Category Archives: Community building

“One of he great paradoxes of human life…”

DECISION 12 : “I will learn to share my sadness with others and to share their sadness.” Dorothy Rowe. Breaking the Bonds. Understanding depression, Finding Freedom. Fontana. London. 1991. Page 271.

One of the great paradoxes of human life is that, in the way that we are born and die and in between create our own unique world of meaning, we are always atone, yet the only way that we can live with the essential aloneness is to share our life with other people.” Page 271.
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Dear Reader, this concludes our journey of how to Leave Loneliness Behind. By making the 12 Decisions our own, and living out these truths as presented to us by Dorothy Rowe, we can leave loneliness behind.
I give total credit to Dr. Rowe, psychologist, for her wisdom, that she shares with us here in BREAKING THE BONDS.
Jill Tweedie. a reviewer, tells us that the writer Dorothy Rowe, is the “light at the end of the tunnel.” If you make that decision to read this work, I know you will agree.

Hugh S.

Depressed Anonymous Conference on Hope

Date: Saturday 4 March 2023
Time: 11:00am – 4:00pm Eastern time
Zoom Meeting ID: 851 593 3239
Passcode: hope
Direct  link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8515933239

The theme for the conference is hope.

There will be 5 time slots. Four of the time slots will be speakers sharing their story of recovery and weaving in the topic of hope. One of the time slots will be a brief meditation session and a brief yoga session.

All sessions will be recorded and shortly after the conference an audio only version will be available on the Depressed Anonymous website.

We hope to see you there.

If you would like to download a file containing the pertinent conference information please click: DAHopeConference.ics and then open the file on your phone or computer to add it to your calendar.

If you happen to use Google Calendar you can add the conference directly to your calendar by clicking:

Here is a link to a flyer if you want to distribute to others: DA Hope Conference

Do you want to hear what happened at the first Depressed Anonymous conference? Recordings can be found here: Depressed Anonymous Conference Recordings

Two sides of the same coin

As an active member of the Depressed Anonymous fellowship, I am also an active member of the 12 Step recovery program, Dep-Anon, for families and friends of the depressed.

Since I have a family member who is depressed, and the fact that I was depressed, but still maintain my serenity, by continuing to stay active in the DA fellowship. You might say that I am a “double dipper” being able to be part of two important mutual aid groups. Not only do I know what happens when I am depressed, I also know depression and how it affects a family member, resultant, affecting the whole family.

Now that I have the help of other family members (Dep-Anon) who have a depressed significant other in their life, my focus now is not on the depressed loved one, but the focus is now totally on me. I have become a new person, in that at one time I was harsh and critical of this person, who slept all the time, didn’t work, and was oblivious to the suffering she was causing myself and my family.

I believed, mistakenly, that since I had experienced depression with its overwhelming power, pushing me deeper into isolation from my world and myself, that I was qualified to FIX my family member. Wrong. I tried that route. It was a disaster. My criticism and cajoling her did the opposite of bringing her out of depression. My focus and anger, as it was directed toward her, locked her deeper into the prison of her depression. Ultimately, I discovered that my negsativity and lack of acceptance into the family, did nothing but harm. Surprisingly, now, with my harshness changing to compassion and acceptance of her as a daughter, a fellow humn being, brought down by her illness, is setting us both free. I give credit to my Dep-ANon fellowship for putting me on the right track–work/focus on fixing me.
Hugh

ORIGINS OF DEP-ANON
Dep-Anon had as its inspiration the 12 Step Al-Anon program for families of the alcoholic. The program was focused, not on the alcoholic but on themselves.

We now became focused on our need for recovery, believing that the focus had to be on us — not the depressed family member. I have learned that I can only FIX myself. Being part of the Dep-Anon family group presented me with a focus on my own spiritual and mental health needs. Now, I am participating With other family members, using the recovery tools of Dep-Anon, I was no longer alone, but now had the support of other family members like myself. Together, we have discovered that by focusing on our character defects ( critical of our loved one, anger at their behavior, lack of compassion for someone who is sick) I have found my attitudes changing.

A positive result of being part of the Dep-Anon family group is to learn about the nature of depression and how it affects a person, physically, mentally and spiritually. Our motivation to do anything positive to move us out of the mental and physical “lockdown” of depression is severely handicapped.

