All of us of course need to fulfill some very basic needs in order to survive. Food clothing and shelter of course immediately come to mind. Beyond that we begin to get into the area of wants. Within that arena, one of the most common mentioned wants is the desire to be happy. Many an alcoholic, drug or food addict were part of this group of seekers of happiness. The problem was that happiness often eluded us. As a result, we often turned to our drug of choice to fill those feelings of emptiness and sadness. We soon learned that not only did happiness continue to escape us, but a whole new set of problems arose. We often tumbled into depression as our lives deteriorated.
In the rooms we quickly heard a different take on happiness. Someone at a meeting would invariably say to us; “You’re a winner today. You didn’t take a drink or a drug. Everything else is gravy”. As timed passed we began to see that we really did have “a lot of gravy” in our lives. We had a boatload of little reasons to be happy. As we readjusted our expectations, that smile on our faces ever widened.
Personal Reflection: Do I need to lower the bar?
At a meeting recently, the topic of depression came up. In any other gathering of 35-40 people a topic like depression would have been avoided. Under “regular circumstances” few people would have felt safe enough to honestly address this issue. But, a meeting is unlike any other gathering of people. Almost everyone present shared on the topic. Two things came out. The first is that almost everyone at times feels sadness and depression. For many at the meeting this was a relief. In the world outside of meetings people don’t share in a real way. A person could draw the conclusion that he or she was the only one grappling with a particular issue. Hearing person after person share about depression helped people realize that their feelings and experience were far from unique.
What also came out was that for many of us, the best thing we could when we were feeling sad or depressed was to force ourselves to move the muscles. We needed to reach into our 12 step tool kit and get busy. Prayer, meditation, making meetings, calling sponsors, sponsees and other members and doing service were all tools we could tap into. Inertia truly was the enemy.
Personal Reflection: What tools do you use to combat depression?
Note: I am not speaking of clinical depression; which requires consultation with a medical professional.