Category Archives: Attachment

The Circle Dance

If you have ever been depressed or are depressed at this moment, you are familiar with the Circle Dance.

I know the dance steps well, and in fact, I could share with you some of the basic steps, illustrating familiar dance steps.

First of all, let me say that you already know those steps that automatically get you to perform the “Circle Dance. You get caught up emotionally, the moment certain negative thoughts come bouncing across the dance floor into your mind. You know them as that painful hollowness in your gut, a desire to quit the dance and lay down, or to bash yourself with thoughts of how bad you feel.

Sometimes, starting with those life events from childhood, when your caregivers, be they parents or guardians, made you feel worthless and unwanted. These thoughts and feelings are constantly triggered by those with whom you share this life. You avoid people, think of yourself as unlovable –and the dance goes on and on in your head.

The Feelings of hopelessness produces unpleasant feelings. The feelings produce an unpleasant mood and the dance begins. The mood speeds up the dance and whisks you away into that painful circle with its attendant anxieties, sucking you down into the mental quicksand, swallowing you with all the terror and fright of losing all hope, much less your future. The Circle Dance will take you, everyday and in every way, to where you know you don’t want to go.

This dance is familiar. It is like the helpless insect caught in the web of the spider. The why of this hellish addiction to sadness, is never fully addressed with any solutions or answers. We want to know how to stop it. How to control it. We ask ourselves, how is it that I am depressed? How did I get into this terrifying circle, this loop which keeps me locked in a mood of hopelessness and despair. Where did all this sadness, anxiety originate? Will I ever find a way out? Is the dance, on automatic pilot, going to destroy me? Am I, a victim, without a source of help? Is this the way life is for me to be–forever filled with misery?
So much of the time I feel like I am on a train, heading toward a precipice, with no way of stopping it or escaping disaster?

Through all this, pain and confusion, you become an expert dancer, in fact, you know of others who like you, are expert dancers — trapped in dancing within their own Circle Dance.

The dance, it is so familiar. It is a defense, a comfort. We gradually learn to use it to protect us from the pain, without ever having a clue as to how it took over my life.

“A famous psychiatrist, a Dr. Freud, once theorized “that the reason a person continues to do the Circular Dance within themselves, is an effort to touch an unpleasant early life behavior or that long since forgotten event, buried in one’s unconscious. The Circular Dance promotes our addictive nature and the compulsion to repeat, is an effort by our mind to remember what it was that is the cause of our present cycle of misery, spinning us around and around – looking for answers as to what we do and why we do what we do and feel the way that we do, but never able to unlock the prison of our sadness.”

The Depressed Anonymous 12 step fellowship provides us with a possible solution to this question of no longer allowing the Circular Dance to determine the our life’s direction.

It is my belief, after participating in Hundreds of Depressed Anonymous meetings, over three decades or more, that the compulsion to repeat these sslf-destructive thoughts and images, may be linked to early childhood periods, accompanied with their painful, traumatic events. It is in those early days, that our Circular Dance took root and began to keep us locked down in its circular loop.

It is here, in the 12 Step Fellowship of Depressed Anonymous, that those unpleasant feelings, resultant from physical. emotional and mental abuse by significant others (parents and/or guardians, others) can be shared, voiced and talked about safely, and confidentially in the light of the accepting fellowship that we experience in all of our mutual help meetings.

It is possible that with time, patience and work, that these early feelings of hurt and feeling worthless, to name just a few, can be identified and shown how they have affected us negatively in the way we feel about ourselves today. With the help and work of the group, we are able to locate and make conscious those early life experiences that have been pushed aside. Because the feelings were too powerful and painful to examine and so they were buried in our unconscious. Basically, we can say, that there is no longer a need for that compulsive and addictive Circular Dance that our mind had used to punish us with guilt and shame. We now have the freedom to live life, recover from the wounds of the past, and live life today with hope and purpose. That is my wish for you this day.. And for myself.

