Our hunches are more right than wrong.

 

We think about the 24 hours ahead when we wake up, and attempt to live the day in honesty and peace. We ask God to  ward off thoughts of self-seeking, dishonesty and false motives.  As Alcoholics  Anonymous says,  with the indecision about something, we then ask God for inspiration and we let go of struggling for an answer. Alcoholics Anonymous says that you will be surprised at how the right answers will come after we have practiced this way of living. It also comes to pass that our hunches are more right than wrong. We also pause throughout the day when we are fearful, puzzled or anxious. We pray  to the Higher Power for which direction to take. I like this suggestion the best when Alcoholics Anonymous says : We constantly remind ourselves that we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day “‘Thy will be dome,’ ”  We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions. We become more efficient. We do not tire so easily, for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves.  By coming to the meetings and admitting our addictions, we finally get in touch with those emotions that have all but shut down from an early time in our lives, when to feel hurt too much.  We now have  the chance  to let these feelings get displayed and expressed in the supportive and trusting environment of our newly chosen  family of the Depressed Anonymous group.”

SOURCE:   Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.  Page 101/Step 11.

NOTE: Even though most of us who join the Depressed Anonymous group, do not suffer from alcohol addiction,  Depressed Anonymous is  modeled after the 12  spiritual principles of Alcoholics Anonymous. We have based our  program of recovery on  the 12 steps of recovery and using them on a daily basis. The 12 Steps are now universally used as the basis for a myriad of recovery tools  for those who are trying to free themselves from addictive behaviors and attachments.

 

VISIT THE STORE at the DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS  BOOKSTORE. at www.depressedanon.com. One can order online.

I want to start a Depressed Anonymous group in my community? How do I do that?

 

This month (12/2018)  we have had four requests to start a Depressed Anonymous group in their particular locations. Three were requests from individuals living in the US and one was from a person from Canada.

Our first inclination would to advise them to  go to our Newsletter Archives at  our Home Page Menu and read the  issues  from #1- through and including the  Newsletter for 2018.   Each of the Newsletters has a section  about our program of recovery as well as other important information about overcoming depression.  Each is titled “How to Start A Depressed  Anonymous group.”

Since all of our Groups worldwide  use the Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition Manual, it serves  as an excellent guide for each of the newly formed Depressed Anonymous group membership and part  of their ongoing program of recovery. There is a chapter in this Manual  for the Leader  of the Group  with an example  suggested for leading a Depressed Anonymous Group.  Also, included in the Manual is a chapter on  How to Start a group.

Like most  12 Step programs of recovery they each have their own way of conducting meetings.   The 12 Steps and the 12 Traditions of Depressed Anonymous are read at every meeting.  Also included in every meeting  is the reading of The Statement of Concerns plus How Depressed Anonymous Works.

Most 12 Step groups also have their own “Big Book” which is what the  Alcoholics Anonymous program is referred to.   In a sense,  this is the bible for the fellowship and most members know it by heart chapter and verse.  If you want to start a Depressed Anonymous group in your community it is a given that you will want to have a copy of this important book, authored by the early members of the fellowship. In fact, we think it essential to have copies of this book available at each and all  meetings. If you are going to be a founder of a local DA group we  hope you  read this book before you set up your own group meeting.  After 30 years working with Depressed Anonymous and helping to set up groups around the world, we have found ourselves   continually reflecting on various passages which guide us in our  own daily  recovery.

You can order  Depressed Anonymous Online plus other books written by those of us who WERE depressed.  The sale of books provides us with revenue to share hope with others who are in  need our support.  Please click onto The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore at depressedanon.com for more information.

We want to hear from you and are looking forward to another group meeting the needs of those “Still suffering from depression.”

 

Please email us at depanon@netpenny.net.  Locate us at www.depressedanon.com.

 

 

 

Tom had a problem.

“Tom asked why we needed Step Four in our recovery which states that “we made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”  He said that he was depressed and didn’t need anything else to make him feel worse – like dredging up things that he might have done in the past. Why, Tom wondered, should he resurrect old ghosts?  Anyway, when we spoke about a moral inventory it reminded him of religion with its “do’s and  “don’ts ” with special emphasis on the “don’ts.”  Tom said he came into Depressed Anonymous to learn about what was making him depressed and that he didn’t need anything else to make him feel guilty or sadder.

