Category Archives: Step 01

My mind has a mind of its own

One of our family’s favorite camping areas, is a small park that provides many positive experiences for those who love the outdoors. In fact, just the name of the park, brings to mind the days of the past. The park’s name, Buffalo Trace, let us know that thousands of buffalo roamed through this area, years ago, following a beaten path, that led to the open plains of the Dakotas. Even today, there is a physical trace of the path that once saw the presence of these large and majestic animals, crossing the continent of the United States.

Just like the physical trace of those many buffalo, moving along their annual travels, our human brain also creates familiar mind paths. All living beings are creatures of habit.

For example, because of a construction detour, I was forced to take a different route home from work. Guess what happens? My mind’s GPS is confused, everything looks different. Our mental map has changed. This new route to get home, has now been turned into a labyrinth, making a familiar way to return home, now becomes a major problem.

I like to think of our mind as the executor of various tasks, mental, emotional and physical, motivating us to accomplish the need at hand. But, if the human mind, continues to bombard us with those negative thoughts telling us how worthless and hopeless we are, over time, it becomes a veritable impossibility to make a change. Our continued negative thinking, has created a pattern of thinking about ourselves, which holds no hope for change. It is like our mind has created a neurological rut, where the mind has no choice but to stay the course. That is, to stay in the rut, to stay depressed, as there is no way out.

For any of us, to even think of changing one’s mind and behavior, can in itself, be frightening. The motivation and energy needed to change is no longer available. To change our hopeless thinking has reduced us to feel like a robot, losing our autonomy and all formerly meaningful relationships. A false belief has been created in our mind that there is no way out. We begin spiraling downward into that abyss of darkness and annihilation.

What we are describing here is a metaphor for all addictions, be that of a mind altering drug or a process addiction where the mind follows a thinking pattern, which fills our mind with painful thoughts, that we are hopeless, unacceptable to ourselves and others. We are initially unaware that this negative and self-bashing addictive form of thinking and feeling, is potentially a life threatening trap. This mind of our own, which now has become our misguided fellow traveler, tells us there is no hope and that we are powerless! We take this as a truth. We now feel like the hole in the doughnut. Empty, alone, and living as a prisoner of one’s own mind.

So, our mind does have a mind of its own, and when it veers off the path of sanity, of honesty and a willingness to want to change, we discover sadly that we have been led to a place where thriving is not a personal option. The good news for us is that my mind can choose a road that provides freedom and restoration. In time, and with help, I have come to the absolute truth, that our minds do have a mind of their own. I am grateful that I have made the right choice–a choice that says, “I Came to believe that a power, (an eternal MIND) greater than ourselves, that could restore us to sanity.”

“Hope is the oxygen for the soul.”

Hugh S., for the fellowship.

Please join with us at our daily program of recovery at: depressdanon.com. You will be happy that you made the right choice!

Depression is a process addiction

Depression is a process addiction, just as alcoholism is a substance addiction.

A process addiction is when a person is addicted to a particular behavior. When we speak about one addiction, like the process addiction of depression, we can include them all. We are learning that the Twelve Step program of recovery can be used to overcome negative thinking and compulsive/addictive behavior for the person who sincerely wants to get emotionally, physically and spiritually healthy.

Our Depressed Anonymous fellowship is based on a hope that no matter how bad we feel, no matter how isolated we are, or how painful we feel, we do recover.

We discover that all our negative thinking, feeling and behaviors will no longer keep us captive, isolated and in the prison of our depression. We gradually begin to change the way we think and feel, learning how to motivate ourselves, using the Spiritual principles of the Twelve Steps, and begin to get active in our own recovery. Motivation follows action!

The main positive effect of making the Steps an integral part of our daily Lives is that people can come together and find the support of their Depressed Anonymous fellowship. They in turn will find the emotional nurturing acceptance of their group and learn the social skills that can help them gradually enter life again; with hope and a heightened spirit. Once people realize that they are not alone and that they hope that they too will feel better. The beauty of a self-help group is that a person feels acceptance from the group. No one is there to tell them to “snap out of it” or that depression is all in your mind.

Finally, we see our closed system of depression, with its negative addictive thinking, feelings of despair, coupled with those behaviors which keep us afraid and anxious, gradually are being dismantled. We discover that we have choices. We don’t have to stay isolated. Our positive thinking begins to show us a way out of a system that has had us bullied into submission. Our minds are now processing hope and possibilities for a new life of freedom.

Hugh S., for the fellowship

Who am I? What do I want? Who is my God?

As we dig  deeper into the  benefits of the Inventory, we want to get started with asking ourselves some  basic questions,

Who am I? What do I want ? Who is my God?

I  recommend  that you spend some time reflecting upon these questions as we continue our discussion of seeking more information on who we are  as a person.  This self-disclosure   process can provide us with  valuable insights as to those areas of our lives which have been responsible for the way  we are today. This includes an examination of the way we think, feel and  live out our daily lives.

