• Attraction to individual members of the group.
• Feelings of getting help by helping.
• Risk-taking by group members.
• Demystification of the members experience and consensual validation
• Strong leadership with a willingness to share on the part of the leader, along with rotation of leadership roles
• A focus on goals and resolution of discrepancies in individual and group goals
• Active participation by group members.
• Demand by the group for self-responsibility of members.
• Elaboration ofa substitute culture in which identity changes can occur.
• Expansion of alternative perceptions through continuous intervention.
Source: Richard J. Riordan and Marilyn S. Beggs. Counselors and Self-Help Groups. Journal of Counseling & Development. Volume 65, Issue 8, pages 427–429, April 1987
“If we have ‘worked’ the Twelve Steps on a daily basis, I do believe we now realize the value of surrender and the power that releases in us. Just by making a decision in Step Three “to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand God” • is the beginning of reconnection with life and with our selves. Now, we are conscious how our own isolation paradoxically isolated family, friends, loved ones from us. The more our friends tried to help us the more we went deeper into the darkness. Our darkness and their inability to comfort us in turn pushed them deeper into their own feelings of helplessness and isolation. Many times the desire to help the de pressed pushes the helper deeper into the isolation of the depressed – mirroring the reality often depressed person.”
Source: DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS, Harmony House Publishers, Louisville, Ky, 1998, Page 186.
The Twelve Steps are the essential beliefs and at the very core of Depressed Anonymous. The DA recovery program, modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous which originally developed to help men and women deal with their addiction to alcohol, one day at a time.
The Twelve Steps have been found to be a potent means of recovery for those who desire to free themselves from their compulsions. The Twelve Steps are basically a program of letting go of our compulsions and handing over our will to God as we understood God. Essentially our program is a step by step way to change not only our addiction but our way of life.
Change happens when we choose to change. The fellowship of the group and our desiring to make changes in our life is what provides our life-giving spiritual experience. Many people get organized religion and spirituality mixed up and DA achieves strength from spirituality without set creed, dogma or doctrine. All the program asks of a person who comes to the meetings is only to have a sincere desire to stop the compulsion of saddening themselves.
• Wanting to isolate and be alone
• Change in appetite Shifts in sleeping patterns (too much/not enough sleep)
• Waking up early in the morning
• Fatigability or lack of energy
• Agitation or increased activity
• Loss of interest in daily activities and/or decreased sex drive
• Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worth lessness, guilt or self-reproach
• Weeping/Not able to cry
• Lapses of memory
• Hard time making decisions
• Fear of losing one’s mind
• Reluctance to take risks
• Difficulty in smiling or laughing
• Suicidal thoughts
One of many questions that arise in a person’s mind as they make that first courageous step into the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous is “How soon and how quick can I be free from the pain and isolation that has imprisoned me for so long?”
This question can only be answered by time and frequent and active participation in the fellowship of the group. It is by reading the text of the Depressed Anonymous manual and attempting to put these principles into effect into one’s daily life. Also, one can begin to feel some improvement in their lives as they slowly gain a belief, a faith if you will, that they too can get better- – with time, patience and sharing they will begin to accept themselves for who they are and try and change what they don’t like in themselves. By the fact that one comes to a meeting is in itself half of the battle in overcoming the depression. It is this interminable isolation that keeps the disease of depression at its height and intensity. It is only when a person can come to a meeting, begin to trust the group and so share some of the pain that has been bottled up for as many years as one can remember.
The program has been built by those who have experienced depression and know about the need to get connected and to be part of others like themselves. This is where the hope begins-when we see and hear others like ourselves sharing their past pain and how sharing how today it is all dif ferent because of their willingness, their openness and their honesty about themselves that has forced open the prison door that has till this time kept them imprisoned in their own fears and phobias.
The program is a very simple one -but this doesn’t mean that it is easy. All change is painful and if we are to grow we have to change. We have to get resolved some of those old issues that keep pop ping up in our lives and that want our attention but we cram them back in place and don’t want to look at them. The 12 Steps of Depressed Anonymous will help promote your own personal discovery of what it means to force oneself from the despair and self-hatred that normally comes with depression.
If you are new to our fellowship and this is the first that you are reading about a group whose sole purpose is to help ourselves and others escape the prison of depression you might be surprised to learn that we neither discuss medicine nor religion at any of our meetings. But really this makes sense as religion is about certain prescriptions and dogma that various religious bodies demand of their adherents -whereas spirituality is about one’s concept of a God of their understanding – not of someone else’s
understanding of who god is supposed to be for them selves and for everyone else.