Some people think that for a person to dredge up old hurts and wrongs will make them that much more depressed. I guess it depends on what type of stuff we put on our inventory. The following list will help  our sadness persist: our perfectionism, our need to control our fears, guilt, shame or resentments, dishonesty, selfishness, passivity, anger, indecisiveness,  fear of change or finally the inability to live with uncertainty. When we begin to ask God for help in removing these areas from our live, this asking for help  will not make us more depressed – it will in fact make us more hopeful. In Step Three we said we make a decision. This means just that and not just a promise as it says in the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book.  When we begin to surrender our will and our life to the Higher Power and are willing to expose our  effects to others in the group, it is then that our life may be able to take on a peace coupled with new purpose. This really is an essential and necessary step that has to be taken if we want to leave our prison  of depression behind.”  SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 53.

In our Depressed Anonymous Workbook, which coordinates each of the Twelve Steps, with its questions and answers coordinated with the individual Twelve  Step commentaries in the Depressed Anonymous big book, we can  discover who we are and  how we became the way we are.

Here we can deepen our awareness of what makes us who we are by continuing our search by means of those questions put forward in our Depressed Anonymous Workbook. Because of the essential nature of the inventory procedure as outlined in our personal recovery program, an individual will see  that their own openness to the process will provide  them with a wealth of hope and serenity.

Working the 4th Step is like coming home a different  route.  It is a path that is filled with signposts that point us in a  different direction than where we are used to going. And for many of us this is in a different direction than where we are used to going. And for many of us this is the first time that we are really intent upon taking a good hard look at who we are. This taking inventory of ourselves has much to do with our loving ourselves and making ourselves open to a new path and feeling different.” The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, (2002). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.  The 4th Step, Page 24.

–For more information on this Group/Home Study Kit and how to order it, please VISIT THE STORE.  Both Workbook and the Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition, comprise our Study Kit. One can order all literature online.

MORE TOMORROW ABOUT THE 4TH STEP.

Childhood messages -how are they working for you today?

In the  Depressed Anonymous Workbook, we are asked a very important question included in STEP FIVE.

AT 5.1 the question is asked:  As a child did you get a message that if you were good and did everything that you were supposed to do that you would end up happy and everything would go your way?  (The Workbook then asks you to write out your response.) For all of us, who are experiencing depression, this is a very important question. I myself have often wondered how the messages of childhood are working for us now that we are adults.

STEP FIVE is about intimacy and the sharing of one’s  innermost self with its secrets to that other human being. This is something that we hate that we would much rather snuggle back into our little corner and keep all knotted up in the addiction to our misery. In STEP FOUR we learned about getting it straight within ourselves so that we looked into every nook and cranny inside ourselves that kept us from being honest with ourselves, our God and all the other human beings that we have shared our story with.

For that personal experience of our lives, as we see it, can be obtained by spending time with the Depressed Anonymous Workbook. You will be amazed  by the feelings that come up and present themselves as we work through our lives using the Twelve Steps as a roadmap of life.

 

Connecting the dots

One of the ways that helps us to overcome, deal with, and leave the prison of our depression is to connect the dots of our lives. What does this mean, exactly? It simply means that by using the 12 Steps of the Depressed Anonymous program of recovery we can gradually and at our own pace build a relationship with our Higher Power ( anything bigger than just me) or as it has it in our program, the God of our understanding. This is what we call “connecting the dots ”  which means our unique  thinking, our feelings, and all the behaviors of our lives.  In time, as  we move along the trajectory of our own recovery–working each of the 12 steps,  we begin to develop a picture of who we are and who  we want to be. We have connected all the dots.

Granted we are not going to get a true picture of ourselves right away. This program does asks something of us. We are going to have to be honest with ourselves and others, We have to be open to the reality that we can find the help and serenity promised in this program,  and  be willing to get on with our work. Yes, work. It takes work. It also takes time, as it  is a step by step process. If you want to leave the hellish feelings of isolation and shame that many of us have felt you will start this program. It will provide you with hope. And you will not be alone. You will have all of us here to support you!

I connected the dots almost 30 years ago now. In fact, I still go to meetings (went last night   ) and still making sure that today, just for today, I am still right on track. So now with my Depressed Anonymous Workbook and Depressed Anonymous Manual I continually keep in touch with my feelings, right behaviors (don’t isolate and beat myself up) and my relationship with God and my neighbor. And most importantly, I try and share a message of HOPE with those who are still suffering from depression. Could that person be you? If it is, you can have a Home Study program that will offer you hope and a real way out of the prison of your own depression. The Home Study Program is great preparation for a face to face group that could be formed in your own community.

SOURCES OF HELP:

   Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. (2001) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2015) DAP . Louisville

I’ll do it when I feel Better. (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

    Visit the store for more info for other DA literature.