No one puts me down, for saying that I am depressed. We never hear a “Snap nap out of it” at our meetings. If we could “snap out of it” there would be no need for our meetings. With work, time and the fellowship we no longer need a dance that goes nowhere but down. Now we are spiraling upward. We thrive!

Hugh S., for the Fellowship
____________________________________________________

Copyright(c) Hugh Smith (1986, 2013) 2nd Edition. I’ll do it when I feel better. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.
Pages 64-65.

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.

And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today

And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation – some fact of my life – unacceptable to me, and can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake.

Unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world, as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.

© Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Ed., page 417

That passage really speaks to me. After reading it I feel centered.

Life is 1% what the world hands you and 99% how you react to it. I’m not trying to minimize the pain and trauma that people go through, but I know that I can create suffering by not accepting the reality of the present moment.

When my daughter died I thought I was being stoic and heroic by going back to work immediately. I was not accepting on a deep and profound level the reality of my situation. I swallowed my emotions. I picked up an addictive behavior and ran from my feelings as opposed to having the courage to feel my emotions. I really didn’t grieve my daughter until 15 years later in a group therapy session.

Whatever pain you’re going through accept the fact that is where you are at the moment. I don’t mean give up and not find a way out through and past the pain. Stop asking yourself and God “WHY did this happen to me?“. For me the WHY is a way that I create suffering for myself.

I’ve had to learn to accept whatever situation I am currently in. Now is not the time for knowing why. When I die I’m sure my Higher Power will tell me why certain things happened to me and for me. Acceptance is the answer to my problems today. Problems morph into situations. Situations are things that need to be dealt with maturely, serenely and soberly. I hope that you can find acceptance with whatever is troubling you today.

Yours in recovery, Bill R

Drinking Depression: One Man’s Story Of Recovery From Alcoholism And Depression

 

DRINKING DEPRESSION:  One man’s story of recovery from alcoholism and depression and the parallels between the two. 

By Steve P.

“I have had experiences with alcohol abuse since childhood. I have also struggled since childhood with depression. I quickly learned to rely on both.

I call  this paper “drinking depression” because that’s exactly what I did when I no longer had the alcohol. The following thoughts will express my feelings and the parallels that I have seen between these two addictions.

RELIANCE

There was always an excuse to drink, mostly I was upset with something –I should say angry, for it was anger at the root of my depression that I was trying to suppress in medicating myself with alcohol. Later, I learned to do the same thing with my depression except to be in a depressive state high.  I didn’t even have to leave the house and after awhile I didn’t want to break the cycle of reliance that dependency had begun. Where I was absorbing alcohol into my blood stream  I was now   injecting the depression into my soul and absorbing it like a sponge

FAMILIARITY AND COMFORT

As a recovering alcoholic, I can look back on my drinking and see where I took comfort in being drunk because   eventually   the numbness became the only way I could feel better.  When I was drunk I could retreat into myself and not have to deal with everyday life.

The same escape tool was used in the form of depression. I could ball up like a wooly worm and the outside world was not going to hurt me. However, the more I wallowed in the darkness of my depression the deeper I got stuck  in the mud of despair and hopelessness.

DESPERATION

In order to deal with alcoholism and depression I had to hit rock bottom. I had reached a point in both that I had to call out for help or drown in my addiction.  I called on my Higher Power to help  deliver me from alcohol and he led me to a counselor  to  also help me with my depression. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit I am harnessing my talents now and I am seeing incredible results. My recovery has not been overnight but it is a day by day and step by step recovery process.

THE PHYSICAL

After some time had passed,  the drinking affects the physical body breaking it down. Once I saw a film in which the brain of an alcoholic was compared to the brain of a heroin addict and they were very similar. The depression I  experienced also had physical implications. For over twenty years the way my body would respond from too much emotional stress was to pass out. Instead of blacking out from alcohol I was using depression to numb myself and my brain.

THE SPIRITUAL

When I was drinking I felt alienation and guilt. I felt professing Christians did not drink. The more I drank the more guilty I became. I felt  much more distant from God the more I drank and spiraled further down into a cycle of despair.

