I am getting healthier the more I realize that I don’t have to feel the way I feel and that I have the options to feel content and even smile today if I desire. I will act like I want to smile even though I don’t feel like smiling.
“If you have made yourself a martyr to your unappreciative family, remember the principle of partial reinforcement and apply it to your family. If you are always at their beck and call trying to meet their every demand, they will not appreciate you, but once they find that they cannot rely on you to meet their needs, they will appreciate what you do for them.” (7)
I know that so often those who are codependent and live all the time in everyone else’s feelings need to remember that the real maturity and happiness lies in being there for myself—not for everyone else. I think that this reflection points out the fact that I need to reinforce my own worth by going to meetings, actively getting involved with my own recovery and putting the recovery over anything or anyone else. If I am going to begin to be a pleasant person, I will want to learn how to be pleasant to myself.
Now is the time and this is the program where I start to detach from other people’s opinion’s of myself and start to reflect on my own opinion When I am depressed, I know that I have not been able to forgive anyone, much less forgive myself. I feel totally cheerless. I meet my own demands and continue to work the Steps so as to get in touch with what I need to do to reinforce those positive concepts that I am forming about myself. I need to get prepared for a new me today. We are now on a different basis: the basis of trusting and relying upon God. We trust, infinite God rather than our finite selves. Just to the extent that we do as we think God would have us do, and so humbly rely on God, does he enable us to match calamity with serenity.” Bill W.
When we gradually work our way to the real self we get closer to God who made us.
SOURCE: Copyright (c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville, KY 40217.
I love that statement. A few times with my work in the prison system I ran across one or two individuals who said that they didn’t believe in God. No one fell off their chairs when that statement was made. Like, this wasn’t a church meeting by any mean. I remember the one man telling us that the Depressed Anonymous group was his Higher power. It was this group that met every week in which he could share the ups and downs of his prison life. The group was there when he needed them and who shared their own stories of pain and the need for the fellowship’s support.
Was I a prisoner? Well, like all persons depressed, I felt that I was in continual lock down.I felt that my own isolating behavior prevented me, by my own feelings of shame and guilt to remain locked up behind the bars of fear and anxiety. But I also knew that we all were kindred spirits. We all experienced or were experiencing the pain of depression. We all were fighting this thing together. We knew that we were all equal in this fellowship. Even though I did not live my life in a physical prison, I knew that my own isolation and fear kept me chained to my past. The new me, thanks to a gradual spiritual awakening, and dependence upon my Higher Power and support of the fellowship of my Depressed Anonymous group, I finally moved out of the dark world of depression.
I do hope as time goes by to put emphasis upon this Power greater than ourselves. And what is the Power? How do you contact it? How does one “…come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity? STEP TWO OF DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS
For a refresher, you might like to go to our website menu where you can read THE PROMISES OF DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS. I know these Promises to be true ..they happened for me.
I thank God for the group and the belief that I have every right to be here..
“Free and truthful discussions only possible between people who see each other as equal members of the human race. Joining a self-help group will be one of the most valuable things you can do. You will meet a group of people who know what it is to be depressed. You don’t have to explain it to them, or apologize, or pretend that you are happy when you are not. In a self-help group you give and receive friendship, and in sharing the responsibility for the group you build up your confidence and self-respect.”
I have learned that there is a miracle of the group that takes place when persons with the same needs and experiences of isolation get together. They discuss with each other how their lives were before they entered their particular Twelve Step group, and how they are now, now that they have a positive program which gives direction to their lives.
In the Fellowship I find that I can be as honest as I like. No one will look down on me for saying how I need to change the way I perceive my world, my life and my thoughts.
The spirit of God is in each of us as we become more conscious of the fact that that its spirit wants to be the leading light of our life. Our Twelve Step program help us see that when we consciously desire that God work in our lives, it is possible for us to admit that we are powerless over our depression. When we start to work the program, we start to find some peace.
See Step 1
In the Fellowship I find that I can be as honest as I lioke. No opne will look dopwnm on me for saying jow I need to change the way I perfceivemy world, my life and my thoughts.
The spirit of God is in each of us as we beecom,e more conscious of the fact that its spirit wants ot be the leasding light of our lifge. OOur Tswelve Step ropgram helps us see that when we consciously desirte that God work in our livesd, it ism [possioble for us to admit that we are powerless over our depression. When we start to work the program, we start to find some peace.” See Step 1.
