Freedom talks. We listen!

To attend a 12 step meeting is to hear freedom talk. Freedom has many voices for the many, those who are willing to listen.

It is the nature of this fellowship, the 12 Step group of Depressed Anonymous and other 12 Step programs of recovery, that when attending meetings I hear members share their victories over depression, with accounts of personal struggles, and gradually freeing themselves from the bondage of depression.

In the Promises of Recovery in Depressed Anonymous,
We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us, sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly They will always materialize if we work for them.
Depressed Anonymous © Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY

Even though, personal freedom from the tight grip of depression doesn’t happen overnight–it does eventually happen. I am now speaking from my own experience. And since we all have different experiences with the 12 Steps, the results are the same. A lightness of mood, a spirited energy comes into our minds, hearts and body. We begin to thrive.

My own freedom was the result of a simple belief, that a Power greater than myself could release me from my prison of depression. I learned that if we wanted to get out of the hole of depression, we needed to stop digging. That made sense to me. In our fellowship, where freedom speaks, that by listening to the stories of others in the group, and others listening to my story, gave me the incentive to keep coming back to the meetings. I found I am now living with a new hope, without old fears, anxieties, crippling my motivation to grow and thrive.

Now, I speak about my freedom from the past, no longer dwelling on old negative compulsions which once defeated me.
Today, and with each new day, I listen to the loving spirit inside of me, operating within my group, and to all those who speak of their life within a loving community, Depressed Anonymous. Will you join us today?

There is a daily DA online International VIRTUAL ZOOM meeting and to find how to get there, please click onto the HOMEPAGE MENU, MEETINGS and you will be linked to the Journeys of Hope online meeting. Hope to see you at a meeting!

Thank you,
for the fellowship.
Hugh S.

Do I have to do the work of Recovery?

The short answer is NO you do not have to do the work of recovery.

Recovery is about having a choice. A choice to do things differently. I can continue to act, think, and talk in the ways that I have done in the past, but chances are the outcome will be the same.

If I do what I always did, I will get what I always got.
– A slogan heard in a 12 Step recovery meeting

I can choose to stay in stinking thinking. I can choose to continue to look to blame others for my depression and my situation. A far healthier choice though is to accept and take ownership of my part in my depression. There are things, small or large, that I can do, think or say that perpetuate my depression. That is what is meant by saddening yourself.

Taking ownership of your own stuff is hard to do. There is no denying it. But sadly, it is the only way out. I need to accept that my best thinking got me into the depths of my depression. Continuing on with doing it my way is a recipe for disaster.

I have a choice. I choose to do the work of recovery. Not because it is easy, but rather because it is what will bring about healing in my life. There is a saying in Buddhist circles – trying to calm the monkey mind. My mind is fraught with negativity, anger, fear, and self-loathing. I need to walk on a higher path. I need to go the way of recovery. I need to take the pathway where God walks.

The trick is that I don’t have to – I get to choose a better healthier way.

You too can choose to take the higher road. Good luck!

Yours in recovery,
Bill R

Two Questions

Many times I am asked the same two questions and I always give the questioner the same two answers.

The first question: “How come you keep coming to meetings, though you say you are not depressed?”

My reply to the questioner: “Let me ask you why you go to the gym three times a week”

His answer. “Well I go to keep in shape.”

My question: “Well you look healthy enough to me. I mean, you tell me you’ve never felt better.”
“Ok” I say, “but why continue to go to the gym, since you look healthy and you say that you feel so great.”

“It’s so simple” he says. “I continue to go three times a week to keep in shape and maintain the progress that the Doctor says I am making.”

“That’s interesting” I say. That’s the same reason I continue to go to meetings. I keep in shape, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, not to mention how I can help others find the hope that is now mine. My Doctor tells me I’m looking better, happier and that I should keep doing whatever I’m doing, ’cause it’s working!”

The second question is one I am asked time and again. “Doesn’t going to all those depression meetings get you depressed? I mean, listening to all those problems? That sure would depress me.”

Here is what I tell all those who ask this question.