“Dep-Anon espouses the four C.s which state our beliefs
about NOT taking responsibility for our loved one’s depression. These four can be a constant reminder of living each day with what we face.
THE FOLLOWING ARE OUR FOUR STATEMENTS OF BELIEF
1) I believe that 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 that all I can do is to cope with it.”

Copyright(c) Dep-Anon: A Twelve Step Recovery Program for Families and Friends of the Depressed. (2021) Hugh S., Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Page 13.
This Book can be ordered online from the Depressedanon.com website. PLease go to Visit the Store at Home page.

++++++Join us on ZOOM, every Monday afternoon, at 2PM EDT. Meetings are 1 Hour in length.

MEETING ID: 846 6885 1123
PASSWORD : serenity (Use small caps)

The Missing Piece

“There is a story about a circle that was missing a piece. The story centers on a circular shape-like creature missing a wedge-shaped piece of itself. It doesn’t like this and sets out to find its missing piece, singing,

Oh, I’m looking for my missin’ piece,
I/m looking for my missin’ piece.
Hi-dee-ho here I go,
Lookin’ for my missin’ piece.

It starts out on a grand adventure, searching for the perfect piece to complete itself while singing and enjoying the scenery. But after the circle finally finds the exact- sized wedge that fits it, it begins to realize that it can no longer do the things that it used to enjoy doing, like singing or or rolling slowly enough to enjoy the company of a worm or a butterfly. It decides that it was happier when searching for the missing piece than actually having it. So, it gently puts the piece down and continues searching happily.”


“The Missing Piece” by Shel Silverstein presents us with the lesson of the story that in some strange way, we are more whole when we are missing something.”

It is often said that the joy is in the journey. While most of us are on some type of journey or other, we admit that we also are searching for that missing piece. Our life is just not complete until that missing piece shows up, and of course, that could be one of a zillion things.

Remember, the circle finds happiness, not in the “thing” or “circumstance” that would make him happy and complete, but it is enjoying what lies surrounding him. It is right in front of him, in plain sight.

If we are seeking perfection in our lives, there is a strong possibility that we will miss what we are looking for. In other words, missing the joy of living in the NOW, the present. We gradually learn that What you seek, seeks you.

In my life today, I accept my own missing parts that I thought would make me happy. Surprisingly, just the joy of taking life one day at a time, living in harmony with others, plus walking everyday in what I believe is God’s will is for me, today.

I am part of a growing and positive fellowship, which is composed of hundreds of adventurers, each seeking their own missed part. The beauty of it all, is that we each have found what we are looking for, that is, a place, with others like ourselves, where there is no longer a need to keep rolling along, wanting it all, a perfect utopia. Instead, we are finding that wonderful acceptance from others in our live, just the way we are. This is the discovery of our grand adventure. It is progress that we are seeking, not perfection.

Hugh S., for the fellowship

Copyright(c) Dep-Anon: A 12 Step recovery program for families and friends of the depressed, Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Pages 38-39. Quoted in (c) “The Missing Piece” from Shel Silverstein. (Children’s Picture Book) HarperCollins, 1976.

Service in Recovery

Today I’m truly grateful to be able to do service in my 12 step fellowships. Especially in DA, which has done so much for me. But I didn’t always feel that way about service! At first, I was very scared to make a commitment to chair a meeting. How could I, someone suffering from depression, someone unable to function successfully in daily life, someone who didn’t know if I could get out of bed or not on a particular day, how could I possible make a commitment to chair a meeting? Well, the group supported me and said “we’ll be here if you can’t make it. Just let us know! And we applaud you for being willing!” So I agreed. I also faced technology challenges. At the time the DA meetings were using Skype and I didn’t know how to use that platform (or any online meeting platform, for that matter).  So on a day and a time when a meeting was not going on, I logged on and pretended to chair a meeting. I went for a practice run to learn the technology. I asked someone for help, and they helped me. I faced my fears and I showed up for the first meeting that I volunteered to chair. I stumbled. But the meeting went on, and no one died! I made a mistake and it was okay.

I had feelings of anxiety, but I walked away with an inkling of a sense of purpose. So I kept chairing, and that sense of purpose increased. I started going to business meetings, and they needed people to do service there too. So I volunteered. As I continued, I felt more useful and my confidence grew.

