Category Archives: Spirituality

Serenity Prayer flowchart

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I can not change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.

The Serenity Prayer confuses some people. Why wouldn’t it? The prayer begins at the end where they ask God to grant them serenity. There are things that happen prior to that point. Have you determined what is and is not possible to change? Have you prayed for wisdom? I found this infographic online and this is more like the process that I go through.

serenityprayerflowchart

What problem has the fates put in front of me? Can I change the problem? If I can change it, then I will pray for courage to actually change it. If I’m unsure if I can change it, I will ask the God of my understanding for wisdom to discern if it is possible to change it. Only when you determine that it’s not possible to change the problem do you pray to your Higher Power for serenity. The Accept it state is not a static thing. Acceptance ebbs and flows, you have it and then you don’t. You will need to pray to God multiple times to get to a state of complete and utter acceptance.

I hope this helps.

Yours in recovery, Bill R

Discover the patterns of behavior from your own life. Example: How you think about yourself.

AFFIRMATION

I want to believe that my God, as I understand him, will continually make a path for me through life. I want today to listen to its leading.

“Our patterns are more successful than the fortune telling arts,  since we expect our patterns  to prove true, and expecting this, we usually find that they do. Edmund Carpenter once wrote,
“We say, ‘If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it, but the phrase should be, ‘If I hadn’t believed it with all my heart, I wouldn’t have seen it.'”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I  usually expected bad things to happen to me because bad things usually did happen to me, as Dorothy Rowe points out in her six immutable beliefs that make up the prison of our depression. I used to believe that God punished me for all the bad things I did in my life and for my being the bad person that I believe that I am. But now, I am changing my beliefs about my depression and that I am only a passive victim. I believe that I will survive this time of depression.

It’s as if  my depression is like a rotted tooth, a thing that can be extracted. I am slowly believing that it is important what I believe about myself and how I have a responsibility to extract myself from my own lifestyle of sadness. I do know this, that if I continue to think the way that I have over the last couple of years, I will stay stuck in the deep pit of depression.   If  we do  something over and over again, day after day,  we can say that we have created a pattern of thinking and behaving. Some say that our life is on auto-pilot.

I now believing with all my heart that I will get better with the help of my own resources and through the help of others and the Twelve Step program of recovery.

MEDITATION

God, you can make all things new but you never infringe your will upon any of us. But the more peace we receive from turning our will over to yours, the more I can predict that my future will be more according to your design.”

RESOURCES

(C) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Louisville, Ky.

(C) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Pg.29.

(C) Believing is Seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville Ky.

Order Online from The Depressed Anonymous Bookstore here at our website www. depressedanon.com.

That which doesn’t kill you will probably make you stronger – Nietzsche

 

Stress  put me in the hospital two years ago. First, pneumonia  put me in the hospital for a week.   Then, following  a diagnosis of clogged arteries with other assorted problems,  open  heart surgery.  Cardio/rehab for 24 straight weeks gave me my life back. But this was not my first experience with stress and /or depression.

Nietzsche had it right. In my case at least.  What made me stronger and saved my life was not only heart surgery but my new way of  dealing with stress. I now see stress for the trouble maker that it really is. The  stress in anyone’s,  continues to impress me how dangerous living under stress, of any kind, can be.

I know that the daily stress that I  had put my mind and body through every day,  every month, gradually destroyed my immune system’s ability to defend against  constant fear, worry and anxiety. Because of the environment  with which I was living in, day after day, finally caught up with me: pneumonia and then open heart surgery. So you might wonder  how can stress do all this damage to your mind and body?

THEN

This takes me back to my first  experience with sadness. It didn’t kill me, but it did force me to look  at my lifestyle, staying in a bad  situation and the ongoing ruminating which poured adrenaline into my veins, hyping up fear   and anxiety day after day.  Finally, all this  weakened not only my body but my mind  as well. My thinking started circling  around  and around as I tried to figure out exactly what the problem was  knocking me off my feet.  Not only that, I couldn’t concentrate. I would read a sentence or so  and then would forget what I had just read. I was always tired.  I always wanted to sleep. I never laughed anymore. My sense of humor went out the door. I started to isolate. I pushed friends away. I always had an excuse for cancelling meetings and appointments. Every morning I woke up, dead on arrival.  No energy. No purpose and nothing to look  forward to. I was losing all spontaneity and replacing it with boredom. I gradually was being sucked down intro the quicksand of futility and hopelessness.

