Category Archives: Depressed Anonymous Workbook

“DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS HAS BEEN THE ULTIMATE KEY….”

Depressed Anonymous has been the ultimate key to a largely successful life for me. Prior to entering the program, I had  no money, no driver’s license, and had dropped  out of college due to poor grades and a nervous breakdown for which I was hospitalized. I had not then worked Step One because I wasn’t aware that I was powerless over depression, that my life was as disorganized as the mess in my closet.

During my first night in the hospital, a member informed me of a support group known as Depressed Anonymous. I decided to give it a try.  By telling me about this wonderful, miraculous, and very spiritual program, this person had not only worked the Twelfth Step (see site Menu for 12 steps), but had also given me a key, a key which would open many doors for me. Walking through these doors was like admitting defeat. I was playing first base in a ball game in which I would eventually win. If I struck out, I was back on Step One. By playing ball with a positive attitude, I was allowing my Higher  Power to walk the Steps to recovery with me. With the help and the positive sense of fellowship that I enjoyed in the group, I began to understand God’s will for me. With the love, support, and true fellowship of three faithful members in the group, I began working on my driver’s license, which had been another step toward independence for me. Within a year, I earned my license when two members of the group took me in for my road test. A new sunnier life had begun for me. The worst  was finally over.”   Lena.

To read the full inspiring account of Lena’s recovery go to Personal Stories in Depressed Anonymous, THIRD EDITION, Depressed  Anonymous Publications, Louisville KY, P.113. If you do not have a Depressed Anonymous group in your area, you can begin your own personal  recovery program by clicking onto Visit The Store here at this site and  order your own HOME STUDY PROGRAM. This program includes a Step by step Workbook and Manual You definitely will be glad that you did.

The great benefit of making use of our literature here at Depressed Anonymous is that ALL our material is written by those of us who actually have been depressed –been there & done that –and now offer you  a tool box filled with our own treasured ways to leave the prison of depression. You can browse through all our literature and find the help and hope you are looking for. You can always give us a call   (VoiceMail 502.569.1989) and get some real life help that you may be seeking.

“WE NEVER APOLOGIZE TO ANYONE FOR DEPENDING UPON OUR CREATOR.”

In an effort to promote a spiritual sixth sense in ourselves as is discussed in Alcoholics Anonymous, we find that what is applicable to one addiction is also applicable to all  addictions. One enlarges their  personal  belief that there is a Force in our universe  which is bigger than ourselves. And as Step Three states in Depressed Anonymous , “We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood God to be.”

“As God’s people we stand on our feet; we don’t crawl  before anyone.” AA Big Book (p.83).

”  We never apologize to anyone for depending upon our creator. We can laugh at those who think spirituality the  way of weakness.  Paradoxically, it is the way of strength. The verdict of the ages is that faith means courage. All men of faith have courage.  They trust their God. We never apologize for God. Instead we let Him demonstrate, though us, what He can do.  We ask Him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what He would have us to be.  At once, we commence  to outgrow fear.”

AA  Big  Book, page 68.

“Joel Goldsmith a spiritual writer contends that the more we gain  this consciousness of God’s presence you have the whole secret of success in every walk of life.” He continues to remind us that  “there is an invisible bond between all of us. We are not on earth to get from one another, but to share those spiritual treasures which are of God.  Our interest in each other is, in truth purely spiritual. Our purpose in life is the unfolding of the spirit within..” (Goldsmith, Joel. The Infinite Way. Pages 145-146).

DEVELOPING THE VITAL SIXTH SENSE

“Much  has already been said about receiving strength, inspiration, and direction from Him who has knowledge and power. If we have carefully followed directions, we have begun to sense the flow of His Spirit into us. To some extent we have became God-conscious. We have begun to develop this vital sixth sense. But we must go further and that means more action.”  AA Big Book (p.85).

“…We now believe that we can tap into this God consciousness and let it unfold its plan, its purpose and mission for our life. It will not plan something small and insignificant but will, by small steps, lead us, cause to unfold in our lives what it has for us to accomplish”  I’ll do it when I feel Better. (p.45).

If we stick to the spiritual plan that God gradually reveals to us in the quiet moments of our reflection and meditation we can grab hold of the power of the Twelve Steps –integrating each one of the Steps into our consciousness –and moving out of the dark into the light. To accomplish this saving process of recovery we recommend the HOME STUDY PROGRAM and/or a Depressed Anonymous in one’s own community.

Spirituality And Depression And The Power Greater Than Ourselves

The following discussion about depression and spirituality has been excerpted from a recent DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS (2013)  titled I’LL DO IT WHEN I FEEL BETTER. ( 2nd edition )Smith, Hugh.  Louisville, KY  40217. (p.86-87).

