Category Archives: Spiritual Heroes

YOU DON’T HAVE TO HAVE YOUR LIFE PARKED IN NEUTRAL!

I just returned from a combined (Edenton and Elizabeth City, North Carolina) Depressed Anonymous fellowship  workshop which I was asked to give. It was an all day workshop, with morning open to the public and then the  afternoon sessions committed to the two groups speaking to each other about their own personal experiences with the Twelve Steps and how their lives have changed since being part of these two groups.

These groups both were formed right before Christmas 2014. Both groups now have a strong presence in their communities because those in recovery now want  to “carry this message to those  who are still suffering from depression.” This is the bottom line for all of us who have found hope and healing in practicing and putting the spiritual principles of the Twelve Steps  into our daily lives. Hope is what we are sharing. You don’t have your life parked in neutral.

“THE MOST COMMON FORM OF DESPAIR IS NOT BEING WHO YOU ARE! ”  —  Soren Kierkegaard

”  Depressed Anonymous is a spiritual  program where you will find people like yourself, honestly, openly and willingly dealing  with their character defects (staying isolated) and gradually admitting that they have to change their lives and lifestyle, if they are going to be a whole and honest human being.  The decision is yours. You make the choice!  The Twelve Steps and your own personal story can now be shared with others and can help them in their own life’s journey. Give the hope that you have now with those who have lost hope. Build it  (mutual aid) and they will come! ”

Source: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 108-109.

I witnessed the “miracle  of the group” again this past Saturday in Edenton, North Carolina when the participants of both fellowship groups came together and shared their stories of how they moved into drive and  out of neutral. I thank  all you beautiful people in North Carolina as you continue to work your program of recovery! You are becoming who you really are and whom God means for you to be!

I Am No Longer Ashamed To Talk About My Being Depressed…

AFFIRMATION

I am no longer ashamed to talk about my being depressed; when I talk with other depressed persons I feel better.

I used to be ashamed of my condition and didn’t talk about it. But nowadays I freely confess I am a depressive , and this has attracted other depressed people to me. Working with them has helped a great deal.
(2) Bill W.,  Co-founder of AA.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I  know that the more I read the literature about the Twelve Steps and daily work my program, the more I am able to help myself grow out of this depression as Bill W.,  did shortly after he wrote the above piece.  So often alcoholism covers up depression so that the original cause of  the depression needs to be looked at.

MEDITATION

God, please help us through this day and help us work through these memories of shame that keep us depressed.  Let us truly believe that we can be free of our shame and live as a free person today.

COPYRIGHT(C) Higher Thoughts for Down days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for Twelve Step fellowship groups. (1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.  Higher thought for  June 24. Pages 126-127.

NOTE:   Because I had experienced depression myself,  this added a  healing assistance  to my encounters with clients who were depressed.  We could speak and understand each other.

When The Student Is Ready The Teacher Appears

The following is an excerpt from Higher Thoughts for Down Days for June 17th.

AFFIRMATION

I will make a point of it today to trust that my Higher Power is going to restore me to sanity and wholeness, the more I let go of what I want and let it move along the way of what it wants for me.

“Actually we were fooling ourselves, for deep down in every man, woman and child is the fundamental idea of God. It may be obscured by calamity, by pomp, by worship of other things, but in some form it is there.  For faith in a Power greater than ourselves, and miraculous demonstration of that power in  human  lives are facts as old as man himself.” ( Bill W.)

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

Sometimes I have been brought to my knees by some calamity or some traumatic loss in my life only to find that in time, by admitting my defeat, I was instead raised up and I found hope. It is a mystery how the Higher Power works but I am certain  about this, namely, that deep down inside of me I believe that my conscious contact with my Higher  Power will bring me what I need when I need it.

The more I believe in the daily demonstration of the Higher Power, the more I place my trust in its ability to free me from all the memories that holds me captive in my isolation and aloneness.”

WHEN THE STUDENT IS READY THE TEACHER APPEARS!

You Can’t Become A Butterfly Until You Leave The Comfort Of Your Cocoon

The depressed, says Dorothy Rowe, can “give a thousand and one reasons why they should stay depressed. They can think up thousands of painful thoughts about how bad they are and how they don’t deserve the cheer and joy that most of us frequently experience in our daily lives. Some run over and over again in their minds the awful things that they have done, and become used to their continual ruminating over their own sense of worthlessness. They have fallen into the depressed persons morbid need to feel bad.  The sadness continues to eat away at the very heart of the person until there is no more hope and the light at the end of the tunnel has been snuffed out. In their hopelessness of ever feeling better, they throw away the only key that unlock the prison, and that is the key called hope. Getting to the hope is at the heart of getting our lives and feelings recognized. We begin to believe that maybe I too can overcome my depression like other members of the group. Not only am I consciously changing the way I think but likewise I am forcing myself to get involved with the  other members of the group and making friends.  I know that withdrawing from others is one of the first signs that we are depressing ourselves. But it is in the continual contact with others like myself that I can begin to find a way out of my depression.”

