Spiritual Awakening Depression!

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Spiritual Awakening Depression!

Postby adamjohn » Sat Dec 10, 2016 1:42 am

It sounds to me like the two are incompatible. The Promises on page 83 of the Big Book sound like the exact opposite of depression.
So, two questions. One, what is the difference between spiritual awakening (as in step 12) and spiritual experience? I've had spiritual experiences,
but I don't think I have had a spiritual awakening.
Question two: I am suffering from depression; is this proof that I have NOT had a spiritual awakening?
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Re: Spiritual Awakening Depression!

Postby Spirit Flower » Sat Dec 10, 2016 7:49 am

Have you read Appendix II on Spiritual Awakening in the back of the book?

The read the Twelve Step and Twelve Traditions. It explains that though the desire to drink is removed, we still have our other problems. Depression is the same as other problems. Sometimes depression is not a spiritual problem.
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Re: Spiritual Awakening Depression!

Postby Brock » Sat Dec 10, 2016 7:55 am

Welcome here adamjohn. I believe when we are spiritually awake we have spiritual experiences, some of us choose to further our initial spiritual experiences, by attempting to live in a manner which makes us open to these happening throughout each day, the non religious will cringe at my saying 'living in a state of grace,' but I can't think of a better term to describe it. A by product of this is the life found in those promises, keep in mind that before the promises this is said – “The spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it.”

I believe that spirituality will not cure depression, our founder Bill with all his white lights and what not still suffered from it. Medication is the accepted answer to that disease, (along with possible lifestyle changes), and any alcoholic who says we shouldn't take prescribed anti depression medication, probably wipes their elbow when they go to the toilet.

Thanks for the topic it's something important to consider, and best of luck with a solution.
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Re: Spiritual Awakening Depression!

Postby Barbara D. » Sat Dec 10, 2016 8:34 am

FOR ME, a non-religious person, a spiritual experience is when (through recovery discussions, reading the literature, and the working of the Steps) I become aware of an idea or a feeling that changes my thinking a degree or two towards spiritual principles. It takes a while for this idea or feeling to become part of my belief system. And it takes even longer for this new belief to show up as a changed behavior. For instance, I actually thought I was honest when I got here. I rarely lied when I knew I was lying. That is I lied to myself and told you my fantasy. I told you what I wanted to think and feel and was an expert at denial. I had a lot of work to do on honesty!

I had many spiritual experiences as I worked through the Steps, and bit by bit my thinking and behavior changed by the time I worked all 12 Steps and got the promised spiritual awakening. Some of us have burning bush experiences. Mine was more along educational lines while understanding that knowledge would not save me. AA taught me how to live life on life's terms and accept that I was not in charge as well as how to de-fuse the obsession and compulsion for alcohol (don't take the first drink!).

I personally know the difference between the blues and clinical depression. I did not experience the de-tox kind of withdrawal. But I am not a doctor and can't diagnose your depression to begin with. I have known several recovering alcoholics who had mental health and other physical issues and wanted AA to take care of those problems, too. But some of us still need outside professional help.

I hope that was helpful! Good luck and keep talking, keep relating to the similarities and leave the differences behind. Barbara D, alcoholic.
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Re: Spiritual Awakening Depression!

Postby Blue Moon » Sat Dec 10, 2016 9:46 pm

The two are not mutually exclusive. A spiritual awakening is an increased awareness of your spiritual self, whether this be the enlightenment of Buddhism, the nearness of your creator with monotheistic religious belief, being grounded, or whatever concept you have ( provided it makes sense to you ).

Depression may be due to malnutrition, lack of vitamins, physical injury to the brain, or a plethora of other things. Alcohol itself causes depression, which doesn't magically go away just because the individual wants it to.

It's possible in some cases that depression is lifted by diligently practicing other-centred behaviour such as the Steps, or somehow reaching a spiritual place where others' opinions no longer define who or what we are. But it would be naive indeed to declare that we have a spiritual solution to problems and therefore never again need to eat. After all, if you're religious, maybe you believe everything exists for a purpose .... including things like doctors or cognitive-behavior therapists to help with depression. It's just unfortunate that pharmaceuticals have such a profit-motive. The onus is on us to be informed about what we're putting into our bodies... even when it's prescribed.
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Re: Spiritual Awakening Depression!

Postby clouds » Sun Dec 11, 2016 8:14 am

I don't believe that spiritual awakening and depression are incompatible.

In fact a spiritual awakening could even be, in certain circumstances, be born from within a depression.

It could be that the fear of depression could cause a dampening of spiritual awakening though, perhaps.

Maybe refusal to admit and accept depression could interfere with spiritual awakening.