Bob P., a charter member of Depressed Anonymous shares his thoughts on the subject of SPIRITUALITY AND DEPRESSION.

Spirituality involves the recognition and acceptance of a Higher Power beyond your own will and intelligence, with whom you can have a relationship. The Higher Power can provide you with an experience of joy, security , peace of mind, and guidance that goes beyond what is possible in the absence of the conviction that such a power exists. Spirituality can be seen as being distinct from religion. Different world religions have proposed various doctrines and belief systems about the nature of a Higher Power and humanity’s relationship to it.  Spirituality, on the other hand refers to the common experience behind these various points  of view – an experience involving the awareness of a relationship with something that transcends your personal self as well as the humane order of thinking.

The ‘something” has been given various names –“God being the most popular in Western society  — and is defined in ways too numerous to count.  You can choose to define what that means to yourself in whatever way feels most appropriate to you.  Your own sense of Higher Power can be as abstract as cosmic consciousness or as down to earth as the  beauty of the oceans and the mountains. Even if you consider yourself a non-believer,  you may get a sense of inspiration from taking a walk in the forest or contemplating a beautiful sunset or a small child’s smile may give you a special sense of joy.  Whatever inspires to and takes you beyond yourself into a larger perspective is the direction of what is referred here as your Higher Power. ”

In the following quotation, Bill W.,  gives uis his concept of God.  By doing so he has basically reframed all of our understanding of God.

When therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God. This applies too, to others spiritual expressions, which you may find in this book (Alcoholics Anonymous). Do not let any prejudices you may have against spiritual terms deter you from honestly asking yourself what they mean to you? At the start,  this was all we need to commence spiritual growth, to affect our first conscious relation with God, as we understand him. Afterward  we found ourselves accepting many things, which often seemed entirely out of reach. That was growth, but if we wished to grow we had to begin somewhere. So we used  our own conception, however limited it was.

We had to ask ourselves but one short question: Do I now believe, or am I even willing to believe, that there is a power greater than myself?  (see, BELIEVING IS SEEEING: 15 WAYS TO LEAVE THE PRISON OF DEPRESSION. DAP, (2114)  Louisville, KY 40217.) As soon a person can say that he or she does believe or is willing to believe, we emphatically assure him or her that they are on their way. It has been  repeated proven among us that upon this  simple cornerstone a wonderfully effective spiritual structure can be built.”

For literature, focused  on the subject of Depression and the  12 Steps of Depressed Anonymous, please visit our store.

We will continue our discussion about depression and spirituality in the posts to follow. Please, stay tuned. Your comments are always appreciated.

ARE YOU READY?

That’s right, I am ready for a life turn-around.. I am not a victim.  The First step of Depressed Anonymous says “We admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable. ”  We know and believe how we are no longer victims. Instead, we are learning how to be survivors, and much more. We refuse to be victims.”

Now that I have admitted that I am powerless over my depression and that I don’t do myself any good blaming myself with those daily reminders of how bad and unacceptable I am. I now am conscious of a new path out of my misery.”  BELIEVING IS SEEING: 15 WAYS TO LEAVE THE PRISON OF DEPRESSION.  Smith, Hugh (  2014) DAP, Louisville, Ky  40217 (p.54).

One of the best parts of being a member of Depressed Anonymous (Online or f2f group) is that we don’t have to be alone if we don’t want to be. That might sound strange to some of us but we have to admit that what keeps us depressed is our need to keep apart from others…to remain disconnected and isolated.  We have a need to be by ourselves and to stay apart from human contact.  For to be in contact with others means that we will have to take some risks and to make some  choices. But when I am depressed and alone I don’t have to make many choices or take any action except to keep isolating myself and staying apart.” THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK. DAP. Louisville, KY  40217. (p.4)

Until I could put a label on the feelings of pain, shame and need to be isolated from others — all I could do was to think how hollow and empty I continued to feel. And, the feelings grew stronger day by day…”  I had to make a decision. I had to do something. I believe that this is where many of us begin our journey out of depression. We know we have to do something. We will not just lie down and die. We will not be a victim.

As it states in our Big Book, DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS, (3rd edition ) 2011. (p31).

” But don’t get me wrong – I do not  believe that you can snap out of your depression or suddenly and dramatically get your life turned around by going to one Depressed Anonymous meeting or reading the Twelve Steps five times an hour. We know it just doesn’t happen that way, especially if you have lived with your depression any length of time…”

So, here we are. Decision time. What to do and where to go to find help. For myself and others, I have found it in a program of recovery that works (HOME STUDY PROGRAM AND/OR DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS MEETINGS)). It works for me. It has provided me with a “tool box ” of  ways where I gradually can loosen up the tight and deadly grip of depression on  my life and begin to live with the belief that I am going to get  better and feel differently. ARE YOU READY?

