Category Archives: Mutual Aid

We Trust Our Newfound Beliefs

THE THIRD WAY TO LEAVE THE PRISON OF DEPRESSION : AN EXCERPT

“We trust others by sharing our recent episodes of loss/sadness while at the same time sharing our hopes and strengths.  We trust our newfound positive beliefs for getting  ourselves out of the prison of depression.

Many of us won’t allow ourselves to trust anyone. We are so distrustful of ourselves that we cannot trust ourselves to feel. The painful hollowness of depression is such that we can’t allow it to be felt.  It is only among our brothers and sisters in the 12 step group that we can share our hurts and deep pain of being isolated. When we hear other members share their stories of hurt and isolation we know that we are not alone. We gradually begin to trust ourselves to touch our own nerves of pain and hurts. We trust the nurturing and accepting atmosphere of the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous to take part of our hurt and help carry us along. Every time we share a hurt from our own past we remove one more brick out of our prison wall of depression. The more we find that our trust is validated by the continual acceptance from the group, the more energy we muster up for ourselves to continue trusting our deepest thought and feelings to others. No longer do we take refuge in the numbed comfort of our isolating sadness. Now we walk upright and begin making choices on how we want to feel, think an believe.  We no longer live our lives in isolation and disconnected from others.  Now we join in the mutual  fray of battling depression with all our new friends on the broad road of healing.”

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SOURCES: Copyright(c) Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 15-16.

Copyright(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

VISIT THE STORE for more literature on the subjects of depression and the 12 steps of recovery.

 

I said to myself, “if I ignore it maybe it(depression)will go away.”

“There was a time when we ignored trouble, hoping it would go away. Or, in fear and in depression, we ran from it, but found it was still with us. Often, full of unreason, bitterness, and blame, we fought back. These mistaken attitudes, powered by alcohol, guaranteed our destruction, unless they were altered.

Then came AA (and DA. OA, NA,  Al-Anon etc). Here we learned that trouble was really a fact of life for everybody – a fact that had to be understood and dealt with. Surprisingly, we found that our troubles could, under God’s grace, be converted into unimagined blessings.

“Indeed, that was the essence of A.A. itself: trouble accepted, trouble squarely faced with calm courage, trouble lessened and often transcended. This was the A.A. story, and we became a part of it.  Such demonstrations became our stock in trade for the next sufferer.”

COMMENT: It was with my own experience with depression that I tried to deny that it was anything that could keep me from a life lived with hope and joy. I thought that if I just ignored it, like Bill W., stated so well above, it would just evaporate like the morning midst. Of course this just didn’t happen.

As I commented on this denial factor which is a big part of all addictions, I also came to believe that,  “well, what I am going through will surely pass. It isn’t so bad, really. I can put up with a little discomfort.”  Sorry. It didn’t work that way. And as I pointed out in   I’ll Do It when I feel Better  I said  ” we also learn that our depression is a defense and predictable and for some, depression is even come to be a comfort and as has been said before, at least one knows what they have with depression. And to change and risk removing this numbness is better not to be undertaken  because it’s better to know what one has than to risk getting something worse. Much like the example cited before of the debate within ourselves to go to the dentist for the toothache or just tough  it out and hope for the best.  We call this denial.” Page 17.

To examine more literature about depression and using the Twelve Steps in your personal recovery , please taker a look  at VISIT THE STORE here at our website.

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SOURCES:

1) As Bill sees it. Page 110.

2)  I’ll do it when I feel better. (2014)  Depressed  Anonymous Publications.                                  Louisville.

3) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

 

It’s the miracle of the group where I can start loving myself!

I have hope that I can accept myself today and just let fly all the old messages from the old tapes of childhood.

“You desperately wanted people to love you, but you became wary of giving your love to others.  You reasoned that the less you loved another person the less it would hurt when the inevitable rejection came.” Dorothy Rowe

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I have been holed up for so long in my own little world of feeling hurt and rejection that to attempt to love someone else like the greatest challenge of my life.  I desire so badly to be loved by someone else that this lack of another’s love makes my isolation from others so hurtful.

