Category Archives: 12 Step Meeting

Three Ways To Grow In Life

Our recently published book, Dep-Anon, a 12 Step Recovery Program for Families and Friends of the Depressed, the author quotes Jack Canfield, who shares with us the three ways to grow in life.

  1. Quit doing what you have been doing that doesn’t work;
  2. Start doing more of what does work;
  3. Start doing things that you’ve never done before and see if it works.

RESOURCES
© Hugh S., Dep-Anon, a 12 Step Recovery Program for Families and Friends of the depressed. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky. p.94.

See: https://depanonfam.godaddysites.com

Stick to the plan. A prescription for change today.

It took me awhile to put into practice a simple idea. That idea is to do the same thing, day after day, in the same place and at the same time. If you have trouble following through on ideas or commitments, then you might feel better about reading the next few paragraphs.

With different situations in my life, some upheavals, some turning points, changes in my life goals, plus trying to do to much at the same time. It was somehow never easy to do what I knew needed to be dome. I used as my mantra “I’ll do it when I feel better.” In fact, this idea seemed to express perfectly, what I was doing, so I titled one of my books after it. Gradually, procrastination, I sensed, would not fit into my recovery program. I had put off for too long to knuckle down and start to do the work that I needed to do.

Here is my plan. I know it can work for you as well. There is no particular time limit on how long your prayer time is to be.

1. Everyday, I have found that morning works for me, I go to the quiet place that is best for my time alone with God, and start with a daily reading of Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for 12 Step Fellowships. This reading begins with an Affirmation, then a reflection, and a final meditation. I have my notebook handy and I write down a positive thought that I want to carry me through my day. Most of the time this is a simple single sentence.

2. I then read and reflect on a paragraph or two from our Depressed Anonymous manual.This is coupled with the accompanying Depressed Anonymous Workbook, where personal reflections, in the form of questions, help me clarify how I think about myself. These questions continue to uncover issues which I might have never encountered, becoming the positive basic building blocks, helping with an understanding of the nature of my own depression experience, and developing in myself strategies, the 12 spiritual principles of growth, for my personal recovery, day-by-day.

It’s not complicated. It’s a plan. This time of prayer and meditation is a powerful way to make “conscious contact” with the God of your understanding. (Check out Chapter 10 in “I’ll do it when I feel better.” This chapter discusses more fully the topic of prayer and meditation.

Resources

(c)Hugh Smith. Higher Thoughts for Down Days:365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky.
(c) Depressed Anonymous, THIRD EDITION (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY
(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications.Louisville, Ky.
(C)Hugh Smith. I’ll do it when I feel better. (2020) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky.

+ These works can by ordered online at www.Depressedanon.com. Click onto The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore.

The ways we can make a “conscious contact” with our God.

For many of us, this might be the first time that we have run into information on how to make a “conscious contact” with God. In our program of Depressed Anonymous this is what we actually accomplish as we work through the 12 spiritual principles of recovery.

In Step 11 of our mutual aid group, our recovery program, Depressed Anonymous, has a clear and succinct method for making this a strong possibility for those of us who are willing to follow God’s path to freedom.

In Step 11 we learn how to get in touch with the God of our understanding.

“Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry it out.”

The major words that stand out in this Step are prayer, meditation, doing God’s will for us and the and the power to carry it out.

On pages 95-96, Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition we read

“That when we are especially depressed, it is hard to keep our mind on things such as prayer, but with continued effort and practice, we can come to believe that whatever we are doing just might be better than sitting in our pool of self-pity. If we haven’t ever been big on ‘organized religion’ we have a good chance that this new approach in being with God is much less judgemental, and that this God of the Twelve Steps is much more accepting than other concepts of God that we might once have held. Sometimes we have found that our religious background has filled us with a large amount of crippling guilt, shame and hopelessness rather than the complete acceptance that we will receive from the Higher Power.”

By now, here at Step 11 we have made some great strides in not only understanding the nature of our depression, but also to spend some time on what brought us to this point in the first place.

Our journey of hope begins with Step 1, where we admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable. This admission is what brought me into our fellowship, Depressed Anonymous. It is here that my life began to change for the better. I became part of a fellowship where I learned that it was my belief that this Higher Power, who greater than myself, could finally restore me to sanity.

Throughout the process of living with the 12 spiritual principles in my own life and becoming part of the life of all those who are the DA fellowship, I gradually learned the more I placed my trust in my Higher Power,and kept in contact with his will, my life, thinking, feelings and behaviors changed dramatically for the better. The closer I stayed in contact with God, took part in my fellowship meetings, talked with my sponsor on a regular basis the more serenity became big part of my life.

THE YEAR 2022
How to continue CONSCIOUS CONTACT with God and making your life a daily retreat.

In 2022 my daily life will start with prayer and meditation each morning. I will sit quietly, get my mind quiet, start at the same time and be in the same location every day. This regular schedule helps us stay focused on our time with God.
The following is my plan and I hope it might be yours as well. You can use those prayers and meditations that best suit you.

