RAY’S TESTIMONY ABOUT THE POWER OF DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS

” What is the power of Depressed Anonymous?  Well,  first let me say that when I started attending Depressed Anonymous meetings, I went for a couple of months and then stopped.  I stopped going because my depression was so bad that I didn’t want to leave my apartment. I didn’t want to be around or talk to anyone. I just didn’t want to do anything except to crawl in a hole somewhere and isolate myself from everything. Then after about six weeks of isolation, I called the residential treatment facility where I had been a client to see if I had received any mail there and one of the members of the Depressed Anonymous  group where I attend answered the phone. I spent a few minutes talking to her and there was something in her voice that told me that for some reason, it was important for me to be at the meeting. I attended the next Depressed Anonymous meeting. After the meeting was over, I suddenly realized the importance and power of Depressed Anonymous.”

SOURCE:Ray, in his personal testimony on pages 133-134 in  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

IF MY LIFE IS JOYFUL, THEN WHY DO I CONTINUE TO GO TO DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS MEETINGS?

Today, as promised yesterday (7/22) in our BLOG, we shared how Lois declared that she  “no longer experiences those black, bleak, hopeless periods”. She says that “her life is joyful.”

If her life is so joyful  Lois needs to explain why she continues to go to Depressed Anonymous meetings five years later. The Twelfth Step of this program: “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry the message to the depressed, and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.”  ” I am so grateful to Depressed Anonymous that I want it to be there for those who are still suffering.”

See pages 110-111 for a full account of Lois’ testimony in THE PERSONAL STORIES section of Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Also read the remaining thirty stories of the other members of Depressed Anonymous who found serenity and joy using the Twelve Step program of recovery.

Like Lois, there are many of us who today continue to carry the message of hope to those still suffering from depression. Like myself, they all want to share with others that there is hope — there is a day coming that a light may shine and give them a way out of the darkness of their depression. This website and BLOG is just one way that I am taking the message of HOPE to others. Just yesterday a Depressed Anonymous group leader tells of how she is sharing her story OF HOPE to a man who intends to take his life, Another man in the group who worked his way out of despair using the Twelve Steps of recovery is also sharing his own story of despair and hopelessness with the man. That is what Lois is doing–bringing hope to others even though her whole life took a dramatic change.  Even though she is no longer imprisoned in depression she still sees it her mission to continue telling people her story. I told my story tonight at one of our local Depressed Anonymous meetings. At each meeting that I attend,  gradually, as Lois puts it, I  unscramble a part of the mess that brought me to my knees in the first place.

THE SIMPLE ABC’s of DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS: THE 12 STEP PROGRAM OF RECOVERY

Yes, learn your ABC’s of Depressed Anonymous and you are on your way to discovering how to live with freedom and with purpose. I learned my ABC’s back in 1982 in another  12 step fellowship. It did take me a little while to get used to them but in due time everything all came together. Once  I got serious about learning my ABC’s things started to happen. I not only found the key that opened a new world of serenity and a fellowship to me,  I also have a daily plan for my life that gives me purpose and serenity to this very day. Just as day follows night I am helping others learn their ABC’s.

First of all, you might be wondering what are the ABC’s of Depressed Anonymous? And how can I learn them? Well, let me tell you about them.

Simply put, the ABC’s stand for three realities which anyone can learn. The first reality is to 1) admit that I have a problem. That is fairly easy to understand. Having a problem is what usually brings a person into our 12 Step fellowship in the first place.  We know something is happening and we know we can’t go on feeling as bad as we do. “We admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable.” There you got it.  You just learned a bit about the A of the ABC’s — to admit. OK, I know that to admit something is out of kilter in our lives is not easy but to also know that the pain  is so great we have to take the bull by the horn and find help. We also know how scary life becomes when we feel we have no control over the way we feel and think. I know. When I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning and had this awful feeling of hollowness in my body which was unbearable I knew then that something serious, possibly deadly serious was going on. Yes,deadly serious.

It was then that I  believed that I had to take action. I had to seek help and find out what was causing my life to take a nose dive or extreme proportions.  For me to feel that I had no control over the way I felt and even to the point that I  could not get myself out of bed in the morning with will power alone, it was then that I knew what I had was serious.  I ” came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” I didn’t know what this Power was that was going to restore me but I had to find out. I sought help and finally got the help I needed. I moved the body and my mind followed. I was forcing myself out of bed a morning and started walking. For awhile I felt I was an incarnation of the movie hero, Forrest Gump. But over time I found the key to my recovery and learned how to use the C of my ABC’s. I learned how to commit myself to this Power that was greater than myself. Actually, it was my decision to commit myself to going to as many 12 Step meetings as  I possibly could. It was there that I learned to live my life. I now had a plan. I had a purpose and I made sure I was about doing the next right thing for my recovery. It has been 30 years since that day when I had to admit that I had  serious problem on my hands. I am still doing my ABC’s every day and helping others learn their ABC’s of recovery. I know the program of recovery takes time and work–but it is worth a life. Your life!

