Category Archives: Courage

The courage to live


“Being depressed is a state of great security. Jackie said, ” I go very quiet. I don’t want to know anybody. Very angry. I get very hurtful, not intentional hurt.  But that’s the only way I can get through to people, so they don’t get any closer. If I hurt them, they’ll stay away and therefore I can be on my own  in this depression, and hide behind the mask and just solely by hurting people, being quiet, feeling angry  inside and putting the barrier up, that’s how I could keep people away, which I feel helps me in  the state of depression… I used to feel safe within the blackness. A fear of being with people. Being really frightened  of everything and everybody around you. It’s just so painful. You feel drained of everything. Hiding behind the mask is putting yourself away from the outside world, the world you were frightened of stepping into, the people still seeing you with that smile, the joking, laughing, and that is where the mask comes on.  Behind that mask, I am suffering hurt, pain, rejection, helplessness, but behind the mask and shutting myself within four walls I feel secure, because none of the outside world can come in unless I let them hurt me.

Because depression gives a feeling of security, the depressed person can feel very much in control. (We are always capable  of  being two contrary things at once.  Depression is always a state of complete helplessness and complete control.)  A depressed person can take great pride in being in control. ”


COPYRIGHT(c) Beyond Fear. Dr. Dorothy Rowe, Fontana, London, 1987, PP. 307 – 308.


      Remember this…



Taking a chance

Years ago I took a chance. It was December 7th, 1982. I made a decision. I made a decision in my own behalf.  I walked into a room where men and women had gathered for a 12 Step meeting of recovery. Truthfully said,  I was scared  that autumnal evening, as I didn’t know what was to transpire the moment I went through the door. I didn’t know who I was to see and what would be said to me. Would I fit in?  This was my first time ever at a 12 step meeting.   I came because they said they had what I needed. Hope. I came into the room, said hello, took a seat and waited for the meeting to start. And still today, 34 years later, I still go  through the door, sit down and wait for the meeting to start. The only thing that has changed for me is that I have changed. I have hope. I have a plan. I have a plan that I put into effect every day of my life. The plan is simply to surrender my will to the will of a Power greater than myself. Nothing that I have tried before has worked but now this daily plan has exceeded my expectations.

You might say you have tried everything  and nothing has ever worked for you. I just knew I was drowning in a sea of guilt, fear and anxiety. The more I touched the nerves of doubt in my mind the deeper the pain became. We all know that the more we ruminate and obsess on our  unpleasant feelings the more unpleasant we are to feel. That is what was happening to me. Gradually my body closed down. The physiological result of these continual obsessive thoughts came to rest in a man’s body  who felt beaten and diminished.

That’s the way it was.  Now, today, I have gratitude for  my  new perspective on life  and thank my Higher Power that I have walked through the door of hope and  serenity. It took time and work and a supportive community to get me where I am today. I am not alone. Neither are you alone. Believe. I am following my plan today, 34 years of one day at a time.

What a gift God has lain  out for me, for you, and all those who feel beaten and diminished.


Read all the marvelous stories in  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville, Kentucky  for inspiration and direction.


Courage is fear that has said it’s prayers

Yes,  this statement is so true for any of us who have had to make the hard decision to face ourselves, our addictions and our sadness. Indeed, we all have to pray that we have the courage to face those situations in our lives where we have to admit, finally, that it’s do or die. We live with the conviction that something has to change. And I have found personally that it is  when I decide to change, when it is that I admit that I need help, that my courage grows inside of myself and  I start to find the resources and the help that I have been looking for and praying to find.

I now live out the Steps of recovery in my personal life and share with others how it does take courage to change. Also, once we take the step to seek help, it is then that our fears of  “what if ” no longer decide our fate!

I will outgrow fear

AS Bill W., states in the Big Book

” …we let God demonstrate through us, what God can do. We ask God to remove our fear and direct our attention to what God would have us be. At once, we commence to outgrow fear.”

We believe that as we become aware that God dwells in each of us and demonstrates its power in us the more we remain open to God’s presence.

We humans are so grounded in the material and the spatial that it is veritably impossible to be conscious of a Higher Power in and around us. We now believe that we can tap into this God consciousness and let it unfold its plan, it purpose and mission for our life. It will not plan something small and insignificant  but will, by small steps, lead us, cause us to unfold in our lives what it has for us to accomplish. And I believe the spiritual nature and the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous is what God uses to get us aware and conscious of its love and presence.”

