Category Archives: DA Literature

“I found my depression a comfort.”

“It strikes people as a strange thing to say when I tell them that I found my depression a comfort. I found it convenient because I didn’t have to make my decisions about anything or anybody. I could medicate these thoughts of how bad I was and continue to meditate until I felt completely numb and immobilized. Thanks to the program and the emphasis on personal honesty, the more I got the courage to take charge of my life and change what I knew had to be changed.

Today, I am not going to allow myself to get into addicting to negative and unpleasant thoughts. I will risk being myself and step out of the prison of my depression into the fresh air of living with a certain amount of unpredictability and freshness.

Avoidance is a vast reality when you are depressing, as I learned through the Twelve Steps program. I don’t want to see, talk to or have anything to do with anyone else when I am depressed; I will have to force myself to get involved with other people if I want to have a chance of ever feeling better.

Reflection
“Because of you, O Lord, I wait: you O Lord my God will answer.” Psalm 35:16. The more we work our Program, God is as near as we are to God. The more we open up our consciousness to the God of our understanding, the more God draws us to himself. We believe that as we wait on the Lord to speak to us, our God will speak to us in some fashion that we will recognize. (Personal comments).

RESOURCE

Copyright(c) Hugh Smith. Higher Thoughts for Down Days. 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for Twelve Step Fellowships. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville., Ky. September, 24. Pages. 157-158.

This publication can be purchased online at our website, www. depressedanon.com. Click on VISIT THE STORE.

Making gratitude my attitude helps keep Robin out of depression.

Through the Depressed Anonymous program of recovery, which utilizes the Twelve Steps, I have been on a journey of transformation from the everyday life of struggle, gloom, and desperation to discovering new freedom and new happiness – something I didn’t know existed. My entire perspective is changing. Other people who I thought were judgmental are now considered as all being a child of God- all created equal. What a provocative pence tool this is! Really! It helps me lift those negative attitudes and places them with affirmations. This is undoubtedly the most valuable technique offered in Depressed Anonymous to acquire an optimistic attitude towards life itself or simply “making gratitude my attitude .” So many of us were only familiar with the sham and the drudgery of life, but even with all the sham and drudgery in the world, it is still a beautiful place to live. We learn to change not the world but how we view the world and all its intricacies.
Using the Twelve Steps allows me to begin the journey of hope and to admit that I am powerless over depression. There is the time when depression overwhelms me so intensely that it nearly cripples me altogether. These emotions of failure, shame, and “feeling less” than, become so uncontrollable that I have to stop and simply admit that I am powerless over them. But now, I genuinely believe that there is a power greater than myself and greater than those emotions.
The Higher Power (whom I call God) is there to help me any time I ask him. And you know what? He rescues me every single time.”

Resources. (The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore at this website where all literature can be ordered online.)

COPYRIGHT(C) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. (2011) Louisville, KY. p.115.

The orange traffic cones, are a metaphor for me to slow down, keep alert.

Often, I find myself face to face with those orange traffic cones warning me of a pothole in the roadway ahead, approaching lanes to change, or workers ahead.
Over the years, I have found myself battling negative thinking with the resultant spiraling down of my moods which because challenging to shake off. But after many years of doing the same thing over and over, meditating how bad I was, I found myself being more careful of, one, how I talked to myself, and two, learning that the best way to find myself in a deep unpleasant mood, was to continue these self-defeating thoughts- the self-bashing.
I am at a point now in my recovery that I know when a past unpleasant thought pops up in my head, like the orange road cones, that I am aware that I need to heed the warning and steer clear of that mental pothole about to derail me and throw me in a ditch too deep to remove ourselves.
What I do, though, is to face the fear with that instant adrenaline surge, not run away but continue to meet the feeling, acknowledge it for what it is, an unpleasant feeling, uncomfortable but not life-threatening, and so move along.
I also replace the fear with a sunspot, a pleasant memory of ourselves, if you will, and dwell on that pleasant memory with persistence. Be grateful that no longer will you let a fearful thought scare you into submission and inaction. Now you have a helpful and powerful way to stay out of the potholes of your thinking. You will be able to feel the strength and purpose by having a new direction for your life.

Hugh S.

Being on the level keeps us up right!

When working as a bricklayer or doing carpentry work, I always needed this instrument for measuring horizontal or perpendicular planes to see if they were level. A little air bubble in a tube, partially filled with liquid, has to lie in the center of the tube to indicate whether the plane is level.

In our Depressed Anonymous recovery program, being on the level with myself, my family, others, and my God (Higher Power) is what this 12 Step recovery program is about. In the first of the twelve steps, “We admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable.” Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. p.28). From this moment on, as I walk along with others in our fellowship, I learn from the positive results that come when I am on the level with myself and others in our program of recovery. I admitted how in my past life, I was not always on the level with others. And by not being on the level, I gradually built for myself a prison–a prison without a door. I was in lockdown, sometimes for short periods of time, and sorry to say, for most of my life.

