Category Archives: The 12 Steps

If you need anything, let me know

These are the words from a woman who has a dementia. The words always come with a smile. She doesn’t remember my name nor my wife’s name. She just knows that we are someone that she sees often coming to visit. I had initially found it strange that she would say this at the end of every visit–as I was painfully aware that this is not possible now, at this stage of her dementia.

Here is my point. I knew her when she did knew my wife and I. She always ended our visits with this warm offer of help, if “we needed it”. I believe that there are places in her brain, memories, that are triggered when loved ones leave after visiting. She didn’t just start saying this, like it was something brand new. Her whole life was spent helping others -seeing if anyone needed her help. In earlier days, if they did need help, she was there for them.

This statement, “if you need anything”, is one of our groups commitment to those who suffer from depression. If you are depressed, we are there to help you. When you knock at our door, online or real, we invite and welcome you into our fellowship. Here you will find helpful ways to deal with and overcome your own depression. You will also find good people who will not judge you because of your depression.

Each of us is on our own recovery journey, some of us just beginning, some further along and some who come back to help others, and sharing all the positive ways that they have improved their own lives. We heard the same supportive words as you are hearing today. So, as my friend tells us, if You need anything, how can we help you? And one thing that we always do provide,is hope! We want you to come to a Depressed Anonymous fellowship meeting today, where you will be able to personally share with us how we can help you. We look forward to meeting you.
Hugh S

Please check out our website here (depressedanon.com) for more information about attending DA meetings online and/or face to face.

As I changed the script, the scenarios of my life got better

“When I was depressed I thought that my sad feelings would keep me forever shut up in the prison and pain of depression. I continued to believe quite falsely, that I would never feel good again. In time though, and by believing in my Higher Power, I forced myself to get active in my own recovery and focus on my strengths and abilities. As I changed the script the scenarios of my life got better!

I will depend on this Power greater than myself to help me through disabling times of depression.I will live only for this day and so I will have the freedom from worry about yesterday and the projected hurts about tomorrow.”

My thoughts about changing the script of my life are the following:
1) Instead of letting my negative thoughts overwhelm me and force me into submission, I now think thoughts of hope.
2) My thinking and behavior are solution focused. I now tell myself and believe that I have the ability tom make favorable decisions in my behalf.
3)I have found the people (Depressed Anonymous fellowship) who live positive lives with their own living script, giving hope to risk living their lives without fear of being abandoned or isolated in that prison of depression. If I believe that I have created my own prison, I also believe that I have a choice to stop putting bricks into a structure that only isolated and paralyzed my abilities and efforts to climb out of the hole of depression.
4)I gain new positive beliefs about myself from other members of the fellowship. Those mistaken believes that I once held about myself are gradually stricken from my personal script, as the scenarios of my life begin to change for the better.
5) Every day I have a fresh start as I continue to thrive while my moods provide me with a startling and new found energy, plus a host of friends who speak a language of hope.
6) Best of all, I can go to a live ZOOM meeting of the fellowship every day, with meetings at night during the week. And finally, you will only be as isolated as you decide. You are not alone.

Hugh S.

For more information, please click onto our website at www.depressedanon.com. We welcome all who want to learn how to keep from saddening themselves.

Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of Twelve Step fellowship groups. (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Pages 89-90 .

Sharing a part of my Step Eight

When I first joined DA, it was such a relief to find others going through similar challenges with depression. I was also very hungry for concrete solutions; what can I actually do to feel better? I came to find out that some things worked, and some didn’t work for others. Everyone’s journey is different. As I attended the daily DA meetings, I learned to take what I needed and to leave the rest.

Today, as I worked on Step Eight in my workbook, I was able to answer some questions that really put my recovery in action. This plan of action worked for me; it may not work for you. I wanted to share it just in case it could speak to just one other person.

The questions were, “List the ways that keep you Saddicted”, and “List the activities/ways that can free you from your depression addiction”. As I listed all the negative ways I think and treat myself, I was also able to come up with the solutions.

