The road less traveled

So to trust oneself can bring to one’s life a new dimension of hope that there might be a possibility for a positive change. But we need to take the road less traveled — not the road that is worn and rutted with the traveled path of hopeless journeys and adventures. The road less traveled is the one that joins with fellow travelers who are filled with hope and purpose.

Rowe says that by listening to our inner voice and so trusting that quiet inner voice is the beginning of getting hope for your self and serves as the key out of depression. Bill W., says that as time passes and we begin  to “get” the program of recovery that we are better suited now to follow those intuitive hunches which come with our renewed trust in self and the god  of our understanding.”

A comment. Most of the worn and rutted paths that are a big part of our sadness and isolation is due to the way we ruminate and fixate  about the way are life is spinning out of control. We  continuously try to think our way out of box which has us imprisoned in those rutted paths, dead ends.  This negative thinking is familiar–it’s like the train that travels on rails that are shiny with years of continual use.

Now, with our Twelve Step program of recovery our minds are taking the path that leads to peace and serenity.  We  have a way out of our isolation and pain.

Are you willing to take the road less traveled? Let us help you do just that. We can chart out a path for you that works and works for as long as you stay on the path. That’s a promise.

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SOURCES: I’LL DO IT WHEN I FEEL BETTER.(2015) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 78. (Chapter on TRUST).

I am investing in myself

“I am making my recovery my highest priority. I may have been on all the antidepressant medications and I may have seen all the best counselors, psychiatrists and doctors, but now finally, I am going to a room full of depressed people  who understand  me. These people  I discover are investing in themselves. What will I find there? I will find some of the most caring people on the face of the earth. Some of the group will have been coming for months. They say they are having more good days than bad and its getting better.   The more meetings they attend the better they feel and the more support they receive. They are feeling empowered. It’s the miracle  of the group.  Instead of living with a compulsion to  repeat old negative and life negating thoughts and feelings, we now have a compulsion to live with hope plus a desire for a brand new way of  living. We are now about to change  the way we live and not just the way  we talk to ourselves. We are going to get a new life. ”

 

SOURCE: I’ll  do it when I feel better. (2013). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.Page 59

PROMISE # 5 of Depressed Anonymous: “No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we see how our experience can benefit others.”

Some of us have attempted suicide. A few of us more than a few times.  We had despaired of ever finding peace or hope.  We believed that we had no future and that our yesterdays were as hopeless as our today’s. It was hard to attend our  first Depressed Anonymous meeting.  We felt horribly alone. We just know that no one in the group has been through what we had been through. But as we listened and watched the older members of the group speak we saw ourselves in their stories.

Personally, I believe that whatever you give out to others is the amount that comes back to you. Our experience can usually help someone else.  As the experience of depression is so isolating, so predictable in its misery  that it is bound to have made such impression upon us that it changed out life and the way we think about our life. And then when our life is changed for the better —thanks to the fellowship of DA, this precious gift  of hope needs to be with those still suffering. Ironically, it appears that the farther we have gone down in mood and up again in our recovery the more powerful can this experience be.

The new members of the our fellowship see the “after” of our lives lived in recovery and so they themselves get involved in our fellowship. The fact that we have recovered so completely is in itself a message of tremendous hope for those who are newcomers to the group. Isn’t it amazing that those who can do the most for those still suffering are those who have worked themselves out of the pit of isolation and begin sharing their story of hope and personal empowerment.”

SOURCE: I’LL DO IT WHEN I FEEL BETTER. (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 39-40.

Promise # 11. “Intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.”

As my mind began to heal and my thoughts became more lucid it became apparent  that something inside of myself was changing. Depression, when you begin to examine the various symptoms up close and deal with them, the experience becomes less threatening. Some say that depression is a collection of behaviors that are brought  into play to defend  us against things that are too painful to face. Also, depression results when a love object is lost through death or that one feels abandoned. We have become so at one with our love object, that we mourn the death of part of us.  The love object and ourselves has become one. I believe we use the word co-dependence today.

At first I was frightened by my various symptoms of depression. The symptoms proved to be baffling. I was not able to get out of bed as well as being unable to concentrate or manage a complex thought.  I began to worry that I was losing my mind and I often asked myself if I was going to survive. But now my ability to handle situations in a meaningful way is due to my  frequent attendance at meetings, and by making a daily time for prayer and meditation and feeling that my life has purpose and meaning.  The more I am physically active  and going to meetings even when I don’t feel like it. Working on my Depressed Anonymous Workbook, reading my Twelve Step literature. The behavior is where my freedom begins. And yes, I do feel lousy at times, but I also know that nothing can stand in my way to make choices in my own behalf. Previous to my involvement with the group I had no idea that depression was not so powerful now as to prevent me from even thinking that I could choose to feel differently.”  (Read more tomorrow on Promise # 11.