In my depression,  I felt God had no time for  me and that I was unworthy of his love. Again,  it was a carousal filled with guilt and anger going round and round so that I couldn’t get off the merry-go-round.

SELF-ESTEEM

When I was drinking,  I was sure that no one cared or could understand what I was going through, so I had many pity parties and I was the guest of honor. Why should I care if no one else cared? This was my way of thinking.

From painful experiences in my childhood I felt  I was of no worth and just taking up space. It has taken therapy and the support of family and friends to finally look in the mirror and begin to like what I saw.

HOPE

I have been sober over two years although I often have the desire to drink I daily call  on my Higher Power to help me and march on one day at a time experiencing serenity and a release from my need to take that first drink.

I have been in therapy for almost a year off and on, although in order to recover one has to stay with it. I have to take my emotional and spiritual healing, like my drinking —one day at a time knowing   I can make it.  It is only by opening the door of the past that   the light of the present can get rid of the darkness  today,  providing  hope for the future.

It is my hope and prayer that this has helped you,  in some small way.  It has helped me by writing about my experiences. May God put walls of protection around you so that the way ahead for you may be crystal clear so that today may be your first step towards recovery.”

God bless.

Steve P.

+This article first appeared in THE ANTIDEPRESSANT TABLET, Spring 1994.

 

 

Valuing yourself is risky business

MY PERSONAL  AFFFIRMATION FOR TODAY

I choose again to read my 12 Step Manual (Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition) on a daily basis and from it find the courage to make decisions that promote my well being and my joy.

“There  are two problems about deciding things for myself. First, it means that you can’t blame anyone else when things turn out badly. (But you can take credit when things turn out well). Second, other people can get very angry with you for not doing what they want. Valuing your self is a risky business. What risk is preferable?  The risk of making your own decisions or the risk of not valuing yourself? ”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT
I  see myself as part of the solution to recovering from my attachment to sadness. I was a sadness addict. Now I am attached to the joy of risking myself so that I can live. That is what I value most now — the desire to live with uncertainty  and be unafraid.

I blame when I no longer want to look inside of myself. I feel that when I admit my former need to sad myself, I no longer blame anyone, but instead, I am putting my energies into sharing how I feel with others.

MEDITATION

God, we trust in you. We commit ourselves to you. We know that you are ready to act in our behalf the more we commit ourselves to you and your will. Give us the courage to keep in contact with you daily. Our time with you is our daily bread. (Personal comments)

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

Drinking Depression

Drinking depression: One man’s story of recovery from alcoholism and depression and the parallels between the two.

I have had experiences with alcohol abuse since childhood. I have also struggled since childhood with depression. I quickly learned to rely on both.

I call this paper “drinking depression” because that’s exactly what I did when I no longer had the alcohol. The following thoughts will express my feelings and the parallels that I have seen between these two addictions.

RELIANCE

There was always an excuse to drink, mostly I was upset with something. I should really say angry, for it was anger at the root of my depression that I was trying to suppress  in medicating myself. Later, I learned to do the same thing with my depression except to be in a depressive state High. I didn’t even have to leave the house and after awhile I didn’t want to break the cycle of reliance that dependency had begun. When I was absorbing alcohol into my blood stream I was now injecting the depression into my soul and absorbing it like a sponge.

FAMILIARITY AND COMFORT

As a recovering alcoholic I can look back on my drinking and see when I took comfort in being drunk because after awhile the numbness became the only way I could feel better because when I was drunk I could retreat into myself and not have to deal with everyday life.

The same escape tool was used in the form of depression. I could ball up like a woolly worm and the outside world was not going to hurt me. However, the more I wallowed in the darkness of my depression the deeper I got stuck in the mud of despair and hopelessness.

DESPERATION

In order to deal with alcoholism and depression I had to hit rock bottom. I had reached a point in both, that I had to call out for help or drown in my addiction. I called on my Higher Power to help me with my depression. With guidance of the holy spirit I am harnessing   my talents now and I am seeing incredible results. My recovery has not been overnight, but it is a day by day and step by step recovery process.

