What is Depressed Anonymous exactly? It is best summed up in our preamble:
Depressed Anonymous Preamble
Depressed Anonymous is a fellowship of people who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from depression.
The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop saddening ourselves. There are no dues or fees for DA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. DA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay serene and help other people recover from depression.
Adapted from the AA Preamble Copyright © The AA Grapevine, Inc.
Depressed Anonymous: Fellowship and Membership
One of the definitions of fellowship as defined by Merriam Webster is “a community of interest”. You are not alone in your fight against depression – together we can do what we could not do alone. The key to recovery is fellowship – doing things together and being on a common journey of recovery. Depressed Anonymous has meetings in many different forms: face-to-face, videoconferencing, and telephone. There are resources here on this site that will help you find meetings in the United States, or world-wide. Face-to-face meetings are typically held in recovery centers, church basements, community centers – any place that is willing to host a meeting. Many groups have formed their own meetings online hosted by videoconferencing companies like Zoom or Skype (no endorsement real or implied). The key is to break the cycle of isolation and being trapped in your own thoughts.
Membership is simple – if you are tired of being sick and tired with depression then you are welcome here. You are a member if you say you are a member.
Please reach out to others for common support. You will be helping others, and they will be helping you.
Depressed Anonymous: Financial Support
There are no dues or fees for Depressed Anonymous. If you go to a face-to-face meeting a basket will be passed for donations. You are under no obligation to put any money in the basket – your only obligation is to take the basket and pass the basket. Your donations are used to pay for things like: rent, literature for the meeting, and any public outreach done by the meeting.
Many online meetings pass a virtual basket as hosting a meeting online is not free. They may provide a link to offer a donation through some online means (PayPal, Venmo, and others – no endorsement real or implied). Again, you are under no obligation to donate, but we do ask for help in covering expenses.
Depressed Anonymous: Spiritual Program
Depressed Anonymous is not a religious program. There is no requirement to believe in any specific theology, nor to follow any specific religious doctrine. Collectively we believe that there exists, in some form or fashion, a Higher Power that can help us recover from depression. Some people use the group as their Higher Power. Among our members we have Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, other denominations and sects, atheists, and agnostics – all are welcome here. Your relationship with your Higher Power is just that: yours. You define your understanding of your Higher Power, and you define your relationship with that Higher Power. We can say though that if you come to rely upon your Higher Power, and come into a more loving and deeper relationship with that Higher Power things will improve.
Many of us may use the term God – don’t be alarmed or offended. We are not trying to force a particular set of beliefs on you – it’s just shorthand for the term Higher Power.
The spiritual program that we follow and recommend are the Twelve Steps. By understanding the 12 steps and putting them into action our lives have become better.
Depressed Anonymous: No Opinion On Outside Issues
The fellowship as a whole has no opinion on outside issues. The only thing that the fellowship agrees upon is that following and applying the 12 steps is the pathway to recovery from depression. There are, potentially, many other pathways to recover from depression. What we have found though is that those other alternatives are fraught with contention and conflict. We would rather set those contentions aside and focus on the 12 steps as the pathway to recovery from depression.
Individually, as members of this fellowship, we can have opinions on other things of course. We can share our experience, strength, and hope about our own journey of recovery. The precaution here is that what works for one person, may not work for another. Having the information about other pathways is helpful, as they may provide other treatments that may work for you. Just be aware that those other options may not work for you. We all have different chemistries within our bodies, we’ve all had different life experiences that may impact the effectiveness of Option X against our depression.
Know that the 12 steps will work if you work them.
Depressed Anonymous: Anonymity
What’s the deal with anonymity? There are 2 traditions that are applicable:
Tradition 11 – Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, tv and film.
Tradition 12 – Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.
Anonymity should be maintained outwardly to the public: press, radio, tv and film. No individual can speak as the voice of Depressed Anonymous. Closely linking a named person with the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous could tarnish the image of DA if the image of that person is tarnished. A single individual’s success or lack of success in managing depression should not reflect upon the fellowship. A person could name themselves as a member of DA to the public, but they should never disclose personal details of another person in DA to the public.
Anonymity within the membership of the fellowship is not required between individuals, a person can share their contact information with another person. Just like the public facing comment – you can share your own personal details, but you should not share the personal details of another person.
Depressed Anonymous: Sponsorship
What’s the deal with sponsorship? Trying to do things by yourselves is a symptom of depression and addiction. A slogan heard in the rooms of recovery of AA says: “An addict alone is in bad company”.
A sponsor is one person who can guide you through the process of doing the 12 Step work, and managing your recovery. A sponsor should be someone you trust, and preferably should be someone who has already worked the steps to completion. A sponsor can never make you do things, but they will make suggestions about how to do things differently. A sponsor – sponsee relationship is not “Til death do us part”. It is a relationship between 2 consenting adults. If the relationship isn’t working for either party then end the relationship with disclosure – don’t end the relationship by ghosting the other person. It is recommended that you have a new sponsor before you end the relationship with the old sponsor.
Co-sponsorship is a relationship with 2 or more people who work together as peers in doing 12 Step work and act as a sounding board for things related to recovery. In a co-sponsorship group at least one of the people has already completed the 12 Step work. The same comments regarding consent, the relationship and disclosure apply to co-sponsor relationships as well.
A Step Study Group is a group of 2 or more people who get together periodically to go over material found in the 12 Step literature. A Step Study Group could be filled with people as peers who haven’t completed the 12 step work, or there could be a facilitator who has completed the 12 step work and are guiding the group. Typically reading the text and answering the questions in the workbook are done as an individual, and then the group comes together and shares what they have worked on individually.
Depressed Anonymous: Literature
There are 6 titles currently in print from Depressed Anonymous Publications. The titles and a description of each can be found at: https://depressedanon.com/literature
None of the books are required for working the program of recovery. Many of us have found that there are 2 books that are most helpful for recovering from depression are:
- Depressed Anonymous
- Depressed Anonymous Workbook
Depressed Anonymous: Participating in Your Recovery
Thinking we have to do things by ourselves has brought us down into the pits of depression. Recovery is not an individual sport, it is a team sport. Here are some suggestions:
- Go to meetings When we are alone in our thoughts we are in a dark place. Come to the meetings to hear that you are not alone in this battle against depression. Listen to learn.
- Claim your seat Share at the meeting. Your share could be as simple as “I’m X and I have depression”, or “I’m X and I’m recovering from depression”. You don’t need to share at depth. The process of healing begins when you acknowledge that you are part of a community of healing. Share to heal.
- Talk to members between meetings These are often called outreach calls where you are reaching out to help or you’re taking a call from someone who needs help. Outreach calls don’t need to be a phone call, they could be a chat, a text, or an email. Talking to another will connect you better to another, but some connection is better than none. Build a support network.
Depressed Anonymous: Prayer & Meditation
What’s the deal with prayer & meditation?
Prayer can be thought of as talking to your Higher Power. Prayers need not to be the memorized rote prayers of your youth. Prayers typically come as one of the following 3 categories: Help, Thanks, Wow. God is not some spiritual Santa granting your wishes. Instead pray for those things God will say Yes to: pray for strength, pray for wisdom, pray for patience, etc.
Meditation can be thought of as listening to your Higher Power. Some people say that meditation is being in the state of having no thought, but more spiritual people will say a meditative state is one where you observe your thoughts, and let them pass with acceptance and without judgment. Meditation is about being aware of the present moment and to mindfully experience it.