Category Archives: Community building

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)

Don’t Compare – Identify

When we compare ourselves to others it is a divisive action. We separate ourselves from others. What we are all looking for is to be part of, to belong, to be in a community.

If you truly want to be in a community – stop comparing. Seek instead the common ground.

Look for the good in people. You will find what you are looking for. Some people have coined a new term: The Law of Attraction. That law has been present for a long time.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
Matthew 7:7-8 New International Version 1

When you go to a 12 Step meeting and listen to people sharing, don’t focus on the surface details. The details will differ. Listen instead for the emotions behind the stories. The same things will come up again and again:

  • fear
  • loneliness
  • feeling like you don’t belong
  • abandonment and neglect
  • hurt
  • anger
  • abuse (severe or mild, physical or emotional)

You belong if you say you belong. You belong if you seek the common ground among your peers.

Yours in recovery, Bill R

Notes

  1. I’m not looking to convert you into Christianity. I’m merely pointing out the truth in a single line from that scripture. Take what you like and leave the rest. Sometimes even religious people get things right.

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

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.

I am depressed. I wish our families had a support group for themselves. – Depressed Anonymous member

Yes, all of us who are depressed or who have been depressed have said the same thing. I agree wholeheartedly. My family doesn’t have a clue as to the deep and hurting feelings that we experience. But how could they? They’ve never been depressed. I would never wish this on them or anyone, but my family needs are an understanding of depression and the power that it exerts over our lives.

As a depressed person myself., I know about the pain, the guilt, and the isolating nature of depression. Even though family members and friends are unaware of the life-threatening nature of our illness, it is a must that they begin to focus on themselves and their recovery. By getting involved in a fellowship with other families of the depressed, they learn of the nature of depression and the prison that keeps us immobilized. They also learn that we refuse to respond to their help, no matter what they say or do. In many cases, it pushes us away.
The Dep-Anon fellowship could be the depressed person’s best friend. The reason is that the family members learn how devastating this sadness keeps us in “lockdown.”

We learn that:

When one of the members of the family is experiencing depression, the family suffers. Attempting to free the depressed person from depression is of little help. They suffer but, they do not know what is happening to them; they make others suffer and, everybody feels betrayed, undefined and, abandoned. The family system is thrown off balance. Family members are conflicted about their loved one’s behavior. Conflicts and anger start to flare up – it is true that the family is the best therapist, but they must know that to be helpful, they must keep focusing on their mental health and wellness.
Dep-Anon, p.81

The point is that family members need to focus on themselves and not on the depressed. They are not able to change us. But what stands out here is that they can change only themselves. Dep=Anon will provide a program of recovery suited for their recovery, focusing on their own defects of character with a need for the support of other families who, like themselves, begin to understand the nature of depression (no more “snap out of it” comments) while gaining new insights into the power of the spiritual principles of the 12 Steps.

I can see how we are like Al-Anon, a group that has an alcoholic in the family, no longer keeping their focus and energy directed to them and their drinking, and efforts to stop their drinking behavior, but keeps the focus on their own lives, enjoying the support of their Al-Anon fellowship. The alcoholic has Alcoholics Anonymous, and I, as a depressed person, support Depressed Anonymous. Both of these 12 Step programs of recovery are on the same recovery page. I thank God for my understanding that now my family has the support of other families like mine. My family is learning so much about me and what I am facing. They are thankful that I have Depressed Anonymous, and I have a family that is focused on themself and not on me and my recovery.

The depressed person’s family plays a vital role in hastening his recovery or recovery. By understanding the nature of depression and offering the person the support he or she needs, the family can help him or her work through the depression. Together they can evolve a sounder system of relationships.

Resources:
(C) Depressed Anonymous, THIRD EDITION, (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville KY.
(C) Dep-Anon: A 12 Step recovery program for the families and friends of the depressed. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.
(c) The Secret Strength of Depression. Frederic Flach. THIRD REVISED EDITION. 1988. Printed in Canada. Page 192.

Journeys of Hope Depressed Anonymous meeting moving to Zoom

The Journeys of Hope Depressed Anonymous meeting is moving to Zoom given some technical challenges we’ve been encountering. Effective Monday 5 July 2021 both the daily meeting and the evening meetings are moving to Zoom. For more information please see the page: Online Depressed Anonymous Meetings for further information.

A Pressing Concern

My pressing concern over these many years as a practicing mental health therapist is to do more to help family members be part of the conversation with medical and mental health professionals when dealing with a depressed loved one. I continue to help setting up Depressed Anonymous groups, while encouraging Dep-Anon Twelve Step groups for those who have a depressed member in their family.

Dep-Anon, a 12 Step Recovery program for Families and Friends of the Depressed, was published on June the 24th, 2021, by Depressed Anonymous Publications. This 117-page book includes Chapter topics that can promote an understanding of the nature of depression, dismissing those negative beliefs that not only are incorrect, and damaging they continue to cast a stigma upon those who are depressed. These attitudes will do nothing but further isolate the depressed. NOT HELPFUL AT ALL!