Source: Depressed Anonymous (3rd Edition)  2011. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. page 42.

NORTH CAROLINA USA SETS UP 2 DEPRESSED GROUPS

NORTH CAROLINA DA

NORTH CAROLINA USA SETS UP 2 DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS GROUPS

 Elizabeth City, NC now has a group every Thursday @ 6-7PM   Location:  Serenity House, 300 Pearl St.

Edenton, NC has a group  every Sunday @ 6-7PM  Location: Vidant Chowan Hospital ( in Chowan Room)

CONTACT:  Debra’s email   @ desa07beach@gmail.com 

If you need further instructions on how to reach either of these sites please contact Debra above. Congratulations and what a great help these two groups will serve for those still suffering from depression!.

A Way Out Of Depression

” During  acute depression, avoid trying to set your whole life in order all at once.  If you take on assignments so heavy that you are sure to fail in them at the moment, then you are allowing yourself to be tricked by your unconscious. Thus you will continue to make sure of your failure, and when it comes you will have another alibi for still more retreat into depression.

“In short,  the ‘all or nothing’ attitude is a most destructive one. It is best to begin with whatever the irreducible minimums of activity are. Then work for an enlargement of these –day by day- Don’t be disconcerted by setbacks –just start over.”

Source: Bill W., in Letter, 1960.

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CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

Here is my take on the  statement above by Bill W., co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous.

When I first got involved with the Twelve Steps, I couldn’t wait to read all the steps and get busy reading as much as I could about them. But as I continued to stay in the program and get more involved in the Fellowship I discovered that I could not read ahead and think that now that I have read all the literature about the addiction I was done.  I graduated.  Instead, after thirty years plus, I am still working through these Steps and finding material that I need to look at in my life. The Twelve Steps and the study thereof, alone using the Home Study Kit,  and in the context of a fellowship  group, I have continued my quest to live one day at a time. Step Eleven is one of my constant companions which states that I “sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry it out.”

Our guide, Depressed Anonymous 3rd edition,  written by those of us who were depressed, contains an excellent commentary on Step Eleven (Pages 94-103). The Steps provide you and me with a lifetime of hope and help. The Steps continue to provide me  with a lifeline that is available to me, today, every day and every time.  It works for me!

-Hugh

Bill W. & Dorothy Rowe & Margie W.

Three persons who made a big difference in my life and how they each  helped me deal with my own melancholia (depression).

First of all there is Bill W., the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, who by his own witness, presented to us the spiritual program of recovery that we know as the Twelve Steps. Not only have they given me personally  a daily step by step program of recovery to follow but helped me fashion a program of recovery for persons depressed using the same spiritual program of recovery. Bill W., makes available through the Steps to any and all who seek a way out of their attachments to whatever is slowly  destroying their lives.

And then there is Dr. Dorothy Rowe, PH.D., a psychologist who has written many great books on depression and how to live one’s life. In 1985, a member of our newly formed Depressed Anonymous group gave me a copy of her book Depression: The way out of your prison. (1983, 1996) Second Edition. Routledge, London and New York. It was this book that opened my eyes and my mind to beliefs about depression that has accompanied me through my encounters with persons with depression in my own clinical practice, as well as  in the formation of  all the Depressed Anonymous  groups  focused and centered on the Twelve Steps. Not only have she and Bill W., been my mentors in this life long effort of mine, but both have given me keys that not only have released me from my own prison of depression, but persons everywhere have their lives back, plus a belief in a Higher Power,  thanks to these two pioneers.

Then there is Margie W., a charter member of Depressed Anonymous (whose account  appears in Depressed Anonymous in the Personal Stories section of our book). She states  “I can’t really remember for sure how I became involved in Depressed Anonymous. I believe a co-worker told me about a professor at the University of Evansville who had students who were helping people in the psychology field and wanted to know if I would be a volunteer to help start this new self help group. And it was free! What did I have to lose? I had seen Doctors, took their prescribed drugs and still ended up on the same old merry-go-round of ups and downs  and “hangovers” from the drugs. I joined a small group at first. We talked, set weekly goals, took short walks, visited with friends or enjoyed a cup of coffee to relax. We had to do something for ourselves. I had to learn to be good to myself, instead of nurturing  everyone else. I found a good doctor who gave me a lot of good advice about “pampering ” myself more. It hadn’t been easy.  I’ve read self help books, positive thinking books and worked hard on my way of thinking for years. I’m a natural born worrier, so things always seemed worse than they really were.  “(I) feel like I have something to offer the group. Hope is the word. I finally got above the edge of the rut that I could barely peer over for years. I know others  can do it too. Don’t give up. It’s a lot of hard work, but it can be done. I know. I was there.” Depressed Anonymous, (2011)  Third Edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville Kentucky.

I Don’t Have To Feel This Way!