After a year and half of this    pain filled  life I gradually walked out of the fog. I walked at least five miles a day-like a forced march looking forward to regaining my life. That was 1985.

NOW

Now,  I am stronger because I know all the red flags that pop up in my mind, wanting to  suck me back down into that environment which almost killed me in the first place.  I am definitely stronger now that I have a sponsor, a  12 Step   program (Depressed Anonymous) and  a daily plan   for my ongoing recovery.

My heart is stronger now. My commitment to taking good care of myself with proper rest, good healthy food, and physical activity at least three times a week or more. I also know that keeping in touch with those “still suffering from depression” by email, Home Study, website BLOG (depressedanon.com), phone and reading Depressed Anonymous literature.  What we give away comes back in countless ways. For me, continued sobriety and hope!

Resource: (c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.

Online Depressed Anonymous International Skype meetings ( Check website Menu for listing and links).

Order online :The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore.

 

I can’t do anything to remove my compulsive behavior until I choose to live without it!

REFLECTION

I know that I have to continue to work on myself and the way that I speak to myself on an ongoing and daily basis. My letting go and let God take over my life doesn’t mean that I’ll just sit back and let God do all the work. No, it means that I will work on myself and leave the outcome up to my Higher Power. I know that my life can be lived differently if I make the effort to choose to become conscious of the thoughts that I let myself ruminate and think about during my day. The more I monitor my thoughts, the more I  am able to filter out the negative thoughts and have them replaced with positive and constructive thoughts.

So often, when I am depressed I continue a thinking style that was learned as a small child. I am not even counscious as to how I would always select the negative attribute about myself to reflect upon, instead of   thinking  positive and hopeful thoughts about myself and my relationships. The more I believe that I have a choice as to how I am to  feel, the more I become conscious of the thoughts that influence the way I feel.

BECOMING MINDFUL

God, let me just for today, dwell on your mercy and kindness that you desire to bestow on us. We pray that our awareness of your love for us will free us from our sadness.

Resources:

(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous  Publications. Louisville, KY  December 14th.

(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd ed., (2011)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville KY.

(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

Put a HIGHER THOUGHT in your life every day. A spiritual vitamin will increase your spiritual metabolism so that you  begin to replace negative thinking with thoughts of hope and serenity.

You may order online from the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore at www.depressedanon.com

Depressed or unhappy?

 

Depressed Anonymous bases its healing and recovery on the  premise that once depressed persons admit they are out of control, even to the extent of attempting suicide, they come to believe that a power greater than themselves can restore them to sanity, while at the same time, making a decision to turn their minds and wills over  to the care of God, as they understand God,

The God, as we under stand God, is what appeals to more and  more persons as we admit our helplessness over our compulsive, depressive thoughts, actions, or behaviors. We feel we have lost all control over everything including our thinking. The depressed person is aware that their unpleasant thinking is a cyclical and spiraling process where there is never a respite.  This obsession,   driven by one’s one feelings of guilt, shame and worthlessness is the fuel that that continues our own isolation.  This experience is not so much a psychopathology as it is a  way for the human spirit to comfort itself. The depression  is more of a disease of isolation and being disconnected than  a biological disorder.

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.

By recognizing how it feels to be depressed, more people will have the help and guidance that will get them through their depression. Lives  will be saved as well. Besides reading the Twelve Steps at each meeting, the group learns on a firsthand basis about the “miracle of the group.” It is in the sharing and getting connected with the other members of the group where one’s recovery begins.

RESOURCES:

(c)  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Pages 162-163.

(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

Please click onto The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore for more information on Depression, spirituality and recovery.

Stepping out of hopelessness

 

One of the greatest feelings  I experienced in confronting my depression was that I began to have hope. I began to believe   what others were saying about the Steps. They were telling me that the plan that they followed everyday of their lives was giving  them a positive feeling that they were going to step out of  the  swamp   of sadness and hopelessness. In fact,  those who spoke these encouraging words already  were  manifesting the strength and power of the 12  Steps in their own lives. I was one of these people.