In the early days of my own recovery, I  began to put together a workbook where I used  the three questions listed above and  focused on each of the Twelve Steps.   With each step, I listed a number of  questions which I felt would help  me discover  the areas in my life which I had never really examined  in any detail.  An important issue here is that when I was depressed  I didn’t have a clue as to what was happening to me.  I felt like my mind and body were spiraling down a slippery slope.

My first  reaction to this sudden fear was to create even more fear as my mind swirled around,  attempting  to  stop whatever it was that suddenly and without warning, had me locked in  a mental turmoil.  As I was oblivious to the fact that I had unconsciously and  gradually beat myself up over the previous months , creating guilt and shame,   resulting   that I became physically and emotionally immobilized.  Eventually , I discovered that this was called depression.

Back to our inventory. Only with the help of the newly formed Depressed Anonymous group,  a fellowship that was using the Twelve   Steps for their recovery.   It was when  I admitted that I was powerless over my depression, that the real work had  its beginning.

If you want to examine your  own life, with a personal  thumb print of your strengths and weakness,  then today is a good day to get started.

As an exercise in recovery,  write down your own responses to the three  questions listed in the   title of today’s blog .  Take your time, this is a marathon, not a sprint.  Again , we  are  taking  time out to find out who we are…not who people said we were.  It will not surprise you that what others said you were   in your early life, favorable or not,  stays with you into your teen years,  adult  life.

As we move along in our recovery, answering the questions in the workbook, gradually our examined life will provide you with information that you may  never have thought about.

So,  next time I meet with you  at our  blog, I hope you will have made a start in discovering something about yourself.  The inventory is about making progress–not being perfect.

The Depressed  Anonymous Workbook.  (Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville , Ky.

If  you have questions please let me know. My email address is: depanon@netpenny.net

The Recovery Waltz

When I find myself drifting back into the pit (which is where I am at the moment) I need to go back to the beginning of recovery. Steps 1, 2, 3 and repeat. One, two, three like the waltz. Lather, rinse, repeat.

The first 3 steps can be summed up as follows:

  1. I can’t.
  2. He can.
  3. Trust Him.

A great many things, including my depression, are beyond my direct control. I don’t control the outcome – that is in God’s hands. I am responsible for the legwork. I need to do the work of recovery. I want to do the work of recovery. I don’t want to drift closer to the pit because if I don’t stop the backslide it will be that much harder to get out of it.

  1. I admit that I am powerless over depression. When I am on autopilot my life becomes unmanageable.
  2. I believe that a Higher Power exists and they can restore me to sanity. I have to work on my feelings of being unworthy of being saved.
  3. I turn my life over to the care of my Higher Power. This is not one and done. I’m human and I will take my will back. That is only a problem if I don’t surrender once again. To surrender is to win.

Practice the recovery waltz. Become so accustomed to it that it becomes a good habit. You are worthy of love and healing, but you must do the work of the steps to feel that love and healing. I wish you well.

Yours in recovery, Bill R

The meaning of your life is to help others find the meaning of theirs

Viktor E. Frankl, in his esteemed book, Man’s Search for Meaning, shares with us how we cannot avoid suffering, but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward.

As I was faced with my own depression, I was able over time to restore sanity and meaning to my life. Eventually, I have learned how to help others who are depressed, cope and come out on the other side of a life lived without meaning. For me personally, I found that essentially, by sharing my own story with others, they found that there was hope. And as they shared their story, they found strength, telling others who they are and what brought them to the point of seeking help.

Having spent time in Nazi death camps, during World War II, Frankl shares his story about spiritual survival. Many of those who faced death in the camps gradually lost faith in a future. They felt that there was nothing to live for, believing they were destined for death anyway.

His book, and his story, inspires us to look at how meaning gave hope to his own life and now my own. The struggle with depression, coupled with that sense of helplessness and hopelessness, brought to life a great awakening when I discovered that there is hope. We can live without depression. Not only have I had a spiritual awakening, I now am able to lead others on a path where they too, can find what I found. I found a spiritual program of recovery, that actually came with tools that gave me answers to my life’s questions. Not only did I learn how to thrive in the present, but to continue thriving day after day.

I am now able to share with others, how the meaning for my life comes by helping others find meaning for theirs. When you thrive, We thrive.

So, become aware, get motivated, gear up for action, and maintain a gratitude for how your own meaning for life is sustaining your hope everyday.

Hugh

“…letting go of all illusion…”

I am writing this prayer I wrote some five years back now for deeper peace and acceptance, during this challenging time I’m experiencing. Sharing this Hope in case I too can 0ffer Strength for others.
Affectionately, Janet M.