1. Isolation – Ignoring people and responsibilities. <Solution: Reaching out – Calling someone from the program to get out of my own head.>

2. Distraction – Getting sucked into video games or TV shows to run away from my thoughts and symptoms of depression. <Solution: Using distractions as mini-breaks – It’s OK to take a step back sometimes, as long as I am being mindful of the time spent.>

3. Negative thoughts – Thinking about the worst case scenario and running through them in my mind all day. <Solution: Staying present and having thoughts that are relevant to what I am doing NOW.>

4. Finding my faults in everything – I somehow find ways to make everything my own fault, and using that to hurt myself with blame and shame. <Solution: Finding my part in successes – Thinking more about the things that have worked out for me and seeing my part in it.>

5. Over planning – Planning to do an unrealistic amount of things throughout the day, that when I don’t or can’t complete them all I feel guilty and ashamed and like a failure. <Solution: NOT planning, and constantly making it a point to connect with my HP when I find myself not knowing what the next right thing to do is, or if I am unable to do the next right thing.>

6. Thinking about too many things at the same time to overwhelm myself to the point where I feel like I have no choice but to tun to taking depressive actions. <Solution: Thinking about one thing at a time – mainly what is happening at the present moment ONLY, and fighting the urge to think about the past or the future.>

7. Feeling guilty about doing things I enjoy when I have other responsibilities that need to be completed. <Solution: Trying to not feel guilty about anything – because if I am mindful and keep my connection with my HP, everything I do is justified. Being kind to myself because that is exactly what I needed to do at the very moment in time.>

I love working the steps because it helps me reach concrete solutions. I feel that I am done living the reactive life. With DA, I have the freedom to choose joyful and compassionate actions. I still struggle sometimes, but I find that I am reacting less and have moments where the choices are clear. Whether I choose the right one or not is still up to me, but with the help of this program and my fellows I am finding that I am free to make the choices I need to make, one day at a time.

 

Do persons who are addicted have depression as part of their lives?

Many times I hear a person attending our fellowship, Depressed Anonymous, not only are they now attending another 12 step fellowship, but now believe that their depression is either a part of their addiction, or the cause of their depression.

Whether they are addicted to a substance (alcohol) or to a behavior (depressive thinking), they find that depression is part of their daily life. With depression being part of an addiction, it follows that these powerful feelings of helplessness and hopelessness need ot e addressed.

Co-morbidity is a term used in the treatment of addictions, as with the alcoholic who is depressed, exists as a critical factor in how alcoholism affects their specific addiction. Co-dependency also serves as fertile ground for depression to develop, as it takes over one’s moods, thinking and behavior. Both the depressed and the alcoholic find themselves out of control, unable to live a life free from their addictions. The one feeds on the other. That is why one will find the Depressed Anonymous fellowshiip a necessary and healing partner in one’s healing.

So, can we say, not only should an alcoholic deal with his/her addiction to alcohol, but need to look into their feelings of depression. The one affects the other negatively. In the case of seeking and getting help for their alcohol addiction, and staying sober, both AA and DA provide long term, positive effectS, on one’s feeling isolated and depressed. The more we use the tools of Alcoholics Anonymous and Depressed Anonymous, the more we will find the hope and serenity that comes from the strength and healing,
from both these spiritual programs of recovery.

Many times persons who join us in our Depressed Anonymous 12 Step program, find that our fellowship becomes a logical and necessary component for their individual recovery program.

If a person feels lost in their struggle to free themselves from the prison of depression, they simultaneously are struggling to stay sober, possibly denying their own negative and tortuous thinking causing a spiraling downward into a pit from which they are not able to dig out.

How many persons depressed come into a Depressed Anonymous meeting and find that there is hope for them too. They embrace and make part of their lives, the strength received when they apply the 12 steps to their own lives. If you are already part of a 12 Step Fellowship, and are seeking help for your depression. The fellowship of Depressed Anonymous is here for you.

Hugh S.

COPYRIGHT(C) Depressed Anonymous, THIRD EDITION, 2011. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Lousville, KY.

This book of Depressed Anonymous can be ordered online from the Depressed Anonymous website at Depressedanon.com. Other 12 Step literature is available from this Bookstore.

