Category Archives: Supportive Actions

Sick Man’s Prayer

God, when a person offends me, help me to remember this is a sick person.
Help me show the same tolerance, pity, and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend.
Show me how can I help them.
Save me from being angry.
Thy will be done.
– Alcoholics Anonymous p. 67

Just as I am sick and broken and going through my own struggles the same is probably true for others as well. I need to be compassionate towards myself and others. I COULD judge myself and others, but is it helpful to do so? Judgment is the realm of God and humans need to tread lightly when going into judgment.

Do not judge, or you too will be judged.
– Matthew 7:1 New International Version

Be open to the possibility that the other person is not acting out of malice but perhaps they are acting out of a place of pain. That doesn’t excuse any action that they take, but it should soften your heart towards others.

Yours in recovery, Bill R

Making gratitude my attitude helps keep Robin out of depression

Through the Depressed Anonymous program of recovery, which utilizes the Twelve Steps, I have been on a journey of transformation from the everyday life of struggle, gloom, and desperation to discovering new freedom and new happiness – something I didn’t know existed. My entire perspective is changing. Other people who I thought were judgmental are now considered as all being a child of God- all created equal. What a provocative pence tool this is! Really! It helps me lift those negative attitudes and places them with affirmations. This is undoubtedly the most valuable technique offered in Depressed Anonymous to acquire an optimistic attitude towards life itself or simply “making gratitude my attitude.” So many of us were only familiar with the sham and the drudgery of life, but even with all the sham and drudgery in the world, it is still a beautiful place to live. We learn to change not the world but how we view the world and all its intricacies.

Using the Twelve Steps allows me to begin the journey of hope and to admit that I am powerless over depression. There is the time when depression overwhelms me so intensely that it nearly cripples me altogether. These emotions of failure, shame, and “feeling less than”, become so uncontrollable that I have to stop and simply admit that I am powerless over them. But now, I genuinely believe that there is a power greater than myself and greater than those emotions.

The Higher Power (whom I call God) is there to help me any time I ask Him. And you know what? He rescues me every single time.

Resources
Depressed Anonymous 3rd Edition, © 2011, Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville KY. (Pages 115)

Resentment is the number one offender

What’s your problem? One problem that many of us have is that we are riddled with resentment. How do I come to that conclusion? It’s found in the AA Big Book (remember that Depressed Anonymous is based on the model pioneered by Alcoholics Anonymous).

Resentment is the “number one” offender. It destroys more alcoholics (or depressed people) than anything else. From it stem all forms of spiritual disease, for we have been not only mentally and physically ill, we have been spiritually sick. When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically. In dealing with resentments, we set them on paper. We listed people, institutions or principles with whom we were angry. We asked ourselves why we were angry. In most cases it was found that our self-esteem, our pocketbooks, our ambitions, our personal relationships (including sex) were hurt or threatened. So we were sore. We were “burned up.”

Alcoholics Anonymous, pages 64-65

Okay, so we’ve identified the number one offender. We must set ourselves free from resentment. What do we do to rid ourselves of resentment? That too is found in the AA Big Book:

If you have a resentment you want to be free of, if you will pray for the person or the thing that you resent, you will be free. If you will ask in prayer for everything you want for yourself to be given to them, you will be free. Ask for their health, their prosperity, their happiness, and you will be free. Even when you don’t really want it for them and your prayers are only words and you don’t mean it, go ahead and do it anyway. Do it every day for two weeks, and you will find you have come to mean it and to want it for them, and you will realize that where you used to feel bitterness and resentment and hatred, you now feel compassionate understanding and love.

It worked for me then, and it has worked for me many times since, and it will work for me every time I am willing to work it. Sometimes I have to ask first for the willingness, but it too always comes. And because it works for me, it will work for all of us. As another great man says, “The only real freedom a human being can ever know is doing what you ought to do because you want to do it.”

Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, page 552

I can personally attest to the fact that praying for the people you resent truly works. I harbored a deep resentment for over 15 years. My parents chose not to come to my daughter’s funeral. The resentment was all consuming. My sponsor in AA told me “Bill you need to pray for your parents”.

The first thought that came to mind was: “No way in hell am I praying for my parents”. Then the small still voice of my Higher Power asked me a question: “Well Bill, what are you willing to do?”.

I realized that I was willing to pray for willingness. I prayed for two weeks, and the willingness came. I prayed for two weeks for my parents: that they know peace, that they feel the presence of God in their life, that they have wisdom.

I prayed and the resentment was gone. The scar was still there because they hurt me. It however was no longer an open and festering wound. No longer was there bile in the back of my throat because of deep anger. I was free!

Prayer truly works if you pray for those you resent, and not pray at them.

Yours in recovery, Bill R

Fun? When was the last time you had some?