I tell them “that no, actually I look forward to my meetings. I always feel energized by going to a Depressed Anonymous meeting. I feel, by listening to others, and hearing their stories, I feel they are telling my story as well. Here, I am not alone. I am with people just like me. Each of us attending the meetings are at different places in our lives. We are here because we believe there is a solution for me, using the spiritual principles of recovery. The more they read the DA literature, talk to each other, they find tools to overcome their depression. They feel the energy, the peace and hope which they receive from each other at the meetings.

The meetings don’t dwell on our depression, as much as we dwell on the power of the Twelve Steps. Here is what I love about the meetings, I see people growing with every meeting. Even their faces begin to soften – they have a smile now. A few weeks previous, they had nothing but hurt to feel.

Again, the reason I go to meetings is to get a boost. I get another dose of hope. I am only as isolated as I choose to be. I now can choose to live and feel differently.

Find your plan of recovery (find a Depressed Anonymous meeting), and stick to it. Get into action. Seek out a DA member to talk with, and you’ll be on a journey that will continue to bring peace, hope and a fellowship with you as long as you wish.

For more information, check out the Depressed Anonymous website at depressedanon.com. You’ll be happy that you did. So, this fellowship is the reason I keep coming back to my meetings. There are no fees. No dues. Just come and see. Virtual, Zoom group meetings are now online.

Thanks for reading this message today. Please join us at Depressed Anonymous. You are always welcomed.

Hugh S. for the fellowship

Asking for help – my responsibility and my privilege

I’ve learned that asking for help is so important in this program and in my life.  Reaching out for help when I’m hurting can be a really hard thing to do.  Reaching out and asking for help anytime can be hard – but especially when I’m in a bad place.  Pain, however, is the great motivator.  When I’m in enough pain, I know what my solution is.  Pick up the phone and call someone.  Ask for help.  Ask for a sponsor.  Call my sponsor and take suggestions. Talk to my Higher Power, surrender my will, and ask for my Higher Power’s help.  There are people in this fellowship who understand me and will support me.  It is such a blessing to be a part of a fellowship where encouragement and support is freely given.  All I have to do is be willing to reach out and ask for help.

Why do I need to ask for help?  Many reasons.  My best thinking got me here.  What I mean is that my best thinking brought me to the point of severe depression, suicidal ideation, and the inability to function.  Clearly, there is something wrong with my thinking.  I am a depressive, or a saddict. My first thought tends to be a negative one.  Left to my own devices and my own thinking, I sadden myself.  But now that I know this, I can reach out and ask for help.

Self-sufficiency has failed me. It’s an old and well engrained idea of mine – the philosophy of self-sufficiency.  The idea that I should be able to solve all my problems myself.  The question I need to ask myself is “how well did that work for me”?  In my case, it led to self-destruction and severe depression.  This program has introduced me to the concept of God reliance, or Higher Power reliance, or even fellowship reliance.  The idea of relying on a Power greater than myself.  That idea works for me.  It gives me hope, better days, connection with others, and a way out of depression.  But to do that – to get help – I’ve got to ask for help.  That is my responsibility and my privilege.

Plan ahead for intermittent brain fog

When I’m in the thick of a depressive episode my brain is foggy – I just can’t think straight. In those moments of darkness I am unable to think of things I could be doing to improve my mood, or to ease my anxiety.

My brain fog eventually passes. The trick is that when I am lucid I have to write out and plan the things I could do when depression strikes. All I have to do when the brain fog strikes is to remember that I have written down options of things to do.

Be gentle with yourself and forgive yourself for any brain fog you experience. It happens to many of us with depression. If you can’t think of things you could be doing fear not. Fire up your web browser and go to your favorite search engine and search for things you could do to treat your depression. You don’t HAVE TO do any of the things on the list – they are options available to you. Having choices is better than having no choices.

I put together a list of over 100 things I could do to help treat my depression. Put together your own list of things you could do. Be thorough when putting together the list. Write down things that may only improve your mood by 1%. One percent better is better than where you are. Remember you don’t HAVE TO do any of the things on the list. You will be making a choice to do the things that you are willing to do in that moment of darkness.

Remember the hurdle you have to cross is not DO I WANT TO DO THIS, but rather AM I WILLING TO DO THIS? The willingness hurdle is lower than the wanting to hurdle. Do the things you are willing to do. Once you begin doing things motivation will come to do more. Remember that motivation follows action.

