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Roadblocks and pitfalls in recovery

I think sometimes people have the idea that recovery is a straight line angled upward with a positive slope.  For me, that is not the case.   My recovery is a conglomeration of sine waves, bumps, upward swoops, pot holes, and squiggly lines.  Overall, it does have a positive upward slope.  In other words, as the promises state, I have more good days than bad. Today, I have many more good days than bad.

But what to do on those bad days?  That is the question.  How do I navigate recovery when I am in a downward slope, have a roadblock or a pitfall?  How do I get through this period of mild depression?

First of all, I remind myself that This too shall pass.  It may sound cliché, but it is true!  If I am having a difficult day, I do not have to let it become a bad couple of days or a bad week.  I do not have to let it go to a moderate or severe depression.  Sometimes I can even limit it to bad moments.  The point is, this depressing feeling will not last forever.  I do have a choice to realize that it is temporary, to do something about it and not let it take over.

So what do I do about it?

The program gives me tools.  It’s up to me to use them.  Sometimes I have to pray for the willingness to use them.  The willingness to help myself undepress myself and stop being a victim.  When I’m in a pitfall, I feel alone and isolated. That is my disease talking to me.  The reality is that I’m in a program with people who understand me and care about me.  I can reach out to them and be honest about how I’m feeling.  This simple but sometimes difficult action really does help me a lot.  By telling on my feelings, I feel less isolated and more connected to others.   Another thing I do is journal to my Higher Power.  I tell my Higher Power what I’m thinking and feeling.  Sometimes I follow it up with journaling from my Higher Power to me.  This is the voice of truth.  This helps me to contradict those negative thoughts and see the truth as my Higher Power sees it.   When I’m in a slump, I’ve learned that it’s okay to be in a slump and to be kind and loving with myself through this period.  I’ve learned that my recovery is not a straight line upwards, and that it’s okay for me to have some squiggly parts and bumps in that recovery journey.  I can learn to give myself that same love and compassion that I would give another struggling person.  Another tool I like to use is the “way to go self” list.  When I’m in a slump, I focus on the negative, specifically those “I’m not good enough” statements.  I neglect seeing my positives.  So I make a list of my assets or those things that I am doing well, or those things that I am accomplishing.  And I’ll give myself double stars for doing something positive when I don’t feel like doing it – because that is extra difficult for me!  So by making a point to look at the positive things I am doing, it helps me gain clarity and see the positives.

To sum up, bumps in the road of recovery are part of the process for me today.  It doesn’t mean I’m bad or need to shame myself.  It means that life happens, and now I have an opportunity to use the tools this program gives me – IF I choose to do so.

Stacy S

Living in the security of my hope.

” I am choosing to live in the security of my hope rather than in the fear of life’s possible pain.”

To read this article, please click onto the Archives located on the home page of Depressed Anonymous.
Click onto the year 2016, February 21. You will be able to find this article and many more at this Archived location.

I think I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree

“Trees” by the poet Joyce Kilmer has always been a favorite of mine over the years. At one time I could recite the poem by heart. It ranked near the top of my favorite poem list, only to be topped by Psalm 23, the Bible’s Good Shepherd Psalm.

I always thought that Joyce Kilmer was a woman – wrong – he is a man. Now that was sort of a surprise. Anyway, being a country boy from rural Indiana, trees were part of our lives, and much of our hunting experiences. Squirrels lived in trees. We hunted squirrels. Trees were all sizes and all kinds. Lots of trees. My Grandpa, could name any and all trees that were part of the Southern Indiana forests. Trees were so much of his life as a child and young man. We learned how to tell the kind of a tree just by looking at it’s bark. Yes, beautiful trees.

Now, during this pandemic I knew I could not sit self-quarantined at home 24/7 (not until middle of March did I begin to realize this might go on for a spell. I was right). I decided to write a book. I did write a book and it has kept me busy all these months. I hardly go anywhere, maybe for some groceries or walk around a neighboring park. I have been visiting with friends on one of our 12 Step ZOOM and SKYPE meetings. I kept in contact that way. So, now I am about ready to finish up the book and get it ready for publication. So I didn’t waste my time. I have something to show for it.
But my latest effort has been to take up the pencil and learn how to draw trees. Thank you Joyce Kilmer. Not just stick type trees. Trees that are beautiful and have leafy branches and the limbs are well shaded and all so perfect. My wife bought me some great Walmart $1.98 special colored pencils. I was excited. That is, until I tested out my innate, so I thought, ability to draw. Well, it hasn’t turned out so good. My trees just don’t come alive like the ones shown on the Computer screen.

