I do believe the term “protective wall of the community ” is surely an apt and meaningful description of those who are messengers of hope in the 12 step Program of Depressed Anonymous. The program and suggested principles of Depressed Anonymous serve as a protection against the frailty of us all producing in each of us a solidarity with other’s sense of futility and isolation. We then become a wall against which our addiction(s) attempt to overcome and divide us. It is on the ramparts of struggle that we gain access to hope again. We, the group, now serve as a protection against despair. We know now, thanks to our active participation in our 12 Step program, that we no longer stand alone, isolated and vulnerable. We now stand together with those “others” who are aware and conscious that some Power greater than themselves is to restore us all to sanity today.
Only by gaining an insight into my addiction to sadness and misery that I can be free from this need to numb myself from the feelings of hurt and despair.
In recent retreats many of the participants gathered there were in agreement that they could do something about their depression. In fact, one of the participants said that she was surprised and pleased that she could in fact take responsibility fir her self and begin to work herself out of depression.
This was a revelation for her that she could be an active participant in her own recovery process.
I think that too often people depressed mistakenly think that they had nothing to do with their depression – and if they had nothng to do with it, then they think that they have no power to undo it. And like other problems in life, we have to consider our habitual attachment to those thoughts, behaviors and actions which continue to keep us isolated with the comfort of not making a decision on our behalf to escape the prison of our depression. We are NOT helpless.
Now that I am willing to assume responsibility for my depression I have begun to take a closer look at my life and the way in which I was living it. It now has become clear that I have to make some changes in the way I think, feel and behave.
I had to become conscious that with the help of God, as I understand God and my recovery group called Depressed Anonymous, that I could in time free myself from my depression.
So often we want someone to take away our pain, our hurt and our grieving with out any effort on our part. Of course –life doesn’t work that way. For more information about our program of recovery click onto the Depressed Anonymous menu and discover how you to can find hope .
I will let go of the negative thoughts about myself as soon as I am conscious that I am experiencing them.
“…try to live one day at a time. We know from past experiences that our sobriety, our disappearance of sadness is due to letting go, admitting my powerlessness over my sadness and turning it over to my Higher Power and letting it take care of my sadness. I can’t do anything to remove my compulsive behavior until I choose to live with out.
CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT
I know that I have to work on myself and the way that I speak to myself on an on going and daily basis. My letting go and letting God take over my life doesn’t mean that that I’ll just sit back and let God do all the work, no, it means that I will work on my self and leave the outcome up to my Higher Power. I know that my life can be lived differently. if I just make an effort to choose to be conscious of the thoughts that I let myself ruminate and think about during the day. The more I monitor my thoughts, the more I am able to filter out the negative thoughts and have them replaced.
So often when I am depressed I continue a thinking style that was learned as a small child. I am not even conscious as to how I would always select the negative attributes about myself to reflect upon instead of attempting to think positive and hopeful thoughts and about myself and my relationships. The more I believe that I have a choice as to how I am to feel, the more I become conscious of the thoughts that influence the way that I feel.
God, just let us for today, dwell on your mercy and kindness that you desire to bestow on us. We pray that our awareness of your love for us will free us from sadness.”
SOURCE: Copyright (c) HIGHER THOUGHTS FOR DOWN DAYS: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowship groups. (1993, 1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Page 248.
“Remarkable things happen to us when we are willing to admit defeat and talk about our powerlessness over our depression and how our lives had become unmanageable. This first step is the beginning of the flight of steps that takes us up and into our new way of living. At our fellowship of Depressed Anonymous we talk hope, we act hopeful, and we think hope. We learn that our thinking depressed and negative thoughts might have gotten us in the shape that we are in today. What you think is what you become. For us who find sadness our second nature, we at times continue to revert to the comfort of old familiar negative thinking and are in actuality returning to self destructive activity. Hope is overcome by sadness.
When we become convinced that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity, we found ourselves turning many times during a twenty four hour period to that power. It is a rock in a rocky sea that we all hold onto when we find it easier to just give up and sadden ourselves instead of facing the storm and living through the fear. What Bill W., said about the alcoholic applies equally to the saddict: “He or she can settle for mediocrity and self-satisfaction even though this may indeed prove to be a precarious perch. Or he/she can choose to go on growing in greatness of spirit and action.”