The Dep-Anon Family group can be that healthy connection between the depressed and the family. The family members will learn to help the depressed; they must and not the depressed. Each of the book’s 12 Chapters will present useful information on the nature of depression while including a commentary for each of the 12 spiritual principles (Steps) of Dep-Anon. In addition, each Chapter will provide the family groups with discussion questions that will enrich the Dep-Anon fellowship. Finally, the groups will help each other cope with their own emotions and provide an ongoing pathway for their emotional growth and balance.

The depressed loved one has their own fellowship of Depressed Anonymous, which helps them focus on their own recovery, and their family has Dep-Anon, which helps family focus on what needs a focus in their own lives.

The Dep-Anon family group might end up being the best advocate/friend for the depressed, fostering understanding and acceptance instead of the negative beliefs that had once made the situation seem hopeless.

Hugh, for the fellowships

DA Virtual Conference 2021 recordings available

The conference ran successfully! The five sessions were recorded, but I have not yet received one of the recordings. I have posted the ones I have available and I will post the missing one when I receive it.

There is a link found under the Tools for Recovery menu item that reads Depressed Anonymous Conference Recordings.

Enjoy.

Yours in recovery, Bill R.

New DA Meeting (Hope for Today) On Zoom 3/28/2021

“HOPE FOR TODAY” DA MEETING ON ZOOM EVERY SUNDAY 4-5PM (MOUNTAIN TIME)
Depressed Anonymous 12 Step Meeting

CONTACT INFO: Randy R

720.772.8414 MT

rev77@live.com

Origination location: Denver, Colorado
Founding members: Randy R, and Mike B
ZOOM MEETING: Please contact rev77@live.com for ZOOM ID. No Password required.


Thank you Randy and Mike for making this meeting possible today and every Sunday. Welcome to all.
Hugh

Do you have a daily strategy for living? Kobe Bryant used the Chess board for his basketball prowess.

I was surprised to learn that the former LA Laker’s (NBA) great was a chess player. I wondered why that would be and then, being a chess player myself, I figured it out. Chess players become strategists by learning the best moves with their chess pieces to “check mate” and close down their opponent. Think about it. If you happen to be a chess player, you know all about strategy, or how a lack of strategy can give the game to your adversary. In chess, our pieces move according to moves predicated on the moves of one’s opponent. Sometimes one has to plan moves ahead to see what measures have to be taken to out maneuver the other player. Chess players have to have a strategy.

Two weeks ago, my grandson and I had a game, we had not played in a few years, and he always beat me in a few moves. (I always opened my game with wrong pieces). This time I opened with a new move and he was surprised. He had thought that he could beat his Papa in a few moves. Problem here is that I learned a new strategy and he was not prepared for my new strategy. Even so he won the game. I was still happy with myself that I put up some good moves myself and lasted longer in the competition.

In my duel with depression I gradually learned a strategy for my own life. I learned to to DO something. My first strategic move was to move my body and found that my mind would follow. Once I moved my body my motivation was strengthened and my thinking became more focused.

My own strategy was strengthened by using the 12 spiritual principles of our Depressed Anonymous program. At the core was my ultimate belief that I was going to recover, come hell or high water. An essential part of my strategy for regaining my life was to get out of bed in the morning and force myself. Move, call a friend. Go to a DA meeting.

For me, my best strategic move that check-mated my opponent, that is the isolation of depression, with its mistaken belief that there was no hope, was to join our fellowship, Depressed Anonymous. Because of the pandemic we have a daily SKYPE program online: Depressed Anonymous, a journey of hope. We are a group of people, who have found a strategy that works in so many great ways. It is to be with good people who are depressed and who now are able to work their way out of depression. We are not alone. We have a program of hope and we have each other. We remain anonymous (only first names are used if desired) and everyone has a chance to speak their mind. No one will tell you to “snap out of it” or “it’s just in your head.”

Another strategy is to read our literature – filled with strategies for any of us, on how to gain freedom from our isolating symptoms of depression –

Here is our strategy. Please click onto the website here at www.depresedanon.com. Go to Depressed Anonymous Homepage. There on the menu – last line, you will find menu references to our BLOGS, HOME and a MEETINGS MENU item that tells you where to find our meetings and how to get there. Please click onto the link at this pace and that will take you to our daily Depressed Anonymous meeting: A journey of hope. Here you can join our Online SKYPE group. Join.Skype.COM. Meetings are daily at 11:30 AM CST and 12:30PM EST. Please know that 10 minutes before the meeting starts you will get a green message button on your screen indicating “Join call.”
Click onto that and you are into the meeting.

Welcome. You will have used a strategy that will give you hope and a host of friends. Don’t let depression “check-mate” you.

Hugh, for the for the fellowship