The toolbox of Depressed Anonymous
I think all of us have a toolbox in our lives that we use from time to time. For some of us, our toolbox provides us with a living. The same is true for my own toolbox. I received my toolbox back in 1982 when I joined a 12 step fellowship group of recovery.. The tools that I received at that time I still use. In fact I have added other tools as well. The tools I need the most I use every day. Have you a toolbox? And if your answer is yes, what do you have in your tool box?
In our DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS Big Book, one of our fellowship writes the following account of her use of the toolbox of DA. She states that “it seemed that I was living in another world until one of my parents gave me a phone number of Depressed Anonymous. The Depressed Anonymous meetings, plus reading the Depressed Anonymous literature and manual have all provided me with the tools to live without being depressed. Most important of all, the Twelve Steps mentioned in the book have made me understand that God (my Higher Power) will give me strength to deal with my depression and get on with my life and be happy with myself.
I read the Depressed Anonymous manual, go to counseling, and attend the Depressed Anonymous meetings. The meetings are a must. I need them to survive. The support group’s members help each other by listening, talking, expressing their feelings, and give support on how to cope with depression.
All these new tools have helped me and will continue to do so…”Depressed Anonymous. Page 148, Personal story #29.
Waiting in truth implies trust –a trust in a promise. In the last number of weeks we have been talking about the PROMISES of Depressed Anonymous and how with time, patience, work and trust we can gradually free ourselves from the ravages and pain of depression. Truly it does take one to know one when we are speaking of depression and how that painful and isolating experience is such a debilitating experience. When I was depressed more than a few years ago, I trusted that the Promises of the 12 Steps of AA and now Depressed Anonymous would help me too. It took time and work–something that had its root in my childhood was not going to be healed in a matter of days or weeks. With a firm trust in those people who, in the context of a group fellowship, said it was because of using the 12 steps that gave them hope and discovered a new way of living.
“It seems to me that the more we share our story with other members of the Depressed Anonymous group, the more we can hear for the first time our own unique story. It is amazing how, when we speak to others about ourselves and our addictions, we begin to loosen up and release in ourselves a new sense of ourselves — a freedom to express our true selves. It is at these times when we discuss our addiction at the Depressed Anonymous meetings that we get first-hand information and feedback on how others are walking free of their sadness and hollowness.”
Source: Depressed Anonymous (2011) 3rd ed., Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Page 79.
PS. Also, in The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, on page 68 and at # 8.36 we discover how our depression may have kept us disconnected from others.
PROMISE # 7 OF DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS
“As we start our program of recovery we notice that there are persons in the group who are less well off than are we.”
” Newcomers also remind us of ourselves when we stepped into the group for the first time. They struggle to keep back tears and hurt as they speak, possibly for the first time, trusting that they are with people who have been where they are. This is what provides the beginning of hope and healing. People in the group speak their language of hope and possibility. They hear how recovery is possible. They want those tools to use in their own recovery.
… We need to air our hurts, our shame, and let others hear our story. (3)
I personally believe that once I have made the first step, and admitted my powerlessness, I set in motion a force, a loving force of the creator in my personal life. In time I am filled with energy and find that this power can change me and restore my life with purpose and meaning. It can prepare me to meet those who are willing to risk leaving the prison of their depression. By my own interest in getting in touch with the Higher Power and getting its direction to “do the next right thing” I find that my own life is gradually becoming more filled with purpose and energy.”
SOURCE: I’LL DO IT WHEN I FEEL BETTER. (2013) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Pages 43-44.
“Many depressed people will say, ‘I don’t know why I am depressed. It just happened suddenly, like a black cloud coming down.’ They say this because they do not want to look at the terrible events which threatened to destroy the way they saw themselves and their world. These events might not seem very significant to other people, but to the person concerned, they are very important. It is not the events in themselves which made them important, frightening, or overwhelming, but the meaning which we give to these events.” Dorothy Rowe, Ph.D., in the Foreword to the DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS book. Page 12.
Wouldn’t you just like to see, at least once, why that 1 doctor, dentist, whoever, DIDN”T recommend this or that particular product? Who knows, it might lead us to rethink whether or not we should buy the highly recommended product. It’s like the TV commercials proclaiming how this or that particular medication is the one that can work for us. Well, possibly so, but there is a caution for those who do choose to use it. Following the glowing, miraculous effects of this or that medication, or latest product there follows the frightening list of cautions about what might happen if you do use it. Granted, by law, to protect the consumer, the product being hawked must list every side effect experienced by a user in the trials before being approved by the Gov’t. But as the list goes on and on about what MIGHT befall you by the use of their product this is enough to scare the willies out of any rational person.
