Many times in my past I would ask myself if I could possibly live without my addiction? I always said “yes”, I could–but not just yet. How often I repeated that phrase to myself over the years. Or I’d tell myself “I’ll do it when I feel better.” That was another favorite mantra of mine. Have you ever said those same words to yourself? It’s like if I just keep pushing it off maybe the problem will go away. But, we know that is not how it works. If you are presently reading this and in recovery you know how this recovery really works.
For me, it was told to me that really what recovery is all about is to accept the pain of withdrawal for the short term or to choose to continually abuse yourself for the long term. When I have a toothache I can see a dentist and have the tooth and the associated pain neutralized or I can continue with the pain till it is unbearable and then I must do something radical and drastic–like pulling the tooth.
I began this whole painful process of recovery with an admission. I admitted that my life was unmanageable and that my life was out of control. That was the first step. And then having admitted that, I listened to other members of a 12 Step fellowship group and I learned how the program worked for them. In fact it worked so well that many of them have not fallen back into any of their old past addictive behaviors. But as you and I know, there is a price to be paid for this new way of living. We first had to admit that we had a problem. We needed help. And we needed it now. We had hit bottom. We then came to believe that a power greater than myself could restore me to a life of sanity. Making a decision to turn my life over to a Power greater than myself really got the ball rolling. I now knew that there is a God, of my understanding–and I wasn’t God. When drinking and drugging we had the feeling that we could do anything–that we were immortal and God’s gift to humankind.
This is where we had to face all this garbage that was ours and we had carried around for years–we needed to take an inventory of where we had screwed up. This is painful to have to look in the mirror and see that person who made our life so miserable. No blaming anyone else. As Pogo, the comic character tells us, “we looked for the enemy and it was us.” You don’t have to look very far do you? We might also look in the mirror and ask, “mirror , mirror who is the craziest of us all?” I think you get it. Without a doubt it is necessary if we want to stand tall and face life past and present with hope. and a sense of peace. There is pain, lots of it –but let me tell you, there is a great sense of relief that we no longer have to live in the shadow of life but now live in the light and the good humor of freedom. The shackles of bondage are thrown off. I am a person who is free now and able to tell my own story at a fellowship meeting just like when I walked through the 12 Step fellowship doors and found what I really was looking for: freedom from the pain of my depression and addictions. Look for a freedom group in your area.
SOURCE: (c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.
(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.
NOTE: These two books comprise The Home Study Kit. See VISIT THE STORE.
“Responsibility is the name of the game in recovery and it is here that we need to focus our attention. As we get into a discussion with other people who are depressed – much like ourselves – we see that they talk about feeling better while at the same time acting on their own behalf. ” (8)
CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT
To blame someone else for all my problems, and to focus on someone else and not on myself, never accomplishes anything therapeutic. I believe that as I commit myself to my program of recovery I begin to feel a shift in the way I think and act. I know that the only way out of my pain is to get into dealing with my sadness and the way that I sad myself. I need to begin with Step One and admit my problem. I need to admit that my life has become unmanageable because of my attachment to depression. I must remember not to blame myself for depression – I just know that right now, today, I want out! I tell myself I’ve had it! I intend to get better.
In order to change my life, I have to begin taking responsibility for it today. By setting a goal, just for today, I can plan some success into my life.”
We know that our Higher Power wants us to live just this one day. God is neither a vengeful God nor is my God a punishing God. My God is there for me and the more I open up and trust God, I trust myself to change and be a better and more serene person.”
SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for down days:365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications . Louisville, Kentucky P. 69.
“We admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our life was unmanageable.”
Granted this is not the most happiest of thoughts to read as we get going this day. But you know what? It’s at this point in your life that something, some attitude change is going to give you courage to take back control over your life. Years ago when I was doing a project for my degree work I discovered, (like I didn’t know it by my own life experiences) that when a person feels they have control over their life and life’s circumstances that their symptoms of depression start to disappear. So, is this a fact or is it something somebody just told me, without any foundation in fact. The truth of the matter is, that when I felt most helpless and hopeless and my life was falling apart, I had no control. It was literally the feeling of sliding down that slippery slope. I actually felt at that moment like my life was truly spinning out of control. I can even remember the place, the time of day when it happened. That was in 1985. I was completely powerless. Helpless. All alone in my pit of isolation. Alone with my secret. I looked the same. No one knew the disabling effect this paralyzing had in my life. But I knew. That was the important issue here. I knew. I felt the total pain of the isolation.
And now these many years latter, I still use the Steps for CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT. Back to Step One where we say we “admitted…” In our Workbook it states that “But what good is it to admit that our depression has made us feel powerless? I already know what you might say? That is why I have spent thousands of dollars on hospitals, doctors, counselors and drugs!” But really for a person to admit that they are powerless is what gives us new power –paradoxically. It’s like in the letting go of a death grip on our continued sadness that makes the sadness gradually wither and die.. But somehow – again I don’t know how it all works –when I say I am depressed, deflated, and down and have the 12 Steps and the fellowship at my side there is a small ray of lite starting to shine in my mind and heart. It’s like saying I’ve had it this way all my life —depressed and isolated- now I’ll try it your way.”
Here is the next question that can help clarify some of your thinking today.
One of the major ways people help build the walls of depression is to believe the following statement: “Since bad things happened to me in the past, bad thing are bound to happen to me in the future. ” Today, reflect, be aware of your own feelings, write down on paper your response, then get motivated to do something now, today. Do something which will motivate you to move and perform an activity that you can achieve just today. You are building a future one day at a time. Keep it simple!