In Step Four of our Depressed Anonymous Workbook, we find the statement: “When was the last time you had some fun?” You could also add when was the last time you actually laughed or even had a smile on your face? In one of our early Depressed Anonymous meetings. Bob told the group that the DA meeting was the only place where he could actually find himself laughing.

At our online Depressed Anonymous meetings, we are presently sharing our thoughts and feelings about Step Four. As part of our inventory, there are a number of questions pertaining to our Family of Origin. The following section helps me to take and reflect on my own family of origins and the relationship that I had with all those persons who I shared my life in those early childhood years.

In order to make a good inventory I need to go to my roots and discover how I came to be the person that I am today. AS the saying goes, “WE are our parents.”
When we were small, we “swallowed” our parents, meaning “swallowed” their main personality characteristics. Even today parents, grandparents, a stepparent, or guardian all are now part of our personality -for good or for ill. For myself to escape from my depression I need to discover how I might have received certain messages from my depression I need to discover how I might have received certain messages about myself from those adults who surrounded me as a helpless infant and child. All of us have received messages as children -some helpful and others not so helpful. Some messages directed toward us might have made us feel worthless because we got the message that we could never do anything to please others.

Our Depressed Anonymous manual, with an excerpt from Step Four gives a detailed and traumatic account of one of my experiences as a 10-year-old child. This event had recurring consequences for my young life and into my adult years. We might want to take a deeper look into some of the unpleasant feelings that we have today, traced to their origins in our childhood. I know for a fact that these events, producing guilt and shame, were finally dealt with in therapy as a young adult.

“I still remember being embarrassed when my third-grade teacher told me in front of the whole class That I would never be like my brother who was much smarter than me. I used to feel my face get hot every time I thought about that embarrassing incident. But the more I share my shame of having been exposed to others about something that I had no control over, the freer I became of that fear. The same principle is at work here in the Depressed Anonymous group. We can take our own personal inventory of our weaknesses and fears and trust the group to hear us out and accept our stories of shame and hurt as we accept theirs. We begin to see how and why so many people feel bad because in their earlier years people made them feel they could never measure up to the way others expected them to grow up. By becoming our little child once more, we paradoxically grow up.”

More about our childhood experiences, pleasant and unpleasant in the days to follow. And since it is time for school to start again, it seems that our bodies, sensors that they are, remind us that the Fall weather and school both arrive at the same time of year.

(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, p.29.
(c) Depressed Anonymous, (2011) THIRD EDITION. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, p. 55.

Willingness to Take Baby Steps

A common question in other 12 step fellowships is “Are you willing to go to any lengths to achieve recovery?” When thinking about willingness and my depression, I don’t know how well this applied to me. I mean, if I had the willingness to go to any lengths when I was in my deepest darkest depression, I would have just hopped out of bed, embraced the day, and ran a 5K! But that is not how it worked for me!
When I was in the depths of my depression, my willingness had gone out the door. “What was the purpose anyway?” I thought. I didn’t think I could get any better. But Depressed Anonymous showed me that there is hope, and there is a way out. For me, that path to recovery has been a series of baby steps. After coming to meetings, I saw people who were like me; people who really suffered from depression, and I saw that they were recovering. Once I had the realization that there was hope, I needed to ask myself a question. “Just for today, am I willing to take a baby step to help myself recover from depression?”
This was something that I could comprehend and that I thought might be possible. Yes, I can take a baby step and get out of bed. Yes, I can take a baby step and call someone from the fellowship. Yes, I can take a baby step and order the literature, then take another baby step and read a page of the literature. I can answer one question in the workbook today. Yes, I can do one little thing to help myself today!!
That is how my recovery began. That is how I climbed out of that 80-foot hole of depression-one baby step at a time. And the beautiful thing is that I don’t have to do it alone! Honestly, I don’t think I could have done it alone. I tried for years, and although I met with sporadic success, I inevitably fell back into that pit of depression. Today I have the DA fellowship surrounding me. I have a Higher Power. I have a sponsor and friends in the fellowship who help me along my path. I am also here to help others on their path to recovery. Today, I am grateful for the willingness to take baby steps.

Don’t Compare – Identify

When we compare ourselves to others it is a divisive action. We separate ourselves from others. What we are all looking for is to be part of, to belong, to be in a community.

If you truly want to be in a community – stop comparing. Seek instead the common ground.

Look for the good in people. You will find what you are looking for. Some people have coined a new term: The Law of Attraction. That law has been present for a long time.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
Matthew 7:7-8 New International Version 1

When you go to a 12 Step meeting and listen to people sharing, don’t focus on the surface details. The details will differ. Listen instead for the emotions behind the stories. The same things will come up again and again:

  • fear
  • loneliness
  • feeling like you don’t belong
  • abandonment and neglect
  • hurt
  • anger
  • abuse (severe or mild, physical or emotional)

You belong if you say you belong. You belong if you seek the common ground among your peers.