If you want to learn the ABC’s of Depressed Anonymous, it would do you well to get  to a meeting or get the  BIg  Book, DEPRESED ANONYMOUS, 3rd Edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications.  ( By the way, this book was written by a group of depressed persons who learned their ABC.s and wanted to show others a plan that worked for them.  They found HOPE. Their Personal Stories are in the book).

MOTIVATION FOLLOWS ACTION! MOVE THE BODY AND THE MIND WILL FOLLOW.

Yes, motivation follows action. I have discovered that by pressing on with an activity even while feeling sad and hopeless pays off in big dividends. I am speaking in terms of my own personal experience. When it became impossible to move my body out of bed in the morning I forced myself to get up –drive to a place where I could walk –and started walking.  I truly felt like a Forrest Gump(see movie) as I have continued this “moving the body” program these past 30 years or so. I gradually ended up with a lightness of spirit and I started to deal with the guilt, shame and other stuff that I continually ruminated  about. This ruminating, in a short time completely immobilized me physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Sue shares her personal story in Depressed Anonymous (pages 144-145) telling us that “Action does precede motivation” and I began working at a local zoo.  It is a beautiful place (and safe from muggers too). I began  talking with people and learned about classes there to become a docent (volunteer teacher). I enrolled and graduated. This gave me a new purpose in life. I get great joy from working there doing outreaches to schools, nursing homes and hospitals. I have made friends with both animals and humans. There isn’t a day that I go to talk that I don’t get thanks by someone, a visitor, or employee (or sometimes an animal)

My family hasn’t changed (although my Mother commented on the change in my face), but I have.  In this, the Serenity Prayer really helps. I know that I can’t change them, but I have new friends and a real support system so that doesn’t matter so much to me now.

Whoever you are, you who are reading this: Believe! The first Three Steps are the most important. Walking or other exercise is important.  Staying with it is also important. Going to meetings and participating is important, but above all else, faith is important. Faith will truly move mountains.”

–by SUE

A VICTIM IN MY OWN MIND

-A personal story of a Depressed Anonymous member

Depression was something that I grew up with.  I really had no idea that I had it until my senior year in college. It started with my parents divorce  and ended with me totally losing control over everything in  my life. I couldn’t decide what career I wanted, but hated every job I could think of. I couldn’t decide what city or state to live in, so I kept moving, hoping that the next place I lived in would make me happy. Eventually, I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to die or live.   I cried at the drop of a hat, but still found enough rage inside to push the people I loved as far away from me as possible.

I knew that I needed help. I have been to counselors on three other times in my life, but nothing seemed to work or last.  This time, I have been in counseling about two months. I was sick and tired of being like this. I wanted a life and I wanted to be happy.  Every week, someone would notice a change in me, but I still felt the same. Then one day while watching TV (thinking thoughts at 100 mph), it occurred to me that I was making myself miserable.

I had always known  that I was hard on myself. I reamed my self every time something bad happened. “Why can’t I find someone to love me? “Why isn’t God looking out after me?” But for some reason, when I realized that I was doing this to myself, it made me realize that maybe all I would have to so is stop doing it! All of a sudden it made sense.

If I tell myself negative thoughts, I feel negative. If I tell myself nothing, I feel nothing.  So if I tell myself positive thoughts, eventually I have to feel positive.

Of course. I ‘m still testing it out, but I feel better and for the first time in 14 years, I have hope.  So I remind myself of something positive every day. and that’s what I’m going to do until I don’t have to remind myself anymore because I’ll know.

I’m slowly finding out that my life is not as horrible as I’ve made it out to be. I used to tell myself that since it happened before, it will happen again–and that simply is not true.  Yes, my past was horrible and it’s no wonder I ended up with depression. I want out of it and the only person to get me out is me. There is no magic wand to transport you to the life you want. Everyone knows what they wish their life could be  — so do it!  Make the changes you have to make, trust in God and always remember that good things come to those who wait. I’ve waited over half my life. I don’t have to be a victim of my past or of my mind anymore. I’m more than ready for the good things!  With love and hope. ”

SOURCE : (Copyright) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd Edition.(2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville  Pages 120-121/Personal Stories # 9.

“DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS HAS BEEN THE ULTIMATE KEY….”

Depressed Anonymous has been the ultimate key to a largely successful life for me. Prior to entering the program, I had  no money, no driver’s license, and had dropped  out of college due to poor grades and a nervous breakdown for which I was hospitalized. I had not then worked Step One because I wasn’t aware that I was powerless over depression, that my life was as disorganized as the mess in my closet.

During my first night in the hospital, a member informed me of a support group known as Depressed Anonymous. I decided to give it a try.  By telling me about this wonderful, miraculous, and very spiritual program, this person had not only worked the Twelfth Step (see site Menu for 12 steps), but had also given me a key, a key which would open many doors for me. Walking through these doors was like admitting defeat. I was playing first base in a ball game in which I would eventually win. If I struck out, I was back on Step One. By playing ball with a positive attitude, I was allowing my Higher  Power to walk the Steps to recovery with me. With the help and the positive sense of fellowship that I enjoyed in the group, I began to understand God’s will for me. With the love, support, and true fellowship of three faithful members in the group, I began working on my driver’s license, which had been another step toward independence for me. Within a year, I earned my license when two members of the group took me in for my road test. A new sunnier life had begun for me. The worst  was finally over.”   Lena.

