Friends are good medicine

 

Research continues to show how friends or social support can play a significant  role in maintaining good health.  One of  the studies published in 1992,   in  the  Journal of the American Medical Society, examined 1,368  heart patients over time. The Duke University study found that those persons who lacked a spouse or confident were three times as likely to die within five years of diagnosis than those who  were married or had a close friend.

In an article on the study, ( in New York Times of February 5, 1992, page’s C – 12), it was noted that the Duke University researchers had concluded, ” a support group may be as effective as costly medical treatment. Simply put, having someone to talk to is very powerful medicine.” American self-help clearinghouse, Denville, NJ 07834.

As any member of a 12 step support group, or mutual aid group can testify, just being able to share one’s own story with others like ourselves,  can produce healing and hope. To know that we no longer have to suffer alone is in  itself a great source of hope!

HOPE IS CONTAGIOUS!

HOPE IS CONTAGIOUS!

A great benefit of belonging to a fellowship is the power of hope. “If he or she can do it, then so can I.” This is a common belief for those who begin reading a book called Depressed Anonymous. This book, by the way, is written by folks who have felt hopeless and helpless.   The many accounts and personal stories in  the book  fill one with hope and courage.  The pages of this book help  serve as a manual for those of us who want to embark on this personal journey of hope and recovery from depression. Now this book and all of the other books published by DAP are specifically geared to those of us who want to leave the prison of depression and are written by persons who were depressed — and who got better. What is  better than to hear that the program works. Hearing how  other people  use the Twelve Steps and have them always available, is much like tools in your toolbox. The tools  are there to help build a structure for one’s own life  making it an adventure of hope–not a prison from which we felt we could not escape.

In Depression: The way out of your depression. Dr. Dorothy Rowe.1996 (2nd Ed).,  tell us that “Hope can exist only in a state of uncertainty. That certainty means total certainty. That security means to be without hope. The prison of depression is built with the bricks of total certainty.

Certainty. Security. No hope.

To hope means to run the risk of disappointment.

To be insecure means not to be in control.

Stay  in control. Be depressed.

To be uncertain means to be unsure of the future.

Predict the future with certainty. Stay depressed.

Hope can  only exist where there is uncertainty. Absolute certainty means complete hopelessness. If you want to live fully we must have freedom, love and hope.  So life must be an uncertain business. That is what makes it worthwhile.”

So, when we gradually believe that in each life some  rain must fall, and pain can come, we  begin to live life with hope. That’s the way it is. We can gradually believe, like thousands of other pilgrims on this path of recovery, that having a spiritual program such as the Steps, hope is possible, hope is doable and  our lives can take on new meaning and have purpose.