The point I’m trying to make is that doing service has greatly helped my recovery! I learn lessons here in DA that I’m applying to other areas of my life. I’m growing. That is one of my goals – to stay green and growing. Doing service gives me that opportunity. And the icing on the cake is that doing service allows us to help DA as a whole and ensure that DA will be there for others who need it, just like I needed it and still need it.

In closing, the Responsibility Statement, revised for DA:

“I am responsible – when anyone, anywhere reaches out for help, I want the hand of DA always to be there, and for that: I am responsible.”

Stay six feet apart, Wash your hands, Stay home

Stay six feet apart. Use sanitizer. Wear mask. Stay clear of large gatherings – especially indoors. Everywhere we went, we got the message, that life suddenly became threatened by an unseen enemy, the covid 19 virus. Most times, the virus took the lives of our elders, who were most vulnerable. Our Grandparents, our elderly loved ones in nursing homes, were decimated

Today, we now use the terms, Pre-pandemic and post pandemic. It’s almost like it never happened. Things are getting back to normal. Almost, but not completely. It has ravaged our businesses, workers without jobs.

It’s still here. Everywhere we go, with floor markings still looking up at us at the post office, pharmacy, the grocery store all reminding of a past where more than 1 million Americans died from this deadly virus. It definitely has turned our lives upside down.

In Kentucky, the Bourbon center of the world, distilleries were using the alcohol, normally for making whiskey, switching to making sanitizer hand lotions.

For many of us, who had the covid 19 , and survived, are “the long haulers” who still carry within them, some of the symptoms, including anxiety, depression, fatigue, insomnia and other health conditions, much of which continue to threaten our own mental health.

The pandemic is taking its toll on us, our youth, our elderly and those who struggle with other serious respiratory illnesses.

What used to energize us and make us, as humans, social creatures, the virus came along and made us into hermits, alone, isolated and fearful.

The “pandemic brain” is a name given to those who are the “long haulers” and whose cognitive abilities are affected and who still face some of those debilitating symptoms which can plague them everyday.

HOW CAN WE FIND THE HELP WE NEED?

I would look for a mental health person or group resource where others like ourselves, who are having the same issues, resultant from the traumatic effects of the pandemic.

Because depression is one of the major issues that are the result of the pandemic, find a support group or mental health agency that devotes its time and care to those of us who are having trouble functioning in this post pandemic world.

As a depression support group, the 12 Step Depressed Anonymous recovery program is now online, offering meetings on a daily basis for those who seek a safe place, with persons like themselves. We do have a voice in this mutual aid fellowship, where we can choose to share our story, or remain silent, listen, feel accepted, and find ourselves among kindred spirits. We are all here to help ourselves, and by that, help ohers at the same time..

Please free to attend our daily meetings on OUR ZOOM virtual fellowship group of Depressed Anonymous. Go to our website at Depressedanon.com, sign on, go to the meetings menu at the Home page, and it will take you to the link, taking you to our daily schedule of meetings, here in the USA and internationally.

We look forward to seeing you at our meetings. There are no fees or dues.

For the fellowship, Hugh S

What is an emotional laryngitis condition?

Have you ever experienced laryngitis, that inflammation of the larynx, often accompanied by a temporary loss of your voice. Most probably you have have had that experience. It’s more of a nuisance than anything. But nevertheless, a problem that lingers around for a short time. This is a case which if you want to be heard, you have to whisper really loud.

Now how about your experience with an emotional laryngitis condition, a metaphor for being unable to voice unpleasant feelings, which causes you to be stuck in the dark pit of depression.

To experience an emotional loss of your voice, usually starts at a young age. You remember the saying, “Children should be seen and not heard.” And as it works out, that is precisely what happened to so many of us growing up. We lost our voice. We couldn’t share our feelings of hurt and loss.
We stuffed our feelings. We buried the pain of growing up, where we felt abandoned and unloved. We tried to forget about them. Which we did. Buried in our unconscious.

When we wanted to have a grownup, a parent, a family member listen to what we had to say, nobody cared what we had to say. We felt invisible. Also, to cry was forbidden. The message that we heard was “Little boys don’t cry.” Or, “just get over it.” Or, “suck it up.”