SOURCE: Copyright(c) I’LL DO  IT  WHEN I FEEL BETTER.  (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 50-51.

Our relationship with other people improve: Promise # 9 of the Promises of Depressed Anonymous

Why wouldn’t our relationships with  other people improve?  After we have begun to put into place our daily program of recovery, through prayer and meditation we now are expectant and hopeful. We reflect upon each Step, and we complete a piece of the structure that in time will be the new me. I think that one  of the more critical areas to mend in our lives is the thinking part of ourselves.  Depression appears to start with the way our minds react to and perceive events outside of ourselves.  So, from the start we need to promote to those persons depressed to get involved in as much physical activity as possible, namely., walk, express personal feelings to others, go to meetings, talk on the phone with supportive people, in other words, get connected as much as possible.  Most importantly we discover at our  group meetings that there are many persons, much like ourselves and at the same level of recovery. We know we are not alone.

One of the immutable truths, according to Dorothy Rowe, who wrote the mental health award winning book, Depression: The way out of your prison. is “that other people are such that I must fear, envy or hate them. ”  If we believe that we are bad and valueless then it follows that we must  fear other people because they can find out how bad we are and so reject us.

Once newcomers hear  the before and after of our lives it will make it easier for them to believe us when they  experience our own enthusiasm and cheerfulness.”

SOURCE: Copyright (c) I’ll do it when I feel better. (2015) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. (Pages 46-47).

“Please treat yourself kindly! Begin to plan pleasurable activities into your life today.”

  Believing is Seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression#8 Please treat yourself kindly! Begin to plan pleasurable activities into your life today.

“One of the best ways to make sure you will have a pleasurable activity today is to plan for it the day before and then placing it on your calendar for the next day. Don’t say you will do it “when I feel better,” as you and I both know, we don’t usually do anything no matter what we tell ourselves. I think we have  all heard the saying “have a nice day unless you have made other plans.”  A lot depends on our attitude. If this isn’t  enough, just know that Abraham Lincoln said that we are about as happy as  we make up our minds to be.

What do you think?  Have you thought about  developing a “gratitude attitude?”

Note: Another resource for personal reflection is the work titled “I’ll do it when I feel better.” Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. (2014).

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SOURCES: Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2015) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 45-46.

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

Connecting the dots

One of the ways that helps us to overcome, deal with, and leave the prison of our depression is to connect the dots of our lives. What does this mean, exactly? It simply means that by using the 12 Steps of the Depressed Anonymous program of recovery we can gradually and at our own pace build a relationship with our Higher Power ( anything bigger than just me) or as it has it in our program, the God of our understanding. This is what we call “connecting the dots ”  which means our unique  thinking, our feelings, and all the behaviors of our lives.  In time, as  we move along the trajectory of our own recovery–working each of the 12 steps,  we begin to develop a picture of who we are and who  we want to be. We have connected all the dots.

Granted we are not going to get a true picture of ourselves right away. This program does asks something of us. We are going to have to be honest with ourselves and others, We have to be open to the reality that we can find the help and serenity promised in this program,  and  be willing to get on with our work. Yes, work. It takes work. It also takes time, as it  is a step by step process. If you want to leave the hellish feelings of isolation and shame that many of us have felt you will start this program. It will provide you with hope. And you will not be alone. You will have all of us here to support you!

I connected the dots almost 30 years ago now. In fact, I still go to meetings (went last night   ) and still making sure that today, just for today, I am still right on track. So now with my Depressed Anonymous Workbook and Depressed Anonymous Manual I continually keep in touch with my feelings, right behaviors (don’t isolate and beat myself up) and my relationship with God and my neighbor. And most importantly, I try and share a message of HOPE with those who are still suffering from depression. Could that person be you? If it is, you can have a Home Study program that will offer you hope and a real way out of the prison of your own depression. The Home Study Program is great preparation for a face to face group that could be formed in your own community.

SOURCES OF HELP:

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

The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. (2001) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2015) DAP . Louisville

I’ll do it when I feel Better. (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

    Visit the store for more info for other DA literature.

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Stay tuned for our ONLINE Newsletter and please subscribe so as to keep up with current places of DA starting up  as well as interesting testimonies from  those who have found hope in the program of recovery; people who have connected the dots!

I needed to lay all my cards out on the table…

Affirmation

First I need to forgive myself for not being perfect. I want to accept the fact that I am human and fallible.

” Made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.” Step Nine of Depressed Anonymous

Clarification of thought

When I made up my mind to attend my first Twelve Step meeting that was the beginning of making amends to myself and to others.  It was this taking the step and coming to a meeting that I made my statement that I needed help and that I might change the way that I lived my life.  I need to  lay all my cards on the table and get straight with anyone from my past who I feel that I hurt by my continual withdrawal  from living a full life.  I need to make amends to those who I passively watched when I would have been a support or a partner.  For the readiness to take the full consequences of our past acts, and to take responsibility for the well being of others at the same time, is the very spirit of Step Nine.

