Category Archives: Step 01

Sadness Can Be Overcome By Hope!

”  Remarkable things happen to us when we are willing to admit defeat and talk about our powerlessness over depression and how our lives had become un-manageable.  This first step is the beginning of the flight of steps that takes us up and into our new way of living.  At our fellowship of Depressed Anonymous we talk hope, we act hopeful, and we think hope. We learn that our thinking depressed and negative thoughts might have gotten us in the shape that we are in today. What you think is what you become.  For us who find sadness our second nature, we at times continue to revert to the comfort of old familiar negative thinking and are in actuality returning to self destructive behavior. Hope is overcome by sadness.”

SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous. Depressed Anonymous Publications.Page 107.

We all have heard the saying, seeing is believing. I prefer the reverse, namely, that believing is seeing. Once the newcomer arrives through the door of a Depressed Anonymous meeting for the first time, they will hear and see recovery in action.

Possibly for the first time the newcomer  to the DA group  will hear their story voiced by the various  members of the group. They will see that they are not alone.  They discover how their own sadness gets a positive  jolt as they  hear hope expressed in the  recovery group. It is easier to believe someone when they share the same conditions of isolation, and feeling hopeless that you feel.   In fact, in a group of people much like oneself, you begin to see that maybe, just maybe, there is hope for you as well.

Listen To How You Talk To Yourself – Do You Like What You Hear?

AFFIRMATION

I will let go of the negative thoughts about myself as soon as I am conscious that I am experiencing them.

“…try to live one day at a time.. We know from experience that our sobriety , our disappearance from sadness is due to letting go, admitting our powerlessness  (Step 1) and coming to believe that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity (Step 2).

REFLECTION

I know that I have to continue to work on myself and the way that I speak to myself on an ongoing and daily basis. My letting go and letting  God take over my life doesn’t mean that  I’ll just sit back and let it do all the work, no, it means that I will work on myself and leave the outcome up to my Higher Power. I know that my life can be lived differently if I just make an effort to choose to be conscious of the thoughts  that I let myself ruminate and think  about during the day. The more I monitor my thoughts, the more I am able to filter out the negative thoughts and have them replaced with positive and constructive thoughts. We call them SUNSPOTS (Depressed Anonymous).

So often when I am depressed I continue a thinking style that was learned as a small child. I am not even conscious as to how I would  always select the negative attributes about myself to reflect upon instead of attempting to think positive and hopeful thoughts about myself and relationships. The more I believe that I have a choice as to how I am to feel, the more I become conscious of the thoughts that influence the way I feel.

Going to a mutual aid group, which focuses on depression, enables us to share with others how we talk to ourselves and what we tell ourselves, day after day. Do we like what we hear when we share with others our continued negative thinking? I would think not.

MEDITATION FOR TODAY

God, let us just for today, dwell on your mercy and kindness. Your are not the harsh judge of my childhood. You are the God who loves us just the way we are. God is like the Mother who continues to love the child of her womb.

SOURCE: HIGHER THOUGHTS FOR DOWN DAYS(C) December 14.

DEPRESSION: Only the concern of the lone sufferer or is it a harbinger of a societal (community) problem?

Remember the canary in the coal mine? The canary, carried by miners into the mine was the first one to smell potential disaster, alerting miners to get out of that mine. Today, with so much emphasis on medical treatments, David Karp, a sociologist, in “Speaking of Sadness” comments in his chapter Sociology, Spirituality and Suffering that “once individuals realize that medical treatment is unlikely to fix their problems, their thinking moves away from the medical language of cure toward the spiritual language of transformation.” He also tells us that “…(T)he Iroquois Indians, for example, believed that when any single person suffered, it reflected the suffering of nature, of the whole world, in fact.” The reality is that all life is interconnected with other living organisms. We see this illustrated best when a culture becomes narcissistic and centered primarily on the individual. Karp maintains that “the social disconnection generated by an ethic of individualism is an important element in the proliferation of affective disorders in America.”
While I believe that medications can alleviate the pain of some of those who are depressed and seek clinical help, the meds in themselves cannot remove whatever caused the pain, or the initial hurt. But the depression itself will allow us to take a deeper look at how we live out our lives. And for this reason that is why I am an advocate for mutual-aid groups where persons can come together, form community/fellowships and follow a procedure for healing ourselves while assisting in the healing of other members of the community.
The first step of Depressed Anonymous states that “We admitted…” and in Steps three, eight, ten, eleven, twelve again the word “we” is used. If anyone wants to find a community and a spiritual antidote to individualism, the 12 step fellowships provide a solution focused recovery program. I am an advocate for 12 step programs based on helping each other out of isolation into a fellowship of hope and healing. No longer is it just about me, me alone, but about something bigger than just me .It is a “we” program.
We are all connected!

My Comfort Zone

IF YOU WANT SOMETHING THAT YOU NEVER HAD BEFORE, YOU HAVE TO DO SOMETHING THAT YOU NEVER DID BEFORE.

