Category Archives: Spirituality

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

If you need anything, let me know

These are the words from a woman who has a dementia. The words always come with a smile. She doesn’t remember my name nor my wife’s name. She just knows that we are someone that she sees often coming to visit. I had initially found it strange that she would say this at the end of every visit–as I was painfully aware that this is not possible now, at this stage of her dementia.

Here is my point. I knew her when she did knew my wife and I. She always ended our visits with this warm offer of help, if “we needed it”. I believe that there are places in her brain, memories, that are triggered when loved ones leave after visiting. She didn’t just start saying this, like it was something brand new. Her whole life was spent helping others -seeing if anyone needed her help. In earlier days, if they did need help, she was there for them.

This statement, “if you need anything”, is one of our groups commitment to those who suffer from depression. If you are depressed, we are there to help you. When you knock at our door, online or real, we invite and welcome you into our fellowship. Here you will find helpful ways to deal with and overcome your own depression. You will also find good people who will not judge you because of your depression.

Each of us is on our own recovery journey, some of us just beginning, some further along and some who come back to help others, and sharing all the positive ways that they have improved their own lives. We heard the same supportive words as you are hearing today. So, as my friend tells us, if You need anything, how can we help you? And one thing that we always do provide,is hope! We want you to come to a Depressed Anonymous fellowship meeting today, where you will be able to personally share with us how we can help you. We look forward to meeting you.
Hugh S

Please check out our website here (depressedanon.com) for more information about attending DA meetings online and/or face to face.

Be kind anyway…

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Be Kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true friends.
Succeed anyway.
If You are honest and frank, people may cheat you.
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight.
Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good that you do today, people will forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best that you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you have anyway.
You see, in the final analysis. it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.

– Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Won’t you be my neighbor?

Remember that friendly greeting? Well, I do and so do my adult children and grandchildren. Even today, Mr. Rogers’ name and face is enshrined in each our memories. What a delight to see him come through the door, moving down a few steps into his living room, heading for the closet, where he cheerfully donned his sweater. All the while he’s singing “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, won’t you be my neighbor? Won’t you be my neighbor.” Then he sits down and puts on his gym shoes. We are now ready and excited to see our friends and neighbor(s) again today.

His neighbor’s became my neighbors, his friends became my friends.

Our day began with Mr. Rogers. Everyday started the same. Everyday was a new day, seeing a new friend or old friend, with lessons to be learned. It was a program that we looked forward to everyday. This relationship with Mr. Rogers continues today for our children and grandchildren. As an adult, I believe that Mr. Rogers neighborhood, all his friends helped my children, my family members all thrive on the goodness and respect that they witnessed day after day.

Mr. Rogers taught me a great lesson. The more I watched his program, the more I wanted to watch his program. I found that I had created a habit for myself, a daily listening with my children happily watching neighbors loving their neighbors. It was a habit I never wanted to break. I found that my thoughts, my feelings of goodness and happiness thrived within me as my attention was glued to the screen.

But as we grow older we discovered that there have been some habits in our lives that did not cause us to thrive. In fact, they caused us to spiral downward where we had fewer and fewer neighbors (friends) that were willing to help us thrive. The lessons Mr. Rogers had taught us early on in life had gradually faded. Now, today, we continue to look for those friends who will help us get back on our feet. I have learned to develop habits that help me to thrive upwards into a serene and healthy human being. In my recovery program of healthy daily living (God, and the 12 Steps). I now watch what I think about. I watch what I say, and I watch that I always show respect for others. I also watch that I speak to myself with respect and that I affirm myself everyday with the belief that God created me because of his love for me. God has a plan for me and is always with me to carry that plan forward for the good of myself and my neighbors.

I spend time, everyday, to pray and meditate (Step 10) as I make a conscious contact with my God. Everyday, every morning, always in the same place, the same time and in the same comfortable chair. In our program, it teaches us the importance of that daily relationship with our God.

Do you know who my neighbors are today? Let me tell you who they are and what happens when we meet. I meet with them as often as I am able. They help me thrive. Do they ever! I am part of a recovery program where all of us come together, meet old and new friends and learn life long lessons. We learn how to love ourselves and enjoy each other’s company. We learn lessons on how to live out our daily lives with hope and peace. Our lessons come from listening to others who have formed a habit, a habit of how to love their selves and their neighbors.
For more information, please click onto the Depressed Anonymous website at https://www.depressedanon.com.

Welcome neighbor.

Hugh S., for the fellowship.

We can do the possible – the impossible takes a little more time

If there are challenges for me today, I remember other days when what seemed impossible was made possible.
– AA Grapevine

Can you relate to this statement? I sure can. Like most of us, I always felt that when facing an obstacle of whatever kind and size, I just believed that the effort was too much. This was always my thinking, especially when I was living in my emotional and mental desert of depression.

Just getting out of bed was a Herculean task. I didn’t even know why I couldn’t get out of bed, but I did know this, the effort that it would take was just impossible. The challenge was more than my mind and my body could handle.

When I discovered the twelve spiritual principles (steps) of recovery I discovered that I had to face the challenge, admit that and that I was powerless. By using the tools which my fellowship group, Depressed Anonymous, was giving me, I began to climb out of the hole that I was in. From that point on, the challenges that faced me every day, I found they were no longer impossible to face and overcome. Yes, the impossible does take a little more time and work, but no longer living in a hole, makes taking on the challenge worth it.

