Category Archives: Avoidance

101: How to eliminate wild weeds (Negative Thinking)

Eliminating weeds from our gardens or from the Spring beauties who show their marvelous colors every year, makes it our major task to dig the weeds out, cutting down these thriving seeds of destruction. They become a pest when allowed to grow and take over what was hoped to be something beautiful and bountiful. Negative thinking is likewise that noxious weed- It yields no good fruit!
Our strategy, is to knock them out before they can get a root- hold, destroying our hard work and handiwork. Seeing the first sign of the noxious weed (negative thinking) tells us that more are on the way.

This I believe, serves as a metaphor for when a mind has been taken over with negative thinking and accompanied by a sense of hopelessness.
Our mind, if filled with uninvited negative thinking, cycling us down with a feeling of loss and hopelessness, we find it’s time to get into action, take a crack at that first negative thought–before it even gets a chance to sabotage our thinking, our feelings and motivation to change.
When the negative thoughts begins–say STOP–don’t go any further with a debate about that first thought. We refuse to get entangled with this tangent thought, always leading us to places where we don’t want to go. We have been at this point of thinking far too many times. We know now how to dismantle this crippling form of negative thinking. Change the script. You do the managing of what you think about.
First, cut the thought down to size–don’t let it scare you, but tell it “I’m not going to believe this anymore.” Another reccuring negative thought, for example might be, “You are worthless.” When this thought appears, we can replace it with a positive “sunspot.” This “sunspot” can be a positve recent mental image of a past event or a positive affirmation of ouselves. And with your own weed control operation, tell yourself as many good things about yourself as you want. What you can accomlish at this point is to see the weed (thought) for what it is. Cut it down, like a bad weed, and dig it out. Have an affirmation ready at hand, to replace each and every negative thought. Positivty thinking is what you are all about!

AFFIRMATION
“Making direct amends and using a personal inventory continues our progress and helps free us from all the hurts of the past. We know now that we can’t afford to think long about real of imagined hurts, or we will throw ourselves back into saddening ourselves once again.”

REFLECTION
One of the things that is toxic for the depressed peron is negative thinking. This thinking continues to grow, once nurtured by my attention into a large and uncontrolled wild weed, taking all the attention from the good things happening in my life. I know that I can no longer give into that first thought allowing to pound me to the ground. My negative thinking is very much akin to drinking for the alcoholic. Once I give into that first moment of self-bashing, the cycle of depression begins. There can be no second negative thought!
Hurts from my past continue to grow stronger the more I allow them to dominate my thinking and my behavior. Hurts are best eradicated (Seep 4 and Step 5) when I deal with them openly and honestly.

MEDITATION
The spirit hopes in God as we begin today with a prayer and a belief that this day can be a good one, like the days that I have had in the past.”

Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 Step fellowships. Depressed anonymous Publications.Louisville, Ky. Pages 153-154. (September 17)

Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous. Third Edition (2011). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.

Keeping my Higher Power Highest

Throughout my life, different things have been my Higher Power.  A certain job that I loved and prioritized above all else, or the person I was dating.  When I was in active addiction, different substances were a higher power.  Before recovery, the looming black cloud of deep depression was a higher power.  

Once I got into recovery and the steps, I was encouraged to find a true Higher Power, or God of my understanding – a Power greater than myself that could restore me to sanity.  In other words, Step 2.  I can honestly say that after many months of praying and working the steps, this Power relieved me of the obsession to drink and helped me to recover from the hopeless dark pit of deep depression. 

My challenge today, now that I am not in that deep dark hole of depression, is to keep my Higher Power the highest priority in my life.  For example, I recently started a short term job in a field that I am very passionate about.  It has been very demanding and time consuming, and I’m finding that this position is consuming my thoughts, actions, and life.  When I talked to my sponsor about this, she asked “So, has this job has become your Higher Power?”  I realized she was right!  Where was God in my life?  In my thoughts?  How can I be working Step 3 if I am not cognizant of my Higher Power and turning my will and my life over to His care?  I realized this job had become my priority in life, instead of my Higher Power and my recovery.  I am grateful for this reminder, so that I can get back on track.  I know that when I don’t place my Higher Power and my recovery first in my life, I start to slip back into old thinking patterns and old behaviors, which for me will lead me back into depression. 

Thank you, God, that You are always there for me, ready and willing to help me, no matter how many times I stray.

To keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insanity

Maybe and maybe not! We use this slogan many times in our recovery groups, thinking the statement to be true. For example, to keep missing our recovery meetings week after week may result in a possible relapse. I believe this to be true! Insane? It is definitely not helpful when one is trying to find sobriety or a way out of their depression

For the depressed to isolate oneself from family, friends and the world, is to gradually move self into a deepened mood of sadness and ultimately depression. The isolation is not going to defend the individual from depression but is only going to make it worse.

To look at the slogan from another angle is to find that the statement is false. In fact, to keep going to meetings week after week or more often is doing the same thing – expecting different results. By doing the same thing over and over again, in this case, the different results are a strengthened recovery with hopefulness coupled with serenity.

#6. The Promises of Depressed Anonymous

#6 Promise: The feelings of uselessness and self-pity disappear.