After having witnessed the miracle of the group in DA, where depressed persons come together with their feelings of being hurt and rejected, I find that other’s love and nurture challenge me to hope once again,. I can share with the group the fact that I haven’t measured up, that I am angry and that I just want to lay down and die.

I am open enough now to let the light of love from others , who like myself, realize that I am not alone and that  I am beginning to feel better already now that I no longer need to be perfect.

This means to be willing to affiliate and give of myself for someone else’s good. In the program I am starting to love-myself.

MEDITATION

We are going to make a mental decision right now to let God, as we understand God, guide us and instruct us on how best to love ourselves .”

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Source: Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. March 3rd. Page 47.

Service Gladly Rendered…

Carrying the message of hope to those still suffering from depression.

“Service gladly rendered, obligations squarely met, troubles well accepted with God’s help, the knowledge that at home or in the world outside we are partners in a common effort, the fact that in God’s sight all human beings are important, the proof that love freely given brings a full return, the certainty that we are no longer isolated and alone in self constructed prisons, the surety that we can fit and belong in God’s scheme of things –these are the satisfactions of right living for which no pomp or circumstances, no heap of material possessions, could possibly substitute.” Twelve and Twelve, AA World services. Page 124.

Also, in The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002) we read

“The part about carrying the message is so important if we are to remain out of the clutches of depression. It is important to keep in touch with the newcomers and others in the program. It is in this carrying the message that reminds us that we once needed help and it was through the unselfishness of the older members of Depressed Anonymous that got us through our depression.” Page 85.

“We soon discover in the program that no compulsion can be controlled by will power alone. It must be surrendered to the Higher Power or to the care of God of our understanding. It alone can remove in time the burden from our backs. This is the spiritual awakening that keeps us free from sadness as we take the message of healing to others in the group who are new to the program. We admit that we make no promises to anyone and that there will be no magic answer and quick solutions to their saddiction.  No, it all takes time and this is the message of the group. Such slogans as: “Take it easy,” “Keep  it simple,” and “Easy does it” are all meant to help you and me to live one day at a time and continue to try and live with serenity. When we practice these steps on a daily basis, starting our day with asking the Higher Power for guidance for the rest of the day we can then be  assured of God’s presence and help in our lives.”

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 106.

I believe that misery is an option

“If surrender of our wills to the ‘care of God’ is of the essence of the spiritual life, for anyone who truly desires to free themselves from a chronic and compulsive behavior such as depression, then the Twelve Steps can be your stepping stones to the path of a hope filled life.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I used to hear the word “surrender” as it made me feel like I was in the hands and under the total domination of another.  It was like I had no control whatsoever as to what I was to do or what I was to be. I was blind to the fact that in reality I had already surrendered my life to my sadness so that whenever I wanted to hide, or isolate myself, I just saddened myself and  so didn’t have to feel anything. I am surrendering to the God of my understanding;  slowly my life is filling with light and hope and this is what I really want for myself. I am finding that the ‘care of God’ is much better than anything I could ever  wished for.  My life is one filled with hope rather than being hopeless.

The spiritual life for me is filled with the excitement of knowing that  this God of mine, as I understand him, is  today wanting to lead me further into the light of his healing power. My spiritual life is filled  now with a close and personal relationship with a God who loves and guides me on a minute-to-minute basis.

MEDITATION

We are going to get as close to God today as we choose to get.


SOURCE:  Copyright (c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups.  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 257-258. December 29.