As one person told Dorothy Rowe: “When I think of all those years I wasted being depressed, I wish  I would have listened. I’d wish I’d realized that all I had to do was say that I had enough of being put upon and put down,  feeling that there was something wrong with me. I’d like to go up to the hospital and tell everybody: ‘You don’t have to be like this.’ Up there nobody ever told me that.  I’d see those people going on and on being miserable. If I’d have seen someone like me now, it would have given me hope.”

SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous. 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications,. Louisville. P.72.

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How often do we present this message to those who enter into our world.  Our world is one of hope, possessed with the awesome reality that I am different. I have changed.  I can use my tool kit of the 12 steps to gradually dismantle and replace the negative features of my life with new directions, new behaviors and continuing to put into action those positive beliefs about who I am. The Depressed Anonymous fellowship helps us meet others who were depressed and  who now are living a full life.  We are grateful for coming into contact with those who  have a  story of hope to share. So, if you are feeling miserable and helpless, just know  that what you read here will definitely make a difference in your life. We don’t have a magic wand that will take away your pain but we do have a step by step recovery process that can  lighten your load and give you courage to live one hour, one 24 hour period at a time. You are no longer alone. No “snap out of it” from our group. You can make your decision today to join us and  begin a journey that can  lead you eventually  to say,  “I don’t have to be like this.” I did!

Hugh

THE RISKS OF FAITH

Dr. Gerald May in his life giving book, Addiction and Grace, shares his thoughts about the risks of faith.

He states  that “Several times now I have said that our real hope lies in  that no matter how oppressed we may be, we always retain some spark of capacity to choose. We can use the ember of freedom to choose to risk ourselves in the goodness of God or to continue to strive for our own autonomy or to give in to the powers that oppress us. I am convinced that nothing whatever determines the choices we make at the primal level, here, finally, the choices are totally up to us; we really are free.” (p.127)

After reading these pieces dealing with hope we are left with the possibility that maybe even I or you have to start today. Yes, obviously to hope is to be living with some risk,  but that beats, by a long shot, living in the unreal world of certainty that things will never get better for us.

The following is a text taken verbatim from the Depressed Anonymous Publication (c) I’LL DO IT WHEN I FEEL BETTER (2009),  PAGES,  66-68.

“Ray (member of Depressed Anonymous fellowship) continues to talk  about the various parts that make up one’s progress on the path to recovery. I think most depression sufferer’s go through a time of hopelessness and this feeling is very disabling for many of us. But with most problems or illnesses there is always hope. Hope that our problems will be solved or that will get better. So if hope is part of the solution, how do we find our  own path of hope?  Before we take that path I think it is important to see how the path is formed.

1. The first item is choices. We make choices every day for  ourselves, some simple, some complex. These choices may affect us for the rest of our lives, that is, what do I want to do in life?  What do I want from my life? What are my goals in life.  Our lives are formed and maybe our own meaning of life is revealed to us.  So our path is first formed with the choices that we make.”

2. Continued tomorrow—-stay tuned! Thank you

Copyright(c) How to find hope and let it blossom. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky 40217. Pages 10-12.

Hope Is Contagious!

HOPE IS CONTAGIOUS!

A great benefit of belonging to a fellowship is the power of hope. “If he or she can do it, then so can I.” This is a common belief for those who begin reading a book called Depressed Anonymous. This book, by the way, is written by folks who have felt hopeless and helpless.   The many accounts and personal stories in  the book  fill one with hope and courage.  The pages of this book help  serve as a manual for those of us who want to embark on this personal journey of hope and recovery from depression. Now this book and all of the other books published by DAP are specifically geared to those of us who want to leave the prison of depression and are written by persons who were depressed — and who got better. What is  better than to hear that the program works. Hearing how  other people  use the Twelve Steps and have them always available, is much like tools in your toolbox. The tools  are there to help build a structure for one’s own life  making it an adventure of hope–not a prison from which we felt we could not escape.

In Depression: The way out of your depression. Dr. Dorothy Rowe.1996 (2nd Ed).,  tell us that “Hope can exist only in a state of uncertainty. That certainty means total certainty. That security means to be without hope. The prison of depression is built with the bricks of total certainty.

Certainty. Security. No hope.

To hope means to run the risk of disappointment.

To be insecure means not to be in control.

Stay  in control. Be depressed.

To be uncertain means to be unsure of the future.

Predict the future with certainty. Stay depressed.

Hope can  only exist where there is uncertainty. Absolute certainty means complete hopelessness. If you want to live fully we must have freedom, love and hope.  So life must be an uncertain business. That is what makes it worthwhile.”

So, when we gradually believe that in each life some  rain must fall, and pain can come, we  begin to live life with hope. That’s the way it is. We can gradually believe, like thousands of other pilgrims on this path of recovery, that having a spiritual program such as the Steps, hope is possible, hope is doable and  our lives can take on new meaning and have purpose.