WE ARE OUR PARENTS

” In order to make a good inventory I need to go to my roots and discover how I came to be the person that I am today.  As the saying goes, “We are our parents.”

When we were small we “swallowed” our parents, meaning “swallowed” their main personality characteristics. Even today parents, grandparents, a stepparent, or guardian are all now part of our personality — for good or for ill. For myself to escape from my depression I need to discover how I might have received certain messages about myself from these adults who surrounded me as a helpless infant and child.  All of us have received  messages as children — some helpful and others not so helpful. Some messages directed toward us might have made us feel worthless because we got the message that we could never do anything to please others. ”

See FAMILY OF ORIGIN in THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK (P.29)  Please visit the store at DA website for more information.

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It has been said that the make-up  of one’s personality is a mix of the personal, the biological and the environmental.  As for our parents, so much of who we are can be traced back to early childhood beliefs about ourselves.  When we t reflect on  early childhood experiences are there any messages about ourselves that come to mind presently. These messages could be helpful to our development or not so helpful. Write down in your Workbook some of these reflections.

ALL OR NOTHING

ALL OR NOTHING

“During acute depression, avoid trying to set your whole life in order all at once.  If you take on assignments so heavy that you are sure to fail in them at the moment, then you  are allowing yourself to be tricked by your unconscious. Thus you will continue to make sure of your failure, and when it comes you will have  another alibi for still more retreat into depression.

“in short, the ‘:all or nothing’ attitude is a most destructive one. It is best to begin with whatever the irreducible minimums of activity are. Then work for an enlargement of these –day by day. Don’t be disconcerted by setbacks – just start over.”  Bill W., As Bill Sees it. (p.308)

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I know  about this “all or nothing ” experience. It was really made manifest in my daily study of the Twelve Steps and writing down my thoughts in my journal. Now I use the HOME STUDY PROGRAM, which lets me go at my own speed and examine my own life in relationship to the Steps as spelled out in the Depressed Anonymous Manual and  with questions asked in the Depressed Anonymous Workbook. Together,  these really have helped me focus on one piece of the puzzle at a time. When I first entered the Twelve Step fellowship I wanted to devour everything there was to know about addictions in one big gulp.  Gradually I learned that if I took my time, read the literature and continued to use Workbook and Manual one day at a time, that my life began to have that promised serenity and a hope that continues to this day.

“I find the insights of Bill W., to be at the cutting edge of whether or not a person depressed gets better or just simply gets., that is,  gets more isolated and disconnected from life.  Many hurting folks come to  Depressed Anonymous with the mistaken belief that they are coming to a class; while there, someone will teach them about how to quickly get out of their depression. They want a quick fix and then get right back to living the way they used to – never realizing that they have to do some work on themselves if they indeed want to stay free of depression…” DEPRESSED ONCE – NOT TWICE.

WE ALL HAVE COME TO THE SAME CONCLUSION: IS THERE HELP FOR ME TO RELIEVE THE PAIN OF MY________?(Please, add your own).

For myself, I have found a way out of my pain. As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, it’s not complicated. I found a program that is neither hit nor miss.  It is what you choose to make it. It is a steady ascent, if you will, into a life of sanity.The program of recovery lets you start at A and go all the way to  Z. It persistently confronts you with yourself, your own pain and a way to  relieve yourself of that pain–one day at a time. One step at a time. No need to rush. No need to hurry. We are now operating in God’s time.  The Twelve Steps of recovery, based on Spiritual principles, is a map that can lead you out of the wilderness  of doubt, anxiety and fear. I know. Been there. Done that. And, almost immediately following the admission that I need help in the 1st Step, we read in the  2nd Step of Depressed Anonymous, that we “came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could  restore us to sanity.”  As it say in the AA Big Book, God either is, or He isn’t. What was our choice to be?”  This Power is the God of your understanding. That isn’t complicated is it?

In the latest publication of Depressed Anonymous we read in  Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression which  states in the 5th Statement of Belief that we want to “Remember that an oak tree was once an acorn –recovery begins by taking one step at a time and accepting responsibility for moving from depression into peace and serenity.”

For a personal home study program to compliment your group work you can use the Depressed Anonymous Workbook and the Depressed Anonymous Manual. You’ll be glad that you did!

WHO IS IN CHARGE HERE, ANYWAY?

“The faith of my Sunday school days was gone, and the  “god of my understanding” was far off.  (But not so far as it turned out).  It stretched me to even imagine ” a power, a strength, and I became unwilling to take this route. I wasn’t ready to take on God yet.

