“By our fellowship with other family members, who also may share life with the depressed, we admit that all we can do is to take care of ourselves. We admit that from this time forward, we are committing ourselves to the principle of living and let live. We also espouse the four C’s which state our beliefs about NOT taking responsibility for our depressed significant other’s depression. These four C’s can be a constant reminder of how to live each day with what we are dealing with.
These are basically our four Statements of belief:
1) I believe that I didn’t cause it.
2) I believe I can’t control it.
3) I believe that I can’t cure it.
4) I believe that all I can do is cope with it.,
In Step One of our Dep-Anon fellowship, we admit that we are powerless over their depression. By taking responsibility for their every action, our lives gradually become swallowed up by the pain and morose of our depressed loved one’s life. We gradually learn that it is by our surrendering the impossible desire to fix and cure, that we begin believing that what we CAN do is learn to cope with the depression and the isolating behavior of our significant other.
We begin the healing journey with other family members, discovering our own path for healing and wholeness. ”
Copyright (c)Dep-Anon: The 12 Step recovery program for families and friends of the depressed. (2021) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Pgs. 17-18.
Please check out our bookstore at www.depressedanon.com. Ordering online is available.
This recently published handbook (June 24, 2021) combines the issues of both the family and the depressed, providing a common ground for understanding and acceptance.
The Dep-Anon handbook is divided into two sections, each with its own emphasis. Section one is about the need for Dep-Anon, a family group with a depressed member as part of their family.
Section two acquaints us with the nature of depression and how it affects the lives of those depressed who experience it.
“First, Dep-Anon is a necessary recovery program for the family and friends of the depressed. Here they learn about the crippling and life-threatening nature of depression. They will discover that their loved one or friend cannot just will themselves out of the incapacitating physical and mind-shattering problem. All the “snap out of it” and “get on with your life” messages directed at their loved ones are futile. Secondly, family members begin to see the necessity of taking care of themselves. With the Dep-Anon fellowship giving attention to the daily practice of 12 Step living, it becomes clear that this is at the core of our personal and communal recovery.
‘God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. Courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.'”
–An excerpt from the Introduction of Dep-Anon: A 12 Step Recovery program for families and friends of the expressed.
The hope is that the Dep-Anon family fellowship groups will be formed, just as their depressed loved ones have their own fellowship of Depressed Anonymous.
Each of Dep-Anon’s Twelve chapters has a group discussion guide. Also provided is a suggested meeting format for those setting up Dep-Anon mutual aid groups in their communities.
NOTE: Please Visit the Store (Depressed Anonymous Publications) for further information for ordering online.
The fingerprint of God is on all living creatures, great and small. Each of us has been imprinted with the creators. God has for us to discover the way of personal peace and serenity. He has provided us with a set of fingerprints, all uniquely our own.
In John Powel’s book Through Seasons of the Heart, 1986, he shares the following.
“There is a Christian tradition that God sends each person into the world with a special message to deliver, with a special song to sing for others, with a special act of love to bestow. These are entrusted only to me. No one else can speak my message, sing my song, or offer my act of love. Think about this quote today. What is the message that God wants you to give today? What is the message that only you can give? What is the only act of love that you can bestow to others today?”
I believe this is true. Bill W. and Dr. Bob came into my broken and messed up world with the message that the God of their understanding had given them. And now, I, with others, are bringing the same message of hope and healing to the world.
The only song that I can share is “O Happy day.” This is the song that I now sing because I have come into the world with God’s fingerprint on my soul. The message I am to share with others is not to give up on yourself if you are depressed. Know that you can recover. You have God’s fingerprint of love on your heart! You are never alone.
(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (1998. 2008, 2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville. KY.
(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook 2002, Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky.
I live in the United States and today we celebrate our freedom. We are all captives of something or someone. Some of us are captives to addiction: drugs, alcohol, or some behavior. Many of us here have been captives of anxiety and depression. Many people are trapped in consumerism.
There is however a way out. Apply spiritual disciplines to your life, you will be surprised by the results. We are all trying to find our way to the God of our understanding. Some of us go down the side roads of addiction and depression, but you don’t have to continue down that route. Get in communion with the God of your understanding.
If you’ve been burned by past interactions with religion – theory and doctrine, or by people who misinterpreted God’s message I have a suggestion for you. Explore the mystical sects of the religion of your youth. Islam has the Sufi’s, if you’re Christian read the works of Thomas Merton, or Saint John of the Cross. The mystics all talk about experiencing the presence of God in your life. Explore.
You have a choice: you can either be a host to God, or a hostage to self. Choose to be free!
