Laziness vs. choice

On the subject of laziness – I have to resist the temptation to label myself as lazy. There is a finality to that statement and that I am doomed to be in that state forever. What I find helpful is instead bring a sense of agency to the situation. For instance:

In this moment I feel extremely fatigued and I choose not to do this task.

It’s OK for me to choose not to do the task. No one will die as a result of that decision. Also stating it as a choice opens the possibility that in the future I can change my mind and do the task. It leaves options open and available to me. Depression feels like I have no choice. Serenity feels like there is possibility of something different. It seems to work for me. Try it on for size and see if it fits. If it doesn’t that is OK – you now know a technique that doesn’t work for you. There are many other techniques here in the room that you can try. I need to be willing to try new ways of handling things.

Yours in recovery, Bill R

Slow is smooth, smooth is fast

Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.
– Navy Seal credo

If I am in a frantic state, I will make many mistakes. Then I need to do things over again and that takes even more time.

If I do things slowly and follow a process I am far less likely to make mistakes. I need to do things right the first time. The best way that I know to do that is to follow a process. I can have processes about many things: how I shave, how I iron a shirt, how I troubleshoot a problem in my professional IT career, how I approach my recovery from depression and anxiety.

Sometimes in a highly excited anxious state it seems incredibly hard to slow down and calm my mind. I sometimes see my issues with anxiety as a block of wood with really rough edges. I may not be able to have a smooth block of wood immediately. I can however start the process of sanding down the roughest edges of my anxiety. My anxiety may be so intense that I can’t go from frantic to calm and serene. But perhaps it is possible to lessen my anxiety by 1%. I will be in a better place of mind. I want to be serene and calm, but in this moment I may only be able to achieve a 1% reduction.

Progress not perfection.
– 12 step recovery slogan

Another benefit of having a process is that you will develop muscle memory about the process. When in the thick of a fight, or deep in anxiety, it may not be able to think clearly. Wouldn’t it be great to have muscle memory about a process that you can follow?

It is better to sweat in training, than to bleed in war.
– Wisdom sometimes heard in military training

This week at work there were some major problems. Systems critical to the business were not functioning preventing action on revenue generating jobs. There was immense pressure to get those systems back online and functioning again NOW. As I felt the anxiety in me rise I would repeat the mantra several times and my anxiety would lessen a little bit. I had a process and it helped.

Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.

Yours in recovery, Bill R

Knowledge from other disciplines helping in recovery from depression

I can draw inspiration and wisdom from many sources, not just 12 Step recovery literature. What matters is how can I apply that wisdom to my recovery from depression? I have a pretty eclectic set of experiences and I will draw from those experiences in future posts.

When reading non-recovery literature all I need to do is to view that other literature through the lens of the 12 Steps. If I look for wisdom, I will find it. If I look for the good in other people I will find that too. If I look for my Higher Power I will find that too.

Be open to all wisdom. Learn to apply this wisdom to your recovery from depression.

Yours in recovery, Bill R

Is The Road That You Are Traveling, Taking You To A Place Where You Want To Go?

If you are going down a road and don’t like what’s in front of you, and you look behind you and you don’t like what you see, get off the road. Create a new path.
– Maya Angelou

When I was traveling down a road that led me into one brick wall after another, I made up my mind to find a new road–without all the brick walls.

The road that I am on now, a road which I have created, still exits with some obstacles, but no longer am I faced with unmovable brick walls. I got off this road.

What happened, you might ask. Well, to keep this brief, I ran into a bunch of people who were traveling on a very wide and level road, one which they said would lead me to where I wanted to go. (no, this is not the Yellow Brick Road of the Wizard of Oz). Amazingly, they all knew where I needed to go. This surprised me, as I didn’t even know where I needed to go.

With my God’s help, a fellowship of wonderful brothers and sisters, all fellow travelers, continuing to travel on this road, a personal path, filled with hope and serenity.

This path has a name, in case you are curious. It’s called the Twelve Steps of Recovery. This path is filled with signs of hope, those spiritual principles which are our guardrails, keeping us all headed in the right direction.

It’s even possible that I might even meet you on this path. I hope.

Hugh S., for the Depressed Anonymous fellowship

What is an emotional laryngitis condition?

Have you ever experienced laryngitis, that inflammation of the larynx, often accompanied by a temporary loss of your voice. Most probably you have have had that experience. It’s more of a nuisance than anything. But nevertheless, a problem that lingers around for a short time. This is a case which if you want to be heard, you have to whisper really loud.

Now how about your experience with an emotional laryngitis condition, a metaphor for being unable to voice unpleasant feelings, which causes you to be stuck in the dark pit of depression.