Skate to where the puck’s going, not to where it’s been. – Wayne Gretzky

For a world renowned hockey player, Wayne Gretzky, knows what he is talking about. Isn’t it true that when we spend all our time trying to figure out why we are depressed, isolating ourselves, and our mind beating ourselves up, we dig that dark hole deeper.

It’s become obvious to most of us who are in recovery, that we do best when we have a workable plan. We believe that our plan, when lived out in our daily regular routines, will take us to where we want to go. Our plan has a definite focus.

First, let’s figure out who we are. That’s our starting point. To find out who we are can gradually lead us to another important question, what do I want? And finally, who is my God, or my Higher Power.

Today, I am going to attend an important meeting. I am going to meet some new people, plus many old friends and acquaintances, and hearing some great thoughts from those who know where they have been and are now discovering where this plan is taking them on the road to recovery.

I know where I have been. I was depressed. The meeting today is for me, and for those who are depressed now, and those who are discovering and sharing how this 12 Step plan of recovery is working for them. We call this plan, Depressed Anonymous, initially based on the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step model of recovery for the alcoholic. Even though depressed, we find that the 12 spiritual principles, the steps of recovery, work equally well for us.

Now that I admitted to who I am, my response to the healing ways, provided by my fellowship and the positive Depressed Anonymous literature, I continue to live a daily life, with hope and support. Now, when I get out of bed in the morning I look forward to living my life on life’s terms – not on my terms. Life is good.

I want what I find in my new discovery of a spiritual program, filling me with hope, acceptance. My program of recovery gives me the motivation to maintain a new way of living, filled with a purpose and meaning. I know that I am finally getting what I always wanted, peace, a plan for keeping my focus on where my life is going, not in the negativity and darkness of the past, not only threatened my mental wellness and relationships, but for some, their very lives.

My God? Now, I have a God that I know loves me, supports me in my new life, my new direction. What used to send my feelings and thinking into a spiraling downward, into a deep sadness, but now, since I have ‘made a decision to turn my will and life over to the care of God as I understood God to be’, my life keeps getting better. For that and this program of recovery, I am grateful. (Step 3).

Resource:

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

Freedom talks. We listen!

To attend a 12 step meeting is to hear freedom talk. Freedom has many voices for the many, those who are willing to listen.

It is the nature of this fellowship, the 12 Step group of Depressed Anonymous and other 12 Step programs of recovery, that when attending meetings I hear members share their victories over depression, with accounts of personal struggles, and gradually freeing themselves from the bondage of depression.

In the Promises of Recovery in Depressed Anonymous,
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 and sometimes slowly They will always materialize if we work for them.
Depressed Anonymous © Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY

Even though, personal freedom from the tight grip of depression doesn’t happen overnight–it does eventually happen. I am now speaking from my own experience. And since we all have different experiences with the 12 Steps, the results are the same. A lightness of mood, a spirited energy comes into our minds, hearts and body. We begin to thrive.

My own freedom was the result of a simple belief, that a Power greater than myself could release me from my prison of depression. I learned that if we wanted to get out of the hole of depression, we needed to stop digging. That made sense to me. In our fellowship, where freedom speaks, that by listening to the stories of others in the group, and others listening to my story, gave me the incentive to keep coming back to the meetings. I found I am now living with a new hope, without old fears, anxieties, crippling my motivation to grow and thrive.

Now, I speak about my freedom from the past, no longer dwelling on old negative compulsions which once defeated me.
Today, and with each new day, I listen to the loving spirit inside of me, operating within my group, and to all those who speak of their life within a loving community, Depressed Anonymous. Will you join us today?

There is a daily DA online International VIRTUAL ZOOM meeting and to find how to get there, please click onto the HOMEPAGE MENU, MEETINGS and you will be linked to the Journeys of Hope online meeting. Hope to see you at a meeting!

Thank you,
for the fellowship.
Hugh S.

Two Questions

Many times I am asked the same two questions and I always give the questioner the same two answers.

The first question: “How come you keep coming to meetings, though you say you are not depressed?”