THE PHYSICAL

After some time had passed, the drinking affects the physical body breaking it down. Once I saw a film in which the brain of a heroin addict and the alcoholic were very similar. The depression I experienced also has physical implications. For over twenty years the way my body would respond from too much emotional stress was to pass out. Instead of blacking out from   alcohol I was using depression to numb my brain and myself.

THE SPIRITUAL

When I was drinking I felt alienation and guilt. I felt professing  Christians did not drink  and the more I drank the more guilty I became. I felt that much more distant from God the more I drank and spiraled further down into a cycle of despair.

In my depression I felt God had no time for me and that I was unworthy of his love. Again it was a carousal filled with guilt and anger going round and round so that I couldn’t get off the merry go-round.

SELF ESTEEM

When I was drinking, I was sure that no one cared or understood what I was going through so I had many pity parties and I was the guest of honor. Why should I care if no one else cared- this was my way of thinking.

From painful experiences in my childhood I felt I was of no worth  and just taking up space. It has taken therapy and the support of family and friends to finally look in the mirror and begin to like what I saw.

HOPE

I have been sober over two years although  I often have the desire to drink.  I daily call on my Higher Power for help and march on one day at a time experiencing serenity and a release from my need to  take the first drink.

I have been in therapy for almost a year off and on, although in order to recover one has to stay with it. I have to take my emotional and spiritual healing like my drinking.– one day at a time and know when I can make it because it is only opening the door to the past can the light of the present get rid of the darkness today and have hope for the future.

It is my hope and prayer that this has helped you, the reader,  in some small way. It has helped me by writing about my experiences. May God put walls of protection around you so that the way ahead for you may be crystal clear and that today be your first step towards recovery.

God bless.

—Steve P.  A member of the Louisville Depressed Anonymous Group.

 

My attachment to depression

I pray that my time alone might help me  better hear the love of God’s voice.

AFFIRMATION

“The beautiful thing about God is that he is simple. There are no parts to God -no body, mind and soul. We see God as a oneness  and are only praying for knowledge of his will and the power to carry it out.  This is where we pray that we might listen quietly for the still small voice that already dwells in each of our hearts (the kingdom of God lies within) and comes to light the more we make time for it to speak.” (8) Depressed? Here is a way out. Smith, H.  HarperCollins, Fount. London.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT  

It is such a painful thing to wait all day long wanting so desperately to feel better and not being able to will myself into that better feeling. I know that my attachment to depression has been going on so long that I will have to gradually await the changes that I believe will come the more I work this program of recovery. I will find the serenity and the peace of all those who have centered their attention on hope in stead of  the problem, namely our sadness.

I have to get quiet, take a few very deep breaths and let the breath of God fill every corner and niche of my mind. The breath of the healing spirit gives me hope that I will begin to see my world differently and so I will begin to act differently.

MEDITATION

“God, please give me back the joy of your healing voice, and let a willing spirit sustain me.” Psalm 51:14.

SOURCE: Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days:365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Comment: And what do you think? How hard is it for you to take the time to get quiet and listen for the prompts of God in your own spirit?

Depressed Anonymous. Pollyanna or the real deal ?

Is Depressed Anonymous the real deal or is it just too good to be true. Are we much like the novel character Pollyanna, over optimistic about everything or are we the realists who take life on lives terms and then deal with it the best way that we can. For all of us who are program people we know the answer to that question.

The best way to deal with any problem or life situation  is to face it squarely and deal with it.  Feelings and all have to be felt, looked at and then dealt with. Take it from me and the  many others who come into our program depressed and who discover that we are not the” pie in the sky “people,  the people with the magic potions or the magic wand wafted over  our heads. But, we are the solution focused folks who will help you build a program that will last a lifetime, giving hope, with a fellowship of hopeful people with whom one can always be in contact with.

