater than myself. I know that it is never to my advantage to run away from my problems or hide from the fact that I need to construct a new way to look at myself.

When you are depressed you are not even aware of the fact that you are unconsciously making an effort to escape from your sadness as this running away that we do is so subtle and so chronic.  Now that I know that I am responsible for setting myself free from my depression the more I am going to face my fear, anxiety and loneliness. I no longer intend to escape my responsibility  for myself, my serenity and happiness. Only I can make myself happy.

MEDITATION

Our fears began to dissolve once we begin the process of believing in this power greater than ourselves. We no longer put our trust  in the sadness that appeared to us to be like a God in that it was all powerful and all important. It ruled every moment of the day. It also comforted us with its predictability.  We are, today, choosing a God who loves us and will lead us into the promised land of hope and security.

SOURCE:  HIGHER THOUGHTS FOR DOWN DAYS: 365 DAILY THOUGHTS AND MEDITATIONS FOR 12 STEP FELLOWSHIP GROUPS. DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS. LOUISVILLE. JULY 14.

I GOTTA BE ME! I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR ME

” The sanity of the Twelve Step program is what will eventually help you change how you look at yourself and your experience of depression. The program shows that just because you have always felt miserable is no reason to remain miserable for the rest of your life. The sanity of placing your trust in a Power greater than yourself opens up great possibilities for your personal happiness  and success. If you have felt that you have  to be in total control of every situation in your life, then coming to believe in a power greater than yourself might be a frightening experience.    What would happen if suddenly you couldn’t control your unhappy situation with the comfort of sadness or self-pity?  Haven’t our sadness and thoughts of unworthiness been our last refuge from having to face ourselves, take charge and accept responsibility for  our own lives?

The escape into feelings of worthlessness and resignation over my depressing feelings is no longer an acceptable way for me to delay the hard choice of being responsible for me.  This statement is not made to make you feel guilty but only to help you see that, with time and by working the Twelve Steps on a daily basis and having the ongoing fellowship and support of the Depressed Anonymous group, you can begin to choose a way out!”

SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 42-43.

SPEED BUMPS

What is a speed bump?  A speed bump  is simply a slight rise in the pavement to alert car drivers to slow down. Most of the speed bumps can be found  in residential areas/ neighborhood streets.  In some areas they are marked with yellow stripes .Depending on the necessity for motorists to drastically cut their speed, these bumps  are built with more height and force the motorist to come to almost a stop  to prevent  damage being done  to one’s vehicle.

I find the speed bump to be a metaphor for my own experience with  symptoms of depression. I do know that as my symptoms grew more in kind and strength I gradually reduced my activities.  My mind  was filled with obstacles which grew larger and more formidable as time went on. I found myself sitting alone and stalled. I found my personal speedometer registering 10mph instead of the normal 50mph.  The more I perceived  the speed bump ahead, rising out of the ground like a brick wall, I knew that I couldn’t  go any further. I was like the sail boater on the lookout for any breeze to get me moving again.

No matter how hard I tried to get over the bump,  I kept telling myself it was a  hopeless task. There was no way to get over  it.  I felt helpless. I kept telling myself that I might as well just stay where I was and so I shut off the engine. It was like I was terrified with fright. I thought of a thousand options but none of them appeared manageable.  I just believed my situation  was useless.

Well, this metaphor doesn’t end there because I am no longer helpless. In my real world I thought, I’ve got a serious problem here ( symptoms of depression: fatigue, anger, feeling worthless ) all of which I have to deal with. So, I admitted that I was powerless over my depression and that my life was unmanageable. (Step One of Depressed Anonymous). And then “came to believe that a power greater than ourselves  could restore us to sanity.” (Step Two of Depressed Anonymous) Then I made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of the God as I understand God. (Step Three of Depressed Anonymous).

If your speed bump keeps you from moving in life know that many of us have been there like you. There is a solution, and    just begin to believe that you are NOT l alone. It really helps to know that you  can join our fellowship and find hope. Been there, done that!

Insanity Is Doing The Same Thing Over And Over Again And Expecting Different Results

How true. It’s like being around persons who are continually toxic (negative) and for us to try and make them happy. Or someone in the family smokes and we  tell them they need to quit smoking. And how has that worked for you?   Or someone who continues to pig out on junk food day after day and who is obese and you try to have them change their eating habits. How  has that worked out for you?  But you say, we have our own problems.

Today I tell myself, like all the days past, I am going to make a change in the way I  talk to myself. You know, all those thoughts which keep circling in our minds, like the proverbial  merry-go-round, riding  our horse, bobbing up and down,  going nowhere, and telling ourselves we must get off before we fall off.   And….what do we do? Yep, we  keep riding this bobbing up and down horse. Again, we tell ourselves, I’ll do it when I feel better;  When I have the time, the money for counseling, the friend who will listen to me forever and not run away like all the rest of those who said  they were my friends. Where do you go after the continual self speak which pounds in to our heads thoughts voicing how  I am unacceptable to myself and everyone else. Another horse (thought)  that I ride that bobs me up and down is the one that tells me how bad and unacceptable that I am.