1. I will read my HIGHER THOUGHTS FOR DOWN DAYS: 365 DAILY THOUGHTS AND MEDITATIONS FOR 12 STEP FELLOWSHIP GROUPS.
2. i will focus on a paragraph or two from reading our DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS MANUAL,THIRD EDITION.
3.Answer a few questions FROM THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK

Following the daily retreat I will make an entry into my Journal about any inspiring thought that I can carry with me throughout my day.
Hugh, for the fellowship

ALL DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS LITERATURE CAN BE ORDERED ONLINE FROM OUR DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS BOOKSTORE.

Having had a spiritual awakening …

Step 12 is about having a spiritual awakening. Remember, Step 12 is the last Step of our 12 Step recovery program. The 12 Steps are the 12 spiritual principles, the core of what we believe and what our lives and daily actions are based. The following remarks are mine and express the belief that has carried me personally through a time of darkness and hopelessness. Until, I had a “spiritual experience…an awakening.” I woke up to a new way of living my life. My old way of living brought me to the edge of personal disaster. That is, until I walked into a meeting of people who were just like myself. Let me explain. They WERE like me. They welcomed me. They shared how the God of their understanding gave them a new way of looking at themselves and others. They had an experience that changed their lives. They had a “spiritual awakening.” Their lives were no longer consumed by the devastatingly presence of fear and aloneness.

The text following is found in the Introduction to Depressed Anonymous, our 12 Step recovery program where the author extends an invitation to be part of this fellowship.

We now have a solution to offer those who want to reach out and grow into the new way of life, a life that is now focused on recovery and a feeling of hope. With this offer and solution daily before our eyes, we are beginning to see that the depressed have to depend on a spiritual experience to really be free from that debilitating scourge of depression. It is this spiritual experience, coupled with the power of the fellowship of those who like ourselves where we neither need to explain of excuse ourselves or apologize for being depressed that is the basis for our recovery.
You must want to begin this journey seriously enough to actually begin the recovery program of Depressed Anonymous. Someday I hope to know you as a kindred spirit in recovery.
Depressed Anonymous, 3rd Edition, p. 23

Again, I would like to share a quote from A Meister Eckarte (c. 1260-1328) who shaped his insight for us about the nature of knowing God and how our knowing, comes from God himself. Here are his thoughts about the Spiritual awakening that comes to those of us and are “willing to turn their lives and wills over to the care of God as they understand God to be.”

This work then when it is perfect, will be due solely to God’s action while you have been passive. If you really forsake your own knowledge and will, then surely and gladly God will enter your own knowledge shining clearly. Where God achieves self-consciousness, your own knowledge is of no use nor has it standing. Do not imagine that your own intelligence may rise to it, so that you may know God. Indeed, when God divinely enlightens you, no natural light is required to bring that about. This (natural light) must in fact be completely extinguished before God can come in with his light, bringing back with God all that you have forsaken and a thousand times more, together with a new form to contain it all.
Depressed Anonymous, 3rd Edition, p. 161

In Depressed Anonymous, you can read the stories of those who have had their lives changed by letting go, letting God, and willing to do what it takes to recover from depression. Please join us.

RESOURCE
Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd Edition, (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville KY

Promises of Recovery

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.  We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.  That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.  Self-seeking will slip away.  Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. The fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.

When I first joined DA, the Promises of Recovery statement gave me a glimmer of hope that I have not seen in a long, long time. Living in this modern world as a thirty something year old, with unrealistic expectations of myself and my life, and resentments building up overtime, I found myself burned out like a log turning into ash. But I got used to finding comfort in the smoldering fire… at least my life was basically over and I could just fade into the background and withdraw from this world.

Joining DA really made an impact on how I saw life, and towards the word “future”, which I was avoiding at all cost. The Promises of Recovery gave me hope, that there was a life waiting for me if I made a decision to change my perspective and my old habits. It was a scary decision filled with doubts and terror and a whole lot of shallow breathing. But I was desperate; I would have believed in a chair if that meant that it would help me feel and be different. So I decided to give it my all, with the same energy I used to fulfill my perfectionist self. I stuck to meetings and diligently worked on the steps. I’ve faced some of my past and figured out a way to live with it without regret or shutting the door on it. I was shown many instances of serenity and peace throughout the shares in the meetings. I was very much down the scale and at the very bottom, but I used that to relate to others and helped my fellows by just listening and understanding and crying with them. I realized that so much of my suffering came from my self-seeking ways, and helping people with something I deeply understood filled me with acceptance and service. I was giving myself permission of being helped when I helped others. I learned to forgive others and by doing so was able to forgive myself. It’s funny how everything starts circling back to you.

I thought The Promises of Recovery was all such extravagant promises. It took me a while to allow myself to believe them. But that’s what I learned. Spirituality is a choice. There are so many things standing in my way, but they will be gone if I decide to let them. My recovery has been a slow process, with one step forward and many steps back. I can’t put a finger on a certain step or mantra, but the promises are being fulfilled inside of me, sometimes quickly, most of the time slowly. “All growth is gradual in this natural world.”  I can really stand by that now. And when I hit one of the many bumps and roadblocks on the way, I just have to tell myself, “It’s fine, I’m working on it”. 