You never stop using and following the steps of the program. We are in recovery all our lives. You don’t graduate. When we return to saddening ourselves, we return to the old compulsion that can again reduce us to that bankrupt individual who is bereft of peace and hope. We want to grow in the conviction that the Higher Power will restore us to sanity. One of the best ways to grow out of our saddiction is to start acting the healer instead of being the passive victim. We are under the care of no one except our God.
This spiritual awakening is enhanced even further when we make a decision to turn our wills and our minds over to the care of God. Without a doubt this is a very big step for many people to trust anybody – and now especially to trust a God who they have spent a lifetime fearing. It is this decision which allows us to feel freedom when we start to practice the daily turning over of our will to God. It frees us up and as we pray and listen in our meditation times, we find that our spiritual capacity to connect with the Higher Power is greatly magnified.”
SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.(2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Page 107.
” It has to be that what one believes is what one can become. Actually it is a self fulfilling prophecy that how we conceive of our self is what we can become. This having a dream and setting out some life goals can lead to a life filled with hope and promises. And for those of us who take our 12 Step fellowship seriously and stay actively involved one day at a time, soon discover the joy and serenity that this spiritually rich recovery program provides.”
SOURCE: I’ll do it when I feel better. (2016) Hugh Smith. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.KY. Page 85.
I am going to take a fearless and moral inventory of myself today and list on paper my strengths as well as my weaknesses, that is those characteristics in my life that might keep me fearful and depressed,
“Step Four and Five really have to be faced head-on if our depression is to go away. Steps Four and Five are all about cleaning house. We must square off with ourselves and begin the rooting out process that will in time, free us from our sadness and our identity as a depressed person. So often a person depressed is afraid, panic stricken really, in facing some issues that were never their fault in the first place.”
I see so many people are liberated from their depression the moment they begin to look themselves in the eye and reflect on their character defects. These persons are the ones who are not afraid to make a list of all the persons they have hurt by their isolating depression and by the thought that they are unacceptable to others and to themselves. By working Step Five which states that “we admitted to God, ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” I am assured by another person’s acceptance of me that I will get through this time of pain and hurt.
Bill W., the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous had a spiritual awakening on night as he truly was at the lowest point in his life and begged God to help him. God’s love lit up the room for Bill and he was never the same after that. He was a changed man. I need to make restitution to my family, my friends, my spouse and to whomever for my withdrawing from life and hiding from my responsibilities. This is the work that is needed if I am to get free of the shackles of sadness.
God, shine the light of your wisdom into our hearts so that you might help us find the way out of our depression and get on with living our lives the way you would have us live them. Our fears and anxieties are definitely not the way you would want us to live. You have shown us the way out of our misery by bringing us close to those who once were depressed, but now in recovery, are doing better.”
SOURCES: Copyright (c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for all members of 12 Step fellowships. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 224/ November 10th.
Now available in the KINDLE format. Check out our STORE for more information as how to order online or snail mail.
Copyright (c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.
“By our continual shutting ourselves up in the little world of our own mind, we gradually sink more and more into despair and feel that no one can understand how we think and feel. The biggest freedom that we can gain from confessing to someone else is that we no longer have to have it all together and be perfect. We can begin to admit it when we are petty, selfish and self-centered. We can then admit that we want to have restored a sense of peace by getting free from all worry and fear from the past and by turning those over to the Higher Power. We can then discover that forgiving ourselves and being forgiven by God are one in the same thing. The group will see to it that the more you admit your own fears about yourself and the future, the less terror the present will hold for you.”
“My dear friends, it is this spiritual experience, to feel that God is with you, and that this joy is the joy that will restore your youth and renew your spirit. We no longer have to be the way we are -we can choose to feel and be different. Others are doing it-so can you!”
“Depression feeds on hurt, pain and self-doubt. When we are depressed we have a need to bash ourselves for our misguided errors and sinfulness. The Fifth Step if done genuinely and prayerfully, will in time help restore our sense of freedom and belief that we are truly forgiven. It is in the miracle of the group and its acceptance, love and nurture that helps the depressed person feel secure without recourse to depression.”
THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK, examining Step Five, asks the following question at 5.21: List what action you will have to take if you want to respect yourself again? Remember, it’s our past need to tell ourselves how bad and unacceptable that we are that keeps us depressed. This is a “wrong” if there ever was one.