One of the areas of life that the depressed has not much experience with is to be like  little  Pollyanna of Porter’s  novels.  Most times the gloom that settles in our minds and heart are those feelings of despair and darkness which we are unable to shake off. It’s that feeling of hopelessness, the feeling of being completely helpless as we gradually make our whole existence one of inner pain  and anxiousness. We can’t sleep–or we sleep too much. We eat too little or we overeat.   Our life is lived out in what feels like a prison cell. It’s a prison without bars, granted, but we cannot  leave it just because we will to.  Will power is initially useless. I know, I tried that route. The Depressed Anonymous fellowship is one of the means which provide  us with a key–a way to leave this prison of isolation.

And then here comes this group called Depressed Anonymous.  Why go to a  group of people who are depressed and listen to stories  about their sense of futility and oppression? That would be depressing! That is, unless they are using in their lives the 12 spiritual principles of Depressed Anonymous. This is the  blueprint which build one step at a time the rest of the structure  that, like the Alcoholic, overeater, all build a structure that can  last a life time. Once they are onboard and begin using Steps for their own personal recovery to build a new life of hope, no adversity can force them to go back to their old and addictive behaviors.

The depression experience is what brings them into our fellowship and it is here that hope is gradually restored. But please, we don ‘t have the easy answers or  magic pills, or the magic wand to make our pain go away.  What we do is provide a plan, a blueprint if you will, a daily dose of hope with a lively  fellowship, sponsors and literature.

There is no sugar coating here. No whitewashing the pain of an individual depression experience. But just like the alcoholic who makes a commitment to keep from alcohol one day at a time, we too have the same program. We come in and decide that yes, I have a problem,  and yes  I will do all in my power,  plus with the ever present  God of my understanding,  change what needs to be changed in my life, one  day at a time.  This is the real deal. And so won’t you join us in this program of recovery and make the effort to discover how you too can live a life of hope and happiness.

Hugh

 

 

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

I
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost. I am hopeless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever for me to find a way out.
II
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend that I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
III
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I saw it there.
I still fall in. It’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault. I get out immediately.
IV
I walk down the same street
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
V
I walk down another street.

© Portia Nelson 1981


Comment

Definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Tapering off of booze, smoking, overeating etc., negative thinking, suicidal thinking, I hoped it would finally help me end my strong attachment/addiction to any one of these life threatening behaviors. Wrong. I kept going down the same street and falling in the same hole. The Twelve Steps is what gave me the courage to go around the hole and begin to travel down a different road. The road I followed and still follow after 30 years is the great fellowship of Depressed Anonymous. You can read the stories of those who started walking down that “other street” – that broad highway of recovery that we call Depressed Anonymous.

Read their personal stories in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY

I LIKE BEING A RESPONSIBLE PERSON AND I WILL NO LONGER BLAME OTHERS FOR MY SADNESS.

AFFIRMATION

Responsibility is the name  of the game in recovery and it is here that we need to focus our attention.  As we get into a discussion with other  people who are depressed  – much like ourselves – we see that they talk about feeling better while at the same time acting on  their own behalf. ” (8)

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

To blame someone else for all my problems, and to focus on someone else and not on myself, never  accomplishes anything therapeutic. I believe that as I commit myself to  my program of recovery I begin to feel a shift in the way I think and act.  I know that the only way out of my pain is to get into dealing with my sadness and the way that I sad myself.  I need to begin with Step One  and admit my problem. I need to admit that my life has become unmanageable because of my attachment  to depression.  I must remember not to blame myself for depression  – I just know that right now, today, I want out!  I tell myself I’ve had  it!  I intend to get better.

In order to change my life, I have to begin taking responsibility  for it today.  By setting a goal, just for today, I can plan some success into my life.”

MEDITATION

We know that our Higher Power wants us to live just this one day. God is neither a vengeful God nor is my God a punishing God. My God is there for me and the more I open up and trust God, I trust myself to change and be a better and more serene person.”

————————————————————————————————————————————————-

SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for down days:365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications . Louisville, Kentucky  P. 69.