Category Archives: Depressed Anonymous

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.

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.

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.

Keeping my Higher Power Highest

Throughout my life, different things have been my Higher Power.  A certain job that I loved and prioritized above all else, or the person I was dating.  When I was in active addiction, different substances were a higher power.  Before recovery, the looming black cloud of deep depression was a higher power.  

Once I got into recovery and the steps, I was encouraged to find a true Higher Power, or God of my understanding – a Power greater than myself that could restore me to sanity.  In other words, Step 2.  I can honestly say that after many months of praying and working the steps, this Power relieved me of the obsession to drink and helped me to recover from the hopeless dark pit of deep depression. 

My challenge today, now that I am not in that deep dark hole of depression, is to keep my Higher Power the highest priority in my life.  For example, I recently started a short term job in a field that I am very passionate about.  It has been very demanding and time consuming, and I’m finding that this position is consuming my thoughts, actions, and life.  When I talked to my sponsor about this, she asked “So, has this job has become your Higher Power?”  I realized she was right!  Where was God in my life?  In my thoughts?  How can I be working Step 3 if I am not cognizant of my Higher Power and turning my will and my life over to His care?  I realized this job had become my priority in life, instead of my Higher Power and my recovery.  I am grateful for this reminder, so that I can get back on track.  I know that when I don’t place my Higher Power and my recovery first in my life, I start to slip back into old thinking patterns and old behaviors, which for me will lead me back into depression. 

Thank you, God, that You are always there for me, ready and willing to help me, no matter how many times I stray.

POLAND: Depressed Anonymous groups publish Depressed Anonymous, 3rd Edition and Workbook into the Polish language

Congratulations to the Depressed Anonymous fellowship in Poland. We received the first edition of both the Depressed Anonymous 3rd Edition and the Depressed Anonymous Workbook published in the Polish language. The Depressed Anonymous fellowship groups are taking this major step in providing the original DA texts in the heart language of the Polish people.

We wish them all well–one day at a time.

Hugh, for our fellowship.

Roadblocks and pitfalls in recovery

I think sometimes people have the idea that recovery is a straight line angled upward with a positive slope.  For me, that is not the case.   My recovery is a conglomeration of sine waves, bumps, upward swoops, pot holes, and squiggly lines.  Overall, it does have a positive upward slope.  In other words, as the promises state, I have more good days than bad. Today, I have many more good days than bad.

But what to do on those bad days?  That is the question.  How do I navigate recovery when I am in a downward slope, have a roadblock or a pitfall?  How do I get through this period of mild depression?

First of all, I remind myself that This too shall pass.  It may sound cliché, but it is true!  If I am having a difficult day, I do not have to let it become a bad couple of days or a bad week.  I do not have to let it go to a moderate or severe depression.  Sometimes I can even limit it to bad moments.  The point is, this depressing feeling will not last forever.  I do have a choice to realize that it is temporary, to do something about it and not let it take over.

So what do I do about it?

The program gives me tools.  It’s up to me to use them.  Sometimes I have to pray for the willingness to use them.  The willingness to help myself undepress myself and stop being a victim.  When I’m in a pitfall, I feel alone and isolated. That is my disease talking to me.  The reality is that I’m in a program with people who understand me and care about me.  I can reach out to them and be honest about how I’m feeling.  This simple but sometimes difficult action really does help me a lot.  By telling on my feelings, I feel less isolated and more connected to others.   Another thing I do is journal to my Higher Power.  I tell my Higher Power what I’m thinking and feeling.  Sometimes I follow it up with journaling from my Higher Power to me.  This is the voice of truth.  This helps me to contradict those negative thoughts and see the truth as my Higher Power sees it.   When I’m in a slump, I’ve learned that it’s okay to be in a slump and to be kind and loving with myself through this period.  I’ve learned that my recovery is not a straight line upwards, and that it’s okay for me to have some squiggly parts and bumps in that recovery journey.  I can learn to give myself that same love and compassion that I would give another struggling person.  Another tool I like to use is the “way to go self” list.  When I’m in a slump, I focus on the negative, specifically those “I’m not good enough” statements.  I neglect seeing my positives.  So I make a list of my assets or those things that I am doing well, or those things that I am accomplishing.  And I’ll give myself double stars for doing something positive when I don’t feel like doing it – because that is extra difficult for me!  So by making a point to look at the positive things I am doing, it helps me gain clarity and see the positives.

To sum up, bumps in the road of recovery are part of the process for me today.  It doesn’t mean I’m bad or need to shame myself.  It means that life happens, and now I have an opportunity to use the tools this program gives me – IF I choose to do so.

Stacy S

The Dep-Anon Family Group and Depressed Anonymous are my best friends

Recently, Dep-Anon the 12 Step recovery program, for family and friends of the depressed was launched. Because I am a member of Depressed Anonymous, I continue to experience the power of that fellowship.

The Dep-Anon manual and discussion guide for family and friends of the depressed is a powerful support group for those of us who are depressed. This new fellowship, like the Depressed Anonymous fellowship, is organized around the spiritual principles of the 12 Steps. It is similar to the Al-Anon fellowship where members keep the focus on themselves and their recovery, using the Steps. Instead of trying to fix the alcoholic, they take care of their own issues and do not try to fix the alcoholic. The fixing must come from the alcoholic. Also, the family members learn about the progressive illness of alcoholism and the negative effect that it has on the whole family. That’s where Al-Anon comes in – taking care of their own lives and feelings.

The alcoholic has AA meetings and a fellowship to support them in their search for sobriety. The Depressed have their own fellowship and support by attending their Depressed Anonymous meetings.

“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 and admit that from this time forward we commit ourselves to the principle of living and let live. We also espouse the four C’s which state that our beliefs about NOT taking responsibility for our depressed significant other. These four C’S can be a constant reminder of how we are to live each day.

These are basically our four Statements of Belief:
1) I believe that I didn’t cause it. 2) I believe that I can’t control it. 3) I believe that I can’t cure it. 4) I believe all that I can do is to 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 their lives. 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 the depressed family member.” (Dep-Anon. Pgs. 15-16).

So, it is at this point where other family members can gather together at their Dep-Anon meetings, using the spiritual principles of the Steps, and continue to focus on their own issues. They learn more about depression by being an active member of Dep-Anon and discover that this is the best way to help their depressed family member.

Resource

(COPYRIGHT) Dep-Anon: A 12 Step recovery program for the families and friends of the depressed. (2021) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville., Ky.

This new publication can be ordered online from VISIT THE STORE @www.depressedanon.com.

The Dep-Anon handbook combines issues of both the depressed and family

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.