Hugh S., for the fellowship

Depression made me think I was losing my mind, until I did two things that changed my life forever

“What is happening to me,” I asked myself, as I spent another week of struggling to get out of bed. It was like a 500 pound lead weight had dropped on top of me. I felt that whatever commands I issued to my body, “like get out of bed,” the message never reached my body.

The only thing that I knew what to do was to force myself to move the body and hopefully the mind would follow, be it reluctantly. And that is exactly what happened. Every morning after was a struggle, but I did manage to push myself out of bed and I got myself to work. When work ended, I went home and immediately hit the bed. What’s going on here? I asked. I had no clue that what was the matter was that my body was shutting down and that my mind gradually became powerless to make any positive changes in my behavior or thinking.

It was only as I started to walk five miles a day in a local mall, just to promote the fact that I was up and out and able to get to work. I want to make the point here that even though this walking continued for over a year and half, I still was forcing myself to get out of bed. Every morning the debate in my head started all over again. By now I had developed some resistance to staying in bed and just realized, if I was to save my job, I had to walk.

Eventually, the walking was a way out of the prison that my mind had constructed. Eventually, I learned that the way I was living my life and the negativity that I had embraced in my thinking, together threw me into a deep dark pit. Before I was able to figure out what was happening to me, I became depressed. The more I tried to figure out, in my mind, why I was depressed the more I became further depressed, isolated and alone. Then I did something that changed my life to this very day.

The first thing that I did was to force myself to get out of bed and walk, walk, and walk some more. (I still walk three times a week). I know first-hand, the potential life-threatening nature of depression.

The second most important discovery for my recovery was to find a group of men and women just like myself, all who were depressed and looking for a way out of their depression. It was this 12 Step fellowship group, Depressed Anonymous, that has been an integral part of the way I live my life today. If you are looking for what I found, namely, a way to quit saddening yourself, this support group may be your lifeline as much as it continues to be for me today. And I still attend this meeting, even though I have not been depressed for many years, I attend because I find that I can help others to find the hope and peace that it promised and provides for me today.

Discover important information at www.depressedanon.com for our online virtual Zoom meetings which meet every day of the week. Other DA sponsored groups also meet during the week. There are no fees and dues. Come and share or just come and listen. You will find that you are not alone. We are all on this journey of hope together…and we do recover.

For the fellowship, Hugh S.

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!

MISS MY SAD THOUGHTS

MISSING MY SAD THOUGHTS

Some days I miss my sad thoughts. They are addictive. They fill a space in me and meet a requirement of comfort and familiarity. Humans require and seek a level of comfort and familiarity. The depressed human is no different. Sadly, it’s the sad thoughts that provide the deep level of comfort. When I remove the sadness, I have to work to replace that big open field of nothingness left. It feels hard. It feels like work. Pressure and effort. I want to fall back into the sad thinking because, I know very well how to form those thoughts and how to feel them. How to make use of them, strangely. They serve a strong purpose. They validate my depression and vice a versa. They have lived in me for so long that to have to fill the void of their space feel so hard. It feels like big shoes to fill. I feel pressed, just trying. My mind is having to accept this new training I am putting it through. It doesn’t want to change. It is not welcoming of these new positive thoughts at first. It is a struggle. My mind wrestles back and forth: ‘I just want to go home and go to my bed. No, no! You want to keep grocery shopping…! No, please, I just need to lie down, I’m leaving this group!! I am so depressed. No, no! You are going to do your task today, because, it will make you feel better.’ The better part of me wins and I refuse to be held captive, a victim to this negative dark thinking that is killing me. So, I continue on doing the grocery shopping with an internal mind struggle going on. The whole day seems to continue like this. The back and forth tug of war in my mind! It takes time to truly train the mind to accept the incoming positive thoughts. Affirmations are a needed daily medicine for the saddened mind for sure. It takes consistency. I ask myself how bad do I want to feel better? I continue to retrain my mind every single day. Slowly, I miss my sad thoughts less and less. I feel the need for the positive affirmations more and more. This is the process of healing the depressed mind and thus, my feelings. I look forward to a time where I will not miss my sad thoughts and the struggle between the positive and negative thoughts will not be such a big part of my day.”
Debra NC

“Slowly, I found the positive affirmations more and more and more.”

Copyright(c) Debra Sanford. A Medley of Depression Stories. First edition. (2017) PP> 30-31.( Used with permission.)

You may email Debra: thedepressionstories@gmail.com. She would love hearing from you.

Motivation follows action

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

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

COMMENT
The best way to get into action is to get into action. I know this is so obvious–but when the time comes for me to actually do something–that is a different story. Then my mantra becomes “I’ll do it when I feel better,” and course this doesn’t get me out of bed. This doesn’t get me walking. Instead, what happens, is that my thinking gets caught in that neural rut, much like a merry-go-round. Round and round we go. Nothing ever changes.

Tell yourself that this day is going to be different .Make a commitment to yourself today! Make up your mind that you are not going to ride the merry-go-round horse today.You are going to start small. Take the “baby steps” that just might push you out the door and put some fresh air into your lungs. MOTIVATION FOLLOWS ACTION. Check it out. See, for yourself if this doesn’t work for you.

Copyright(c) Hugh Smith. Higher Thoughts for Down Days:365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY January 24, p.15.