In this quote from I’ll do it when I feel better we learn from the 7th Promise of Depressed Anonymous that as we move through the Steps and our daily  use of the program of recovery  that “we have less concern about self and gain  interest in others.”

“I set in motion a force, a loving force of the creator in my personal life. In time I am filled with energy and found that this power can change me and restore my life with purpose and meaning.”


SOURCE: Copyright(c) I’LL DO IT WHEN I FEEL BETTER. (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. pp.43-45.





                                                    –Maxie Dunnam

More Than Comfort

When I am feeling depressed, I repeat to myself statements such as these…”Pain is the touchstone of progress.”…”I fear no evil.” …”This, too will pass.” … “This experience can be turned to benefit.”

These fragments of prayer bring far more than mere comfort. They keep me on the track of right acceptance; they break up my compulsive themes of guilt, depression, rebellion, and pride; and sometimes they endow me with the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Bill W., writing in Grapevine, March 1962.


My mantra, personally,  is the Serenity Prayer.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,  the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

I Don’t Have To Feel This Way!

As one person told Dorothy Rowe: “When I think of all those years I wasted being depressed, I wish  I would have listened. I’d wish I’d realized that all I had to do was say that I had enough of being put upon and put down,  feeling that there was something wrong with me. I’d like to go up to the hospital and tell everybody: ‘You don’t have to be like this.’ Up there nobody ever told me that.  I’d see those people going on and on being miserable. If I’d have seen someone like me now, it would have given me hope.”

SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous. 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications,. Louisville. P.72.


How often do we present this message to those who enter into our world.  Our world is one of hope, possessed with the awesome reality that I am different. I have changed.  I can use my tool kit of the 12 steps to gradually dismantle and replace the negative features of my life with new directions, new behaviors and continuing to put into action those positive beliefs about who I am. The Depressed Anonymous fellowship helps us meet others who were depressed and  who now are living a full life.  We are grateful for coming into contact with those who  have a  story of hope to share. So, if you are feeling miserable and helpless, just know  that what you read here will definitely make a difference in your life. We don’t have a magic wand that will take away your pain but we do have a step by step recovery process that can  lighten your load and give you courage to live one hour, one 24 hour period at a time. You are no longer alone. No “snap out of it” from our group. You can make your decision today to join us and  begin a journey that can  lead you eventually  to say,  “I don’t have to be like this.” I did!



David Karp, in his work Speaking of sadness: Depression, Disconnection, and the Meanings of Illness (1996)  confesses that in the middle of interviewing persons for this work  states, “I was initially puzzled by the number of respondents who spontaneously  spoke about the role of spirituality in their lives.  During the early stages of the data collection, however spirituality meant no more  or less to me than any of the large number of issues that were coming out of the interviews. At a certain point, though, enough people spoke about spirituality that I began routinely to ask everyone about it. Certainly there were many who had little to say, and some who claimed no interest in spirituality, but the question often elicited an outpouring of talk.  After 25 or so interviews, it seemed that my anticipated chapter on coping and adapting would have to pay at least some attention to the role of spirituality.” (p.190).

Karp was deeply impressed by what he calls the “courage and grace”  how some of his interviewees faced their own pain of depression. He says  he “left many interviews with a sense that spiritually engaged individuals were in touch with something important. ”  He concludes by saying  “These people possessed or knew something that I didn’t.” (pp. 190 -191).

I think most of you who are reading my posts know that I too am an advocate  of the  power of  spirituality in the recovery process for persons depressed. In the American culture and most probably in most Western cultures, where one’s lack of meaningful work and diminishing intimate relationships, or “double trouble” as a colleague of Karp,  Charles Derber points out, promotes a community of strangers, alone, isolated and disconnected.  He describes depression as the disease of disconnection.  Freud when asked what makes for human happiness he replied ” arbeiten  und  leben”. (work and love).

All the above is put before you, the reader, to continue to present to you how important  my own recovery from depression  continues  to this day because of my own spirituality dependent on my Higher Power, or the God of my understanding. In BELIEVING IS SEEING:15 WAYS TO LEAVE THE PRISON OF DEPRESSION (2014) I share how I believe that I am not alone, as I have other fellow travelers who will lead me around the ditches and the potholes of that old depressive life style that once ruled my thoughts and actions. Now I am on a personal mission of growth and recovery.” (p.13).

I still have my potholes, ditches and rough seas to maneuver around,. Thanks to a Power greater than myself— I pray and continue rowing to shore, and this Power as I understand it, has been getting me to that safe harbor of serenity and safety.