With the Twelve Step program, you can recover – although most likely not right away. Let’s be honest– nothing that has taken the greater part of a lifetime to build can be dismantled in a few days or weeks. But you will feel better if you follow the instructions in this book (Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY). I am still following the instructions in this book, with all those other kindred spirits, who like myself continue to be “on the level” with fellow members of the fellowship.

Hugh S.
Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2001) DAP. Louisville, KY.

VISIT THE STORE ON HOW TO ORDER BOOKS ONLINE.

We felt trapped

The following is an excerpt from the recently published work Dep-Anon: A 12 Step Recovery Program for Families and Friends of the Depressed. (2021). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

An obvious fact we have learned is that our depressed loved ones are not as different from us as we would like to believe. When it comes to us, we recognized and admitted to ourselves and others that we were shackled with the same darkness as was our depressed family member. We felt trapped. And what did we do about it? Nothing. We had hit a wall. Amazingly, it is like looking into a mirror, and instead of seeing ourselves. we see our depressed loved one. Do we feel we have lost our very selves in all of the chaos that has been an ongoing part of our lives?

The lesson that family members need to reflect upon, with feedback from their Dep-Anon fellowship, are all the myriad aspects of depression that we discussed in Chapters Six and Seven. Some say that it is like being in an eighty-foot hole with only an eight-foot ladder. Others say that that it is like being in a dark room with no windows and no door and having no way out. But we at Dep-Anon have each other, with a program that works. And we are gradually laying out a path in our life based on the dynamic spiritual principles of the Twelve Steps every day.
Dep-Anon, p.73


The intent of this book is to provide family and friends of the depressed a program that fits the needs for their own lives with an understanding of the nature of depression with its immobilizing effects upon those who experience it.
Dep-Anon will be a source of strength for family members who gather together, just as Depressed Anonymous members gather others like themselves for hope and strength. Basically, and primarily the Dep-Anon fellowship will keep the focus on their own need for healing and “hands off” their depressed loved one –realizing that they can only fix themselves.

If you who are reading this blog today, please know that this book will be a great help for your family and friends in understanding depression and continue to work the Steps for themselves plus keeping the focus on their own recovery.

Hugh S.

RESOURCE

VISIT THE STORE (www.depressedanon.com ) for more information about this new and challenging work.
Copyright (c) Dep-Anon. A 12 Step recovery program for family and friends of the depressed. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Willingness to Take Baby Steps

A common question in other 12 step fellowships is “Are you willing to go to any lengths to achieve recovery?” When thinking about willingness and my depression, I don’t know how well this applied to me. I mean, if I had the willingness to go to any lengths when I was in my deepest darkest depression, I would have just hopped out of bed, embraced the day, and ran a 5K! But that is not how it worked for me!
When I was in the depths of my depression, my willingness had gone out the door. “What was the purpose anyway?” I thought. I didn’t think I could get any better. But Depressed Anonymous showed me that there is hope, and there is a way out. For me, that path to recovery has been a series of baby steps. After coming to meetings, I saw people who were like me; people who really suffered from depression, and I saw that they were recovering. Once I had the realization that there was hope, I needed to ask myself a question. “Just for today, am I willing to take a baby step to help myself recover from depression?”
This was something that I could comprehend and that I thought might be possible. Yes, I can take a baby step and get out of bed. Yes, I can take a baby step and call someone from the fellowship. Yes, I can take a baby step and order the literature, then take another baby step and read a page of the literature. I can answer one question in the workbook today. Yes, I can do one little thing to help myself today!!
That is how my recovery began. That is how I climbed out of that 80-foot hole of depression-one baby step at a time. And the beautiful thing is that I don’t have to do it alone! Honestly, I don’t think I could have done it alone. I tried for years, and although I met with sporadic success, I inevitably fell back into that pit of depression. Today I have the DA fellowship surrounding me. I have a Higher Power. I have a sponsor and friends in the fellowship who help me along my path. I am also here to help others on their path to recovery. Today, I am grateful for the willingness to take baby steps.

How To Find Hope

How to find hope:

Hope can exist only in a state of uncertainty.
This certainty means total certainty. That security means to be without hope.
The prison of depression is built with the bricks of total certainty.

Certainty. Security. No hope.
To hope means to run the risk of disappointment.
Avoid disappointment. Stay depressed.
To be insecure means not to be in control.
Stay in control. Be depressed.
To be uncertain means to be unsure of the future.
Predict the future with certainty. Stay depressed. Absolute certainty means complete hopelessness. If we want to live fully, we must have freedom, love, and hope. So, life must be an uncertain business. That is what makes it worthwhile.

Source: Depression: The Way Out of Your Prison, (1996) Second Edition Dorothy Rowe.

Hugh, for the fellowship

Depressed? Here is a way out!

