The following account is to be found in the PERSONAL STORIES section of DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS, 3rd Edition (2011). Pages 124-125. DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS. Louisville, KY.
It wasn’t until 1993 that I joined Alcoholics Anonymous and got into therapy, which has been amazingly helpful. I’m growing and dealing with the death of my Mother and with alcohol. My hobbies, like gardening and my writing give me joy and are therapeutic. I’ve been working the Twelve Steps with an open mind that every day things will get better. If a problem does occur the Higher Power will give me the answer and the strength to deal with it, and not to run away or shut it away like before.
Depression is something that’s so overwhelming. For me, it’s like crawling from beneath the earth and facing the light with fear that no one would understand how I feel. When in depression, isolation would follow as my only friend, but actually, it was my own worst enemy. I should have been opening up to someone. Instead I shut myself off from the world.
Through therapy, a belief in my self, and encouragement, facing each day doesn’t seem as difficult.
Working my Twelve Steps of DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS and reading HIGHER THOUGHTS FOR DOWN DAYS gives me reassurance that we are not alone. I now appreciate what I do have when I work through the program.
Through prayer and appreciation, I realize that there’s more to life than alcohol and that I kissed a chunk of my life away because of it.
Now I’m gaining much more through life than ever. Being sober, I see my life as a gift and not as a heavy burden.
Granted that this site is not about alcoholism but about depression. But let’s face it, many of those addicted to alcohol are also depressed. I think many depressed try and medicate the pain with alcohol and then end up with two conditions that they need help with. We call this a co-morbid addictive illness.
A few days ago I wrote about the “spiritual awakening” that gave Bill the jump start that he had to have in order to quit his drinking. For Bill it came down to either lose (surrender) his life to this mystic power or to the disease of alcoholism. After this special illumination of the hospital room and to his mind, he knew he could not continue his drinking.
Bill describes his thoughts about this epiphany in the following light:
I was the recipient of a tremendous mystic experience or “illumination” and at first it was very natural for me to feel that this experience staked me out as somebody very special.
But as I now look back upon this tremendous event, I can only feel very grateful. It now seems clear that the only special features of my experience were its suddenness and the overwhelming and immediate conviction that it carried.
In all other respects, however, I am sure that my own experience was essentially like that received by any A.A. member who has strenuously practiced our recovery program. Surely, the grace he received is also of God; the only difference is that he becomes aware of his gift more gradually. Source: AS Bill sees it.
SURRENDER AND WIN!
How can this make sense. Surrender and win? Well, in my life and probably in the lives of most of us who live with an addiction(s) we finally discovered this statement to true. Painfully true. I remember repeating to myself that “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.” It became like a mantra until one day I was forced to do something about my addiction. It was like my hands went up in the air and the white flag I was carrying declared that the enemy finally had won the battle. I had no place to go. I could only admit that, yes, I was beat. Pushed down and stomped on. By admitting my defeat and surrendering to a belief that it was my last hope of survival. If I was to win it had to be on it’s terms. The ” IT ” here was the First Step of AA which stated that “We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.” Wow! I knew deep down that it was my only chance to survive and leave behind me that awful bondage of my addiction for alcohol. The day that I entered that AA meeting for the first time was the day that I began to wrest free from the scourge of my being imprisoned by alcohol. I learned a lot at that meeting: I learned how it was just in the admission that I had a problem that freedom finally became a reality
Whether addicted to sadness, food, booze, drugs, pain pills, or pornography, sex, _____________(name your own) there is hope for you too. Wherever there exists an addiction, more than not, there exists a mutual aid group of like minded people who were there but now they are here (free).
The paradox of course is when you finally give up and say “I’ve had it ” that there is a group of persons just like you who will say, “Welcome, to the fellowship.”
By surrendering and admitting I was living with a cancer that would eventually kill me, I made a decision to get help–surrender–and win back my life. That day, on December 8th, 1982 I became a winner. I thank God, my Higher Power that I had enough hope left to surrender and find help! I won by surrendering!
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.