Well, that pretty much says it all. We all have our comfort zones–that is for sure. About two weeks ago, a friend of mine wanted to know if I would join him in getting out the vote here in the USA. I told him I would. All it entailed was going to certain neighborhoods and knocking on people’s doors and asking them if they were going to vote in the Midterm elections. If they said yes, then I would tell them where the polling place was located. I spent two days of this–knocking on doors and asking them to get out and vote for their candidates. I had never, in my whole life done this before–going and knocking on strangers doors and asking them to vote. (Only time before was when I was a kid and went “trick or treating” on Halloween.) Anyway, the whole point here is that I was very uncomfortable knocking on doors and talking to total strangers. It was way out of my “comfort zone.”
When I was depressed I entered into another type of “comfort zone” namely an isolation zone–where all I wanted to do was just do nothing. Just absolutely nothing. Except sleep. My comfort zone was like I was living in a glass house–I could see everything around me but I had no interest in or connection to what happened outside my walls. I had no desire to get involved with former activities that provided me with a sense of purpose or happiness. My mantra was “I’ll do it when I feel better.” Finally I made up my mind, crawled out of my comfort zone and walked through the doors of my first 12 Step meeting. This was a very un-comfortable move for me as I forced myself to go and get help for what could possibly kill me.
Reader, just know that if you want help for yourself or a loved one–knock on our door–come on in– know that if you are depressed, or a friend is depressed, we have the tools to help you find your way out of your prison of depression. You’ll be taking a step into a new way of living.

“Our whole outlook and attitude upon Life changes.” Promise # 8 of Depressed Anonymous.

To really believe, possibly for the first time in my life that I can free myself from the prison of depression and begin to feel better. I know that I need to be proactive in my efforts at self-recovery. But what causes our outlook and attitude to change?
I have begun to believe that hope and healing is possible. Once we have gone through some painful inner changes, such as dealing with our character defects and our isolating tendencies we see there is a way out. We have to have a positive attitude that will move and motivate us to want to go and get to the next step. Watching someone actually take these steps week after week and watch that feeling of wellness rise up in them can provide a belief that with work and time, their lives do improve. Soon we see that a sense of purpose begins to manifest itself the more time and work we put into our personal recovery.
A door opens every slightly, and there appears a way out! I do know that when hope and faith in recovery rises, my symptoms of depression go down.

From: I’ll do it when I feel better. (2013) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Page 46.

I Have The Tools To Build A New Edifice!

AFFIRMATION
All growth is gradual and today I am taking another step toward my recovery.

“We just pray to be set free, and gradually, with small steps and subtle changes taking place inside our selves, we feel a change occurring.” (8)
REFLECTION
It’s clear to me that only by making a conscious effort, can I begin to get better and feel better. The truth is that only by taking steps toward my own recovery, learning what I need to do to change, is when change begins to take place. I have the tools which I can build a new edifice upon which my depression can gradually be eliminated. by admitting my problem (see Step One of DA), that is, my need to hide and withdraw, my need to be perfect, wanting everyone to like me, are all considered and dealt with one by one. (See DA Workbook).
Any changes that takes place in my life are going to have to be initiated by myself. To take the risk to change is to take life as it comes. I want to change so I will have to take the risk and change.
MEDITATION
God, you are the source of the power inside of us to change what we can change. Help us determine what we need to change first, so that we might find the peace and serenity that comes to those who believe in your assistance.
(Post your comments)

Waiting In Truth Implies Trust

Waiting in truth implies trust –a trust in a promise. In the last number of weeks we have been talking about the PROMISES of Depressed Anonymous and how with time, patience, work and trust we can gradually free ourselves from the ravages and pain of depression. Truly it does take one to know one when we are speaking of depression and how that painful and isolating experience is such a debilitating experience. When I was depressed more than a few years ago, I trusted that the Promises of the 12 Steps of AA and now Depressed Anonymous would help me too. It took time and work–something that had its root in my childhood was not going to be healed in a matter of days or weeks. With a firm trust in those people who, in the context of a group fellowship, said it was because of using the 12 steps that gave them hope and discovered a new way of living.

There is an invisible bond between all of us. ( Promise #7 continued. )

“There is an invisible bond between all of us. We are not on this earth to get from one another, but to share those spiritual treasures which are of God. Our interest in each other is, in truth, purely spiritual. Our purpose in life is the unfolding of the spirit within.” Goldsmith.

As Bill W., states in the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book:

We let God demonstrate through us, what God can do. We ask God to remove our fear and direct our attention to what God would have us be. At once, we commence to outgrow fear.”

It is almost a truism to say about those of us who want this program, and are not now focused on self but on the will of God for our lives. I personally believe that once I have made the first step, and admitted my powerlessness (over depression), I set in motion a force, a loving force of the creator in my personal life.”

SOURCE: I’ll do it when I feel better. Page 45. Promise #7. “WE HAVE LESS CONCERN ABOUT SELF AND GAIN INTEREST IN OTHERS.”