Yours in recovery,
Bill R

What to do if the Steps or any important concept seems stale

Here in Depressed Anonymous we are on a journey of studying and applying the principles of the 12 Steps in our lives. Even the wonderful 12 Steps can begin to feel stale and need to be renewed. Any important concept can become stale and become difficult to connect with. It could be the Steps, the Traditions, prayers you pray to your Higher Power, really anything of importance.

Here is my suggestion. Change the wording slightly so you can interact with the concepts in a new way. In case you didn’t notice the 12 Steps are written in the past tense, and in the third person. When I need to mix things up I will state them in the present tense, and in the first person.

The present tense, first person 12 Steps:

  1. I admit that I am powerless over depression, that my life is unmanageable.
  2. I believe that a power greater than me can restore me to sanity.
  3. I continually decide to turn my life and will over to the care of that Higher Power.
  4. I make fearless and moral inventories of myself.
  5. I admit to my Higher Power, to myself, and to others the exact nature of my wrongs.
  6. I become willing each day to allow my Higher Power to remove my shortcomings.
  7. I humbly ask my Higher Power each day to remove my defects of character.
  8. I make a list of people that I’ve harmed and I become willing to make amends to them all.
  9. I make direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. I continue to take a personal inventory daily, and when I am wrong I promptly admit it.
  11. I seek each day through prayer and meditation to improve my conscious contact with my Higher Power as I understand my Higher Power. I pray only for the knowledge of my Higher Power’s will for me and the power to carry that out.
  12. Being awakened each day by following these steps I try to carry this message to others, and to practice the principles in all areas of my life.

When I struggle with the concepts of the Traditions I will reword them and try to apply them to myself as an individual.

Stuck in the rut of referring to your Higher Power as “Heavenly Father”? Try on for size “Heavenly Mother” and see if it has any impact on your relationship with your Higher Power.

God is bigger than the box you try to put Him in.
– Slogan heard at a recovery meeting.

Don’t be constrained by the words of the concepts that guide you in your life. The concepts are bigger than words. Alter the words slightly and see what impact it has on you.

Yours in recovery,
Bill R

New DA Speaker Meeting Recording 08 April 2022 – Robin

We’ve uploaded the talk from Robin that she gave on Friday 08 April 2022.

We have a number of recordings of people sharing their story at a speaker meeting. The link to that page is: https://depressedanon.com/depressed-anonymous-meeting-recordings/

The link can also be browsed to by selecting Tools for Recovery from the horizontal menu, then Depressed Anonymous Meeting Recordings

As we record more speakers the recordings will be posted there as well. The list is in reverse chronological order (newest first).

Be kind anyway…

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Be Kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true friends.
Succeed anyway.
If You are honest and frank, people may cheat you.
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight.
Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good that you do today, people will forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best that you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you have anyway.
You see, in the final analysis. it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.

– Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Time to plant

To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.
– Audrey Hepburn

Submitted by Robin R.

I might not be planting a garden but I am watching the seed of my faith, service to others, grow as part of my next 24 hours. My efforts to be there for others has a relationship to how I am there for myself. I watch how I can thrive emotionally and spiritually when I believe in a power greater than myself. It is a known fact that when a person has a belief in some higher power, some purpose for living, it usually is due to a belief, that “there is a God and it’s not me.”

I believe in a tomorrow. I believe in living one day at a time. I also believe in keeping my life simple. I try and do the next right thing. As best I can I try to do what needs to be done. I try and do the possible. I have learned that trying to do the impossible, takes a little more time.

I want to live in peace with my neighbor. Treat others as I would like to be treated. Pretty simple and basic stuff. Agree?
I also believe in consequences for what I do or not do in this life. And, do I try and love my neighbor as myself. Yes.

As Bill W., a co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, left the hospital room of Dr. Bob, he heard Dr. Bob tell him, “Bill, keep it simple.”
It’s not that complicated. Though it does take work. Much like “weeding” the garden.

We believe that what we think, what we say, and what we do impact our depression. We believe that depression can be managed by applying the principles of the 12 Steps. All are welcome!

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