In 1990 the Depressed Anonymous group in Louisville, Kentucky, published the first Depressed Anonymous book, Depressed? Here is a way out! Using the Suggested Twelve Step Program of recovery. The Depressed Anonymous group had formed a year earlier and decided that we needed a written account of the Twelve Steps and their positive effect on our lives. Because depression was the reason for our coming together, just as an alcoholic has the Twelve steps for their recovery, we found the Twelve spiritual principles of the Steps as having the same positive effect. At the time, little did we ever believe that Depressed Anonymous would continue to grow beyond the city limits of Louisville. That was never our intent but only to have something we could use as our own book for study, meetings, and personal reflection. And then, in 1998, the first edition of Depressed Anonymous was published. In 2002 the Depressed Anonymous Workbook was published.

Fast forward to 2021, this June; we have launched our new publication Dep-Anon, a Twelve Step recovery program for families and friends of the depressed. Depressed Anonymous and Dep-Anon are two sides of the same coin. Each group has an integral relationship with the other. Each group member has some effect on the life of the other. Is this not like Al-Anon and Alcoholics Anonymous. Each group is focused on their own lives, using the Twelve Steps as the core for their own recovery. In Al-Anon, they learn that they cannot “fix” the alcoholic family member but only fix themselves. In other words, each needs to “stay in their own lane.”

My critical parent has informed me that this relationship cannot work. Some family members still see us, depressed, as unwilling to go to work, get out of bed – (if you are depressed, you know the drill), etc., etc. Moving my critical parent aside with all their negative thinking, I have decided to develop a Dep=Anon family group manual and put it out there as a published work.

I know it will work as I know Al-Anon works for the family and friends of the alcoholic. Imitation, they say, is the highest form of flattery. So here we are. We hope to have a website, a Dep-Anon family group website, dedicated to the issues faced by depressed family members and providing essential positive information about the nature of depression. No “snap out of it” here. Family members with a depressed loved one will have their own group for support, just as the depressed has Depressed Anonymous.

If you would like to help us in this effort to bring hope to the family and their depressed loved ones, we will be grateful. Also, any thoughts from Depressed Anonymous members or a family with a depressed loved one are most welcome. If you want to help design or develop a website that will be interactive and provide help for all, please let us know at depanon@netpenny.net, providing help to the family and the depressed. The Dep-Anon website will be separate from the Depressed Anonymous website, with its own address.

See www.depressedanon.com at the Depressed Anonymous Bookstore. Also, see the Depressed Anonymous literature location on website.

Thank you for the fellowship, Hugh

I have been depressed. Am I a long-hauler?

Who are the long haulers? This term has arisen out of the common experiences of those persons “who have not fully recovered from Covid-19 weeks or even months after first experiencing symptoms.” Some of those symptoms (which form a syndrome) are loss of taste, smell, fatigue, and shortness of breath. These are just a few of a myriad of experiences of those who have had Covid-19. These experiences last possibly for just a few weeks, for months, or longer.

In reflecting upon my experience with depression, I can identify with the long-hauler description of what I went through. I did feel the awfulness of fatigue. The lack of motivation to get out of bed. Confusion and the inability to concentrate. All of these were present day after day for over a year. These symptoms of depression plagued me every day. I was a long-hauler.

Today, with two vaccines and wearing a mask, I hope that I am protected from catching the Covid virus. I am taking all the precautions that I know how to take, so far, so good.

In our Depressed Anonymous 12 Step fellowship groups, online and f2f groups, of which I am a member, I have heard about how many of us were long-haulers, some for months, some for years, and some for all of their lives. We know there are no vaccines for depression to protect us from past personal traumas, physical abuse, shame, guilt, to mention just a few, but there are ways to take down the symptoms of depression by using the protection and proactive use of our recovery tools.

By our involvement in our mutual aid group, Depressed Anonymous, I can say I am a former long-hauler who has left behind many of those burdens of feeling defeated, helpless and hopeless. That doesn’t mean that I no longer have past feelings pop up in my mind, causing me temporarily to focus on feelings that I thought were gone forever. Now I have the tools, the fellowship of meetings online every day that I hook onto, the literature which I read on a daily basis, plus another human being that like me is a long-hauler and in recovery.

Much like the symptoms associated with PTSD, we no longer pack in our minds those past feelings of doom and gloom, but I find there is a way out of the darkness and have hope. I have faced my fear-filled past terrors and replaced them with feelings of hope, gratitude, and faith in a power that is greater than myself. My long-haling days are in the past.

Hugh, for the fellowship

DA fellowship as my scaffolding 

 

Some great advice I got from my sponsor was to “find my help and use my help.”  Often times my help comes in the form of DA members.  Over the last two years I’ve spent time at meetings and on the phone in between meetings with members of the fellowship, and they have become an important part of my recovery.  I have built up a network of people around me, much like one uses scaffolding to build a new structure.  I have been built anew by the steps and the help of the DA fellowship.  Now, when life presents me with problems and struggles that previously felt unmanageable and too overwhelming to deal with, I have a support structure in place that I can lean upon.  I have found my help and now I know how to use that help.  All I have to do is pick up the phone and reach out to my DA fellowship.  Through their help, the help of my Higher Power, and the steps, I will be guided to sanity and solutions.