“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.

WE HAVE ENTERED THE WORLD OF THE SPIRIT

We have entered the world of the spirit

From the AA Big book

“…We vigorously commenced this way of living as we cleaned up the past (Steps 4 & 5) . We have entered the world of the Spirit. Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for a lifetime (Step 12) . Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help. Love and tolerance of others is our code…Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God’s will into all of our activities. “How can I best serve Thee? Thy will (not mine) be done.” These are the thoughts which must go with us constantly. We can exercise our will power along this line all we wish. It is the proper use of the will.

THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK Step 10 Question for personal reflection #10. 12. Page 76.

THE TOOLBOX OF DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS

The toolbox of Depressed Anonymous

I think all of us have a toolbox in our lives that we use from time to time. For some of us, our toolbox provides us with a living. The same is true for my own toolbox. I received my toolbox back in 1982 when I joined a 12 step fellowship group of recovery.. The tools that I received at that time I still use. In fact I have added other tools as well. The tools I need the most I use every day. Have you a toolbox? And if your answer is yes, what do you have in your tool box?

In our DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS Big Book, one of our fellowship writes the following account of her use of the toolbox of DA. She states that “it seemed that I was living in another world until one of my parents gave me a phone number of Depressed Anonymous. The Depressed Anonymous meetings, plus reading the Depressed Anonymous literature and manual have all provided me with the tools to live without being depressed. Most important of all, the Twelve Steps mentioned in the book have made me understand that God (my Higher Power) will give me strength to deal with my depression and get on with my life and be happy with myself.

I read the Depressed Anonymous manual, go to counseling, and attend the Depressed Anonymous meetings. The meetings are a must. I need them to survive. The support group’s members help each other by listening, talking, expressing their feelings, and give support on how to cope with depression.

All these new tools have helped me and will continue to do so…”Depressed Anonymous. Page 148, Personal story #29.

WAITING IN TRUTH IMPLIES TRUST

Waiting in truth implies trust –a trust in a promise. In the last number of weeks we have been talking about the PROMISES of Depressed Anonymous and how with time, patience, work and trust we can gradually free ourselves from the ravages and pain of depression. Truly it does take one to know one when we are speaking of depression and how that painful and isolating experience is such a debilitating experience. When I was depressed more than a few years ago, I trusted that the Promises of the 12 Steps of AA and now Depressed Anonymous would help me too. It took time and work–something that had its root in my childhood was not going to be healed in a matter of days or weeks. With a firm trust in those people who, in the context of a group fellowship, said it was because of using the 12 steps that gave them hope and discovered a new way of living.

Many depressed people will say, “I don’t know why I am depressed. It just happened suddenly…”

“Many depressed people will say, ‘I don’t know why I am depressed. It just happened suddenly, like a black cloud coming down.’  They say this because they do not want to look at the terrible events which threatened to destroy the way they saw themselves and their world.  These events might not seem very significant to other people, but to the person concerned, they are very important. It is not the events in themselves which made them important,  frightening, or overwhelming, but the meaning which we give to these events.” Dorothy Rowe, Ph.D., in the Foreword to the DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS book. Page 12.

A PRESCIPTION FOR PUTTING SANITY IN ONE’S LIFE!

prescription for sanity in one’s life!

Came to believe that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity.” This is Step Two of Depressed Anonymous and it provides a program  for those of us who  want a step by step approach to putting light, hope  and sanity in our lives.

If you feel you are losing your sanity, then this is a program for you.  DEPRESED ANONYMOUS  WORKS FOR ME!

What is the power of Depressed Anonymous?

“What is the power of Depressed Anonymous? Well, 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 of my depression was so bad that I didn’t want to leave my apartment. I didn’t want to be around to talk with anyone. I didn’t want to do anything but 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.  One of the members of the Depressed Anonymous group  where I attended 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 that meeting. After the meeting was over, I suddenly realized the importance and power of Depressed Anonymous.

