Category Archives: Service

Promise # 5 of the Promises of Depressed Anonymous.

Promise # 5 : No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we see how our experiences can benefit others.

“Some of us have attempted suicide. A few of us more than a few times. We had despaired of ever finding peace or hope. We believe that we had no future and that our yesterdays were as hopeless as our today’s.

It was hard to attend our first Depressed Anonymous meeting. We felt horribly alone. We just know that no one in the group has been through what we have been through. But as we listened and watched the other members of the group speak – we saw ourselves in their stories.

Personally I believe that whatever you give out to others is the amount that comes back to us. Our experiences can usually help another. An experience such as depression is so isolating, so predictable in its misery that it is bound to have had an impression upon us that it changed our life. And then when our life is changed for the better – thanks to DA and the fellowship that we have to share it with those still suffering.

Ironically, it appears that the farther we have gone down in mood– and up again in our recovery -the more powerful is this experience. They see the after and hear how it was before we got involved in the fellowship.

The fact that we have recovered so completely is in itself a message of tremendous hope for those who are newcomers to the group.

Isn’t it amazing that those who can do the most for those still suffering are those who have worked themselves out of the pit of isolation and depression.”

Copyright (c) The Promises of Depressed Anonymous (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky. (Page 12).

What is your middle name?

No one ever calls me by my middle name. How about you? The only person that used my middle name, which happens to be Louis, was my Dad. And when my Dad used all three of my names, with emphasis upon Louis I knew I was in trouble. Big trouble. Well, that is another story. I haven’t the time nor the wish to go into that at this time. It really has nothing to do with depression. You’re right.

What I want to share today with you is something about who we are as a 12 Step program of recovery. As you may know, people and their families have coat of arms with some fancy pictures of shields, words etc. Here at Depressed Anonymous we too have our coat of arms, let’s for simple sake call them Logo’s. It’s our brand name if you will. Our logo shows footsteps. At the bottom are the words

  • HOPE
  • SERVICE
  • FELLOWSHIP

These words are our mission statement. They tell others who we are and what we are do. First of all we provide hope for those still suffering from depression. That’s what we do. Secondly, we provide service as members of our fellowship. We sponsor ZOOM and SKYPE meetings everyday. When someone calls and is hurting we respond. We have sponsors who help others with their Step Program. We have books and literature for those who are seeking more information on how to help themselves. We provide an email address where we can also be connected with anyone night and day. And finally, we are a fellowship, united in an effort to help others who are depressed and want an online and f2f program of recovery for their own recovery. We are here and we all in the fellowship and are no longer alone. Depression? We get it! We know. We’ve been there and done that. No more. With all of the services that we provide there are no fees or charge. We are all serving others because we ourselves have been served. Served with the opportunity to have HOPE.

So, now you know what middle names are important. They reall give an added dimension to who we are as people. You can call me by my middle Louis if you choose. That will make me feel like family. ūüôā

M. Louis S.

Stepping out of hopelessness

 

One of the greatest feelings  I experienced in confronting my depression was that I began to have hope. I began to believe   what others were saying about the Steps. They were telling me that the plan that they followed everyday of their lives was giving  them a positive feeling that they were going to step out of  the  swamp   of sadness and hopelessness. In fact,  those who spoke these encouraging words already  were  manifesting the strength and power of the 12  Steps in their own lives. I was one of these people.

A question that continued to cross my mind¬† during my period of pain and isolation was basically “is life worth living.” Many folks depressed still debate this question in their minds. And far too many have provided us their answer that “life is not worth it.”

This has been my mission over these past years to show by example of other’s recovery (plus my own) that with appropriate¬† faith, work and¬† the spiritual tools, life can be good again. There is a faith, a strong¬†¬†indomitable spirit ¬†at the¬†core ¬†of every human being, that hope is available to all who seek it.” What you seek, will seek you.” It’s almost akin to the¬† belief in Karma–as you give out so will you receive back–in some way, at some time in¬†your own¬†¬†life¬† ¬†experiences. I don’t know how or why, but I do know that it just works out that way.

When I was first introduced to the 12 Steps, I came to my first meeting, willing to learn what I could to  recover fully from my addiction. I had to have hope that something would work. It would have to work for me. And members of this 12 Step group presented me stories , facts and situations where persons completely down and out, physically, mentally and spiritually found hope in the confusion and despair of their own hopelessness  and became free.