HOME STUDY KIT
SOURCES: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.(2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 64 (Book One of the Home Study Kit).
The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 52. (Book Two of the Home Study Kit).
VISIT THE STORE at this site for ordering online.
I am choosing to ask the God of my understanding to help me be open to all the persons like myself who are getting free of their hopelessness.
“Being constantly on guard against the future is exhausting, but it does have the advantage of directing your attention away from the present. Since the past and the future are ideas in our minds we can insist that the past and the future are exactly as we see them. The trouble with the present is that it has the habit of suggesting that my ideas may not be entirely right.”
CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT
To live now takes more courage, on some days more than on others. What I need to do is to attempt to live right now. The living in the present will make it possible for me to gradually learn some new truths about life and myself. This opening myself up to the present moment will give me the opportunity to hear how I can live with hope and serenity.
No longer do I have to choose to live in the encapsulated and isolated prison of my own fears and prejudice about the past and the future. The past is always full of hurt and unexpected anger. The future never seems to be without its colossal fears and “what if’s.” Now is the time to accept the fact that I want to change the way I think, act and believe. Right now I am wanting a change and am willing to face the challenges that making changes bring. To do this is called living.
The Third Step tells me that I have made a decision to turn my mind and my will over to the care of God as I understand him. This is the freedom that I am looking for. This is the source of my strength today, namely, these healing Twelve Steps. Granted that I have to clean house and admit that I have unknowingly constructed my own depression (See Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition)
I will make a decision. This is the first step in getting free. I make a decision to choose freedom over the security of isolation and a life that is lived in the past.
SOURCE: (c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. (1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. January 7. Pages 4-5.
(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications.Louisville.
Depression is the greatest misery, for in it we’re alone in a prison from which there seems to be no escape. When we have a physical illness, no matter how great our pain, at times we can separate ourselves from our suffering and feel close to other people, sharing a joke, feeling loved and comforted. But when we’re in the prison of depression, and there is always a barrier between ourselves and other people.
People who are depressed describe this prison in many different pictures: “I am at the bottom of a black pit.” “I’m locked in a dungeon and they’ve thrown away the key.” “I’m inside a black balloon and as much as I struggle, I can’t escape.” “I’m alone in an icy desert.” “I’m totally alone, and a great black bird is on my shoulders, weighing me down.” The pictures are many and various, but the meaning is always the same. The person is alone in a prison.
Even worse, inside the prison of depression, we turn against ourselves in self-hatred. We torture ourselves with guilt, shame, fear and anger. We tell ourselves that we shall never escape from the prison, and indeed, in some way, we do not want to leave the prison. It is torture. It is safety.
The prison of depression is torture because it is isolation, the one form of torture which as all tortured know, will break even the strongest person. But it is safety because the walls of the prison shut out most of the things which threaten to overwhelm us and cause our very self to shatter and disappear.”
SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011). Depressed Anonymous Publications. ( Foreword by Dorothy Rowe, Ph.D., Page 11.)
How true. Sometimes when one comes to a 12 Step meeting such as Depressed Anonymous for the first time, and listens to the members stories, we hear possibly for the first time that there is hope for me too. That is the beauty of attending a meeting where people who are recovering from depression talk about how their lives are getting better and their good days are more frequent. Thanks to the mutual aid group, which for some is their Higher Power, they soon discover that if others who are/ or were depressed, even suicidal, that they too will have a chance at getting their lives back on track.
Hope is the result of working the Steps.
SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. (Personal stories)
These three words appear in the first three Steps of Depressed Anonymous. These are the words that make us well. These are the words that start us on our journey to a life lived without fear. These are the words that will thrust us into a life filled with hope and meaningfulness. Of the 12 Steps of recovery, these are the first steps that one takes when they want to find peace and hope.
I remember so vividly when I took my first step over the threshold of despair and isolation into the bright light of awareness and hope at my first 12 step group meeting. Just by walking through the door I admitted that I needed help. My life had spiraled out of control. It was on that day, at that meeting of the fellowship, that others heard my story, that I started to believe that I could be restored to a purposeful life lived with hope and peace. It was on that day, at that meeting, that I made a decision to turn my life and my will over to the care of God as I understood God.
And here I am today, 33 years later, not only with a life filled with a purpose designed to help others depressed but by doing so, have kept myself free from isolation and self-pity.
SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.