I am more than my addiction!

“…Because addicted individuals generally  possess such strong feelings of shame, embarrassment and self-loathing, it is extremely curative when they learn that they can be viewed by others in a positive manner.

…Shame, a more profound feeling all alcoholics and addicts (saddicts)  struggle with implies “I feel bad because of what I am.”  Addiction from this view implies that group therapy must enhance the self understanding and the acceptance that one is worthwhile despite their strong feelings of self loathing and self-hatred.  (The Depressed Anonymous Fellowship Group. ED)   ….before a person can  be healed, they have to know they can heal another. …It is this opportunity to learn that one has the ability to help another in being a healer which supports the use of  group psychotherapy. In  fact, this is the very same principle which AA  (DA) applies within the Twelfth Step of its Twelve Step program for recovery. The alcoholic and the addict (saddict)  maintains their own sobriety by helping another alcoholic get sober.” Source excerpts: Group Psychotherapy with Addicted Populations.  , (1988)  Flores, Phillip J., The Haworth Press. NY

Likewise, the person depressed has a better chance of  overcoming depression when they hear someone else,  with the same situation, feeling better and overcoming their depression.

SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications.Louisville.

A WAY OUT OF DEPRESSION

” During  acute depression, avoid trying to set your whole life in order all at once.  If you take on assignments so heavy that you are sure to fail in them at the moment, then you are allowing yourself to be tricked by your unconscious. Thus you will continue to make sure of your failure, and when it comes you will have another alibi for still more retreat into depression.

“In short,  the ‘all or nothing’ attitude is a most destructive one. It is best to begin with whatever the irreducible minimums of activity are. Then work for an enlargement of these –day by day- Don’t be disconcerted by setbacks –just start over.”

Source: Bill W., in Letter, 1960.

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CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

Here is my take on the  statement above by Bill W., co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous.

When I first got involved with the Twelve Steps, I couldn’t wait to read all the steps and get busy reading as much as I could about them. But as I continued to stay in the program and get more involved in the Fellowship I discovered that I could not read ahead and think that now that I have read all the literature about the addiction I was done.  I graduated.  Instead, after thirty years plus, I am still working through these Steps and finding material that I need to look at in my life. The Twelve Steps and the study thereof, alone using the Home Study Kit,  and in the context of a fellowship  group, I have continued my quest to live one day at a time. Step Eleven is one of my constant companions which states that I “sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry it out.”

Our guide, Depressed Anonymous 3rd edition,  written by those of us who were depressed, contains an excellent commentary on Step Eleven (Pages 94-103). The Steps provide you and me with a lifetime of hope and help. The Steps continue to provide me  with a lifeline that is available to me, today, every day and every time.  It works for me!

-Hugh

HAVING HAD A SPIRITUAL AWAKENING AS A RESULT OF THESE STEPS, WE TRIED TO CARRY THIS MESSAGE…

” Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to the depressed, and to practice these principles in all of our affairs  THE TWELFTH STEP OF DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS

The only requirement for membership in Depressed Anonymous is a sincere desire to quit sadding ourselves today.  Just for this twenty-four hour period. We want to try for this short period of time to let go of our sadness. But since we are saddicts, we need to know that we can’t just snap out of our sadness in minutes or even days.  To get to feeling better takes time because our learning to sadden ourselves goes back  over months, possibly years and one doesn’t just snap out of feeling bad in a few days when the whole way of living has taken years to develop. As was brought out in another Step, it’s not so much our addiction that we need to focus on as our whole life  – which we now admit is un-manageable. By practicing the principles of the Twelve Steps, we now know that we need to make  an inventory of our whole life. We can leave no rock unturned if we want to live with serenity and hope.  Our sadness, like any other addiction, is merely a symptom of some deeper compulsion that manifests itself in our need to seek comfort and safety in sadness. But this is the nature of our addictive behavior and thinking.  Our thinking has been compulsive. Every time someone hurts our feelings, and said something that wasn’t pleasant, we withdrew into the dark hole of our depression.  We shut down our feelings by numbing ourselves against future hurts.  Depressed Anonymous wants you and me to try for one day at a time not to withdraw compulsively into sadness when we come up against a stressful situation.”

—–Read more about the Twelfth Step in the DA  Manual, 3rd edition, (2013) Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville  Ky. Page 104.

Dreaming is good for my soul.

Today, I celebrate a personal victory. Today, on Veterans Day (USA) 29 years ago I overcame my addiction to cigarettes. I was smoking two packs everyday. Then on the night of the 11th of November, 1985, I had a frightening dream. I dreamt that if I was to continue smoking it would not be long till I developed tongue cancer. Was the message from a Higher Power? Was it my fear come to fruition in that relaxed frame of mind which sounded a warning? Whatever it was and whoever it came from I really didn’t care–all I know is that day I needed to make a decision to quit smoking. By 7pm that evening the decision was made. And from that day forward my life went on without a smoke. I am grateful for the dream that paradoxically, woke me up. Was the dream a manifestation of the “Power greater than myself” that spoke to me in my sleep. How could a dream do what I could not do for myself? Believe me, I tried for years to quit–without any lasting results. I think what occurred that night in my dream enabled me to have a “spiritual awakening“, where my Higher Power did something for me that I was not able to do. Smoking two packs of cigarettes a day is definitely insane. God saved me from myself and for that I am most grateful. I think what got the ball rolling many times before my powerful dream was the fact that I admitted that I was helpless over my addiction. Three years before this event I had made a decision to join a 12 step fellowship recovery group and learned the importance of believing in a power greater than myself. I was ready to follow the prompt of this power 29 years ago.

I MADE A DECISION-

Back in the last century I made a decision that continues to direct my life today and everyday. That decision was that I needed help. I needed to know how to free myself from an addiction to a substance that was gradually killing me. The only place that I knew that might offer me some help would be a local AA group. Frightfully, but expectantly, I walked through the door of my first 12 step meeting. The power that was greater than me–was the group of men and women who were meeting to talk about a solution–namely, to their addiction to alcohol. I felt at home. Well, not totally at home–but I did find acceptance for me and my particular addiction. They presented me with a toolbox–not material tools–but spiritual tools that I use to keep myself free of my desire and craving for alcohol. We call them the 12 steps.
That was in 1982, December 7th. And then three years later I became depressed and I applied the steps to my depression experience, which likewise was killing me. I got out my tool box and began applying the same tools as I had applied to my other addiction and found I again had a solution to my twisted and distorted thinking. It was only after I admitted that I had a problem, and my life was unmanageable, did I find a way out. My Higher Power leads the way, day after day, month after month and year after year. If you want to learn more about how YOU can make a decision, find the tools and keep your attention focused on the solution oriented 12 steps, then you let us know. We want to share with you our story and how it was before in our life and how it is now.
Looking to find that toolbox? We can help. Don’t give up. Look us up and give us a call.