The First Way (#1) to leave the prison of depression: “WE ACCEPT AND BELIEVE THAT HOWEVER HOPELESS EVERYTHING APPEARS RIGHT NOW, WE WILL RECOVER FROM OUR DEPRESSION”
Often persons depressed give up the hope of feeling different. They can’t believe that they have the power to change the way they feel. They don’t believe that they have a choice either to get well or to remain locked in the prison of depression. This is why the belief coupled with the First Step of Depressed Anonymous, a Twelve Step mutual aid group, has a positive impact on one’s personal belief about the recovery process. The First Step of Depressed Anonymous states “We admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable.”
First we have to admit that our lives are out of control. No matter how hard we have tried, we can’t shake this persistent hollow feeling that has us feeling hopeless and helpless. This admission that we are powerless will begin to free us up and get us the help and support that we want. It’s a paradox. Surrender and win! The group doesn’t pass a magic wand over our head and suddenly you are freed of your symptoms of depression. In fact, the admission that we need help puts us in in contact with a step by step map which leads us out of the land of darkness into the land of light and hope.”
For more information see Literature reference
BELIEVING IS SEEING: 15 WAYS TO LEAVE THE PRISON OF DEPRESSION. (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 1-2.
I thought I was losing my mind. Why? Well, when I was depressed, when I tried to read something–anything, I found to my surprise that I couldn’t retain information that I just read. In fact I would have to go back and re-read what I had just read. After awhile it seemed futile trying to read anything and retain it. And here is the catch– this is where I got scared–no, not just a little bit worried–I was shaken. It was as if I lost my short term memory completely. I wondered what was going on in my brain? Was I suffering from some rare neurological disease or what? As it turned out I was also completely washed out. I couldn’t wait to get home after work and go to bed. And another thing is that if I saw someone laughing or having a good time — I hated it! What right did they have enjoying life when all I could feel was the pain of my melancholia. I was helpless and hopeless. I felt out of control plus unable to manage anything for myself that I would consider positive.
Quite a composite of symptoms all telling me that something was not right. But what was the answer? What could all this mean?
So, I decided to move my body and get out everyday and put some miles on my feet. Get some exercise. Get the blood flowing to my brain and wherever else it needed to go. Since these events were something new to me I didn’t really know what I had. I just knew I needed to do something–so, walking seemed my best bet. Over a year’s time it worked its healing and slowly my cognitive abilities returned. I began to feel more in control and a lightness came to me which had slowly evaporated a year previous. What I am trying to share with you here is that when and if these symptoms make up part of your living experience, just know that they won’t last forever.
One of the many treasures of the Depressed Anonymous group is that when I tell my story with all my crazy physical symptoms, and how over time they gradually left me, it is here that members of our fellowship knew they had come to the right place for help. They are no longer alone. And, they have a toolbox of skills, thanks to those who share their stories of recovery and how they too are no longer depressed. My story is their story!
I remember with a great amount of clarity a situation that shaped my entire life. The event happened more than 5 decades ago. The shaming event happened in the third grade. The teacher asked me a question which I couldn’t answer correctly. She asked me twice and the more that I tried to think what answer she wanted the more flustered I became. For years, I could feel the heat in my face. I know my face must have been beet red. There I was standing alone in the middle of the seated classmates and feeling lost. And then she said those words that are imprinted on what seems like every synapse and cell in my brain.
“You will never be like your brother.” ( He happened to be two years ahead of me in school. He was really smart). And then she compared me to my uncle who happened to be a Bible scholar whom she knew. By that time my face felt like it was burning up. And it wasn’t til decades later that I no longer felt the fiery warmth on my face as I thought about standing there, alone, in front of the class. The feelings of heat welled up from inside of me as I even thought about that event those years later. I was shamed. Shamed clear through. Every part of me felt absolutely worthless and alone. Shame produced in me the feeling that I was a MISTAKE. Not that I made a simple English grammar mistake –but that I was a mistake. This shame gradually withered away the more I shared with others my experience.
Put simply: Guilt is when you do something that is bad and you know it, and then you feel bad about what you did or didn’t do.
So feeling you are a mistake –feeling all alone, unacceptable to self and others, creates a person who tends to hide, isolate and feel no purpose for their lives. In my case, it was after getting into a 12 step program of recovery that others were having the same feelings about themselves as I was. It was here in the context of forming a trusting relationship with those like myself, that I slowly clawed my way out of my own little painful world, into a world where I was accepted for who I was. My story, was accepted and I was given the tools to live a life filled now with hope, serenity and purpose.