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Stay tuned for our ONLINE Newsletter and please subscribe so as to keep up with current places of DA starting up  as well as interesting testimonies from  those who have found hope in the program of recovery; people who have connected the dots!

Three of the world’s worst excuses!

We have our identity in the process of depressing.  We are afraid that if we stop, we won’t know how to be, won’t know who to be, won’t know what life will expect.

It’s safer and more comfortable to continue with the depressing than to risk freedom

Is this depressing?

Can I realize I do this (reject well-being) without being depressed about it?

It’s depressing to realize that I’ve spent my whole life depressing myself.

The most important part is that I’ve thought it was external. Now I’m getting the sense that it is something I’ve learned to do and now to do to myself.

To say this is depressing information is like saying that you are on a sinking ship and you have just discovered a lifeboat.

You can stand there and be upset that this ship is sinking or you can take the lifeboat.

We’re talking about being compassionate with yourself because everything else springs from that.

It is not selfish to love yourself.

If you can’t find compassion  for yourself, you’ll never find it for anyone else. You won’t know how. You will never be truly generous to anyone else. You won’t know how. You will never be truly generous to anyone while depriving yourself.

The reason we don’t tell anyone they should do this is that a person won’t do this until they are ready.

Most people never will in their life.

All we’re saying is that when you’re ready here’s the way you can do it. This definitely is  not another stick to beat yourself.

When you’ve suffered enough, you’ll remember that you know how to do it. It  doesn’t really matter what you have thought, believed, felt or done before.

This is a new day.

“But I’ve always done it this way.”  “But I’ve always been  this way.”  “This is just the way I am.”

These are three of the world’s worst excuses.

It’s OK to change.

It’s OK to try something new.

It’s OK to try something radically new…There isn’t really anything new because if you try it and don’t like it, you can always return to how you were doing it before. No problem. No shoulds. Trying anything once or twice doesn’t mean you have ever to do it again if you don’t want to.

And not taking a risk because you are  afraid is a grave disservice to yourself.  Fear is not the problem. You can have your fear and allow it to stop you or you can have your fear and risk anyway. Either way, the fear is there. The choice is yours.”

Sources:  The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. (2001)  DAP. Louisville. Pgs.45-46.

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) DAP. Louisville.

Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2015) DAP. Louisville.

I’ll do it when I feel; better. (2014) DAP. Louisville

I am sick and tired of being sick and tired!

How often have I heard these words spoken at a Depressed Meeting or in a letter telling us about how sadness and despair have overtaken one’s personal life. They relate that they have fallen into a darkened pit with no way out. I know all about that feeling as I  have had  those same feelings many years ago. I too had been “sick and tired” of trying to get out of bed every morning but unable to do so because of feeling completely wiped out.

That was then (30 years ago). Today, because of the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous I continue to have hope and the “toolbox” of the 12 Steps which provide  me  with access to a daily plan of recovery.

One of the greatest “tools” that I use is to question myself on my relationship to each Step and present my answers to a friend and/ or members of the group.  I have discovered that the Depressed Anonymous Workbook, plus the coordinated Depressed Anonymous Manual, provides me with a life giving and formidable resource for my own recovery. The best part of the Workbook is that the questions asked in the Workbook are some of the questions I have asked myself. The two books together (Home Study Combo) have provided many of us in the fellowship with a very detailed path, laid out by the many questions which a participant is to answer as they climb out of their own unique pit of depression. The depression experience is unique for every person.  We each come from a myriad of personal  life experiences. No one shoe fits all. We all have heard the saying “Be yourself! All the other people are taken.” One person’s life experiences are in many ways the same,  but for most of us, the difference lies in our own unique childhood and adult experiences.

In the Depressed Anonymous Workbook we read “…And if you take an active role in your own recovery –the answers will begin to come! Depressed Anonymous gives you a great choice on the various ways to tell your story and come to some of your own conclusions why you might be depressed.

I can begin to use the 12 steps and begin the task of working myself out of the pit of this depression. I believe that with time and patience plus the group fellowship and support that I will be able to make some positive strides in feeling differently about myself and the world.

We can now add that our Home Study Program, which Includes the Workbook and Manual,  is an excellent resource in digging ourselves  out of the isolation and pain of depression.

Following are examples of a few very important questions that you will be able to answer for yourself in the Workbook.

@Question 1.4.  How many years, months, days can I remember being depressed? How far back in time can I remember always feeling sad and wanting to withdraw from others?  There is no need to feel bad for wanting to isolate and withdraw.  Please write out your feelings about these experiences. (See DA Manual  for further clarification about this question and those following.. Page 32).