This really means that I will take an active role in changing my life. Amends doesn’t mean that we just shift the furniture around the room of our life. I might have to rip out the plumbing, knock out a wall, that is, face a major overhaul on the way I look at myself.

Meditation

Our  God will help us locate the truth about whom we need to make amends; that is, how God  wishes us to be changed and whom we need to have forgiveness from so that we will be God’s  worthy vessels to carry  hope to others still suffering from  the despair of their sadness.”

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Source: (c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of Twelve Step Fellowship groups. Louisville. Page 166.

Other sources of interest:

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

  I’ll do it when I feel better (2014) Depressed Anonymous  Publications. Louisville.

    Believing is seeing (2015) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Belling the cat

“The mice once called a meeting to decide on a plan to free themselves of their enemy, the Cat. At least they wished to find some way of knowing when she was coming, so they might have time to run away. Indeed, something had to be done, for they lived in such constant fear of her claws that they hardly dared stir from their dens by night or day.  Many plans were discussed, but none of them was thought  good enough.

At last a very young Mouse got up and said:

“I have a plan that seems very simple, but I know it will be successful. All we have to do is to hang a bell about the Cat’s neck. When we hear the bell ringing we will know immediately that our enemy is coming.”

All the mice were much surprised that they  had not thought of such a plan before. But in the midst of their rejoicing over their good fortune, an old mouse arose and said:

“I will say that the plan of the young mouse is very good. But let me ask one question: Who will bell the Cat?”

The moral of the story: “It is one thing to say that something should be done, but quite a different matter to do it.”

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In our work, I’ll do it when I feel better (2013), the moral of the story there is pretty much the same as  in  Belling the cat.  We tell ourselves that I’ll bell the cat of my addiction , which is killing me, only when I feel better. Of course, it never  happens. I never feel better.  I tell myself that I can’t even muster up  the energy to even begin the process  of taking on my sadness and those deadly feelings of helplessness.  But bell the cat I did! I knew that either I start helping myself out of the pit of my despair or lose my mind. The “cat” in my fight  had me physically, mentally and spiritually  immobilized.   Only because I had hit the wall did I begin to do something. I admitted that there is a problem and I had to DO something!

In the 1st Step of Depressed Anonymous which tells us quite directly and without equivocation  “We admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become un-manageable.”  OK. There you have it. I began to tie the bell around  the  old cat’s neck! That is the first step–to admit –and then to do something about it. It’s the beginning of a personal movement toward health and peace. But as we all know, this mouse (me) is never alone. I have a whole group of folks just like myself who have tied the ribbon around their addictions. Taking one Step after another we all have found a way to live our life without fear and depression.

For more information please read Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville and check out other books/ literature at Visit the Store at our site.

“WHEN YOU’RE DEPRESSED, ALL YOU’RE INTERESTED IN IS SURVIVAL.”

How true. I will always remember how I felt when I found myself unable to get up in  the morning. I knew something was different and something was very wrong. I was scared.  I did the only thing that I knew what to do–I got into “fight” mode and forced my unresponsive  body to get into motion. For some strange reason  I found myself in  “survival mode.” I just knew that whatever had me pinned to the floor and motionless I had to do the next right thing. The next right thing was to get out of bed and start walking. I did just that. And from that “survival mode” experience I learned a very important lesson: motivation follows action. In a way I had a faint bit of trust that what I was about to do, would be a factor in my survival;.

As it says in the book I’ll do it when I feel better, that “Trust, always has been a critical element in one’s search for finding one’s true and best self. And with trust comes hope. Hope is the thread which weaves its way throughout the spiritual program of the Twelve Steps.”

    LOST SELVES

Depression is about lost selves – and the struggle to regain the self. We are in a perpetual lock down! it is indeed a battle with one’s will to survive –that is why Dorothy Rowe calls depression a prison. We build the walls as a defense to keep us safe until we can combat our demons and find which way out is the best.

Over time you and I both have discovered  a truth: trust is never an easy proposition. Trust comes with a belief that all things will work out. But another problem is that so much of our lives negative and harmful life experiences have ben carried through life and so conditioned us to predict that no matter what we say or do we will always be living in the prison of despair.”

And finally I discovered the more I walked, the more bricks that had me imprisoned in despair and fear, I was able to remove.

It was then that I had the energy to pick up my Twelve Step “tool box”  from the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous, and to this day continue my life of serenity and hope. Now, learning to be in a “trust mode” has given me freedom to live each new day with hope.

SOURCE: Copyright(c) I’LL DO IT WHEN I FEEL BETETR.(2015) DAP. LOUISVILLE.  PAGES 75, 76-77.