Once when I gave a doctor at a local hospital our brochure on Depressed Anonymous, where it was written that since most medications contain some side effects, it is good that the patient refer these to their physician. We just wanted to help the person receiving antidepressant medications that there could be side effects for those taking these meds. Anyway, he didn’t think that disclosure would be helpful to his patients. Well, guess what–now with every med that you put in your mouth and with every filled prescription you receive, a piece(s) of paper detailing the side effects of the meds are always included with your meds. Nothing like being prepared for those potential side-effects which you are experiencing and which you need to contact your physician who prescribed them. I am thankful that this information is there for my protection.
My point here is that it is wise to consider the dissenting voice among those many who promote a product/group–even a Depressed Anonymous group such as ours. That 1 doctor, nurse, dentist, cardiologist might have something that we might need to be cautioned about.
So the next time you see and hear about a product which 9 out of 10 (whomever) recommend, you might want to say to yourself, ‘ I wonder that that 1 person didn’t want to recommend about the product.’
A prescription for sanity in one’s life!
“Came to believe that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity.” This is Step Two of Depressed Anonymous and it provides a program for those of us who want a step by step approach to putting light, hope and sanity in our lives.
If you feel you are losing your sanity, then this is a program for you. DEPRESED ANONYMOUS WORKS FOR ME!
THE MIRACLE OF THE GROUP
Yes, I believe in miracles! I believe in the miracles that I see happening in the lives of those persons depressed who keep coming back to our Depressed Anonymous meetings. As it says in the promises in the Depressed Anonymous book (2013) that these promises will materialize quickly or sometimes slowly, that is a life filled with hope and serenity, and they will happen if we work for them and keep at it.
” … I now have the support from people who have walked where I have walked.” Depressed Anonymous, page 127.
Again, it is so important to find a group of caring persons who keep coming back–keep getting better and who share with the new members, and how by using the 12 Steps of recovery, they gradually leave behind the prison of their depression. Our fellowship continually provides a ” 12 Step toolbox” to its members which they can use in their daily lives to live with hope. More importantly, they will hear how those who have left their symptoms of depression behind now help others who have just started out on the journey. They now have the tools and the key that unlocks their own prison doors.
I WANT TO CARRY THE MESSAGE OF HOPE TO THOSE OTHERS WHO ARE DEPRESSED.
“I (Dr. Dorothy Rowe) said what I so often said, that the best way depressed people can help themselves is to help one another. Form a group, get to know one another, support one another.”
They also think that all I have to do is just be cheerful and my mood will automatically change. It’s like telling someone to stop their diarrhea as if they have any control over it. My depression took time to develop and so it will take time and work to remove. The people who are the most supportive are those who have been depressed themselves, they won’t tell you to “snap out of it!”
I best support myself when I find other people like myself and try and help them.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, and the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. (Personal comments).
SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for 12 Step Fellowship Groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky. Page 201.
“What is the power of Depressed Anonymous? Well, let me say that when I started attending Depressed Anonymous meetings, I went for a couple of months and then stopped. I stopped going because of my depression was so bad that I didn’t want to leave my apartment. I didn’t want to be around to talk with anyone. I didn’t want to do anything but crawl in a hole somewhere and isolate myself from everything. Then after about six weeks of isolation, I called the residential treatment facility where I had been a client to see if I had received any mail there. One of the members of the Depressed Anonymous group where I attended answered the phone. I spent a few minutes talking to her and there was something in her voice that told me that for some reason, it was important for me to be at that meeting. After the meeting was over, I suddenly realized the importance and power of Depressed Anonymous.
So what is the power of Depressed Anonymous? For me, its just like attending the first meeting. I was a little scared and apprehensive at first, but then I found the Depressed Anonymous meeting was a place to go where there were other depressed people just like me. They could relate to and understand what I was going through. They didn’t judge me or think of me as crazy. I was accepted.”
SOURCE: PERSONAL STORIES. A quote from Ray in Depressed Anonymous (2013) 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Page.133. OPOWER