William James the author of the classic work, Principles of Psychology shares with us “that changing habits requires conscious attention, deliberate choices and recurring behavior. “
In The Depressed Anonymous Workbook we find that the same process of change is submitted to us for changing negative habits. It takes work, time and attention. Conscious attention. Deliberate choosing is a critical part of changing our addictive behaviors. Ruminating on negative self bashing thoughts, circling around and around in our head, must be interrupted and stopped. Knowing the difficulty that this poses for any of us who are depressed, we chose a workable plan developed by individuals who were living out their lives with active life threatening addictions. Since their attention was drawn repeatedly to their insane thinking and behaviors, they decided that they must do something that was sane and had the power to stop the hemorrhaging. Some call it “biting the bullet.”
Many times, when we are depressing ourselves with our negative behaviors, our thinking and spiraling downward negative moods, we tell ourselves that if I just act like they are not there, they’ll go away. We hoped.
But that is not the way it works. In my own life I tried that route. My motivation was gone. My body lost its power to make any positive moves toward facing what it was that was slowly imprisoning me.
In our Workbook, we are faced with the question/statement stating that “Even though I may be faced with difficult tasks, it is better to try to face them than trying to avoid them. Avoiding a task does not give me any opportunities for success or joy, but trying does. Things worth having are worth the effort. I might not be able to do everything, but I can do something.
In order for us to escape depression we need to begin to be aware of the process of how people change. The process for change is of the nature of a spiral instead of a straight line. Now that we are willing to risk feeling differently we have been gearing up to improve our situation, one step at a time. In other words, we are making a very important decision right now about our lives.
1.Awareness Stage: We become conscious that we can’t go on feeling the way we do. Something has to give.
2. Motivating Stage: I am going to prepare myself for a needed changes in my thinking, acting and feeling.
3. Doing Stage: I am going to take charge and be responsible for positive changes that have to be made by me if I am to feel differently.
4. Maintaining Stage: I will continue to seek out and sustain my recovery with people, concepts and my personal working of the Twelve Step program of recovery.
As an example of how to use this four stage recovery format, as presented by the Question and Answer format of the Workbook, one is able to have it serve as an powerful antidote to the progression of one’s depression and isolation.
Let’s say that your dependency needs are keeping you bound up in unhealthy dependent relationships. The real you is now merged into whoever and whatever your dependent need happens to be at the moment. You have lost your self!
Each of the 12 Steps take the participant through the Workbook one Step at a time. The power of each Step will provide a roadmap, with your own depression experience and personal and unique input giving courage for you to live out your responses in a positive and thoughtful manner. You can do it! You will be happy that you did!
(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville KY.