I remember on one occasion, standing near my mom and dad, I tried to tell them something. They ignored me. I remember feeling hurt that they didn’t want to listen to me. Strange, it was that one time which I do remember and I still wonder why I remember that one time. Does this mean my voice was always heard and that this time was an exception? I don’t know.

How often do I hear adults tell me HOW their home life was chaotic, filled with anger and fighting parents.
Usually, it was because of one or both of the parents were alcoholics and they NEVER wanted or even suggested, that they wanted to know how we felt or what was happening in our lives. In fact, our whole family didn’t want to hear from us. They never seemed to make time for us in their lives. We didn’t feel safe, and definitely we did not feel love. And what do we do? We began to hide, isolate ourselves creating our own little fantasy worlds. We wanted to have someone hear our voice. But there was never anyone that would listen to how we were feeling. We were the lost child.

Fast forward. As adults now, we discovered we have been addicted to alcohol, or opioid or gambling.or pornography. Anything to remove the pain.The core of all of these addictions, both substance and process addictions, were my attempt to fill the hole in my soul. Not only had we lost our voice, but we almost lost our lives. We lost the purpose for our lives. Not being able to tell people who we are had robbed us of the one thing that might have saved me – my voice. I was too scared to use it.
I needed to tell my story. How I survived. I never wanted to lose my voice again. Today is a good day.

Not until I became an adult did I attend a Twelve Step Depressed Anonymous meeting. It was here that I would use my voice and tell total strangers about all the losses in my life. It is here, that all my feelings, both pleasant and unpleasant are voiced. They heard me. They heard my voice. They listened to me. They didn’t judge me. I had RECLAIMED my ability to use my voice. I could talk about my feelings. My worst life hurts could now be shared and voiced. i was no longer the lost child. No longer was I the victim, the martyr, a clown seeking attention. And, all the time seeking for someone to tell me that I was loved.

It is here that my emotional laryngitis, accompanying me throughout my life, would no longer keep me from voicing who I am and who I want to be. No longer were my feelings shut down and no longer was I invisible. I am here–deal with it!

If you, are having an emotional laryngitis condition, and need a way to use your voice, and share you feelings, then we have a group for you. We call ourselves the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous. You will always be welcomed into our fellowship.

For more information about who we are, click onto our website at depressedanon.com. Attend our Depressed Anonymous daily group zoom meetings and begin to hear the voices of hope. Come and share your own VOICE.

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

Hugh S., for the fellowship

In Control

The following is a passage from the Depressed Anonymous Workbook. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY Pages 7-8.

Surrender and accept.
I want to admit that my life has been out of control for many years, but now that I am in touch with truth, I believe that my life can be lived out differently.
I can begin to use the Twelve Steps and begin the task of working myself out of the pit of depression. I believe that with time and with patience, plus the group fellowship and support, that I will be able to make some positive strides in feeling different about myself and my world.

A question: How many years, months, days can I remember being depressed? How far back in time can I remember always feeling sad and wanting to withdraw. Write out your experiences about these experiences.

Write down the number of people you have admitted to that you have been depressed.
Write down their reactions to your admission.
When you feel depressed what do you say to yourself? What action or behavior do you do when you feel this way?

Does it promote more isolation or being more connected with others? Please write these out.

Is your life more unmanageable now since you have admitted that you are depressed? Can you tell a difference now that you are admitting that depression is and has been a big problem in your life? YES? OR NO? Please write out these experiences.


These are just a few of the many questions that you may want to answer as you go through this Workbook.

Each of the Twelve Step chapters has a number of questions that will help you discover how you feel about certain areas of your life. Positive solutions are included in each chapter and can aid in your efforts to escape from your own prison of depression.

You can answer these questions, possibly some of which have never crossed your mind before now. The Workbook, can be answered in your own privacy. Or, you may want to answer them with a friend or sponsor.

You can discover more about our fellowship of Depressed Anonymous and discover you can be part of a growing group of those persons like you, who are also searching for a way out of their depression.


Our website is https://depressedanon.com with listings of daily DA meetings (no fees or dues) online as well as literature, like this Workbook, which may be ordered online.