To experience an emotional loss of your voice, usually starts at a young age. You remember the saying, “Children should be seen and not heard.” And as it works out, that is precisely what happened to so many of us growing up. We lost our voice. We couldn’t share our feelings of hurt and loss.
We stuffed our feelings. We buried the pain of growing up, where we felt abandoned and unloved. We tried to forget about them. Which we did. Buried in our unconscious.

When we wanted to have a grownup, a parent, a family member listen to what we had to say, nobody cared what we had to say. We felt invisible. Also, to cry was forbidden. The message that we heard was “Little boys don’t cry.” Or, “just get over it.” Or, “suck it up.”

I remember on one occasion, standing near my mom and dad, I tried to tell them something. They ignored me. I remember feeling hurt that they didn’t want to listen to me. Strange, it was that one time which I do remember and I still wonder why I remember that one time. Does this mean my voice was always heard and that this time was an exception? I don’t know.

How often do I hear adults tell me HOW their home life was chaotic, filled with anger and fighting parents.
Usually, it was because of one or both of the parents were alcoholics and they NEVER wanted or even suggested, that they wanted to know how we felt or what was happening in our lives. In fact, our whole family didn’t want to hear from us. They never seemed to make time for us in their lives. We didn’t feel safe, and definitely we did not feel love. And what do we do? We began to hide, isolate ourselves creating our own little fantasy worlds. We wanted to have someone hear our voice. But there was never anyone that would listen to how we were feeling. We were the lost child.

Fast forward. As adults now, we discovered we have been addicted to alcohol, or opioid or gambling.or pornography. Anything to remove the pain.The core of all of these addictions, both substance and process addictions, were my attempt to fill the hole in my soul. Not only had we lost our voice, but we almost lost our lives. We lost the purpose for our lives. Not being able to tell people who we are had robbed us of the one thing that might have saved me – my voice. I was too scared to use it.
I needed to tell my story. How I survived. I never wanted to lose my voice again. Today is a good day.

Not until I became an adult did I attend a Twelve Step Depressed Anonymous meeting. It was here that I would use my voice and tell total strangers about all the losses in my life. It is here, that all my feelings, both pleasant and unpleasant are voiced. They heard me. They heard my voice. They listened to me. They didn’t judge me. I had RECLAIMED my ability to use my voice. I could talk about my feelings. My worst life hurts could now be shared and voiced. i was no longer the lost child. No longer was I the victim, the martyr, a clown seeking attention. And, all the time seeking for someone to tell me that I was loved.

It is here that my emotional laryngitis, accompanying me throughout my life, would no longer keep me from voicing who I am and who I want to be. No longer were my feelings shut down and no longer was I invisible. I am here–deal with it!

If you, are having an emotional laryngitis condition, and need a way to use your voice, and share you feelings, then we have a group for you. We call ourselves the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous. You will always be welcomed into our fellowship.

For more information about who we are, click onto our website at depressedanon.com. Attend our Depressed Anonymous daily group zoom meetings and begin to hear the voices of hope. Come and share your own VOICE.

Copyright (c) Depressed Anonymous, (3rd Edition) 2011. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky.

Hugh S., for the fellowship

The Circle Dance

If you have ever been depressed or are depressed at this moment, you are familiar with the Circle Dance.

I know the dance steps well, and in fact, I could share with you some of the basic steps, illustrating familiar dance steps.

First of all, let me say that you already know those steps that automatically get you to perform the “Circle Dance. You get caught up emotionally, the moment certain negative thoughts come bouncing across the dance floor into your mind. You know them as that painful hollowness in your gut, a desire to quit the dance and lay down, or to bash yourself with thoughts of how bad you feel.

Sometimes, starting with those life events from childhood, when your caregivers, be they parents or guardians, made you feel worthless and unwanted. These thoughts and feelings are constantly triggered by those with whom you share this life. You avoid people, think of yourself as unlovable –and the dance goes on and on in your head.

The Feelings of hopelessness produces unpleasant feelings. The feelings produce an unpleasant mood and the dance begins. The mood speeds up the dance and whisks you away into that painful circle with its attendant anxieties, sucking you down into the mental quicksand, swallowing you with all the terror and fright of losing all hope, much less your future. The Circle Dance will take you, everyday and in every way, to where you know you don’t want to go.