A question that continued to cross my mind  during my period of pain and isolation was basically “is life worth living.” Many folks depressed still debate this question in their minds. And far too many have provided us their answer that “life is not worth it.”

This has been my mission over these past years to show by example of other’s recovery (plus my own) that with appropriate  faith, work and  the spiritual tools, life can be good again. There is a faith, a strong  indomitable spirit  at the core  of every human being, that hope is available to all who seek it.” What you seek, will seek you.” It’s almost akin to the  belief in Karma–as you give out so will you receive back–in some way, at some time in your own  life   experiences. I don’t know how or why, but I do know that it just works out that way.

When I was first introduced to the 12 Steps, I came to my first meeting, willing to learn what I could to  recover fully from my addiction. I had to have hope that something would work. It would have to work for me. And members of this 12 Step group presented me stories , facts and situations where persons completely down and out, physically, mentally and spiritually found hope in the confusion and despair of their own hopelessness  and became free.

No longer did we feel hopeless of finding a way out of what was killing us.  Yes, “we” found a way out. The plan was before us and the group was behind us as we plodded along , each of us supporting the other til we finally completed our Steps. We  now share how our stepping into hope continues to be the North star for me  these past thirty plus  years for my own life.

Is life worth living?  For many years now   I discovered how a faith, a strong belief in my Higher Power, and a bonded group of men and women have continued to travel the same  path as my own.

If you want more  information  about our group Depressed Anonymous please check out our website at www.depressedanon.com for a   full explanation of  who we are and what we do. You’ll want to step out with us.

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(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville KY.

The prescription for sanity in one’s life.

This idea of choosing sanity  is   what we desire.  Who would ever choose insanity? But, believe it or not,  people choose insanity all the time. You  remember the saying, “doing the same thing over and over again is insanity.” If you are honest with yourself, I think you might   remember a time when you yourself  kept doing something that was assuredly insane. Today, if you   can honestly say that  you  always choose sanity,  then my response to you  is that   is a good thing.  I am happy for you.

In our 12 Step program of recovery we  learn about the   2nd Step, “Came to believe that a power greater than myself can restore  me to sanity.” Now for most of us, like it says in the 12 &12 and 12 Traditions, written by Bill W., co-founder of AA,  sanity “means soundness of mind.”  Now here is the point, when I was in the throes of depression, I was scared and I really did think that I was losing my mind. I could not concentrate. My feelings and emotions were flowing through me like a river overflowing its banks. My thoughts always circled back on themselves, making a tight grip-like  on every thought that flowed from   my mind. I was in a circular round dance – without a partner.  I would   try to think my way  out of my depression. What was happening to me I thought? The more I thought,  the more I got tangled up in my own mental fog.  After the mental wrestling which  went on in my mind, hour after hour and day after day, I begin to wonder if there was any  way out of this  labyrinth. The paths led to places which indicated that there was no exit. I began to believe   there was no way out and so my daily recourse/solution was to sleep. Sleep was the only thing that would deaden the assault on my mind.

Many times my own mind goes back to the time when as a therapist I tried to help others break down their life choices into  small pieces. When I was depressed,  all I could think of was a wall, a huge wall that would show up,  every time I wanted to go  and try to figure out a solution for my problem. And it was here that I would continue the insane banging my head against a wall that would not let me gain entrance. But when I began to break the  symptoms of my depression into smaller parts and take a closer look at where the solutions might lie.  I discovered a way out of my own prison by  this method and   it  gradually provided  hope for me. I  discovered that what I needed  to do was to utilize some of these ” tools ” as a way out of the prison of depression and gave me a gradual  exit out of my prison. Instead of going over and over in my mind on how bad or worthless I was, I began to cut off these self-bashing thoughts with hopeful designs on making a new me. No more was I engaged in that insane circular thinking that provided no solutions, but instead, always sent me right back to square one from where I started. Insanity! It was like a dog chasing its tail.  Doing the  same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Sorry, it doesn’t happen that way when we are with a group of people at a Depressed Anonymous meeting.  We all have experienced the type of thinking that puts us deeper in the lowest mood possible. It is the group experience and the spiritual principles of the Steps that help us to spiral upwards into wholeness and sanity.