The first step in getting past our depression is to first get into the door of a Depressed Anonymous meeting -take a seat – keep our ears open and know that we will not be pressured to say a word. Usually they only ask for the first name and leave it at that. Since we want to keep our anonymity we only use our first names at the meetings. There is a phone list for those who would like to keep in touch with fellow members between meetings. At each group meeting a passage is read from our big book or any other book that specifically deals with the spirit of the 12 Steps. Afterr all, we believe that the depression experience is much more than simply a brain disorder or a problem with misbehaving neurotransmitters
“As many as 60 million adults used the World Wide Web last year to find information about health care, according to a poll by Louis Harris & Assoc. “Health care is an enormous reason why people go online,” said Humphrey Taylor, Chairman of the polling company, which estimates that 90 million (or 44% of the adult population) use the Internet at home, work or at school.
And amazingly, 91 % said the last time they went online, they found what they
wanted .. .” The most common topics being researched were depression (19 % of searches), allergies or sinus (16%), cancer (15%), bipolar disorder (14%) and arthritis or rheumatism (10%).
According to the Harris survey of more than 1,000 people, which was done online in January, the health sites most often visited online were created either by medical societies or by patients ‘ advocacy or support groups.” Washington Post, 2/16/99, P17.
“This work (birth), when it is perfect, will be due solely to God’s action while you have been passive. If you really forsake your own knowledge and will, then surely and gladly God will enter with his knowledge shining clearly. Where God achieves self-consciousness, your own knowledge is ofno use, nor has it standing. Do not imag ine that your own intelligence may rise to it, so that you may know God. Indeed, when God divinely enlightens you, no natural light is required to bring that about. This (natural light) must in fact be completely extinguished before God will shine in with his light, bringing back with God all that you have forsaken and a thousand times more, together with a new form to contain it all.”
– Meister Eckart (c. 1260-1328)
WASHINGTON, March 2, 2006 I U.S. Newswire
The following was released by the National Institute for Healthcare Research:
A recent study in the American Journal of Psychiatry identified this other often overlooked resource patients draw upon to help fend off depression – a deep religious commitment – that significantly reduced recovery times. This study focused on 85 patients hospitalized with serious medical illness who also became depressed. Among their battery of tests, patients took the Hoge Intrinsic Religiousness Scale which measures how deeply a person has internalized their religious values and faith. Surprisingly, patients recovered from their depression 70 percent faster for every 10-point increase on the Hoge scale, which ranged from 10 to 50. This link held even when taking into account other factors that could speed up recovery including improving physical health…
How has your week been?
I hope it has been a good one as you continue to read the Depressed Anonymous Literature and apply it to your everyday life. I read something every morning – especially Higher Thoughts for Down Days – and use the daily reflection on how the daily thought applies to my own efforts at recovery. All in all I find that with a daily meditation and reflection life appears more hopeful. I find this works for me. It’s a plan that has positive results.
We (DA Group) are planning to get together after our weekly DA meeting and discuss one of our week’s Higher Thoughts – one that we find especially applicable to each of our own lives. Each person will be able then to submit this to our BLOG – right here – and this can motivate others to write and share their own thoughts as well.
What do you think? Or you also can just write and tell us how your week is going/went. You might just like to pose a question to the BLOG group and find what others are thinking and how the Steps work for them. Or, you can just read the BLOGS as they appear on our website. Just know that we welcome you whenever you want to write.
I will affirm myself by getting in touch with my feelings and expressing them. “To know how to behave you have to rely on other people’s opinions, and so you live under the tyrannies of ‘they.’ What will ‘they’ think? is the thing that accompanies every action and determines every decision.”
I am so accustomed to living my life on the basis of others feelings thoughts, and decisions about myself that in the end I feel de-selfed. I feel empty and horribly alone; I feel saddened over the loss of my identity as a person. Now, I feel hopeful as I see that one of my best ways to defend my sense of nothingness is to seek out the presence of this force bigger than myself and be willing today–just for today, to let it work its power in my life. My identity as a person is going to grow slowly and spiritually. Even depressed, it’s hard to make up my mind. Just knowing that this is part of my depression makes it less painful as I still make a mental decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God, as I understand him.
Our God is consciousness and is knowledgeable of everything in the universe. Our God is at the center of our lives, replacing the sadness around which our world revolved. The more conscious we are of God working in our minds and thoughts, the more we are going to feel like someone we can love. (Personal comments). Let’s hear from you today.
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