@Question 1.5.  Write down the number of people whom, you have admitted that you have been or are depressed now?

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SOURCES: Depressed Anonymous Workbook(2001) DAP. Louisville.

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011)  DAP. Louisville.

  •                     To get more information on the literature available about depression and the Steps visit the store. The Home Study Combo is available here at this site.

My depression just came out of the blue

A question from the Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Step Eleven. Page  79.

Question: How do you see your depression as a compulsion?  What are the triggers that cause you to spiral downward back into the dark prison of depression?

When you think of depression do you think of it like one big thing or do you see it for the many parts  that make up a depression experience, namely, the way that we think, behave, or feel.  In other words when we make it to be a thing, that is when we reify it  — it holds power over us — like it came out of the blue  –we talk about depression in medical terms such as I just had a bout of depression — like it came from outside of us like an infectious germ or virus.  In reality, our depression is made up of many parts,  such as particular depression oriented  ways of thinking, behaving and feeling.

Question #11.1   Write down the way that you perceive your depression? Can you distinguish the various parts that go to form what we call the depression experience?

Which of the following illustrations can you best relate to?

11.2  A need to be perfect!

11.3   A need to be successful!

11.4   A need never to get angry!

11.5   A  need to have someone in my life before I feel I am somebody!

11.6    Please write down how one or more of the above keeps you down,  despairing and hopeless? Also, write about where these attitudes come from?

Sources:  Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Note: Both these books make up the Home Study Program combo. See Visit the Store for more literature that  is recommended for our 12 step fellowship.

STEPPING UP TO HOPE

In Depressed Anonymous I have heard members of the group say what works for them is not to fight depression but instead do the dead man’s float — just let go and feel the sadness –don’t run away from it with lots of activity and doing — this can lead to mania — instead, admit our sadness, our despondency and face the feeling.
Don’t fight it and push it down but DISCUSS it –talk about it and see it for what it is. Since depression is a dependency issue it is only when we begin to surrender to the Higher Power or God as we understand him that we make it possible to recover from this experience. We choose to live, feel and think differently.
THE ANTIDEPRESSANT TABLET
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This approach to depression really works, as the many testimonies in our “Big Book” Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition illustrate. Yes, we know that running away from any difficulty or problem just digs the hole of our sadness deeper. Once we give up our shame or guilt for being depressed–basically our feelings powerless and being isolated –and start to share our story with others, we find our sense of mastery begins to return as our feelings of uselessness begin to evaporate. How often do members of the group, after coming to the group for some weeks, begin to look different–that is, they seem calmer and their faces become softer. The hardness disappears.
Hugh

PRIZING YOURSELF

 

One of the activities that you might think about is something that you found fun or pleasurable before your present depression.  You might  give this activity some thought and then  write down this activity with any other fun things that comes to your attention. After a while, I think you will find that there are many  things that you could do when you are feeling especially low. At a time when I was especially feeling a total lack of energy I would go and lie down –why fight the fatigue?  But then I learned that if I would reject the thought of lying down  and instead interest my attention in an activity such as typing on my computer that I found my energy coming back.  The thought that I was too tired to do anything disappeared in a short while.  Weird, but it works!

Also, as for planning pleasurable  activities, you might want to start listening to the way you talk to yourself. Try to speak words to yourself as if you were talking to a guest in your home. Talk out loud if you wish – hear yourself say kind things to yourself. For once, say something good about yourself instead of listening to all those old negative tapes that always made you feel you’d be better off dead. Or else be someone else. You get the idea.

When  you start listing your strengths  as part of your Fourth Step Inventory, list all  the good things  that you like about yourself. (See the Depressed Anonymous Workbook). With every negative statement about yourself don’t allow yourself another statement about yourself until you are able to replace it with three positive statements. I mean. let’s be fair and balance this thing out.  I know that you might feel a bit uncomfortable about prizing yourself, but give it a try anyway.  One of the best ways to make sure you will have a pleasurable activity today is to plan for it the day before and then placing it on your calendar for the next day.  Don’t say you will do it “when I feel  better,” as you and I both know, we don’t usually do anything, no matter what we tell ourselves. I think we have all heard the saying “have a nice day unless you have made other plans.”  A lot depends on our attitude. If this isn’t enough, just know that Abraham Lincoln said that we are all about as happy as we make up  our minds to be. What do you think?

SOURCE: Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2015) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.   Pages 43-45.