No longer did we feel hopeless of finding a way out of what was killing us.¬† Yes, “we” found a way out. The plan was before us and the group was behind us as we plodded along , each of us supporting the other til we finally completed our Steps.¬†We ¬†now share how our stepping into hope continues to be the North star¬†for me ¬†these past thirty plus ¬†years for my own life.

Is life worth living?  For many years now   I discovered how a faith, a strong belief in my Higher Power, and a bonded group of men and women have continued to travel the same  path as my own.

If you want more ¬†information¬† about our group Depressed Anonymous please check out our website at www.depressedanon.com for a¬† ¬†full explanation¬†of ¬†who we are and what we do. You’ll want to step out with us.

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(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville KY.

Some depressions are followed by thriving. We honor the strength of those who achieve recovery. It is possible!

 

“One obstacle to a more affirmative national conversation is that depression has lacked a unifying public symbol¬† that could¬†¬† bring it¬† out¬† of the¬† dark, and¬†Livestrong(c) bracelets did for cancer or the rainbow flag did for LGBT. When most people think of depression, their first associations are to unfortunate images, such as a dark cloud, the color black, or a noose. One reason why depression stigma lives is that depression has a serious bumper stick problem.

But this is essentially an issue of failed marketing and messaging. It should be possible to develop a unifying symbol, and it is presented in a compelling way, many might rally. Conservatively, thirteen million US adults are currently in an episode of depression, more than twice that number have had depression in the past. When we add  caregivers , millions more are indirectly affected by the quality and the quantity  of our national dialogue about  depression.  Have no illusions.  Even with a strong  public education  campaign, stereotypes that have been decades in the making will  resist change.  Still with  so much to gain, it is high  time that we  try.

But in my view, finding more humane ways to discuss the predicament¬† of depressed people is not just good marketing, it’s also good science. The mood science perspective tells us that depression, deep or shallow, is a natural product of the mood system. However a person gets there, facing deep depression is a supremely difficult trial. Rather than weakness or defectiveness, we should acknowledge that getting through depression requires considerable strength. Rather than assuming permanent debility, we should recognize that some depressions are followed by thriving. Writing these words fourteen years after my episode, I recognize that I am not broken. Getting beyond the disease model will require us to honor the strengths of formerly depressed people, to see their potential for rebirth after depression and the ways that, once reborn, they can help others build enduring recoveries from depression. It is possible.” Copyright(c) Rottenberg,¬† Jonathon. The Evolutionary Origins of¬† the¬† Depression Epidemic. (2014) Basic Books.¬† New York,¬† Pages¬† 198-200.

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Hugh’s comments

This work of Jonathon Rottenberg is one that everyone need to read. Not only does¬† it provide us with a insight into “mood science”¬† it also is a positive statement on the depressed person’s strengths.¬† And then it promotes the fact that once a depressed person recovers they will go on and help others rebuild their lives.

If you are fortunate to be a member of the Depressed Anonymous fellowship you will¬† understand this statement completely: helping others rebuld their lives completely. In fact this is where our Twelve Step program challenges the person recovered “having¬† had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps. we tried to carry this message to the depressed, and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.”

SOURCE:  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.  (Personal Stories).

Our Big Book has more than 30 personal stories of how  these stories of the recovered members of Depressed Anonymous  have had their lives rebuilt and now are thriving and strengthened and reaching out to others depressed. It is possible.

Happiness is a side product of helping others

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT
I always wondered –how can I possibly bring peace to others when I feel so low and down in the mouth? It is my wish to help others who are still suffering and living without the hope of ever feeling better. It is by doing what I have to do every day and living today for all its worth, that I will be able to stay in the now and try to change my moods as they start their usual spiral downward. I believe that ‘Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.’ Thus, I can help others.

Happiness is the side product of my letting go of my self and thinking of some larger effort or goal in my life. It is in setting a goal to work on my self just for today, that I get in contact with my Higher Power and listen to his promptings. I am happiest when I am able to live with hope that possibly, just possibly, my life has a purpose and a meaning.”

MEDITATION
We ask God to point out to us where our areas of self-will lie so that they might be brought to light. We can work on them and get rid of them as these areas block us from our serenity and growth in happiness. We again want to turn our lives and our wills over to you God.


SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. (1993,1999, 2016).Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Service Gladly Rendered…

Carrying the message of hope to those still suffering from depression.

“Service gladly rendered, obligations squarely met, troubles well accepted with God’s help, the knowledge that at home or in the world outside we are partners in a common effort, the fact that in God’s sight all human beings are important, the proof that love freely given brings a full return, the certainty that we are no longer isolated and alone in self constructed prisons, the surety that we can fit and belong in God’s scheme of things –these are the satisfactions of right living for which no pomp or circumstances, no heap of material possessions, could possibly substitute.” Twelve and Twelve, AA World services. Page 124.

