I believe that many of us will remember well the Beatles song “With a little help from my friends.” I can reminisce with a big gratitude for the many friends who have walked with me on my journey of recovery.
In the beginning of our fellowship (1985) known then and now as Depressed Anonymous, I can think of the many people who joined with me in getting the word out that there was hope for people depressed. It all started as a pilot project while I was earning my Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology at the university of Evansville, Indiana.
Because of the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous and my being part of the fellowship, I was restored to sanity by using the recovery plan of the Twelve Steps. The spiritual principles of the Twelve Steps gave me a lifeline as did the fellowship of those many others who like me needed to be freed from the addictive and life crushing disease we call alcoholism.
In 1985 we began a program that we called Depressed Anonymous. Because of our anonymity as members of this new fellowship others would soon recognize us as a program of recovery using the spiritual principles of 12 Step recovery to help us leave the prison of depression.
In 1990, because of friends who believed in what we were doing, I was able to gather the funds to publish our first book, Depressed Anonymous. In this book, members of our first Depressed Anonymous group in Louisville, Kentucky were able to take each of the Twelve Steps, give their own reflections on the Step, record a summary of their discussions, then move onto the next Step. When each of the Steps were thoroughly discussed, the summaries were edited for clarity and then made ready for publication. The fellowship now had the means to make available to others “still suffering” from depression a program of recovery based on the Steps. Our initial work, now in its 3rd edition,(2011) continues to help persons depressed find hope in our Step by Step recovery program.
The following quote from the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous may be helpful to you now as you have just read a very short history of our Fellowship and the origins of our first Big Book publication, Depressed Anonymous. Again, let us say that do not have the magic pills nor the easy formulas for success. To get well takes work and time.
Even though you may not be afflicted with the addiction of alcoholism, we believe what Alcoholics Anonymous speaks about also applies to those who suffer from depression. Our fellowship of Depressed Anonymous brings hope to the hopeless and those feeling there is no hope.
Now let’s read what Bill W., a co-founder of AA who writes in the AA Big Book (pages 162-164) to those who want what all of us want who suffer from life threatening addictions:
” 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 can 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.
And so can you, though you be but one man with this book in your hand. We believe and hope it contains all you will need to begin.
Still you may say, “but I will not have the benefit of contact with you who wrote this book.” We cannot be sure. God will determine that, so you must remember that your real reliance is always upon Him. He will show you how to create the fellowship you crave.
Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and to us. Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick. The answers will come, if your own house is in order. But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven’t got. See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us.
Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of The Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the road of Happy Destiny.
May God bless you and keep you – until then.”
The writer is a member of Depressed Anonymous and with a little help from his program friends (30 years) , is sober and sane…today!