One of the great lessons that I have learned over the years is listening to those persons who share their stories of hope. They tell the stories of their own recovery sharing with us how they used all the “tools” at their disposal for their own recovery

.(See Tools of Recovery at our website Menu where you will find a list of many of the effective tools for extricating oneself from depression. You will be able to use  ” sane” tools as a means of rejecting the insanity of our own lives and making sense out of how to live a life without depression. A life with hope. It happens.)

Also read the many stories in our Depressed Anonymous “Big Book”   Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.KY). Personal testimonies section.

More information at the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore.

Order are accepted online.

 

 

 

Healthy Adulthood? What is it?

 

Saint-Exupery, in The Little Prince   said  “that to be a  man, a woman, an adult, is to accept responsibility. And during those years that are bracketed by the dawning of conscience and end of adolescence (seven to ten) we must be slowly expanding the dominion of what we can be responsible for – becoming our own grownup.”

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A Higher Thought for Today/ March 19.

AFFIRMATION

Remove the letters “d”, “e”, and “I” from the word depression and I have “press on’!

“The  idea that we have to be responsible for ourselves and that the ways of the world are neither  good  nor just,  is too terrifying  for you to contemplate. You cannot tolerate such uncertainty. You do not trust yourself, so how can you take responsibility for your self? ” Bill W.

CLARIFICATION OF  THOUGHT

I don’t like facing the fact that ultimately I am the one responsible  for myself, no one else. It appears to me that I have to take care of myself, depend on my Higher Power for direction, and go from there.  My Higher Power isn’t going to do it all. I know that I have to do all that I can to restore my life and my feelings.   God is the rudder to my boat and I have to put my oars into the water if I am to get moving  in the right direction.

I am attempting, day by day, to tolerate the  unpredictableness   of my life and gradually learn new ways to cope with uncertainty. While I am depressing myself, I want everything to be perfect and under my control. I know now that I will be happier when I learn how to tolerate a pleasant mood without telling myself that it will not last!

MEDITATION

We believe that the closer that we come to God, as we understand God, as we understand Him, the closer our God draws to us. We believe that whatever we want changed in our life, this can best be accomplished by approaching the God of our understanding and letting the  power  greater than ourselves steer us across the stormy sea.”

SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for Members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Hugh Smith. Depressed Anonymous Publications. (1997) Pages 47-48.  Louisville. Ky.

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RESPONSIBILITIES AND CONNECTIONS
We have to acknowledge that I am the one who is having the harsh and negative thoughts about myself, and that I alone must take responsibility for the feelings that I have about myself. I can’t continue to blame others for my depression and still think that I will feel better. Dorothy Rowe says that instead of blaming someone else or making someone else the scapegoat of our problems,  we need to put aside blame and guilt and think in terns of responsibilities and connections.  What she means here is that when she has dealt with depressed persons, they seem as though they are carrying the weight of the world and feel responsible for everyone and everything except themselves. She says that when it comes to themselves they se themselves as totally powerless. We need to look at what is happening in the here and   now and take responsibility for our lives, without living in the fear of tomorrow and the hurt of yesterday, Humbly ask God to help  you live in the now, even if that means living with the temporary horrible pain of depression.”

Source: Depressed Anonymous   3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. pp. 73-74.

NOTE: Click onto  www. depressedanon.com where you can order ONLINE informative and helpful 12 Step literature.  At the Home Page Menu please click onto  VISIT THE STORE,  and go to THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS BOOKSTORE.

To contact us please  use this email   depanon@netpenny.net .

 

 

“The final stage of healing…”

 

“The final stage of healing is using what happens to you to help other people.” Gloria Steinem

 

I certainly endorse that statement. If you have had the life threatening experience of an addiction and couldn’t recover without help then this statement makes a lot of sense to you.

