Lord grant me the serenity to trust you with the things you would have me be true to you.
Courage to take the next step you’d have me take.
And wisdom to know the difference.
Joe V., member of Depressed Anonymous
I am getting healthier the more I realize that I don’t have to feel the way that I feel. I have the option to feel content and even smile today if I so desire. I will act like I want to smile again 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 see that they cannot rely on you to to meet their demands, they will appreciate what you do for them.” (Breaking the Bonds, D. Rowe.Fontana, 1991).
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 me — not for everyone else. I think that reflection points out the fact that I need to reinforce my own worth by going to DA meetings, actively getting involved with my own recovery over anything and everyone else. 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 of myself and start to reflect where I start to detach from those people’s opinions of myself and start to reflect on my own opinion of myself. When I am depressed, I know that I haven’t been able to get angry, not to forgive anyone, much less forgive myself. I feel 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, our Higher Power. We trust an infinite God rather than our finite selves. Just to the extent that we do as we think he would have us do, and humbly rely on him, does he enable us to match calamity with serenity.” (As Bill sees it.p.265).
When we gradually work our way to the real self we get closer to the God who made us.
Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Hugh Smith. Pages 14-15.
“Now that I have admitted I am having a difficult time living I want to learn some new avenues that will make my life more enjoyable and much more livable.” Depressed Anonymous Workbook, Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. 2002.
Are the sad feelings of depression causing your life to be lived inside the prison of hopelessness? Have your moods deepened to the extent that you are no longer able to function. By that I mean are you unable to do even the basic things like talking to family or friends, holding onto a job, getting out of bed in the morning, or just to concentrate on any single thought for any length of time. Some of us are unable to sleep when we are depressed. Some of us gain weight because of inactivity and fatty comfort foods. If you say yes to any of the above life changers then you could possibly be suffering from the symptoms of depression.
I know now that at the point that I think my life is at its lowest point…that is when this program of recovery came into my life. I believe with the Psalmist who once stated that we need to commit ourselves to God, trust in him, and that the God of my understanding will act in my behalf.
When we learn to let go+ of those persons, mental images, painful past personal situations and memories the better I am able to let God control my life. I find this letting go a fearsome project but nevertheless I find that I must do it if I want to find hope once again.
“Some of the major ways people help buiild the walls of derpession are to consider themselves worthless, won’t allow themselves to get angry, they can’t forgive themselves or others, and they beleive that life is hard and death is worse. Also, they beleive that since bad things happened to them in the past bad things are bound ti happen to them in the future.”
Depressed Anonymous, Third Edition, Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisvile. KY. 2011. Page 28-38.
And so to answer my question, where do I go from here? I personally suggest that you find a Depressed Anonymous meeting and be part of the conversation. But now with the covid-19 surrounding us, most face to face meetings have paused for safety reasons.
We are now very fortunate to have an online International Depressed Anonymous Skype meeting every day. It is live at 11:30AM CST and at 12:30PM EST. The Depressed Anonymous meeting originates from the USA, and can be accessed by anyone with the Internet.
For more information please go to www.depressedanon.com, click onto Depressed Anonymous HOMEPAGE drop down menu at MEETINGS and it is there you wil find a link to the meeting live.
If there are other questions please contact Depanon@Hotmail.com
For more information about Literature on Depression and the 12 Steps please click onto THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS BOOKSTORE for online ordering.
The DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS Third Edition is available as well as the DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK. Both these can be downloaded as Ebooks from our website.
#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.”
(C) The Promises of Depressed Anonymous, (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Lpuisville, KY. Pages 13-14.
Promise # 4: We comprehend the word serenity and know peace.
Agitation, anxiety and jitteriness were all part of my life as I muddle my way through – day after day, one foot in front of the other. Serenity was not a part of my life.
As with any attachment to negative behavior, serenity and peace were the farthest thing from my life. The new beliefs and thoughts which I heard at Depressed Anonymous meetings started to help me change the way I thought about myself, my world and my future.
I believe that it takes work, time and prayer with meditation to achieve the peace and serenity that we are talking about here.
Peace of mind is the result of:
1) A clear conscience
2) Living in the present
3) Gratitude everyday
4) The belief that the God of my understanding will get me through the problems of my life.
5) Forgiveness of myself and making amends to all persons I have harmed.
7) Doing God’s will- Neither grasping but instead “letting go.”
I also believe that my own serenity is constantly being assaulted during the day by all sorts of problems and situations that cry out for my immediate care and attention.
I am firmly convinced that in order to continue my semblance of peace and serenity I will have to structure a daily quiet time into my life. This is an essential part of the prescription for getting well and staying well.
Also, I believe that when I am quiet, God will give to me all that is mine to have. My will and my life have to be attuned to God’s presence and love. We will know that in order for God to make itself present to us and to demonstrate its love we have to be still, be quiet and listen with a purity of heart. This is an important part of the formula where we will find success.
It is a belief of mine that God does speak to those who remain quiet and have a desire to listen.
Peace is defined as a “quality or state of mind of being serene, calm and tranquil.”
The quality or state of being serene all takes time and I might add work and discipline. What possibly might have taken years to accomplish, remember we have built a fortress with our defensive thoughts and behavior to reject any force that is deemed harmful on our path. We always sought the prison of isolation over the risk of doing something different.
I believe that the Big Book of AA says it best: ” When we sincerely took such a position, all sorts of remarkable things followed. We had a new employer, being all powerful, he provided what we needed, if we kept close to him and performed his work well. Established on such a footing we became less and less interested in ourselves, our little plans and designs. More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life. As we felt new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of his presence, we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow or the hereafter. We’re reborn.” (Alcoholics Anonymous. Page 63.)