The pessimist complains about the wind;
The optimist expects it to change;
The realist adjusts the sails.
– William Arthur Ward
When I attend a Depressed Anonymous meeting, whether virtual or face-to-face, I know that I will learn more about adjusting my sails. My life is always undergoing an adjustment. Now, that’s not a bad thing, that’s just how this program of recovery works. The “power that is greater than myself” is the wind in my sails. The first three steps of Depressed Anonymous describe how we get in touch with this power that continues to keep me afloat, staying on course.
My life continues to have some “zigging and zagging” adjustments, some minor and some needing more attention, and I make it through the day. I want to mention that there are many trusty mates on board with me, all having tested sea legs, continuing to help me, anytime and any day, sail through rough waters.
Now, with adjusted sails, I head for port, a metaphor for serenity and hope.
The Journeys of Hope Depressed Anonymous meeting is moving to Zoom given some technical challenges we’ve been encountering. Effective Monday 5 July 2021 both the daily meeting and the evening meetings are moving to Zoom. For more information please see the page: Online Depressed Anonymous Meetings for further information.
Are you a “nice” guy or gal? Is there a relationship between wanting to be “nice” and being “co-dependent”? I think so. And why is being nice so important? Is it that if you weren’t nice, people wouldn’t like you anymore? Is this a possibility?
Personally, I had found myself being “nice” when I was boiling with anger at something someone said or did. All this with a smile on my face. Crazy? What makes us want to be “nice” when inside we are ready to blow our top?
Here are some of my thoughts about being “nice.” For example, I want to be a good guy. If I am not agreeable, I may lose a friendship or a relationship. So, in the process of being agreeable, we lose a piece of who we are and the values that we espouse.
How can I be “nice” and still be honest?
For more about being “nice,” click on the blog at the Archives for September 3rd, 2015. https://depressedanon.com/1091/
Also, check out the word Anger at Categories.
My pressing concern over these many years as a practicing mental health therapist is to do more to help family members be part of the conversation with medical and mental health professionals when dealing with a depressed loved one. I continue to help setting up Depressed Anonymous groups, while encouraging Dep-Anon Twelve Step groups for those who have a depressed member in their family.
Dep-Anon, a 12 Step Recovery program for Families and Friends of the Depressed, was published on June the 24th, 2021, by Depressed Anonymous Publications. This 117-page book includes Chapter topics that can promote an understanding of the nature of depression, dismissing those negative beliefs that not only are incorrect, and damaging they continue to cast a stigma upon those who are depressed. These attitudes will do nothing but further isolate the depressed. NOT HELPFUL AT ALL!
The Dep-Anon Family group can be that healthy connection between the depressed and the family. The family members will learn to help the depressed; they must and not the depressed. Each of the book’s 12 Chapters will present useful information on the nature of depression while including a commentary for each of the 12 spiritual principles (Steps) of Dep-Anon. In addition, each Chapter will provide the family groups with discussion questions that will enrich the Dep-Anon fellowship. Finally, the groups will help each other cope with their own emotions and provide an ongoing pathway for their emotional growth and balance.
The depressed loved one has their own fellowship of Depressed Anonymous, which helps them focus on their own recovery, and their family has Dep-Anon, which helps family focus on what needs a focus in their own lives.
The Dep-Anon family group might end up being the best advocate/friend for the depressed, fostering understanding and acceptance instead of the negative beliefs that had once made the situation seem hopeless.
Hugh, for the fellowships
I agree. Be yourself. Who else can we be? That is a great question. Oscar Wilde got it right. How many times do you and I try to be something that we are not?
Many times, in the past we may have tried to please everyone. We lived our life – well, not really, as much of our living depended on other’s approval of what we said and did. Other people’s opinion of us was more important than our own. Remember the old saying that “Other people were living in our head rent free!” How true. We always depended on others to tell us how we felt. Is this not insane?
Yes, it is!
Today is different for those of us who have gradually erected boundaries on our behaviors and thinking about ourselves – not some other person’s opinion of us. I gradually became myself the more I interacted with those persons who accepted me the way I am. They didn’t attempt to change me. They laid out for me a plan to be myself. That plan is the Twelve Steps of Depressed Anonymous in which I am able to identify my strong points and work on my defects of character. The virtual DA meetings plus face-to-face meetings with people like myself, continue to help me grow and thrive and be myself.
Yes, Oscar was right, that “everyone else is taken”. Why continue to be someone else when being yourself is authentic “you.”
The Depressed Anonymous fellowship grows authentic relationships where you can be yourself, today, tomorrow, and the next day.