So what is the power of Depressed Anonymous?  For me, its just like attending the first  meeting. I was a little scared and apprehensive at first, but then I found the Depressed Anonymous meeting was a place to go  where there were other depressed people just like me. They could relate to and understand what I was going through. They didn’t judge me or think of me as crazy.  I was accepted.

SOURCE: PERSONAL STORIES. A quote from Ray in Depressed  Anonymous (2013) 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications.  Louisville, KY. Page.133.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              OPOWER

HOW TO BE A WORRYWART.

AFFIRMATION

I INTEND TO LIVE IN TODAY!

“As an expert in guilt you cannot live in the present.  You are constantly worrying about the past and fearing for the future. As an expert in guilt you cannot enjoy happiness when it comes, for you believe that as night follows day, suffering will follow joy. When good fortune does come your way, you know it will not stay, for you are the guilty ones and you will b punished.”  (7)

REFLECTION

I have believed for most of my life that since most things never worked out in my life, why should things work out now. I have always had the belief, mostly unconscious, that nothing ever works out for me and that this belief is reinforced by the way I habitually think about my life.  I have lived my life so much in the past and in the future that I have forgotten about trying to live for today. 

What I have learned is that most of the things that we fear never happen and if they did we would have the resources to deal with them in some effective manner.  Steps Four and Five of the Twelve Step program insure that we find a way out of this depression by looking at the way we guilt ourselves and then make amends to those, as appropriate, who we need to make amends to.

MEDITATION

God, we ask you to help us to make amends to ourselves as we go through this day. We want you to help us rid myself of the guilt, worry and fear that prevents us from living with any serenity or peace today.  We pray that our lives will improve as we make attempts to change the way we feel and think.”

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for 12 Step fellowship groups. DAP. Louisville, Ky  Page 199.

THE FEELINGS JOURNAL.

FEELINGS ARE ENERGY IN MOTION 

Many times just writing down what you are feeling will help you get rid of the pain of that particular feeling. Also, when you speak to someone about how you are experiencing an unpleasant feeling, then others can and will be with you through the pain. Many persons who are in recovery keep a feelings journal in which they list the various feelings that they experience from one time to another during their day. It’s wise to try and stay with these unpleasant feelings and sort out where they are coming from and how we caused them. Many times when we describe what we feel, we begin to release in ourselves the “stuckness” that keeps us in a mood of hopelessness.”

SOURCE: Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd ed. (2013) Depressed Anonymous Publications  Louisville, Ky.  Page 90.

Therapists Views on Depressed Anonymous

The “Birth” of a Depressed Anonymous Group. Judith Bouffiou, Ph.D. (Cand.), Olympia, Washington

Isn’t life just full of expected and unexpected challenges, synchronous happenings, joys and griefs. Your life and mine. Following is a synopsis of a time in my life when I experienced all of the above. The summer of 1991 saw the dissolving of a business partnership for me; a painful, but healthy decision. The counseling center my ex-partner and I operated had provided the community with a Domestic Violence/Anger
Management (DV/A M ) Program for court and self referred clients, plus each of us had a private practice. M y decision to dissolve the partnership was motivated by a number of reasons, among them a desire to go back to school, and to spend more time and energy in my private practice. Over time my private practice had evolved into a growth and development type of practice, which I loved doing. A long with the dissolution of the partnership came the decision to no longer do the DV/A M work. I had a desire to still give the community some type of community service, but what?

Then I remembered reading some time earlier in one of my professional journals about a man who had developed a Twelve-step program, Depressed Anonymous for individuals who suffered from depression. Like most therapists, a significant number of the people I saw (and still see) in my practice were experiencing depression to one degree or other.

The more I thought about the concept of Depressed Anonymous, the more intrigued I was, so I contacted the founder of Depressed Anonymous for information and details. Information was sent to me and that was the start of the first Depressed Anonymous group in Washington State.