101: How to eliminate wild weeds (Negative Thinking)

Eliminating weeds from our gardens or from the Spring beauties who show their marvelous colors every year, makes it our major task to dig the weeds out, cutting down these thriving seeds of destruction. They become a pest when allowed to grow and take over what was hoped to be something beautiful and bountiful. Negative thinking is likewise that noxious weed- It yields no good fruit!
Our strategy, is to knock them out before they can get a root- hold, destroying our hard work and handiwork. Seeing the first sign of the noxious weed (negative thinking) tells us that more are on the way.

This I believe, serves as a metaphor for when a mind has been taken over with negative thinking and accompanied by a sense of hopelessness.
Our mind, if filled with uninvited negative thinking, cycling us down with a feeling of loss and hopelessness, we find it’s time to get into action, take a crack at that first negative thought–before it even gets a chance to sabotage our thinking, our feelings and motivation to change.
When the negative thoughts begins–say STOP–don’t go any further with a debate about that first thought. We refuse to get entangled with this tangent thought, always leading us to places where we don’t want to go. We have been at this point of thinking far too many times. We know now how to dismantle this crippling form of negative thinking. Change the script. You do the managing of what you think about.
First, cut the thought down to size–don’t let it scare you, but tell it “I’m not going to believe this anymore.” Another reccuring negative thought, for example might be, “You are worthless.” When this thought appears, we can replace it with a positive “sunspot.” This “sunspot” can be a positve recent mental image of a past event or a positive affirmation of ouselves. And with your own weed control operation, tell yourself as many good things about yourself as you want. What you can accomlish at this point is to see the weed (thought) for what it is. Cut it down, like a bad weed, and dig it out. Have an affirmation ready at hand, to replace each and every negative thought. Positivty thinking is what you are all about!

AFFIRMATION
“Making direct amends and using a personal inventory continues our progress and helps free us from all the hurts of the past. We know now that we can’t afford to think long about real of imagined hurts, or we will throw ourselves back into saddening ourselves once again.”

REFLECTION
One of the things that is toxic for the depressed peron is negative thinking. This thinking continues to grow, once nurtured by my attention into a large and uncontrolled wild weed, taking all the attention from the good things happening in my life. I know that I can no longer give into that first thought allowing to pound me to the ground. My negative thinking is very much akin to drinking for the alcoholic. Once I give into that first moment of self-bashing, the cycle of depression begins. There can be no second negative thought!
Hurts from my past continue to grow stronger the more I allow them to dominate my thinking and my behavior. Hurts are best eradicated (Seep 4 and Step 5) when I deal with them openly and honestly.

MEDITATION
The spirit hopes in God as we begin today with a prayer and a belief that this day can be a good one, like the days that I have had in the past.”

Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 Step fellowships. Depressed anonymous Publications.Louisville, Ky. Pages 153-154. (September 17)

Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous. Third Edition (2011). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.

There is no spot that God is not

That is great assurance when we wonder if God is with us. Obviously, God is. And why is it obvious? Because, everywhere we look, we see th work of God’s creation. Someone once commented that there is more of God’s creative life under our feet than what surrounds us above ground. In a clod of dirt, there are billions of life forms engaged and interconnected with each other –much like any loving community.

“Good bye” is a common expression when we leave someone’s company.
Actually, the original saying was “God be with you.” WE can always appreciate that departure gift.

From my standpoint, and from my own experience, I have found the Higher Power, or God as we understand God,, manifesting itself in our group recovery program of Depressed Anonymous. I call it the “Miracle of the Group.” Most time, I find that there is more talk of God, and God’s presence in one’s life, than you could imagine.

Many times, I have heard members of our fellowship speak of how there was a “before” and “after” in their lives as they began their recovery from depression. Once they came to believe that a power greater than themselves could restore them to sanity, life began to change. Again, and not surprisingly, we personally find that “there is no spot that God is not.” The freeing spirituality of the Twelve spiritual principles of recovery, the Steps, shows how God loves us just the way we are. Even though we may feel broken and alone, when we come through the door of recovery, we gradually feel a special presence of God, surrounding us each, with it’s love, acceptance and guidance. That love and sharing creates a mutually supportive community, above and below ground.


COPYRIGHT(c) Depressed Anonymous, THIRD EDITION (2011). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.

For more information on ordering our literature online, please see The Depressed Anonymous Bookstore at Depressedanon.com