To read the full inspiring account of Lena’s recovery go to Personal Stories in Depressed Anonymous, THIRD EDITION, Depressed  Anonymous Publications, Louisville KY, P.113. If you do not have a Depressed Anonymous group in your area, you can begin your own personal  recovery program by clicking onto Visit The Store here at this site and  order your own HOME STUDY PROGRAM. This program includes a Step by step Workbook and Manual You definitely will be glad that you did.

The great benefit of making use of our literature here at Depressed Anonymous is that ALL our material is written by those of us who actually have been depressed –been there & done that –and now offer you  a tool box filled with our own treasured ways to leave the prison of depression. You can browse through all our literature and find the help and hope you are looking for. You can always give us a call   (VoiceMail 502.569.1989) and get some real life help that you may be seeking.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THE 12 STEP DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PROGRAM OF RECOVERY?

Depressed Anonymous  

1) Educates and informs us about our experience of depression. 2) Nurtures us so that we can begin to share and to trust our unpleasant feelings with others.  3) Accepts us and does not make   judgements  about  our experiences with depression. In other words, we don’t hear “snap out of it” in the group. 4) Teaches coping skills by our frequent meetings and group  membership interaction.  It provides us with a  “toolbox” of new skills we can utilize in our overcoming of sadness. 5) Empowers us to believe that there is truly a way out of our depression. One of the major benefits of our group is you can hear how other persons depressed have made it out of depression. (Read the Personal Stories in Depressed Anonymous).   It is clear that the program works best for those who keep coming back to meetings.

There are multiple benefits that come to those of us  who  are committed to being  active participants in our fellowship of Depressed Anonymous. I should know, I am one of the active participants.

TWO PERSONS MAKE A GROUP.

Someone once shared with me how he and a friend–both feeling depressed –went to the local library – checked out a Depressed Anonymous book and started working the 12 Step program of recovery. After a bit of time they got the workbook and then after a few months discovering the power of the Steps opened the group up to their community.
The point: if you are unable to locate a group in your community have you thought about getting one other person to work the Steps with you? This other person doesn’t have to be depressed. Could be a counselor, friend or family member.
Like the song, “it all starts with one.”

ONE. IT ALL STARTS WITH ONE. (ANE BRUN- NORWEGIAN SINGER)

IT ALL STARTS WITH ONE

Bill W., co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous wrote this about those who found themselves alone with the message of  hope  appearing in the first Alcoholics Anonymous book , in 1939.

“Someday, we hope that every alcoholic (depressed person)  who journeys will find a Fellowship of AA (DA) at his destination…Little clusters of twos and threes and fives of us have sprung up in other communities…Thus  we grow. And so can you, though you be but one man (woman) with this book (Depressed Anonymous) in your hand. We believe and hope it contains all you will need to begin.

We know what you are thinking. You are saying to yourself.  “I’m jittery and alone. I couldn’t do that.” But you can.  You forget that you have just now tapped  a source of power much greater than yourself. To duplicate, with such backing, what we have accomplished is only a matter of willingness, patience and labor.” (AA, 1976)

Ane  Brun  in  her song “:ONE” has the following lyrics

“It all  starts somewhere/ It all starts with one/ Everything comes from something/It all starts with one…First everything is quiet/A breath of fresh air from lips and tongue/Then the sound makes the world wild/ One, two, three more/ We can do more/ Much more, let’s do more/ Much more, lets say more/We are more”

Yes, I agree with Ane.  It all starts with one. Even though you might be just one person and are reading our book Depressed Anonymous for the first time, and just by talking to one other person about help gained from the reading, you now have a 12 step group. You are part of a group. You now have a group which is a power greater than you alone or yourself.

Even though you are alone and feel jittery and anxious just know that by picking up our Depressed Anonymous book and reading the personal stories contained in it, that you will know that you are not alone. You now can take this message of hope and share it with another one. We speak your language!

“Our whole outlook and attitude upon Life changes.” Promise # 8 of Depressed Anonymous.

To really believe, possibly for the first time in my life that I can free myself from the prison of depression and begin to feel better. I know that I need to be proactive in my efforts at self-recovery. But what causes our outlook and attitude to change?
I have begun to believe that hope and healing is possible. Once we have gone through some painful inner changes, such as dealing with our character defects and our isolating tendencies we see there is a way out. We have to have a positive attitude that will move and motivate us to want to go and get to the next step. Watching someone actually take these steps week after week and watch that feeling of wellness rise up in them can provide a belief that with work and time, their lives do improve. Soon we see that a sense of purpose begins to manifest itself the more time and work we put into our personal recovery.
A door opens every slightly, and there appears a way out! I do know that when hope and faith in recovery rises, my symptoms of depression go down.

From: I’ll do it when I feel better. (2013) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Page 46.