Anna T.

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
Depressed Anonymous 3rd Edition, © 2011, Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville KY. (Pages 115)

Fun? When was the last time you had some?

In Step Four of our Depressed Anonymous Workbook, we find the statement: “When was the last time you had some fun?” You could also add when was the last time you actually laughed or even had a smile on your face? In one of our early Depressed Anonymous meetings. Bob told the group that the DA meeting was the only place where he could actually find himself laughing.

At our online Depressed Anonymous meetings, we are presently sharing our thoughts and feelings about Step Four. As part of our inventory, there are a number of questions pertaining to our Family of Origin. The following section helps me to take and reflect on my own family of origins and the relationship that I had with all those persons who I shared my life in those early childhood years.

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 all are 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 from my depression I need to discover how I might have received certain messages about myself from those 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.

Our Depressed Anonymous manual, with an excerpt from Step Four gives a detailed and traumatic account of one of my experiences as a 10-year-old child. This event had recurring consequences for my young life and into my adult years. We might want to take a deeper look into some of the unpleasant feelings that we have today, traced to their origins in our childhood. I know for a fact that these events, producing guilt and shame, were finally dealt with in therapy as a young adult.

“I still remember being embarrassed when my third-grade teacher told me in front of the whole class That I would never be like my brother who was much smarter than me. I used to feel my face get hot every time I thought about that embarrassing incident. But the more I share my shame of having been exposed to others about something that I had no control over, the freer I became of that fear. The same principle is at work here in the Depressed Anonymous group. We can take our own personal inventory of our weaknesses and fears and trust the group to hear us out and accept our stories of shame and hurt as we accept theirs. We begin to see how and why so many people feel bad because in their earlier years people made them feel they could never measure up to the way others expected them to grow up. By becoming our little child once more, we paradoxically grow up.”

More about our childhood experiences, pleasant and unpleasant in the days to follow. And since it is time for school to start again, it seems that our bodies, sensors that they are, remind us that the Fall weather and school both arrive at the same time of year.

(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, p.29.
(c) Depressed Anonymous, (2011) THIRD EDITION. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, p. 55.

Today’s cleanliness can’t rely on yesterday’s shower

Bill, what the heck are you talking about?

Sometimes when we are depressed it feels like too much effort to take a shower. Sometimes you are just not in the mood. Cleansing yourself is not a chore, it is something you can do that is self-nurturing and you feel better as a result. Sometimes the shock of the water on your skin can feel like it’s too much. Continue on through it, you will eventually feel better.

So too goes recovery. Sometimes going to a meeting can feel like a chore and something you don’t want to do. Trust me, you will feel better as a result.

Diving into step work can be a shock to the system – who wants to take a fearless and moral inventory of themselves? Step work is just that, Work, but it is necessary if you want the deep healing and cleansing that is possible.

Some people say 12 Step programs are brainwashing. I don’t know about you, but my brain needs a good washing.

Recovery is all about achieving a daily reprieve from whatever your addiction is. Today’s sobriety can’t rely on yesterday’s recovery work. Recovery is a spiritual practice that you must practice. Not forever, just for today!

Dive in. Do the work. You are worth it!

Yours in recovery, Bill R

The potential reason why we’re depressed and anxious

There are many potential causes for depression and anxiety. Genetics, chemical imbalance in the brain, trauma, side effects of certain medications, and yet many more. Johann Hari, in his TED Talk This could be why you’re depressed or anxious suggests that many of us have the contributing factors of:

  • A feeling of not belonging
  • Lack of purpose in life

Depressed Anonymous can provide relief for both of those conditions. You belong here if you believe you belong here. As the Third Tradition states: The only requirement for Depressed Anonymous membership is a desire to stop saddening yourself. If you have the desire within you to stop saddening yourself then you can decide that you belong here. By participating in recovery you become part of. Participating could be sharing your story, but participating is also showing up and listening intently to your colleagues as they share their story.

Within Depressed Anonymous you have a purpose! Tradition Five states: Each group has but one primary purpose – to carry its message to the depressed person who still suffers. Each one of us can carry the message that a daily reprieve from depression is possible. By applying the spiritual principles of the Twelve Steps you can be relieved of the symptoms of depression for today.

Recovery is about progress, not perfection. Dark thoughts will come back to me. I have depression, and that is where my brain goes by default. With recovery I have a choice. I can choose to use the tools and techniques that I have learned here within Depressed Anonymous. Recovery will not magically take depression away for me forever but it is possible to have a daily reprieve from the darkness of depression. The following slogan sums this up for me:

The monkey is off my back, but the circus is still in town.

I don’t have to apply the spiritual principles each and every day, but rather I choose to apply the principles each day. I don’t have to take a shower each day, but I choose to do so, and I feel better as a result.

Yours in recovery, Bill R