Also, in The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002) we read

“The part about carrying the message is so important if we are to remain out of the clutches of depression. It is important to keep in touch with the newcomers and others in the program. It is in this carrying the message that reminds us that we once needed help and it was through the unselfishness of the older members of Depressed Anonymous that got us through our depression.” Page 85.

“We soon discover in the program that no compulsion can be controlled by will power alone. It must be surrendered to the Higher Power or to the care of God of our understanding. It alone can remove in time the burden from our backs. This is the spiritual awakening that keeps us free from sadness as we take the message of healing to others in the group who are new to the program. We admit that we make no promises to anyone and that there will be no magic answer and quick solutions to their saddiction. ¬†No, it all takes time and this is the message of the group. Such slogans as: “Take it easy,” “Keep ¬†it simple,” and “Easy does it” are all meant to help you and me to live one day at a time and continue to try and live with serenity. When we practice these steps on a daily basis, starting our day with asking the Higher Power for guidance for the rest of the day we can then be ¬†assured of God’s presence and help in our lives.”

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 106.

We want to think in terms of responsibilities and connections

We have to acknowledge humbly that I am the one who is having the harsh and negative thoughts ¬†about myself and that I alone must take responsibility for the feelings that I have about myself.¬† I can’t continue to blame others for my depression and still think that I will feel better. Dorothy Rowe says that instead of blaming someone else or making someone else the scapegoat of our problems, we need to put aside blame and guilt and think in terms of responsibilities and connections. What she means here is that when she has dealt with depressed¬† people, they seem as if they are carrying the ¬†weight of the world and feel responsible for everyone and everything except themselves. She says that when¬† it comes to themselves they see themselves as totally powerless. We ¬†need to look at what is happening¬† in the here and now and take responsibility for our lives, without ¬†living in the fear of tomorrow and the hurts of yesterday. Humbly ask God to help you live in the now, even if that means living with the temporary horrible pain of depression.”

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SOURCES:     Copyright (c)Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 73-74.

Copyright (c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Copyright (c) I’ll do it when I feel better (2013) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Copyright (c) Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression.(2014) Louisville.

Copyright (c) Depressed Once РNot twice: The spiritual autobiography of a journey out of depression.  (2000) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Copyright (c) Higher Thoughts for down days:365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. (1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

VISIT THE STORE for publications on the subject of Depression and 12 Steps.

Prescription For A Happy Life

How wonderful is the feeling that we do  not have to be specially distinguished among our fellows in order to be useful and profoundly happy. Not many of us can be leaders of  prominence, nor do  we wish to be .

Service gladly rendered,¬† obligations squarely met, troubles well accepted or solved with God’s help, the knowledge that at home or in the world outside we are partners in a common effort, the fact that in God’s sight all human beings are important, the proof that love freely given brings a full return, the certainty that we are no longer isolated and alone in self-constructed prisons, the surety that we can fit and belong in God’s scheme of things¬† –these are the satisfactions¬† of right living for which no pomp and circumstance, no heap of material possessions, could possibly be substitutes.” Bill W., in¬† his work TWELVE AND TWELVE, P.124

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I particularly am struck by the phrase from the quote above, namely, ¬†“the surety that we can fit and belong in God’s scheme of things.” I find this thought especially¬†attractive because it¬†happens to be true for¬†my own life. The reason being, that after these many years (25+)of working with persons depressed that I have come to believe that my own experience with depression, is¬†in some mysterious way,¬†prepares ¬†me to be a fit messenger of hope for those who still suffer from depression. Been there. Done that. I heartily believe that just by ¬†writing this BLOG God continues to inspire me and help me promote the will of God for¬†those of us who want to walk, work and live the spiritual program of recovery as given to us in the Twelve Steps. I know that when I speak with that person who says they are depressed and I encounter them with accounts of my own past brokenness and recovery,¬†so that the love I show them is returned back to me a hundredfold. To share my story is really a way to save my life. And as I move through my life I just know that truly I am working out what God wills for me in being part of his scheme of things.

In Depressed Once -Not Twice. Depressed Anonymous Publications, I¬† share how the mutual aid group Depressed Anonymous .came to be. That was back in1985 and here I am still being used by God as I try and help others realize that their own depression experience¬†¬†fits them well for God’s scheme of things.