This dance is familiar. It is like the helpless insect caught in the web of the spider. The why of this hellish addiction to sadness, is never fully addressed with any solutions or answers. We want to know how to stop it. How to control it. We ask ourselves, how is it that I am depressed? How did I get into this terrifying circle, this loop which keeps me locked in a mood of hopelessness and despair. Where did all this sadness, anxiety originate? Will I ever find a way out? Is the dance, on automatic pilot, going to destroy me? Am I, a victim, without a source of help? Is this the way life is for me to be–forever filled with misery?
So much of the time I feel like I am on a train, heading toward a precipice, with no way of stopping it or escaping disaster?

Through all this, pain and confusion, you become an expert dancer, in fact, you know of others who like you, are expert dancers — trapped in dancing within their own Circle Dance.

The dance, it is so familiar. It is a defense, a comfort. We gradually learn to use it to protect us from the pain, without ever having a clue as to how it took over my life.

“A famous psychiatrist, a Dr. Freud, once theorized “that the reason a person continues to do the Circular Dance within themselves, is an effort to touch an unpleasant early life behavior or that long since forgotten event, buried in one’s unconscious. The Circular Dance promotes our addictive nature and the compulsion to repeat, is an effort by our mind to remember what it was that is the cause of our present cycle of misery, spinning us around and around – looking for answers as to what we do and why we do what we do and feel the way that we do, but never able to unlock the prison of our sadness.”

The Depressed Anonymous 12 step fellowship provides us with a possible solution to this question of no longer allowing the Circular Dance to determine the our life’s direction.

It is my belief, after participating in Hundreds of Depressed Anonymous meetings, over three decades or more, that the compulsion to repeat these sslf-destructive thoughts and images, may be linked to early childhood periods, accompanied with their painful, traumatic events. It is in those early days, that our Circular Dance took root and began to keep us locked down in its circular loop.

It is here, in the 12 Step Fellowship of Depressed Anonymous, that those unpleasant feelings, resultant from physical. emotional and mental abuse by significant others (parents and/or guardians, others) can be shared, voiced and talked about safely, and confidentially in the light of the accepting fellowship that we experience in all of our mutual help meetings.

It is possible that with time, patience and work, that these early feelings of hurt and feeling worthless, to name just a few, can be identified and shown how they have affected us negatively in the way we feel about ourselves today. With the help and work of the group, we are able to locate and make conscious those early life experiences that have been pushed aside. Because the feelings were too powerful and painful to examine and so they were buried in our unconscious. Basically, we can say, that there is no longer a need for that compulsive and addictive Circular Dance that our mind had used to punish us with guilt and shame. We now have the freedom to live life, recover from the wounds of the past, and live life today with hope and purpose. That is my wish for you this day.. And for myself.

No one puts me down, for saying that I am depressed. We never hear a “Snap nap out of it” at our meetings. If we could “snap out of it” there would be no need for our meetings. With work, time and the fellowship we no longer need a dance that goes nowhere but down. Now we are spiraling upward. We thrive!

Hugh S., for the Fellowship


Copyright(c) Hugh Smith (1986, 2013) 2nd Edition. I’ll do it when I feel better. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.
Pages 64-65.

In Control

The following is a passage from the Depressed Anonymous Workbook. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY Pages 7-8.

Surrender and accept.
I want to admit that my life has been out of control for many years, but now that I am in touch with truth, I believe that my life can be lived out differently.
I can begin to use the Twelve Steps and begin the task of working myself out of the pit of depression. I believe that with time and with patience, plus the group fellowship and support, that I will be able to make some positive strides in feeling different about myself and my world.

A question: How many years, months, days can I remember being depressed? How far back in time can I remember always feeling sad and wanting to withdraw. Write out your experiences about these experiences.

Write down the number of people you have admitted to that you have been depressed.
Write down their reactions to your admission.
When you feel depressed what do you say to yourself? What action or behavior do you do when you feel this way?

Does it promote more isolation or being more connected with others? Please write these out.

Is your life more unmanageable now since you have admitted that you are depressed? Can you tell a difference now that you are admitting that depression is and has been a big problem in your life? YES? OR NO? Please write out these experiences.


These are just a few of the many questions that you may want to answer as you go through this Workbook.

Each of the Twelve Step chapters has a number of questions that will help you discover how you feel about certain areas of your life. Positive solutions are included in each chapter and can aid in your efforts to escape from your own prison of depression.

You can answer these questions, possibly some of which have never crossed your mind before now. The Workbook, can be answered in your own privacy. Or, you may want to answer them with a friend or sponsor.

You can discover more about our fellowship of Depressed Anonymous and discover you can be part of a growing group of those persons like you, who are also searching for a way out of their depression.


Our website is https://depressedanon.com with listings of daily DA meetings (no fees or dues) online as well as literature, like this Workbook, which may be ordered online.

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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