We want to think in terms of responsibilities and connections

We have to acknowledge humbly that I am the one who is having the harsh and negative thoughts  about myself and that I alone must take responsibility for the feelings that I have about myself.  I can’t continue to blame others for my depression and still think that I will feel better. Dorothy Rowe says that instead of blaming someone else or making someone else the scapegoat of our problems, we need to put aside blame and guilt and think in terms of responsibilities and connections. What she means here is that when she has dealt with depressed  people, they seem as if they are carrying the  weight of the world and feel responsible for everyone and everything except themselves. She says that when  it comes to themselves they see themselves as totally powerless. We  need to look at what is happening  in the here and now and take responsibility for our lives, without  living in the fear of tomorrow and the hurts of yesterday. Humbly ask God to help you live in the now, even if that means living with the temporary horrible pain of depression.”

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SOURCES:     Copyright (c)Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 73-74.

Copyright (c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Copyright (c) I’ll do it when I feel better (2013) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Copyright (c) Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression.(2014) Louisville.

Copyright (c) Depressed Once – Not twice: The spiritual autobiography of a journey out of depression.  (2000) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Copyright (c) Higher Thoughts for down days:365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. (1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

VISIT THE STORE for publications on the subject of Depression and 12 Steps.

We human beings have often been referred to as social animals…

“But we are not yet community creatures. We are impelled to relate with each other for our survival. But we do not yet relate with the inclusivity, realism, self-awareness, vulnerability, commitment, openness, freedom,  equality, and love of genuine community.  It is clearly no longer enough to be simply social animals, babbling together at cocktail pareties and brawling with each other in business and over boundaries.  It is our task — our essential, central, crucial task  — to transform ourselves from mere social creatures into community creatures. It is the only way that human evolution will be able to proceeed. ”

M.Scott Peck: The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace. (1987) TOUCHSTONE.

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The above quote presents fleshes out the realities of making community. Also, the critical need we have as social beings  to help build those forms of communities  where people not only just happen to live proximate to each other but instead see each other as brother and sister.  The question then arises how to transform ourselves into a community as Peck proposes?

Alcoholics Anonymous  and all 12 step mutual aid  groups present us with a model of recovery and the dynamic  experiences of community by each  persons effort to transform themselves. These 12 step groups have  given us a model on how to build community 1) by  first beginning the process of  transforming that individual  and 2)  by embedding   themselves as part of a caring and healing community. By  sharing our  vulnerabilities and committing  ourselves to the transformation of our live through the dynamic force of a caring community (12 step group) and  each of our lives is renewed and changed.

In the mutuality of a caring group of people we can add ourselves as one who truly has been part of building a community where trust, healing and respect take place.

Hugh

“I want to carry the message of hope to those others who are depressed.”

” I said what I so often said, that the best way depressed people can help themselves is to help one another. Form a group, get to know one another, support one another.” Source: Dr. Dorothy Rowe.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

They who have never been depressed think that all I have to do is just be cheerful and my mind will automatically change. It’s like telling someone to stop their diarrhea as if they have control over it. My depression took time to develop and so it will take time and work to remove. The people who are the most support are those who have been depressed themselves, they won’t tell you to snap out of it!

I best support myself when I find other people like myself and try to help them.

MEDITATION

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

SOURCE: (Copyright)  Higher Thoughts for down days:365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 step fellowships. (1999)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

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++ VISIT THE STORE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE ITEMS LISTED BELOW.++

 Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression (2015) Depressed Anonymous Publications.

I’ll do it when I feel better (2015) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

   Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2001) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

A lesson from the geese

Have you ever wondered why migrating geese fly in a V formation?  As with most animal behavior, we can learn a valuable principle of mutual aid.

As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an “uplift” for the bird following. By flying in their V group formation, the whole flock adds more flying range than if each bird flew alone.

When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the resistance and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of that “lifting power” of the bird immediately in front.

When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into formation and another goose flies at the point position.

The geese in formation honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

When a goose gets sick, wounded or shot down, two others drop out of formation and follow to help and protect. They stay until he is either able to fly again or dies. Then they launch out on their own, with another group, or to catch up with the flock.”

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Source: National Empowerment Center, Summer/Fall 1997 Newsletter, 20 Ballard  Road, Lawrence MA 01843. Reprinted with Permission.

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.