How do I keep from riding a dead horse? Get off!

In Step Two, and the commentary which tells us all about this Step Two in our DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS BOOK — “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity,” we learn some things about the compulsivity of sadness that has gripped our minds and our whole physical self. The insanity of our thinking continues to make us feel helpless and hopeless. I got off the merry-go-round years ago. At times I almost bought a ticket and got back on but then I remembered I had a “toolbox” which continues to provide me with a spiritual and Step by Step  program  to NOT get trapped into the maddening, insane way that caused so much pain in the past.  DO YOU WANT TO GET OFF THE MERRY-GO-ROUND OF INSANITY?

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Books from Depressed Anonymous  Publications which can help: Depressed Anonymous, Third edition, 2011. Also, I’ll do it when I feel better.”

I Even Tried To Control God!

I THINK I WAS A CONTROL FREAK!

“If surrender of our wills to the ‘care of God’ is of the essence of the spiritual life, for anyone who truly desires to free him or herself from a chronic and compulsive behavior such as depression, the Twelve Steps can be your stepping stones to the path of a hope-filled life.” (8)

REFLECTION

My thinking is what has been keeping me depressed these many years.  I haven’t thought of myself as being addicted to sadness or that I might even be a saddict. Now the truth is becoming clear to me as I work the Twelve Steps and attempt to change the way  I think and feel. I  no longer want to be  a victim of my past, but I am becoming a person filled with hope and a new found zest for living. I am finding that my expectations for myself have decreased as my need to be perfect is yielding to a greater acceptance of myself as I am. Being perfect is such a bore. By letting go of my need for perfection it seems that my self-acceptance is beginning to grow.
One of the great freedoms I am experiencing  in my life today is that I don’t have to be in control of everyone’s life or behavior. One of my character defects has been a need to always have everything and everybody under my control. I have even tried to control God until I learned that it is only when I surrender to God that my life can be filled with hope and peace.
MEDITATION
We will no longer allow ourselves to continue to obsess about hiow bad our lives are when all we need to do is learn how to find our peace by allowing God to guide our will and our life on a daily basis. We don’t have to choose to live a life of misery –we can  make different choices which restores my sanity.

SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for Down Days(c)

Came To Believe That A Power Greater Than Ourselves Could Restore Us To Sanity – Step 2

What do you give your power to in your own  life today? What can help you to greater sanity?

Various powers  have played a critical role in our lives in the past. If you wish, please name and list the people, places, situations, and  things  that have exerted the greatest power over you and your life in the past. These places, persons, situations and things can have a positive or negative power over you and your life. Please list below.

Persons

Places

Situations

Things

Depressed anonymous Workbook/ Depressed Anonymous Publications/Page 11/ Step Two.

In tomorrow’s post we will list some of the thoughts about Step 2 and how our beliefs can produce sanity in our lives.

“Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

Isn’t this the way it is? It usually takes an awareness of something bigger than just me that propels us into life armed with a sense of purpose. This something bigger could be getting involved in a political campaign, working in a food kitchen serving the poor, helping migrants find a job, learn a language of their newly adopted homeland.
The experience of depression gradually whittled down my world and any interests that I considered worth my time. Then as I continued to spiral down into the dark abyss of inactivity and aloneness, I felt a great need to find something that would break my fall and so it all began–the search, the seeking the power that would help me get up and get going again. For me, (this is about me right now), I made a decision to find some power that was greater than the power of my need to sad myself. I found the power that was greater than myself–it was a group of persons journeying with a hope and a faith that manifested serenity and purpose in their words and deeds. My world began to get large again, it started to swell with possibility and hopefulness. It was sanity personified. It was a belief, coupled with a witness of those others who had achieved a continued saneness in their dealings with their world and most importantly within their selves. Now I am a witness to the truth of that power which I discovered or that which discovered me. You, the reader are now part of my world and I, for a bit of time, am part of your world. I am grateful.

Expression-not depression.

Expressing oneself and sharing personal feelings can liberate ourselves from thoughts that imprison us and isolate us. They isolate us from others and the world around us.
I have found that it is in the milieu of an accepting and understanding group of people that I can grow and share my feelings. I have witnessed these many years (30 ) how all of us, including myself, can gradually come to trust others with feelings of shame, hurt and pain. In fact, it is in the context of my 12 step group program of recovery that I became a different person. I was able to come out of the shadows of my isolating depression and found people just like myself. They taught me and proved to me that just by coming back to meeting after meeting and sharing their own feelings that something, a power if you will, enabled them to move forward. No longer was I isolated in my own prison of depression but now I became liberated to talk freely, share freely, and join with others on this road to sanity and serenity. I AM NO LONGER ALONE!
Just by hearing myself share my feelings of how depressed I was–and listened to with respect–no “SNAP OUT OF IT HERE–I now found that toolbox of hope and freedom. I call this the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous.
Comments are always welcome here and a place where you too can share