However, God was ready to take me on, for in my ignorance I’d done about all AA  (We could add DA here. Editor) asks — I had become willing. And this is how he did it. In some casual reading about seeds, this statement caught my attention: ” Science can construct a seed identical to a natural seed in every detail but one –science’s seed will not germinate.”  The words seemed to leap from the page. They demanded answers. What is the missing ingredient in the man made seeds?  Is it some dimension I don’t know about?  Is it in everything? Even people?  And then the big question. Who is in charge here, anyway?

Backed into a corner finally, by a logic greater than my ego, I conceded. Too many miracles, too much confidence, and too much evidence of a power greater than myself all around me left me defenseless. and in awe. I surrendered. And the power wasted no time in reinforcing my belief with these words from the Big Book: “We found that as soon we were able to lay aside prejudice and  express even a willingness to believe in a power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results, even though it was impossible for any of us to fully define or comprehend that Power, which is God…

He is always there if I but look, feel and want him to be; my conscious contact is dependent upon my being willing.

My personal  thought about this passage is that it took a complete deflation of my ego before I said “I give up.” My life was in ruins and I had nowhere to go. No one had an answer–not even my church fellowship. (That came back in spades later). But who was able to help–it was that Twelve Step group  who said that they believed in this Power  that was truly greater than the booze, depression, gambling–insert your own addiction here–and you know what, they were right. That was more than 30 years ago.  The seed that was planted by these Steps has now produced in my life that is lived one day at a time.

SOURCE: The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, Depressed Anonymous Publications. (Question 11.11 in STEP ELEVEN SECTION. Louisville, KY  40217.

WHAT DO I BELIEVE ABOUT MYSELF?

Yes, what we believe about ourselves can and does make all the difference in the world. Yesterday we were sharing how certain people, places, situations and things have had power over our lives. Even those earlier and long forgotten relationships with significant others are still kicking around in our psyche’s.
As we continue to work through these relationships and attitudes about ourselves (less than) the following quote from our Depressed Anonymous Workbook says it best:
” We have given ourselves over to the belief that this growing feeling of helplessness is what must govern our lives, moods and behavior. We have given it license to run roughshod over every part of our life and over our relationships. Most people can’t see inside us and discover the pain that makes up every waking moment. For the most part we are able to hide how miserable we feel.” Depressed Anonymous Workbook, Step 2/ Page 12.
What power have you given over to others that you are willing to reclaim? And speaking of power–what Power greater than yourself are you able to turn to when you feel hopeless and helpless? And this power, has it been able to help you feel more in control of your life? Just some things to ponder today.

BUILDING A FUTURE ONE DAY AT A TIME!

“We admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our life was unmanageable.”

Granted this is not the most happiest of thoughts to read as we get going this day.  But you know what?  It’s at this point in your life that something, some attitude change is going to give you courage to take back control over your life. Years ago when I was doing a project for my degree work I discovered, (like I didn’t know it by my own life experiences) that when a person feels they have control over their life and life’s circumstances that their symptoms of depression start to disappear. So, is this a fact or is it something somebody just told me, without any foundation in fact. The truth of the matter is, that when I felt most helpless and hopeless and my life was falling apart, I had no control. It was literally the feeling of sliding  down that slippery slope. I actually felt at that moment like my life was truly spinning out of control. I can even remember the place, the time of day when it happened. That was in 1985. I was completely powerless. Helpless. All alone in my pit of isolation. Alone with my secret. I looked the same. No one knew the disabling effect this paralyzing  had in my life. But  I knew. That  was the important issue here. I knew. I felt the total pain of the isolation.

And now these many years latter, I still  use the Steps for CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT.  Back to Step One where we say we “admitted…” In our Workbook it states that  “But what good is it to admit that our depression has made us feel powerless? I already know what you might say?  That is why I have spent thousands of dollars on hospitals, doctors, counselors and drugs!” But really for a person to admit that they are powerless is what gives us new power –paradoxically. It’s like in the letting go of a death grip on our continued sadness that makes the sadness  gradually wither and die.. But somehow  – again I don’t know how it all works  –when I say I am depressed, deflated, and down and have the 12 Steps and the fellowship at my side there is a small ray of lite starting to shine in my mind and heart. It’s like saying I’ve had it this way all my life —depressed and isolated- now  I’ll try it your way.”

Here is the next question that can help clarify some of your thinking today.

One of the major ways people help build the walls of depression is to believe the following statement: “Since bad things happened to me in  the past, bad thing are bound to happen to me in the future. ” Today, reflect, be aware of your own feelings, write  down on paper your response, then get motivated to do something now, today. Do something which will  motivate you to move and perform an activity that you can achieve just today. You are building a future one day at a time.  Keep it simple!