Yours in recovery, Bill R

Notes

  1. I’m not looking to convert you into Christianity. I’m merely pointing out the truth in a single line from that scripture. Take what you like and leave the rest. Sometimes even religious people get things right.

Today’s cleanliness can’t rely on yesterday’s shower

Bill, what the heck are you talking about?

Sometimes when we are depressed it feels like too much effort to take a shower. Sometimes you are just not in the mood. Cleansing yourself is not a chore, it is something you can do that is self-nurturing and you feel better as a result. Sometimes the shock of the water on your skin can feel like it’s too much. Continue on through it, you will eventually feel better.

So too goes recovery. Sometimes going to a meeting can feel like a chore and something you don’t want to do. Trust me, you will feel better as a result.

Diving into step work can be a shock to the system – who wants to take a fearless and moral inventory of themselves? Step work is just that, Work, but it is necessary if you want the deep healing and cleansing that is possible.

Some people say 12 Step programs are brainwashing. I don’t know about you, but my brain needs a good washing.

Recovery is all about achieving a daily reprieve from whatever your addiction is. Today’s sobriety can’t rely on yesterday’s recovery work. Recovery is a spiritual practice that you must practice. Not forever, just for today!

Dive in. Do the work. You are worth it!

Yours in recovery, Bill R

The potential reason why we’re depressed and anxious

There are many potential causes for depression and anxiety. Genetics, chemical imbalance in the brain, trauma, side effects of certain medications, and yet many more. Johann Hari, in his TED Talk This could be why you’re depressed or anxious suggests that many of us have the contributing factors of:

  • A feeling of not belonging
  • Lack of purpose in life

Depressed Anonymous can provide relief for both of those conditions. You belong here if you believe you belong here. As the Third Tradition states: The only requirement for Depressed Anonymous membership is a desire to stop saddening yourself. If you have the desire within you to stop saddening yourself then you can decide that you belong here. By participating in recovery you become part of. Participating could be sharing your story, but participating is also showing up and listening intently to your colleagues as they share their story.

Within Depressed Anonymous you have a purpose! Tradition Five states: Each group has but one primary purpose – to carry its message to the depressed person who still suffers. Each one of us can carry the message that a daily reprieve from depression is possible. By applying the spiritual principles of the Twelve Steps you can be relieved of the symptoms of depression for today.

Recovery is about progress, not perfection. Dark thoughts will come back to me. I have depression, and that is where my brain goes by default. With recovery I have a choice. I can choose to use the tools and techniques that I have learned here within Depressed Anonymous. Recovery will not magically take depression away for me forever but it is possible to have a daily reprieve from the darkness of depression. The following slogan sums this up for me:

The monkey is off my back, but the circus is still in town.

I don’t have to apply the spiritual principles each and every day, but rather I choose to apply the principles each day. I don’t have to take a shower each day, but I choose to do so, and I feel better as a result.

Yours in recovery, Bill R

DA fellowship as my scaffolding 

 

Some great advice I got from my sponsor was to “find my help and use my help.”  Often times my help comes in the form of DA members.  Over the last two years I’ve spent time at meetings and on the phone in between meetings with members of the fellowship, and they have become an important part of my recovery.  I have built up a network of people around me, much like one uses scaffolding to build a new structure.  I have been built anew by the steps and the help of the DA fellowship.  Now, when life presents me with problems and struggles that previously felt unmanageable and too overwhelming to deal with, I have a support structure in place that I can lean upon.  I have found my help and now I know how to use that help.  All I have to do is pick up the phone and reach out to my DA fellowship.  Through their help, the help of my Higher Power, and the steps, I will be guided to sanity and solutions.

What is God’s will anyway?

Trying to discern what God’s will can be vexing. Where does my will end and God’s will begins?

Many people would say pray to determine what God’s will is. I firmly believe that God answers all prayers, the problem that we have is that the answer is sometimes No. God answers prayers with:

  • Yes
  • No
  • Wait

God will answer No to those requests that don’t conform to His will. By praying those prayers that are answered Yes you will be conforming to God’s will. What prayers are answered Yes to?

I read a book a while back that was very helpful: Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To, by Anthony DeStefano. He posits that God always answers Yes to the following prayers:

  1. God, show me that you exist
  2. God, put people in my path so I can be an instrument of your love and peace
  3. God, outdo me in generosity
  4. God, get me through this suffering
  5. God, forgive me
  6. God, give me peace
  7. God, give me courage
  8. God, give me wisdom
  9. God, bring good out of this bad situation
  10. God, lead me to my destiny

You don’t have to believe this completely. Believe it just enough to put this into practice. Prayer takes time and effort, but it is worthy of that time and effort. Good luck!

Yours in recovery, Bill R