A POWER GREATER THAN OURSELVES: OUR GO TO PERSON
The more time that I spend in daily prayer and meditation the closer I feel to this Power greater than myself. Now, let’s be honest, it isn’t everyday that I feel this or think this way, but for most days I feel energized by my time in quiet listening. It was when I first joined a Twelve Step recovery program that I I knew that I was truly home. I had always been looking for a home where I could feel acceptance, nurturing and fellowship. It was at my first meeting, 32 years ago, that in all my brokenness, guilt and shame, that I felt I had made it home. It was here that I could reveal who I was, who I thought I was and get a plan for my life, just one 24 hour period at a time. My own feelings of being totally accepted in this new fellowship created in me the belief, without doubt, that sanity would be restored to me. How did I know this? What made me a believer? Simply the fact that the members of the group had pretty much the same story as my own. But for all of this, what stood out was the basic belief among all of the members, that there is a Power, and it is greater than me. And that this Power, whom we understand as God, is my GO TO person every day of my life. And the two things this group taught me early on, is that THERE IS A GOD, AND IT IS NOT ME!
If today you are feeling alone, lost and frightened, please join me here everyday, as I speak about spirituality and the Power greater than myself, and what it has to do with my recovery, and how it impacts on our search for that serenity that we are all seeking. Remember what you seek, seeks you!
AFFIRMATION FOR TODAY, DECEMBER 27/ A HIGHER THOUGHT FOR TODAY.
My serenity lies in my living in the solution and not in the problem.
“…We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves…
Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us- sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.” (8)
I am beginning to understand how this program of recovery works in my life. First of all, I learned that after a number of meetings, I was beginning to feel more hope for myself. I heard other older members of the group express the fact that the more they came to meetings, the more they began to learn how to live one day at a time and how to let go of all the fears and the “what if’s” that ruled their lives. Since the recovery program is a spiritual program, I have realized that I will be helped by my God as I understand him with whatever I need for my own growth in personal peace and harmony.
Before my eyes, I see lived out the promises for those who work the suggested Twelve Step program of recovery. My belief in a power greater than myself is the priority of my life. I am gradually loosening the grip of sadness which once controlled my life.
We keep the promises of God in our hearts which states that if we ask for anything it will be given to those who believe.”
BEST WAY TO EAT AN ELEPHANT? ONE BITE AT A TIME!
I will think only those thoughts that today reinforce my self-worth!
“…try to live one day at a time as it’s a lot easier. As someone once said, if you want to eat an elephant the best way is one bite at a time.”
I desire to be part of God’s plan today by staying active in my own recovery from depression. The more I give of myself without reservation to its leading, the more I am able to free myself from my feelings of isolation and deadening fear.
My fears keep me living in my tomorrows and in my past yesterdays. Fear is the foundation of my depression. I am becoming less fearful the more I attempt to live one day at a time and have this day lived with hope.
Thoughts leads to feelings, feelings lead to moods and moods lead to behavior. I want to think that my life will improve today by the active role that I am taking in my own recovery.
God, we believe that you will not allow me to receive more than I can handle.”
SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 Step Fellowship Groups. (2014). Page 253.
Granted that this site is not about alcoholism but about depression. But let’s face it, many of those addicted to alcohol are also depressed. I think many depressed try and medicate the pain with alcohol and then end up with two conditions that they need help with. We call this a co-morbid addictive illness.
A few days ago I wrote about the “spiritual awakening” that gave Bill the jump start that he had to have in order to quit his drinking. For Bill it came down to either lose (surrender) his life to this mystic power or to the disease of alcoholism. After this special illumination of the hospital room and to his mind, he knew he could not continue his drinking.
Bill describes his thoughts about this epiphany in the following light:
I was the recipient of a tremendous mystic experience or “illumination” and at first it was very natural for me to feel that this experience staked me out as somebody very special.
But as I now look back upon this tremendous event, I can only feel very grateful. It now seems clear that the only special features of my experience were its suddenness and the overwhelming and immediate conviction that it carried.
In all other respects, however, I am sure that my own experience was essentially like that received by any A.A. member who has strenuously practiced our recovery program. Surely, the grace he received is also of God; the only difference is that he becomes aware of his gift more gradually. Source: AS Bill sees it.