Let’s consider what Dr. Bob S, co-founder of AA has to say, “I spend a great deal of time passing on what I learned to others who want and need it daily. I do it for four reasons:

1 Sense of duty.

2. It is a pleasure.

3. Because in doing so I am paying my debt to the man who took time to pass it on to me.

4. Because every time I do it I take out a little more insurance for my self against  a possible slip.”

Thanks Dr. Bob.

In our program of recovery in Step Twelve this is pretty much what Dr. Bob is talking about and here is what it says:

“Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry  this message to the depressed, and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.”

If there is anything that has been a greater part of my healing from depression it is in telling my story.  I continue to carry the message to anyone who is wiling to listen. Join a Depressed Anonymous group where you live, or if you are alone, then possibly a Home Study avenue might be what you are looking for.

On this coming Saturday I will be honored to be the moderator of a Webinar directed to the Depressed Anonymous groups in Russia and beyond.  For more information please check out this website (depressedanon.com ) for Wednesday the 20th of February and get the details on how to log in.

SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

Visit our Store at the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore for how to look at Books available on line.

The Prompter

 

The prompter  is a person who prompts; specifically one who cues performers when they forget their lines.  Other speakers use Tele-Prompters, which enables the speaker to read their  speech from a screen.

In the Depressed Anonymous program of recovery, we  find ourselves listening to a spiritual Prompter —  an inner  voice, a Higher Power, providing us with a brand new line of thinking. An action oriented  prompt, where we come to believe in a Power greater than ourselves nudging  us to change the way we think and behave.

But who is this Prompter? What is its name? And why  am I hearing it’s voice now. I am hearing it now because I am ready to hear it. Fair enough?  I have surrendered.  Once beat down by my addictions, I now no longer follow the cues which produced for me  a life of negative moods and behaviors. I told the  God of my understanding that I’ve had it! No more beating myself up   with blame and  negative thinking.  Negative thinking  produced those painful  moods  spiraling me   down into feelings of hopelessness and depression.  I had the  feeling that all my efforts at finding hope were futile.

The  Prompter which I have been  listening to in the inner depths of my soul has been leading me towards serenity and filling me with a powerful meaning for my life. After having been introduced to the spiritual principles of the Twelve Steps I continued to listen  to the Prompter in the quiet of those daily moments of meditation and prayer.

It was my decision to put my life on a brand new trajectory of wellness and healing. I had a spiritual awakening, ever so gradually. I just knew it was the Prompter itself who was placing a new life script into my heart.

Each and every day of my life I pray, I quiet the chatter in my mind, and draw near to the God of my understanding.   When we draw near to God, God draws near to us. What you seek, seeks you.

I believe that  my daily conscious contact with  God in prayer and meditation  I am able to  discover that we  are no longer dependent on our will but on God’s will for us. And just as Bill W  tells us  in Alcoholics Anonymous that when we are faced with the indecision about something, we then ask God for inspiration and we let go  of struggling for an answer.  He tells us that you will be surprised at how the right answers will come after we have practiced  this way of living. It also comes to pass that our hunches are more right than wrong. We also pause throughout the day when we are fearful, puzzled or anxious. We pray to the Higher Power for which direction to take. I like the suggestion the best when AA  says,” We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self pity, or foolish decisions. We become more efficient. We do not tire so easily, for we  are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves..”  (Depressed  Anonymous, Page 101).    We  all know that our new life script which  the Prompter has provided us  gives our life  direction and meaning.

Depressed Anonymous   shares with us Meister Eckart’s   thoughts on that  Vital Spiritual Experience which comes to each of us when we surrender our lives and wills to the  God of our understanding.

“This work (birth), when  it is perfect, will be due solely to God’s action while you have been passive. If you really forsake your own knowledge and will, then surely and gladly  God will enter with his knowledge shining clearly. Where God achieves self-consciousness, your own knowledge is of no use, nor has it standing. Do not imagine that your own intelligence may rise to it,  so that you may know God. Indeed when God divinely enlightens you, no natural light is required to bring that about. This natural light must in fact be completely extinguished before God will shine in with his light, bringing back with God all that you have forsaken and a thousand times more, together with a new form to contain it all.” (Depressed Anonymous, Page 161).

“Made a decision to turn our will and lives   over to the care of God as we understand God to be.

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SOURCE:  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.  Page 101, 161.