But finally, depression doesn't inhibit spiritual awakening.
" Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house." page 98 A.A.
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Re: Spiritual Awakening Depression!

Postby ezdzit247 » Wed Dec 14, 2016 2:55 pm

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...to leave the world a better place...to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Re: Spiritual Awakening Depression!

Postby tomsteve » Thu Dec 15, 2016 7:15 am

" I am suffering from depression; is this proof that I have NOT had a spiritual awakening?"

glad youre here.
1st things 1st:
step 12
having had a spiritual awakening as a result of the steps....

have you worked the steps?

If the steps have been gone through, then my answer, being someone who learned( from a doctor) I had depression, absolutely not.


the program isn't a cure all and outside help may be necessary.
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Re: Spiritual Awakening Depression!

Postby Layne » Thu Dec 15, 2016 9:42 am

When I had a spiritual awakening, it was strictly that; an awakening. My work wasn't finished, it was just beginning; but at least now I had a clear direction in which to proceed. I certainly didn't experience a speed of light transformation in my personality and character, I merely awoke to the new day chapter of a lifetime journey. It was after all an awakening, not an instantaneous transformation, which is as it should be for this alcoholic because I only learn and grow through work. Alcohol was instant gratification, and I know where that got me!

If I experience depression, I need to seek help from internal, external, and higher power sources. If I experience clinical depression, I need to seek help from a clinical source. If I am not sure which type I am experiencing, I need to seek out the clinical source first to help me determine which type of depression I am experiencing.
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Re: Spiritual Awakening Depression!

Postby positrac » Mon Dec 19, 2016 5:24 am

I am blunt and sometimes accused of being either rude, mean and or crass on my replies as if I have lost touch with reality.... I wanted to lend a point or two about awakenings and depression.

Spiritual Awakening is often at the individuals speed and one may never truly know if they had one or not because of the manner in which it could arrive. So if I compare mine to yours I might be sorely disappointed and vise versa.

Depression is real and it doesn't just go away at the snap of the finger and for me I have had to endure hell on earth because of my unwillingness to accept medications because of fear of another addiction! Got enough problems without getting addicted to some medication. So I have studied and attended therapy to help lighten up some and now I do take a small dose of a prescribed medication that is not addictive.

See my point is if we allow a drunk to think they have an out for the easier softer way then they are gone and before they even know it could have made a grave mistake in relapse. I believe we have the due diligence to explain in detail aspects of our wants--vise needs..... New comers need to understand what has worked for me is different than what needs to work for them. I can't express more that my 27 years is much different than 24 hours, month (s) and or under 5 years ect....

lastly I am old school and I am not into this crap of we are the world because that doesn't always provide honesty on recovery as I've seen way to many walk out of the rooms due to the group trying to people please and being politically correct and this is a life or death disease we all share and have and I don't want to forget that.
You must live your life from beginning to end: No one else can do it for you.
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Re: Spiritual Awakening Depression!

Postby avaneesh912 » Mon Dec 19, 2016 7:05 am

The late Jesuit priest Anthony de Mello says in one of the essays that after the awakening there was still depression but it didn't affect him. Thats the attitude shift the book talks about too. And Eckhart Tolle talks about creating "a space" around it. We allow the moment to be as is. The mind shuts itself.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Spiritual Awakening Depression!

Postby Easy » Mon Jan 30, 2017 3:56 pm

Blue Moon wrote:Alcohol itself causes depression, which doesn't magically go away just because the individual wants it to.


Does alcohol really cause depression? I don't think so. Drinking often comes after depression, and many people resort to it as a solution to depression. Maybe alcohol complicates the problem, but you have to search deeper for the real cause of your broken spirit.
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Re: Spiritual Awakening Depression!

Postby Lali » Mon Jan 30, 2017 9:52 pm

Yes, alcohol causes depression. If you are already depressed, alcohol exacerbates the problem - makes it impossible to overcome.
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Re: Spiritual Awakening Depression!

Postby clouds » Wed Feb 01, 2017 8:24 am

I think I agree with Anthony deMello. Is like that, depressions come and go, a spiritual awakening can be maintained with the principles of AA.
" Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house." page 98 A.A.
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Re: Spiritual Awakening Depression!

Postby Blue Moon » Wed Feb 01, 2017 5:37 pm

Easy wrote:Does alcohol really cause depression? I don't think so. Drinking often comes after depression, and many people resort to it as a solution to depression. Maybe alcohol complicates the problem, but you have to search deeper for the real cause of your broken spirit.


Yes, alcohol causes depression. It is also often used to self-medicate depression. Particularly for individuals diagnosed as bipolar, the jury is still out on which comes first: the bipolar or the alcoholism.
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