From the Depressed Anonymous material I received, I photocopied, organized, prepared and prepared and advertized. I decided on a start time and date, sent notices to our local paper, our Crisis Clinic, therapists and physicians in this area, tacked up flyers all over town, and of course, lots of word of mouth advertizing. The Depressed
Anonymous group originally met in a group room at my office, and eventually moved to a local church when I moved into a smaller office space.

A s a therapist I organized, started, sponsored, and “mothered” the Depressed
Anonymous group for a time, before withdrawing to just being the phone contact person that people can call in for information. From the very first meetings, which had 8-10 people, a “home” group evolved; fine people, some of whom had previous Twelve-step experiences. One of fine traditions and legacies of Twelve-step groups is the willingeness of folks to be and do the supportive and necessary work (the glue) that holds the Twelve-step groups together. The Twelve-step tradition and service continues on.

As is often the case, I have received more than I’ve given as the person who organized and started this Olympia, Washington Depressed Anonymous group. Now that I’m not a person who suffers from depression, other than short term appropriate situational depression; nothing ever deep or prolonged. A s I organized and started this Depressed Anonymous group little did I know that I would benefit from the Depressed Anonymous process and group in such a personal way.

The Depressed Anonymous group had only met two or three times when my middle son unexpectedly died from a type of cancer that years before had taken his father. So, in a synchronous manner, for a time and in a different way, the Depressed Anonymous group supported me as much as I supported them. In my prior work as a nurse, I had often been witness to dying and death, also in my personal life. However, the death of one son and then a year and half later, the death of my oldest son (two out of three) have been devastating experiences for me.

So in many, many ways being the organizer and sponsor of the first Depressed Anonymous group have been an exceedingly enriching experience for me. A s mentioned before, because of the wonderful people in the group, and with great confidence on my part, I turned the operation of the Depressed Anonymous group over to the capable hands of the home group people. I remain the telephone contact. The Depressed Anonymous group continues to thrive and grow. Just recently I talked with a man from Portland, Oregon, who is thinking about starting a group in the Portland area

MY VIEWS ON DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS

Denise L ., Louisville, Kentucky

One of the greatest resources I’ve used in working with many depressed persons has been Depressed Anonymous. The transformation it causes in an individual’s life is truly miraculous. This stems from it being primarily a spiritual program of healing and recovery. It encourages a person to seek a personal relationship with God, whoever they understand him to be. In doing this it helps a person to look inside for healing, rather than in a pill or some quick “cure”. M any persons who suffer with depression look on God as a being who judges them harshly. This thinking usually leads to much anger towards God, which results in more negative thinking. I know this from my own
experiences with depression, and the angry relationship with God I had during those times. This is where Depressed Anonymous offers hope by getting a person connected to a group who also suffer with depression, and are working the twelve steps. In doing this, it helps a person come to a realization that it will only be through a power greater than themselves, that they will find sanity in their life. Depressed people cannot do this alone because of the compulsion to ruminate endlessly over negative thoughts. It is only through coming together with a group of people like Depressed Anonymous, that they are able to break the cycle of negative thinking.

A client I was working with is a good example of the above. H e spent his time alone and many countless hours thinking of all the disappointments in his life, which continually reinforced his depression. Then he started going to DA, and found that through being with other people like himself, he didn’t feel as alone as he did before. H e started sharing his pain, and found understanding and support. I noticed his face began to soften, and he started smiling more. Then I noticed his face began to soften, and he started smiling more. H e also found help spiritually from DA, for he started
working the twelve steps, and as a result he started trusting God more for his healing. H e is one of many persons I’ve worked with who have found help and encouragement through attending DA .

The spiritual emphasis of DA is it’s greatest strength. People come together and hear from one another how their higher power is healing and guiding their lives. They realize that in being part of the group they are not alone, and also encourage true healing. DA has been a wonderful healing tool in the lives of many depressed persons I’ve worked with. It will always be one of the greatest resources I use in my work. It is true that “it works if you work it.”