My reply to the questioner: “Let me ask you why you go to the gym three times a week”

His answer. “Well I go to keep in shape.”

My question: “Well you look healthy enough to me. I mean, you tell me you’ve never felt better.”
“Ok” I say, “but why continue to go to the gym, since you look healthy and you say that you feel so great.”

“It’s so simple” he says. “I continue to go three times a week to keep in shape and maintain the progress that the Doctor says I am making.”

“That’s interesting” I say. That’s the same reason I continue to go to meetings. I keep in shape, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, not to mention how I can help others find the hope that is now mine. My Doctor tells me I’m looking better, happier and that I should keep doing whatever I’m doing, ’cause it’s working!”

The second question is one I am asked time and again. “Doesn’t going to all those depression meetings get you depressed? I mean, listening to all those problems? That sure would depress me.”

Here is what I tell all those who ask this question.

I tell them “that no, actually I look forward to my meetings. I always feel energized by going to a Depressed Anonymous meeting. I feel, by listening to others, and hearing their stories, I feel they are telling my story as well. Here, I am not alone. I am with people just like me. Each of us attending the meetings are at different places in our lives. We are here because we believe there is a solution for me, using the spiritual principles of recovery. The more they read the DA literature, talk to each other, they find tools to overcome their depression. They feel the energy, the peace and hope which they receive from each other at the meetings.

The meetings don’t dwell on our depression, as much as we dwell on the power of the Twelve Steps. Here is what I love about the meetings, I see people growing with every meeting. Even their faces begin to soften – they have a smile now. A few weeks previous, they had nothing but hurt to feel.

Again, the reason I go to meetings is to get a boost. I get another dose of hope. I am only as isolated as I choose to be. I now can choose to live and feel differently.

Find your plan of recovery (find a Depressed Anonymous meeting), and stick to it. Get into action. Seek out a DA member to talk with, and you’ll be on a journey that will continue to bring peace, hope and a fellowship with you as long as you wish.

For more information, check out the Depressed Anonymous website at depressedanon.com. You’ll be happy that you did. So, this fellowship is the reason I keep coming back to my meetings. There are no fees. No dues. Just come and see. Virtual, Zoom group meetings are now online.

Thanks for reading this message today. Please join us at Depressed Anonymous. You are always welcomed.

Hugh S. for the fellowship

What to do if the Steps or any important concept seems stale

Here in Depressed Anonymous we are on a journey of studying and applying the principles of the 12 Steps in our lives. Even the wonderful 12 Steps can begin to feel stale and need to be renewed. Any important concept can become stale and become difficult to connect with. It could be the Steps, the Traditions, prayers you pray to your Higher Power, really anything of importance.

Here is my suggestion. Change the wording slightly so you can interact with the concepts in a new way. In case you didn’t notice the 12 Steps are written in the past tense, and in the third person. When I need to mix things up I will state them in the present tense, and in the first person.

The present tense, first person 12 Steps:

  1. I admit that I am powerless over depression, that my life is unmanageable.
  2. I believe that a power greater than me can restore me to sanity.
  3. I continually decide to turn my life and will over to the care of that Higher Power.
  4. I make fearless and moral inventories of myself.
  5. I admit to my Higher Power, to myself, and to others the exact nature of my wrongs.
  6. I become willing each day to allow my Higher Power to remove my shortcomings.
  7. I humbly ask my Higher Power each day to remove my defects of character.
  8. I make a list of people that I’ve harmed and I become willing to make amends to them all.
  9. I make direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. I continue to take a personal inventory daily, and when I am wrong I promptly admit it.
  11. I seek each day through prayer and meditation to improve my conscious contact with my Higher Power as I understand my Higher Power. I pray only for the knowledge of my Higher Power’s will for me and the power to carry that out.
  12. Being awakened each day by following these steps I try to carry this message to others, and to practice the principles in all areas of my life.

When I struggle with the concepts of the Traditions I will reword them and try to apply them to myself as an individual.

Stuck in the rut of referring to your Higher Power as “Heavenly Father”? Try on for size “Heavenly Mother” and see if it has any impact on your relationship with your Higher Power.

