At a recent meeting we were reading from the Depressed Anonymous literature and the topic of being addicted to sadness came up. There were several people in the meeting who bristled at the idea of sadness being an addiction. Is depression really an addiction to sadness?
Instead of answering that question directly I think it would be helpful to list some common characteristics of any addiction.
- It’s an unhealthy coping mechanism for life’s ills.
- It worked for a while but now it no longer works.
- It has made your life unmanageable.
- It is a disease that tells you that you don’t have a disease.
- You lie about how often you do this drug/behavior.
- You think about it most, if not all, of the time.
- You have continuously done this drug/behavior even though it has done great harm to you and loved ones.
- It may have caused you to be fired from a job.
- It may have caused you to be admitted to a hospital/mental institution.
- It may have caused you to be arrested.
- It may have caused financial harm in your life.
Any addiction, whether it is alcohol, drugs, gambling, depression doesn’t have to meet all of these characteristics. Like the Jeff Foxworthy “You might be a redneck if…” jokes you might be addicted to sadness if say 5 or more of those characteristics are true.
Something doesn’t need to exactly match the medical definition of chemical dependence or physical dependence to be described as an addiction. Let go of your current belief on what is and is not an addiction. Look at the characteristics above and rate your depression against them. The magic number may not be 5. It could be 4 or 6 or whatever makes sense to you. Try it on for size. You may be able to let go of your skepticism.
Yours in recovery, Bill R
Happy June, companions of my heart!
How joyous am I to share my DA recovery here with all of you!! I know that Summer is a time to be a little laid-back, to take it just a little easy. Oh I do so love losing all those layers, the hats, gloves, and all that jazzzzzz….. Yes, Summer is my lovely season, and recovery is my day-by-day diary.
Recovery, that one-day-at-a-time recovery is like a Lady Justice, blind-folded and at the ready for every new day’s work and wonders. And although I may be or feel “blind-folded,” because of this Spiritual Program, the sponsors, the meetings, the Co-Sponsor Step Study groups, all the tools and the brilliant, informative, transformative readings and interchanges, I am not blind-sided. I will repeat that: I am not blind-sided.
For me, the crux is the Steps and sharing my recovery with all of you. I feel/know I am not only not alone, it is not me and my Higher Power but me, HP, and all of you: God as You: the most sincere, authentic, heart-felt, hard-working recovering brothers and sisters ever. With complete earnest I say that I can be glad of my depression because without it, I would never have known this remedy: your kindness, your perception, your care. I would never have traded roads from in-the-dark diminutive, to in-the-light expansive. I am truly blessed. The promises are my anchor and you all are my buoy. Thank you for this exquisite fellowship, your love, your light, your caring. I will be holding your hands in my heart until we meet again.
Doreen from Boston.
Depression is a complicated disease that has many potential causes. Depression is also not a static disease – its intensity can change over time. The support that you seek out will differ depending on the intensity of the depression.
A metaphor that I have for depression is a rainstorm. Sometimes it is a light rain darkening your day, other times it can be a raging thunderstorm with lightning crashing down and torrential rain.
When the storm is merely a forecast you have ample time to avoid the storm. Eating well, exercise and occasional talk therapy can be enough for you to avoid the storm. Support via Depressed Anonymous is there for you but the storm is so far away you may not feel the need to pursue recovery.
When the storm is on the horizon – you can see it – your intensity of managing the disease will need to step up as well. Depressed Anonymous can help at this level as well. You are far more likely to seek help at this point.
Imagine you are on the open plains and you can see that the storm is a few miles away and headed toward you – Depressed Anonymous can help here as well. Another resource that may help you at this level is something called a warmline – it is not equipped to handle an intense storm like a hotline but it can definitely help you. Each state in the US has warmline organizations that will field calls for those needing support. To get a listing of warmline call centers in the US go to https://warmline.org and find an entry for your state. I’m sure that many other countries have such warmline organizations I’m just not personally aware of what is available in the many nations of the world. Warmline organizations typically can act as an information clearinghouse where you can can information about other support organizations that can support you in your time of need.
If you are on the outer edges of a storm with light rain organizations like Depressed Anonymous and warmline call centers can help with guiding you out of the outer edges of the storm.
If you are in the center of the storm with lightning crashing around you and torrential rain coming down DA and warmline call centers are not equipped to handle this level of a storm. You are in crisis and need to take drastic measures. Perhaps you need to check yourself into a mental institution and get 24 hour inpatient care. Perhaps you should call a suicide hotline or emergency services number in your area. If you are in imminent risk of taking your life through suicide drastic measures are called for. Take those drastic measures – you are worthy of living and receiving care.
Once you are out of the center of the storm and somewhat stabilized rely again on DA and warmline centers. We are all worthy of healing and loving care. Let us love you until you are able to love yourself. I wish you well wherever you are in the storm of depression.
Yours in recovery, Bill R
If you’re looking for new people to listen to please visit Depressed Anonymous Meeting Recordings and hear new recordings from: Hugh, Barb, Pema, Catrina, Janet, and David C. Sorry for the delay in posting them.
Yours in recovery, Bill R
I am writing this prayer I wrote some five years back now for deeper peace and acceptance, during this challenging time I’m experiencing. Sharing this Hope in case I too can 0ffer Strength for others.
Affectionately, Janet M.
Thank you dear Creator of love and joy in action for the fellowship of your presence. Move me, I pray, for the Stillness of this Love. Why I abide there always gathering in your Strength, Peace and Wellbeing as kindling to feel the fire of your Spirit within. As I walk this path today, should I become disturbed return my heart to you. Purify my motives and direct my attention back into Awareness and Unity with your Spirit, which is the hand of Peace. Help me to offer kindness for the many Seeds of Blessings which feed my growing into Trueness of Being. Help me to understand your Passion in laughter, tears, joy and pain, knowing all of your Provision and how Precious that gift is that lies within the Earth of us all. Thank you for my children, family and friends. Bless ua your light, nurturing our hearts and strengthen our vision and relationships. May a seeming separateness burn up into the flames of letting go of all illusions while Liberating the Soul and setting Freedoms flight to soar and all resistance fall away. Gather us together, this day in Body, Mind and Spirit manifesting your Love. Amen.
I have been known to drive with my brakes on at times. It sure slows things down. Anyway, here is a thought from Anthony De Mallo who shares some positive thoughts on how to navigate through the tough times in our lives.
When you get rid of your fear of failure, your tension about succeeding… you can be yourself. Relax. You’ll no longer be driving with your brakes on.
Anthony De Mallo
When we are depressed, we isolate, we abandon ourselves to what others think about us, who we should be, a life that is lived as someone that we are not. If you can’t be free of what others want you to be, you’ll spend time with the brakes on, afraid to make courageous choice to change!
Depressed Anonymous, is a 12 Step fellowship where we learn how to relax, see ourselves as we really are, restored, and ready for a new adventure, as we thrive and continually prize our newly restored self.
Hugh S., for the fellowship
The Three Layers of Attachment
“…theologian Mary Reuther and the spiritual director Richard Rohr, echo Pascal’s triple abyss in their analysis of the attachments that undermine our “spirituality.” Both Rohr and Reuther emphasize the psychological and emotional attachments that can devestate our spiritual lives, making their point that “attachment” does not have to be to material things to be spiritually destuctive.
Reuther suggests three layers of attachment that need to be peeled back sequentially, like an onion. First, we need to become detached from material gain, second from self-importance, and third from the urge to dominate others. Only through this process of stripping away these attachments, she writes, can we lay claim to spiritual progress.
Rohr uses a language more familiar to those steeped in twelve Step spirituality. In an article on A.A.’s Third Step he counsels that spirituality involves the “letting go” of three needs, the need to be in control, the need to be effective, and the need to be right. For Alcoholics( as well as the depressed) in early sobriety, the last point may be the most important, for attachment from the need to be right, surrender of the “demand to have the last word.”
“…release flows from the understanding that all absolute attempts to control our own destiny–like all attempts to do anything “absolutely” are ultimately doomed, for inevitably we will come up against something we cannot control. The attempt to control the future and the demand to be in charge of everything in our lives, sentences us to a daily existence obsessed with life numbing worry.”
This article, excerpted from the “Spirituality of Imperfection: Storytelling and the Journey to Wholemess”. Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham. Bantam Books.1994. NY. Page 172-173.
Published by THE ANTIDEPRESSANT TABLET. Volume 10 Issues 3 & 4 SUMMER/FALL 1999.
I thought that Zoom had lost the recording of Stacy who was our final speaker on 4 March 2023. Zoom didn’t show the recording initially because the chairperson forgot to stop the recording. Apparently on the back end Zoom did some housekeeping – they found the recording and placed it with the other recordings from that day.
Please listen to Stacy’s story – it is amazing and full of hope. You will not be disappointed.
Go to Depressed Anonymous Conference Recordings.
Yours in recovery, Bill R
What you focus on grows.
– Stephen Covey
Prior to recovery my focus was directed at what was wrong and why am I experiencing the difficulties in my life. I only dug the hole deeper making it that much harder to get out. If I look for problems I will find them. If I look for sadness and darkness I will find that as well.
The challenge that faces me is that I need to see things in a new way. I need to focus on love and healing. I need to seek out the good in the world because if I look for it I will find it. I strive to point my focus onto recovery and healing. I’m working the program and not working the problem. I’m not doing it in a Pollyanna way – I recognize that I have a disease and I’m not denying I have depression. I choose to focus on recovery and healing.
The true journey of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
– Marcel Proust
I challenge you to change your focus. What you focus on grows. Focus on recovery and healing. You are worth it.
Yours in recovery, Bill R
We might …discover that depression has its own angel, a guiding spirit, whose job it is to carry the soul away to its remote places where it finds unique insight and enjoys a special vision.
– Thomas Moore, Care of the Soul
I can relate to “A special vision” as it fits so well into my experience with depression. I realized that I could only find that unique insight and special vision, which Moore spoke about, in the remote place where prayer and meditation became the front and center of my seeking.
My guiding spirit, my angel, accompanied me as I journeyed in and out of the pit of depression. And, as my times of prayer and meditation lengthened, these provided me with a holy energy to serve others, who like myself, are seeking that remote place, where God’s vision for their lives will begin to be lived out, one day at a time.
Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Step Three of Depressed Anonymous