I’ve learnt a lesson here. Try new things, and if you feel you are not successful – give it up! But seriously, I intend to get back to the trees some other time. I think I will use my camera and take pictures of trees. At least what I end up with are pictures that look like trees. Not stick trees.

One final thought. I at least proved one thing to myself. I don’t have to always be perfect and succeed at everything. Life is like that. We at least know that God has given me another day – another 24 hours – to give thanks for. I don’t have to be a great poet, writer, or artist. But I can be a man of gratitude for all of God’s blessings. In my book, trees point my thoughts heavenward to God who made all creation and is an expression of his love for you and me.

My favorite tree is an Autumn Blaze Maple. What is your favorite tree?

Hugh Smith © 2020

A Therapist’s view of Depressed Anonymous

 

 

“The spiritual program of Depressed Anonymous is its greatest strength. People come together and hear from one another how their higher power is  healing and guiding  their lives. They realize that in being part of the group  they are not alone, and also encourage true healing.  Depressed Anonymous has been a wonderful healing tool in the lives of many depressed persons I’ve worked with. It will always be one of the greatest resources I use in my work. It is true that “it works if you work it.”

Denise List    M.Ed  Louisville, KY

 

Ordering our eBooks hit a glitch. Help!

Two days ago (3/25)  we indicated that we were going to have persons that were interested in downloading eBooks from our Bookstore   that they could down load for free for a three week period of time.  I thought with so much heartache, loss of jobs and the  depression that goes with these losses, that this would be a good time to make as many copies available as possible. Our tech agreed initially, thinking that it would be a good  idea. Then after a bit, he got back to me and said that he wasn’t able to reset our online payment process. Not so easy.   I thought that we could just press a few buttons and we were ready to go.    So,  now we are back to square one.

If anyone   has a suggestion, please let us know.  You can send a message here at our website  depressedanon.com or to us at depanon@netpenny.net. I apologize for this foul-up. There must be a way to make this happen , that would allow someone to download free. Our tech  indicated that we will continue to try other routes. We will think of other ways to meet this challenge. Hoping to hear suggestions from you, the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous,.

Hugh (Admin) for the Fellowship

 

Now that I have admitted to myself and to others that my life is out of control…

 

I’ve admitted that my life is unmanageable because of my depression. My fears and anxiety have taken over my life.  The  admitting for me was the hard part.    I then  made  a decision to walk through the door that led me into my first 12 step meeting. I had to surrender  and  I told myself “OK. Here goes nothing.” Actually, to my surprise, my life has never been the same since then.

I discovered that the reason  I have been depressed so long is not as important as the fact that I admitted that I was depressed.

Once I feel safe to say that I am depressed or  that  I have been depressed most of my life, this is the beginning of freedom for me. The depression mutual – aid groups  are making it Ok to say ” I am depressed.”  Most people now recognize that depression is a way that we have constructed  our world in which we can survive. To admit that we are depressed  is really half the battle. Once I began to take charge  of my life and choose to recover from this emotional sadness, I am able to get my life back.

This is the first step toward recovering from my attachment to sadness: namely, admitting through no fault of my own that I have spent many a year of my life avoiding life. I have closeted myself up in the cocoon of isolation. Now I know that I have work to do and, like others before me, I am finding  a brand new life opening up for me day after day.

MEDITATION

We now know that God knows all about us and our situation. We cannot hide from God as did Adam in the garden of Eden. Adam’s nakedness became his shame before God. Being vulnerable is to be naked  to the threatening gaze of strangers. By sharing the shame of ourselves with others like  our self  we will gradually  and in time, deliver ourselves from the threatening situation. Our dependence on our Higher Power or God as we understand God will get us through today. God can do the same for you!

RESOURCE

(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of Twelve Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications.  Louisville. KY. February 4th, Page 22. (Your personal comments welcome.)