The particular section following Step Two which declares that we “came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” (Depressed Anonymous.Pages 39-45). This is an important part of our getting re-centered and renewed as we let the power flow into our lives.
“…We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience. We feel that we are on the Broad Highway walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe.” (Alcoholics Anonymous.Page 39).
“Both you and the new man must walk day by day in the path of spiritual progress. If you persist –remarkable things will happen. When we look back, we realize that the things which came to us when we put ourselves in God’s hands were better than anything we could have planned. Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstances, Alcoholics Anonymous. Page 100)
(C) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Pages 39-45.
(C) Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. New York City, 1955. Pages 39,63,100.
God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I can not change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.
The Serenity Prayer confuses some people. Why wouldn’t it? The prayer begins at the end where they ask God to grant them serenity. There are things that happen prior to that point. Have you determined what is and is not possible to change? Have you prayed for wisdom? I found this infographic online and this is more like the process that I go through.
What problem has the fates put in front of me? Can I change the problem? If I can change it, then I will pray for courage to actually change it. If I’m unsure if I can change it, I will ask the God of my understanding for wisdom to discern if it is possible to change it. Only when you determine that it’s not possible to change the problem do you pray to your Higher Power for serenity. The Accept it state is not a static thing. Acceptance ebbs and flows, you have it and then you don’t. You will need to pray to God multiple times to get to a state of complete and utter acceptance.
I hope this helps.
Yours in recovery, Bill R
For those of us participating in Depressed Anonymous online group meetings, here is a wonderful prayer that inspires us to bring hope to those still suffering.
“God I offer myself to You – to build with me and to do with me as you will. Relieve me of the bondage of self that I may better do your will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may I bear witness to those I would help of your Power, Your Love and Your Way of life. May I do Your will always.”
“There is a direct linkage among self-examination, meditation and prayer. Taken separately, these practices can bring much relief and benefit. But when they are logically related an interwoven, the result is an unshakeable foundation for life.” The Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions.
In Step Four of the Depressed Anonymous program of recovery, we read from The Depressed Anonymous Workbook the following encouraging statement:
“By our daily conscious contact with God as we under stand God, I believe that my daily efforts at listening to my Higher Power’s word will help me focus in on where I need to change. I hope that my depression will always be examined the moment I feel down and blue for no apparent reason. If I slow down, take a pencil and write down what I have been thinking of lately, I do believe that my sadness will slowly evaporate – slowly like the early morning fog.
I will cast away my fears, guilt and resentments by getting them down on paper in front of me. On black and white.
Copyright(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2009) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Page 27. STEP FOUR
This Workbook can now be downloaded as an Ebook for $1.00 from the Depressed Anonymous Bookstore at www.depressedanon.com.
Offer lasts until the end of May. After that it will resume its price of $12.00.
“In thinking about our day we may face indecision. We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for awhile. What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind. Being still inexperienced and having just made conscious contact with God, it is not probable that we are going to be inspired at all times. We might pay for this presumption in all sorts of absurd actions and ideas. Nevertheless, we find that our thinking will, as time passes, be more and more on the plane of inspiration. We come to rely on it.”
AA Pages 86-87.
Stress put me in the hospital two years ago. First, pneumonia put me in the hospital for a week. Then, following a diagnosis of clogged arteries with other assorted problems, open heart surgery. Cardio/rehab for 24 straight weeks gave me my life back. But this was not my first experience with stress and /or depression.
Nietzsche had it right. In my case at least. What made me stronger and saved my life was not only heart surgery but my new way of dealing with stress. I now see stress for the trouble maker that it really is. The stress in anyone’s, continues to impress me how dangerous living under stress, of any kind, can be.
I know that the daily stress that I had put my mind and body through every day, every month, gradually destroyed my immune system’s ability to defend against constant fear, worry and anxiety. Because of the environment with which I was living in, day after day, finally caught up with me: pneumonia and then open heart surgery. So you might wonder how can stress do all this damage to your mind and body?
This takes me back to my first experience with sadness. It didn’t kill me, but it did force me to look at my lifestyle, staying in a bad situation and the ongoing ruminating which poured adrenaline into my veins, hyping up fear and anxiety day after day. Finally, all this weakened not only my body but my mind as well. My thinking started circling around and around as I tried to figure out exactly what the problem was knocking me off my feet. Not only that, I couldn’t concentrate. I would read a sentence or so and then would forget what I had just read. I was always tired. I always wanted to sleep. I never laughed anymore. My sense of humor went out the door. I started to isolate. I pushed friends away. I always had an excuse for cancelling meetings and appointments. Every morning I woke up, dead on arrival. No energy. No purpose and nothing to look forward to. I was losing all spontaneity and replacing it with boredom. I gradually was being sucked down intro the quicksand of futility and hopelessness.
After a year and half of this pain filled life I gradually walked out of the fog. I walked at least five miles a day-like a forced march looking forward to regaining my life. That was 1985.
Now, I am stronger because I know all the red flags that pop up in my mind, wanting to suck me back down into that environment which almost killed me in the first place. I am definitely stronger now that I have a sponsor, a 12 Step program (Depressed Anonymous) and a daily plan for my ongoing recovery.
My heart is stronger now. My commitment to taking good care of myself with proper rest, good healthy food, and physical activity at least three times a week or more. I also know that keeping in touch with those “still suffering from depression” by email, Home Study, website BLOG (depressedanon.com), phone and reading Depressed Anonymous literature. What we give away comes back in countless ways. For me, continued sobriety and hope!
Resource: (c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.
Online Depressed Anonymous International Skype meetings ( Check website Menu for listing and links).
Order online :The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore.