Category Archives: DA Literature

The three questions I need to answer

I have learnt that in order to do any sort of recovery, there are three questions I need to answer. Basically, the three questions are simple in nature and not complicated.

When the Depressed Anonymous Workbook was being considered for publication and to be utilized as a critical piece of the recovery process, the Workbook was the other piece amplifying the message of the Depressed Anonymous Manual. As I began to use the Workbook, I had to reflect upon my own feelings of depression, clarifying the effects of sadness in my life. Also, I am poised to examine my relationships with family, friends and others with whom I was in contact over the years of my life. It is in the circle of these friendship and relationships that my life has been lived. We don’t live as hermits.

I guarantee that you will find a plethora of information about who you are, and how you think about yourself. Your response to so many situations that have brought you to the point where you are today. I believe, having gone through the Workbook myself, question by question and chapter by chapter with those with whom I served as a co-sponsor. I am amazed at the self-awareness that is stimulated for so many of us when we put our energies into this personal and unique process of gaining a new self-awareness of the real me. Many are surprised at the Workbook questions and one’s own responses which the questions elicited from us. The whole Workbook/Manual helps each of us face the real me and not the person whom you believed you were. So many times I find the person going through the Steps, gradually replaces mistaken beliefs about themselves, while Slowly coming into contact with the “real” and not the “false” self that others have wanted us to be, even from our earliest childhood days. Now, by finding answers to questions which were never asked and if they were asked, were not much help. Not that we didn’t want to share, but that we didn’t have an answer. Now, we not only are providing answers about who we are, we also are finding ourselves empowered as we continue to empower ourselves with the right to feel, think, and behave in ways that fits who we know we are. The three questions and their answers are unlocking those of us who were in “lockdown” but now are free.

Here are those three questions that you will be answering, at your own speed, in your own time, in more depth, as you’ve move through the Workbook.

  1. Who am I?
  2. What do I want?
  3. And who is my God?

If I am depressed or a loved one is depressed-the depression doesn’t define all that I am. Even though I may feel depressed all over- this can’t define all that I am. Just as someone who has an eating disorder – this eating disorder doesn’t define their whole person, just as being an alcoholic doesn’t define the whole total person. We might call someone an alcoholic or an addict but the label never defines the whole person.

If you are in a recovery program, such as Depressed Anonymous, it’s obvious that you are seeking help to find a way out of the prison of your own depression. The Workbook will provide you with many questions, and answers, (many your own) to help you find what you REALLY want for your life. The entire Workbook is a process of turning over each and every rock of sadness and gradually provide you with the tools, the support and the faith to overcome a life built on fear, anxiety and misery. You have the solution with credible answers that can and will provide you with a way out – the problem is no one ever told you that you have a choice or gave you the tools to gradually work your way out.

Hugh S., for the fellowship

RESOURCES
© The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.
© Depressed Anonymous, Third Edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.

Both of these books can be ordered from the Depressed Anonymous Publications website Bookstore @depressedanon.com
These two book can be purchased as a combo editions at a reduced price. They are also available as eBOOKS, and are less expensive as you have the ability to print them on your computer.

Statement
All books sold here on our website, the monies go back into buying more books, so as to keep our organization functioning. All work is done by Depressed Anonymous member’s service work. WE receive no outside help as we are self-supporting.

Hope Is Like A Road In The Country

Hope is like a road in the country;
There was never a road,
But when many people walk on it,
The road comes into existence.
– Lin Yutang

Comment
At a point in time,the AA road never existed.
At a point of time, the Depressed Anonymous road never existed.

With hope, a new road comes into existence.
What road was not there before, many roads exist now.

Hugh, for the fellowship

Three Ways To Grow In Life

Our recently published book, Dep-Anon, a 12 Step Recovery Program for Families and Friends of the Depressed, the author quotes Jack Canfield, who shares with us the three ways to grow in life.

  1. Quit doing what you have been doing that doesn’t work;
  2. Start doing more of what does work;
  3. Start doing things that you’ve never done before and see if it works.

RESOURCES
© Hugh S., Dep-Anon, a 12 Step Recovery Program for Families and Friends of the depressed. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky. p.94.

See: https://depanonfam.godaddysites.com

Stick to the plan. A prescription for change today.

It took me awhile to put into practice a simple idea. That idea is to do the same thing, day after day, in the same place and at the same time. If you have trouble following through on ideas or commitments, then you might feel better about reading the next few paragraphs.

With different situations in my life, some upheavals, some turning points, changes in my life goals, plus trying to do to much at the same time. It was somehow never easy to do what I knew needed to be dome. I used as my mantra “I’ll do it when I feel better.” In fact, this idea seemed to express perfectly, what I was doing, so I titled one of my books after it. Gradually, procrastination, I sensed, would not fit into my recovery program. I had put off for too long to knuckle down and start to do the work that I needed to do.

Here is my plan. I know it can work for you as well. There is no particular time limit on how long your prayer time is to be.

1. Everyday, I have found that morning works for me, I go to the quiet place that is best for my time alone with God, and start with a daily reading of Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for 12 Step Fellowships. This reading begins with an Affirmation, then a reflection, and a final meditation. I have my notebook handy and I write down a positive thought that I want to carry me through my day. Most of the time this is a simple single sentence.

2. I then read and reflect on a paragraph or two from our Depressed Anonymous manual.This is coupled with the accompanying Depressed Anonymous Workbook, where personal reflections, in the form of questions, help me clarify how I think about myself. These questions continue to uncover issues which I might have never encountered, becoming the positive basic building blocks, helping with an understanding of the nature of my own depression experience, and developing in myself strategies, the 12 spiritual principles of growth, for my personal recovery, day-by-day.

It’s not complicated. It’s a plan. This time of prayer and meditation is a powerful way to make “conscious contact” with the God of your understanding. (Check out Chapter 10 in “I’ll do it when I feel better.” This chapter discusses more fully the topic of prayer and meditation.

Resources

(c)Hugh Smith. Higher Thoughts for Down Days:365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky.
(c) Depressed Anonymous, THIRD EDITION (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY
(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications.Louisville, Ky.
(C)Hugh Smith. I’ll do it when I feel better. (2020) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky.

+ These works can by ordered online at www.Depressedanon.com. Click onto The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore.

Making “resolutions” on New Year’s Day hasn’t worked for me

My New Year’s resolutions usually self-destruct, sometimes quickly (same day) and most times, a little bit later. What’s the point? Why make them? It sounds good when I hear myself tell others how I am going to do this or I am going to do the other to change my life. Now, today, I tell myself, that this year it’s going to be different. I know that the one major change in my life was a decision I made more than three decades ago…to no longer sad myself. That is the one “resolution”, if you will, that I have kept over the years and has worked for me. It continues to work for me.

I don’t make big “announcements” that I am going to do this or that. What I do now is to keep making decisions that I know with time and God’s help I can change my life, my thinking and my moods.

Recovery’s North Star is honesty – honesty with self and honesty with others. With this in mind, I place the resolution business aside. I know the New Year is about a new start, for some, a new beginning, filled with hope, promises and experiences. Whatever works for others is fine – it just doesn’t work for me.

My life has been geared toward living one day at a time. Keeping it simple, and putting the 12 principles of recovery into practice in my everyday life. My life is as Bill W., points out in Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions,

…service gladly rendered, obligations squarely met, troubles well accepted or solved with God’s help, the knowledge that at home or in the world outside we are partners in a common effort, the well understood fact that in God’s sight all human beings are important, the proof that love freely given surely brings a full return, the certainty that we are no longer isolated and alone in a self constructed prison, the surety that we no longer be square pegs in round holes but can fit and belong to God’s scheme of things – these are the permanent and legitimate satisfactions of living, for which no amount of pomp and circumstance, no heap of material possessions could possibly be substitutes.
True ambition is not what we thought what it was. True ambition is the deep desire to live usefully and walk with humility under the grace of God.

RESOURCES

Copyright © Hugh Smith. I’ll do it when I feel better. (2020) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. p.95.

Copyright © Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. (1952, 1953, 1981) The A.A., Grapevine,Inc and Alcoholics Anonymous.

Energy of activation – Walking through the struggle

I study chemistry, and I see a correlation between a chemistry concept and walking through a struggle in depression.   In a chemical reaction, there is something called the “energy of activation.”  It is the energy that is necessary for a reaction to proceed.  In the diagram below, is the large hump or hill between the initial state and the final state.  So if I relate that to depression, it is the struggle that I go through to perform a particular task.  Now, I’ve realized it’s not about the task.  For example, it does not matter if the task I’m trying to achieve is getting out of bed, going to a meeting, going to work, going to the gym, or achieving a lofty goal.  It’s about the energy of activation, or the difficulty of the struggle that matters. When I am in severe depression, the energy of activation required for me to get out of bed is immense.  It may feel impossible at times!  Now that I am not in a depression, that task is not a struggle for me.  It has a low activation energy.  In other words, it’s easy for me at this time.

So why does this matter?  Because I used to (and still can) compare myself to others and ask myself the question “how does that person do this or that so easily?  How come it’s so hard for me to get out of bed but so easy for someone else?”  This concept of activation energy helps me realize that everyone has struggles.  And if I focus on how to get through the struggle, then I am focusing on the solution.  I also realize that at different points in my life, the activation energy for the same task can be VERY different.  This also tells me that I can and should give myself credit for getting through the struggle, no matter what the task is!!  Because what matters is getting over that hump.

So how do we do that?  It boils down to our thinking, doesn’t it?  If I feed myself positive thoughts, such as “this is possible,” “I can do it,” “I’ve had successes is the past, so I can do it again,” “I am capable and I am worth it,” then I’m going to get into action and take baby steps up the hill.  But if I think negative thoughts (or choose to stay with those negative thoughts, since in my case my default thinking is negative) then I am going to walk myself right down that hill and stay stuck at the bottom.  Sometimes I need to think positive thoughts that will get me to call someone else and ask for help or motivation.  It’s okay to get help – it’s easier to climb that hill together!

I’m realizing that when I focus on giving myself credit for overcoming that struggle, then I’m helping myself.  If I tell myself, “oh, it’s no big deal.  All I did was get out of bed today.  That doesn’t really count as a success,”  then not only am I saddening myself, but I’m also being dishonest with myself!!   Because overcoming the energy of activation for that task was critical and a major achievement!!  And best of all, at the end of the task, I’m in a better place than where I started.  So just for today, I am going to give myself credit for walking though the struggle – no matter how big or small the task.

Dep-Anon Family Group, a must for families with a depressed loved one

Dep-Anon, a 12 Step recovery program for families and friends of the depressed, has recently had its Manual and program guide published (2021) by Depressed Anonymous Publications.

The Dep-Anon Family group has but one purpose: To help families and friends of the depressed. We do this by practicing the 12 Steps of Depressed Anonymous ourselves: by encouraging and understanding our depressed loved ones, the nature of their depression, plus welcoming and giving group support to families of the depressed.

Families are now equipped to form their own support groups, giving assistance to each other while all the time keeping the focus on their own growth and healing, without trying to fix the depressed member of their family.

You will join with other family members who no longer are alone, using the recovery tools of Dep-Anon. You will learn how the spiritual principles of the 12 Steps, applied to one’s own situation, will accompany you through every chapter of this new work.

A new feeling of hope begins to take hold as you participate in the Dep-Anon meetings. You will continue to learn from the other Dep-Anon group members how to start to take care of yourself. You will begin with yourself. The focus will reside with you and not on the depressed.

A DA member commented at a Depressed Anonymous meeting, hoped that her own family members would be part of this new movement. She knew that they would learn how to focus on themselves, applying the Steps to their own recovery, learning what depression is and what it is not.

Instead of being critical of the depressed loved one’s behaviors, they would possibly for the first time, have a compassionate understanding of how the various symptoms of depression played their part in immobilizing the depressed.

If there is someone in your family who could be helped by reading and forming a family group, please let them know Dep-Anon is now available.

Resources

  • Copyright © Hugh Smith. Dep-Anon, a 12 Step program of recovery for families and friends of the depressed. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY
  • Copyright © Depressed Anonymous, Third Edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville, KY

Please visit Depressed Anonymous Literature for a list of all the titles available from Depressed Anonymous Publications. The page includes links for purchasing options.

Courage to Change

Fear has held me back so often in life, especially in depression. Although I hated the feelings of depression, there was a security in that dark depressing place. A respite from the uncertainties of the world. Change involves uncertainty – or the question “What if?”  My mind automatically goes to the negative.  What if I try this again & fail again? What if I can’t do it?  What if I’m not capable?  And so on. The needle on my mental compass defaults to negative thinking. I have to make a serious effort to shift my thinking to the positive.  It occurred to me that I could ask myself other “what if” questions.  What if I can make a positive change?  What if I am capable?  What if I can do something good for myself? What would that look like, and what would that feel like? It was almost scary to find out!  Again, because it was different and new.

I’ve made a lot of positive changes in my life lately, and I had to ask my Higher Power for help. I said, “God, please give me the courage to change the things I can.  Please give me the courage to walk through the fear. I know that with Your help, one day at a time, this is possible.”  It has been possible, and it still is!  I’ve been walking through fear and making positive changes!  Two years ago I thought it would be impossible for me to get up Monday through Friday and go to work (let alone get out of bed and be functional, or show up to chair a meeting). But with the help of my Higher Power, this program & the fellowship – just for today – God has given me the courage to walk through fear and change the things I can. And for that, I am immensely grateful. ❤

The game of chess taught me a great lesson

I like to play chess. In fact, there are some Pro basketball players who also like to play chess. I am sure that there are many others who like to play chess. I would imagine that generals on the battlefield use the skills of chess playing to rout the enemy. My brother played chess. He taught me how to lose with dignity. My grandson and I also play chess.

The great lesson that chess has taught me, and still teaches me, is how to plan ahead. When I am in a chess match my mind creates a strategy that takes me beyond my next move. There is always the inner dialogue of the chess player which forecasts what happens if this move is taken and what happens if it is not taken. Some times, my strategy to check-mate my opponent is five moves ahead of me.

Basically chess, for me, teaches me how to strategize those areas of my life that need a plan. I have to look ahead, not only for possible potholes but averting disasters. And as important, I learn what happens when I have not planned ahead.

This leads me to repeat the saying that “those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” Life is more than a chess game I grant you that, but with us (me included) our 12 Step recovery program helps us make plans to keep us from a relapse but also can prevent our sad mood from spiraling down into the abyss of depression.

At every depressed Anonymous meeting, we each set goals, we plan, what we want to accomplish this coming week, maintaining our serenity as well as continuing to strengthen our efforts at digging ourselves out of the pit of depression.

With the holidays coming up, we need to have a plan to keep us from getting isolated by our sadness. We can plan to come to a virtual (ZOOM) meeting online. (Click onto Homepage MEETINGS schedule for daily meetings). Or attend a face-to-face meeting.

Plan to keep in touch with those who are working the same plan as we are. By sticking to the recovery plan, you can be a winner and have the serenity knowing that you made the right move!

PS Learn how to play chess. If you feel you are in a check-mate situation, don’t give up hope. Please Contact us at depressedanon.com., and I know it will teach you a life plan as much as it taught me. Our fellowship group also helps me plan and live one day at a time, each move of the way!

Hugh, for the fellowship

My family was clueless about depression, until they joined the 12 step Dep-Anon support group for families

Depressed Anonymous and the Dep-Anon family program of recovery are two sides of the same coin. There exists a symbiotic relationship between the two groups. What happens in one of the groups (family) has a positive or negative effect upon the other group. With this symbiosis, there is an excellent benefit for both family and the depressed. The family centers its attention on itself and is not focused on and discontinues the blaming and guilt-producing impact that they are having on the depressed. They discover that their efforts to “fix” their loved one have an opposite effect pushing them further down into isolation and despair. They now use their meetings with other like-minded family members to learn about the nature of depression, realizing that all they can do is cope with the isolating behavior, understand what depression is and what it is not, and take care of their own lives. They learn that by being part of a supportive Dep-Anon recovery group that their lives change positively with the continued use of the 12 Steps in their lives.

The study of the 12 Steps gradually produces a feeling of respect and support for their loved ones. We are seeing that without their continued attitude of blaming, negativity between the two parties begins to be eliminated. The Dep-Anon fellowship will continue to grow in unity with each other while messaging their depressed family member that something positive is happening.

REFERENCE

Smith, H. Dep-Anon, a 12 Step Recovery program for Families and Friends of the Depressed. (2021) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.
NOTE

This work can be ordered online from the Depressedanon.com website at the Depressed Anonymous Bookstore.