God is bigger than the box you try to put Him in.
– Slogan heard at a recovery meeting.

Don’t be constrained by the words of the concepts that guide you in your life. The concepts are bigger than words. Alter the words slightly and see what impact it has on you.

Yours in recovery,
Bill R

Time to plant

To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.
– Audrey Hepburn

Submitted by Robin R.

I might not be planting a garden but I am watching the seed of my faith, service to others, grow as part of my next 24 hours. My efforts to be there for others has a relationship to how I am there for myself. I watch how I can thrive emotionally and spiritually when I believe in a power greater than myself. It is a known fact that when a person has a belief in some higher power, some purpose for living, it usually is due to a belief, that “there is a God and it’s not me.”

I believe in a tomorrow. I believe in living one day at a time. I also believe in keeping my life simple. I try and do the next right thing. As best I can I try to do what needs to be done. I try and do the possible. I have learned that trying to do the impossible, takes a little more time.

I want to live in peace with my neighbor. Treat others as I would like to be treated. Pretty simple and basic stuff. Agree?
I also believe in consequences for what I do or not do in this life. And, do I try and love my neighbor as myself. Yes.

As Bill W., a co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, left the hospital room of Dr. Bob, he heard Dr. Bob tell him, “Bill, keep it simple.”
It’s not that complicated. Though it does take work. Much like “weeding” the garden.

Won’t you be my neighbor?

Remember that friendly greeting? Well, I do and so do my adult children and grandchildren. Even today, Mr. Rogers’ name and face is enshrined in each our memories. What a delight to see him come through the door, moving down a few steps into his living room, heading for the closet, where he cheerfully donned his sweater. All the while he’s singing “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, won’t you be my neighbor? Won’t you be my neighbor.” Then he sits down and puts on his gym shoes. We are now ready and excited to see our friends and neighbor(s) again today.

His neighbor’s became my neighbors, his friends became my friends.

Our day began with Mr. Rogers. Everyday started the same. Everyday was a new day, seeing a new friend or old friend, with lessons to be learned. It was a program that we looked forward to everyday. This relationship with Mr. Rogers continues today for our children and grandchildren. As an adult, I believe that Mr. Rogers neighborhood, all his friends helped my children, my family members all thrive on the goodness and respect that they witnessed day after day.

Mr. Rogers taught me a great lesson. The more I watched his program, the more I wanted to watch his program. I found that I had created a habit for myself, a daily listening with my children happily watching neighbors loving their neighbors. It was a habit I never wanted to break. I found that my thoughts, my feelings of goodness and happiness thrived within me as my attention was glued to the screen.

But as we grow older we discovered that there have been some habits in our lives that did not cause us to thrive. In fact, they caused us to spiral downward where we had fewer and fewer neighbors (friends) that were willing to help us thrive. The lessons Mr. Rogers had taught us early on in life had gradually faded. Now, today, we continue to look for those friends who will help us get back on our feet. I have learned to develop habits that help me to thrive upwards into a serene and healthy human being. In my recovery program of healthy daily living (God, and the 12 Steps). I now watch what I think about. I watch what I say, and I watch that I always show respect for others. I also watch that I speak to myself with respect and that I affirm myself everyday with the belief that God created me because of his love for me. God has a plan for me and is always with me to carry that plan forward for the good of myself and my neighbors.

I spend time, everyday, to pray and meditate (Step 10) as I make a conscious contact with my God. Everyday, every morning, always in the same place, the same time and in the same comfortable chair. In our program, it teaches us the importance of that daily relationship with our God.

Do you know who my neighbors are today? Let me tell you who they are and what happens when we meet. I meet with them as often as I am able. They help me thrive. Do they ever! I am part of a recovery program where all of us come together, meet old and new friends and learn life long lessons. We learn how to love ourselves and enjoy each other’s company. We learn lessons on how to live out our daily lives with hope and peace. Our lessons come from listening to others who have formed a habit, a habit of how to love their selves and their neighbors.
For more information, please click onto the Depressed Anonymous website at https://www.depressedanon.com.

Welcome neighbor.

Hugh S., for the fellowship.