” But I’ve always done it this way.”
“But I have always been this way.”
“This is just how I am.”
Stuck! How often does someone tell us one of the above excuses or all of the above on first showing up at a Depressed Anonymous meeting. They tell us that they are “sick and tired of being sick and tired.” They come to those of us who have said the same thing in the past. Like those who stick with the fellowship of persons like themselves, persons depressed, they learn how our lives were before participating in our program of recovery and how our life is today. The change that we talk about is like night and day. The BEFORE describes a life of darkness and despair and the NOW describes a life filled with light and hope.
Now, by using the four stage process of change: 1. Be aware 2) Be motivating 3) Be doing 4) Be maintaining we can examine our past. We begin to see how our excuses which keep us imprisoned in depression many times originate growing up in a dysfunctional family. This loss of trust and love and in some cases, even loss of provision for basic survival needs such as food, shelter and physical safety, conditions us to a feeling of being helpless and depressed. Sometimes this chronic depression is masked and defended against by compulsive activity and perfectionistic kinds of striving. Becoming “tireless” and “limitless caretakers of others defends a person against his or her own neediness and yearning to be care for.
So, how can we promote a positive change? How does this change come about? Well, first of all, we admit we have a problem. For some of us, a life-threatening problem. We became aware something is wrong. Then we believed that we had to do something about this problem. We came to the DA group. We discovered that the members of the group learned how to motivate themselves and get into action. We found a way that gave us hope. We found a map that continues to lead us out of the darkness. Finally, one’s motivation is followed by action. We got into action and continued to find ways to change ourselves. We have the tools to change our selves, one Step at a time. We are no longer alone. No more excuses. We now have a solution. How about you?
Back in the last century I made a decision that continues to direct my life today and everyday. That decision was that I needed help. I needed to know how to free myself from an addiction to a substance that was gradually killing me. The only place that I knew that might offer me some help would be a local AA group. Frightfully, but expectantly, I walked through the door of my first 12 step meeting. The power that was greater than me–was the group of men and women who were meeting to talk about a solution–namely, to their addiction to alcohol. I felt at home. Well, not totally at home–but I did find acceptance for me and my particular addiction. They presented me with a toolbox–not material tools–but spiritual tools that I use to keep myself free of my desire and craving for alcohol. We call them the 12 steps.
That was in 1982, December 7th. And then three years later I became depressed and I applied the steps to my depression experience, which likewise was killing me. I got out my tool box and began applying the same tools as I had applied to my other addiction and found I again had a solution to my twisted and distorted thinking. It was only after I admitted that I had a problem, and my life was unmanageable, did I find a way out. My Higher Power leads the way, day after day, month after month and year after year. If you want to learn more about how YOU can make a decision, find the tools and keep your attention focused on the solution oriented 12 steps, then you let us know. We want to share with you our story and how it was before in our life and how it is now.
Looking to find that toolbox? We can help. Don’t give up. Look us up and give us a call.
“Sigmund Freud was once asked what people needed to be happy? The questioner no doubt expected a long, complicated answer reflecting Freud’s years of deep reflection on the matter. His simple response, however, was “arbeiten und lieben,” –work and love. Happy people feel connected to others at work and through their intimate relationships. When those connections are threatened, diminished, or broken, people suffer. Today, millions of Americans are suffering from what my colleague Charles Derber calls “double trouble.” Those in double trouble have neither meaningful work nor sustaining intimate ties. The withering of community life in both domains fosters a rootless and social disintegration that unquestionably contributes to the growth of emotional disorders.” Speaking of Sadness. David Karp. Page 178.
I believe that in the midst of the pain of depression I just wanted to pull the plug on life. I wanted to be alone. I just wanted people to keep their distance. I was not happy. I was unhappy at a job I began to hate. I do remember how hard it was even to lift up the phone to talk to a family member, an old friend or whoever intruded into my isolation. Truly I was suffering from “double trouble.”
But as the pain deepened I began to look for solutions–where was the key to unlock my depression. I found it in a fellowship, a 12 Step Recovery group. I was able to form intimate relations, work a program which was solution focused and then gradually get back into the light, into meaningful relationships. I also recovered the energy I needed to find a career that today (30 years later) still gives me joy and sustains my hope.