“One of the major areas that changes quickly by our attendance at the group meetings is that we pity ourselves less and less. We begin to be grateful for all that we have and all that we are. We begin to see that once we start getting connected to others like ourselves on a regular basis through our Depressed Anonymous meetings, we are now listened to by others and we are validated. We don’t hear “snap out of it here.”

Suddenly our years of self pity, isolation and desolation have ben cashed in for a currency that buys us a new competency, a new identity, an autonomy and a burgeoning inter relatedness with others just like ourselves.

We now can speak about our experience with depression in the past tense. We can now share how we have the tools of self care whereby we can dig out and begin to construct an edifice of hope that will last the rest of our lives. As long as we continue to use the tools of the program we are bound to feel different.

We know that feeling sorry for ourselves promotes a greater attention to and for the problem, while attention to how our experience can help others promotes not only our own well being but that of others as well.

As we learn how the program works – and this only happens primarily by attending meetings. The solutions and ideas help us all to become more active in the pursuit of our own serenity, as promised by the fellowship.

When we were depressing ourselves, we felt not only useless, but unacceptable to ourselves and to others. It seems that the harder we pushed to fight against depression the sadder we became. When we began to feel differently we also began to believe differently. We learn how to be more helpful and hopeful.

Why do I continue the work of bringing hope to those still suffering? What motivates me to continue to try and help others. What has made the changes in my life where now I want to share what I know and what I feel? Basically,I know that the program of recovery works.

I no longer feel powerless over my symptoms of depression, that I can do nothing about my depression. I have seen that the major solution for my symptoms of depression is in the doing and in the feeling and the expression of my feelings with others in the group. In DA people speak my language. We see how useless it is to waste time looking back over my shoulder to see if the dark shadow of my own inner fears is going to overtake me. I now have attained small amounts of hope and strength as I go from day to day. I am prepared for those moments of despair that can overtake me and cause me to feel paralyzed and out of control.

In the first Step “we admitted that that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable.”

Self-pity is that feeling where we continue to go over and over again of all the hurts that have put us where we are today!

We waste hours and days in our self-wallowing.”

RESOURCE
(C) The Promises of Depressed Anonymous, (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Lpuisville, KY. Pages 13-14.

Courage To Change The Things I Can

Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is having fears, facing them, and taking action. I know that I can be overcome with fear. My depression manifests as a deer in the headlights. I am stuck in inaction. The hardest part is getting started.

Break whatever project you are procrastinating on into small manageable pieces. Start attacking and accomplishing those smaller tasks. Some people say to tackle the low hanging fruit – to start off easy. Some people say to tackle the hardest task first – the one that you are dreading the most. If you can handle the hardest task then you should be able to handle the rest.

Does it matter which way you start? The answer is a resounding no. What matters is that you take action, any action. Start, start NOW! It doesn’t matter if you make a mistake by going into action – you will have momentum on your side, and you can accomplish much more.

Choose action. Pick something, anything that is productive and gets you one step closer to your goal.

You will experience fear, it is to be expected. Have the courage to feel the fear and do it anyway. You may not feel better instantly, but you will feel better eventually.

If you are overcome with fear to the point of inaction don’t worry. Be gentle with yourself. Breathe through your fear and set the task aside for a few moments. Don’t have the attitude of no never, but instead have the attitude of no, not right now. Revisit the task that you put aside. Don’t get trapped in avoidance as you’re merely putting the fearsome task aside for a few moments. Catch your breath, and dive back in.

Be gentle with yourself, but do it!

Yours in recovery, Bill R

Depression is the ultimate state of disconnection

“…Depression is the ultimate state of disconnection, not only between people, and between mind and heart, but between one’s self image and public mask, writes Parker J. Palmer in  Let you life speak.

“Then”, he continues, “there were the visitors who began by saying “I know exactly how you feel…”  Whatever comfort or counsel these people may have intended to speak, I heard nothing beyond their opening words, because I know they were peddling a falsehood: no one can fully experience another personal mystery.  Paradoxically, it was my friends emphatic attempt to identify with me that made me feel even more isolated, because it was  over identification.  Disconnection may be hell, but it is better than false connections.

Having not only been “comforted” by friends but having tried to comfort others in the same way, I think I understand what the syndrome is about: avoidance and denial.  One of the hardest things we must do sometimes is to be present to another’s pain without trying to fix it, to simply stand respectfully at the ends of  the person’s mystery.  Standing there, we feel useless and powerless, which  is exactly how a depressed person feels – and our unconscious need as Job comforters is to reassure ourselves that we are not like the sad soul before us.”——————————————————-

Comment.  It is extremely important for others to understand that not only is the person depressed feeling useless and powerless, so to is the person who is in the company of the person depressed. It is not hard to understand that this is exactly what happens with all of us when we cannot “‘fix” someone who we know needs help.  Our statements of the false disconnection type, do not build bridges between peoples, but widens the gap between them and us. I know and believe that it is the person who is present to us, as Parker points out, that is standing by, on the outskirts of an understanding  of our pain, and who  continues  to be there without a ” toolkit” to “fix” us.