Thank you dear Creator of love and joy in action for the fellowship of your presence. Move me, I pray, for the Stillness of this Love. Why I abide there always gathering in your Strength, Peace and Wellbeing as kindling to feel the fire of your Spirit within. As I walk this path today, should I become disturbed return my heart to you. Purify my motives and direct my attention back into Awareness and Unity with your Spirit, which is the hand of Peace. Help me to offer kindness for the many Seeds of Blessings which feed my growing into Trueness of Being. Help me to understand your Passion in laughter, tears, joy and pain, knowing all of your Provision and how Precious that gift is that lies within the Earth of us all. Thank you for my children, family and friends. Bless ua your light, nurturing our hearts and strengthen our vision and relationships. May a seeming separateness burn up into the flames of letting go of all illusions while Liberating the Soul and setting Freedoms flight to soar and all resistance fall away. Gather us together, this day in Body, Mind and Spirit manifesting your Love. Amen.

Sweeping away prejudice

“”There is a well known saying, Contempt prior to investigation will leave one in everlasting ignorance.”

Strong words, everlasting ignorance. Everlasting meaning never ending ignorance. Ignorance meaning not more of and nothing to do with intelligence here. One is left everlastingly in the dark. Contempt has prejudiced the light of awareness. I believe our true Being ness is this light of awareness. Twelve Step recovery suggests a sweeping away of prejudice along with honest thinking and diligently looking within, in order to join the Broad Highway of Belief. I is called the Cornerstone.
Let’s say we use a a spiritual broom as a tool for this sweeping away. N0w let use this broom to clean up and clear away old ideas and beliefs that have been darkening our Source or Higher Power. The Depressed Anonymous Workbook does such a thorough job of uncovering these. Deeply embedded fears/hurts/ anger etc., can be swept into ( or surrendered into) the heart or the light within or the seed planted within each of us. This seed idea of God, when these ideas, beliefs and motives are swept away, then the light can be nurtured to grow and shine so brilliantly in our lives. We are life and no longer dwelling in darkness! However it is suggested in Scripture from Christ Consciousness, that when a house swept clean, it must not allow itself to become “vacant”after this spiritual House is in order. Now in Presence. No past or future occupancy in the mind, saddening oneself again. Find the Miracle of Abiding Presence. We are Life and Life is Now eternally. A quote from Misread Maharaji, “Wisdom is knowing I am nothing. Love is knowing I am everything.
Affectionately
Janet M

I will try to improve my understanding of my behavior

LEAVING LONELINESS BEHIND: 12 DECSIONS

“DECISION 7: I WILL TRY TO IMPROVE MY UNDERSTANDING OF MY BEHAVIOR.”

All actions have consequences. and they are usually different from what we expect.

In a situation where we want our cake and eat it too, we always try to have both, but we learn that in trying to get both, we lose both.

If you are to improve your skills in understanding people, in order to rid your loneliness, working out the consequences OF what you and others do, is extremely important.

You really have to develop more flexible ways in dealing with the consequences when the consequence is anger.”


TOMORROW DECISION 8: I WILL BE MORE ACCEPTING OF OTHER PEOPLES ANGER AND NOT TAKE It PERSONALLY.”

Seeing another person’s point of view: How important is it?

DECISION 6: SEEING ANOTHER’S POINT OF VIEW.HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR LEAVING MY LONELINESS BEHIND?

By seeing things from another’s point of view has a lot to do with forming healthy relationships and coming closer to feeling part of another’s world. Dorothy Rowe asks “what does it feel like to be a mother. You are surrounded all day long by people only two feet high.” Any Mother can tell you that it is much different than being with a group of adults. Both of these worlds have their own uniqueness, by their very nature, possessing beauty and a diversity of their own. And one way to know someone, is to see life from their perspective. I call it one’s “lived reality.”

When we tell ourselves that we know what others are thinking, feeling, we are only confirming our own point of view. To find out if we are right, is to ask the question, “How are you?”

If we say that others think about us in a certain way, and if we do not check out their thoughts, we can claim that other people see things about ourselves, which will suit our purpose.

If we tell ourselves that we are boring and dull, we can refuse to talk with anyone. By being ruled by these negative thoughts, we don’t have to make the effort to talk to people. We continue to remain lonely. We build our own prisons, ultimately deepening our own lockdown. We create our own isolation. We cause our own loneliness.


TOMORROW’S DECISION 7: “i WILL TRY TO IMPROVE MY UNDERSTANDING OF MY BEHAVIOR.” LEAVING LONELINESS BEHIND. THE 12 DECISIONS.

Leaving Loneliness Behind (2)

(2.) I WILL TAKE THE RISK AND APPROACH OTHER PEOPLE.
Most times we get along with people and try and help people when we can. We know that many people mean well.
Most people are not so dangerous that you fear them. Crimes happen between people who know each other.

When you decide to risk approaching people, accepting an invitation to do an activity together.DO IT! Taking part in a sport–going on a group hike together –meeting after a church gathering or meeting for a cup of coffee–just risk it and do it. Make a friend. To make a friend you have to be a friend. Or join a self-help group. Depressed Anonymous is such an example of meeting people like yourself.
Risking approaching other people, you will find, is worth it.

Tomorrow:LEAVING LONELINESS BEHIND. BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS.
(3) I DON’T EXPECT INSTANT RESULTS, OR RESULTS COMMENSURATE WITH THE EFFORT THAT I HAVE MADE.