Category Archives: The 12 Steps

The Second Arrow

The parable of the second arrow is a Buddhist parable about dealing with suffering more skillfully. The Buddhists say that any time we suffer misfortune, two arrows fly our way. Being struck by an arrow is painful. Being struck by a second arrow is even more painful.

The Buddha explained:

“In life, we can’t always control the first arrow. However, the second arrow is our reaction to the first. The second arrow is optional.”

Picture yourself walking through a forest. Suddenly, you’re hit by an arrow. The first arrow is an actual bad event, which can cause pain. But it isn’t over yet. There is a second arrow. The second arrow brings more pain and suffering. Can you avoid the second one? The second arrow represents our reaction to the bad event. It’s the manner in which we choose to respond emotionally.
Source: https://grandrapidstherapygroup.com/second-arrow-of-suffering/

We can’t control the first arrow. Bad things happen, even to good people. It sucks, but that is life.

I do however have control over the second arrow. I don’t HAVE TO sadden myself. If I apply the spiritual principles of the Twelve Steps I can have a daily reprieve from saddening myself. That portion of my depression I have some level of control over. The rest of my depression could be caused by a chemical imbalance in my brain, trauma that has occurred in my life, heck it could be caused by gremlins. I just have to accept that certain things are outside of my control.

Yours in recovery, Bill R

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.

Keeping my Higher Power Highest

Throughout my life, different things have been my Higher Power.  A certain job that I loved and prioritized above all else, or the person I was dating.  When I was in active addiction, different substances were a higher power.  Before recovery, the looming black cloud of deep depression was a higher power.  

Once I got into recovery and the steps, I was encouraged to find a true Higher Power, or God of my understanding – a Power greater than myself that could restore me to sanity.  In other words, Step 2.  I can honestly say that after many months of praying and working the steps, this Power relieved me of the obsession to drink and helped me to recover from the hopeless dark pit of deep depression. 

My challenge today, now that I am not in that deep dark hole of depression, is to keep my Higher Power the highest priority in my life.  For example, I recently started a short term job in a field that I am very passionate about.  It has been very demanding and time consuming, and I’m finding that this position is consuming my thoughts, actions, and life.  When I talked to my sponsor about this, she asked “So, has this job has become your Higher Power?”  I realized she was right!  Where was God in my life?  In my thoughts?  How can I be working Step 3 if I am not cognizant of my Higher Power and turning my will and my life over to His care?  I realized this job had become my priority in life, instead of my Higher Power and my recovery.  I am grateful for this reminder, so that I can get back on track.  I know that when I don’t place my Higher Power and my recovery first in my life, I start to slip back into old thinking patterns and old behaviors, which for me will lead me back into depression. 

Thank you, God, that You are always there for me, ready and willing to help me, no matter how many times I stray.

Living in the security of my hope.

” I am choosing to live in the security of my hope rather than in the fear of life’s possible pain.”

To read this article, please click onto the Archives located on the home page of Depressed Anonymous.
Click onto the year 2016, February 21. You will be able to find this article and many more at this Archived location.

The voice of hope

STEP ONE OF DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS
“We admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable.”

“Let’s listen now to the long-denied part of us that speaks out in favor of a change – that voice of hope that says we will feel cheerful one day. The small part of us says that we should risk going to this meeting and admit that: “Yes, I am depressed, and yes, I am going to find my way out of this prison by taking stock of my strengths and by beginning to want to hope.” You do have a choice. You can begin to let go of your fears of what life will be like without the constant gnawing feeling inside of you that produces that awful jitteriness. You will find lots of acceptance from the group as you listen to the many ways others like yourself have surrendered their problems to their Higher Power and begun to find a sense of peace and sanity that they never thought existed. The old issues in your head will whisper that there is no hope for you that no one is as badly off as you are and that nobody will want to help you as you don’t deserve anything anyway. Often these old tapes have been with us since childhood and many of our adult depressions have their roots in our childhood. Many people do not remember much of their childhood, but repressing memories does not mean that the emotions belonging to these experiences in childhood disappear.”

Depressed Anonymous, THIRD EDITION. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Kentucky. PP.33-34.

Lois got it right

Lois joins a Depressed Anonymous mutual aid group.

It was December of 1992 that I made that decision. I knew that I was powerless over depression and that my life had become unmanageable. I was willing to do anything that Depressed Anonymous offered. I wanted to get rid of the pain. If Depressed Anonymous had told me that I would get well if I stood on my head three times a day, I would have done it. Daily I read from the book and consciously worked the Twelve Steps. I worked them one at a time from One through Twelve. Working the Steps to me meant posting the Step I was working on and consciously pondering it throughout the day.

Lois, a member of Depressed Anonymous

Source:

Depressed Anonymous 3rd Edition, © 2011, Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville KY. (Pages 110-111)

Depressed Anonymous Workbook, © 2012, Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville KY.


For more information on Depressed Anonymous literature and ordering online, please VISIT THE STORE at The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore.

This group gave me my voice back

There were times when I wanted to talk to someone about what was happening in my life – but I didn’t even have a name for whatever it was that had me totally immobilized. What could I tell my friends – that I felt I was losing my mind. Some mysterious cancer of the brain maybe? I was definitely scared. The more stuff that I read about the symptoms the more confused I became. Whatever it was I knew that I needed help. Go to a doctor? Talk to a counselor? I felt so alienated, from my self, family and friends. I had hit the wall.

Like others with whom I later became became acquainted, it gradually came to me that I must be depressed. I had most of the symptoms: I lost my appetite, I felt shame that I was unable to help myself. I did manage to hold down a job, but my main thing after work was to go home and sleep it off. I lost my ability to concentrate, plus my memory seemed to be on the blink. I didn’t answer my phone, skipped business appointments and just rather not be in touch with anyone and everyone. Most of all I was very angry about something that clearly made my life miserable, hopeless and out of my control. I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning – why, because my life was now without goals, purpose and meaning. My own isolation from everything that I once valued and dear to me was gone. In a sense I had lost my voice to ask for help.

I got a phone call one day – a work buddy asked me to attend a meeting with him. I asked, “What kind of meeting?” He just said something to get you moving again. I agreed, but only for his sake did I agree to go with him. By this time I realized that I was depressed – I knew what I had – or what had me. And if you are presently attending Depressed Anonymous meetings you know what I am talking about.

Not til after a few more meetings did I feel comfortable in this group. But it was only after more meetings was I willing to share my own story. You know, the before (how it was before recovery) and the after (how it is now that I am in recovery, have my own sponsor and go regularly to meetings). I felt I had to speak. I needed to get it out in the open. I told my story how I was a veritable wreck during my struggle and inner battles with depression. And then how I came to this fellowship and became a new person. The key that unlocked my prison was this group of men and women just like myself – and a God of my own understanding who I know loved me and was with me all the time.

With my voice back and no longer all alone I am using it now to encourage others who come to our meetings – to keep coming back and using the tools that we freely offer them. They will be another voice added to the many who are today sharing their hope, strength and experiences. If you are brand new they will be wanting to tell you about it!!

A Depressed Anonymous Member

Do not ask what the world needs

“Do not ask for what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and do it. For what the world needs is people who are fully alive.”
Howard Thurman

This thought got me thinking. I have asked myself the very question many times over. I always had an answer to the question. For many years, the same answer continued to take me down the same path. It was a gentle path. It was like going to work in the morning. You know, getting on the bus, or driving the car to the same place every day. There it was the same faces, the same tasks. After a days work it was back home again. End of story.
It was a good life. I felt alive doing what needed to be done. And yes, I think I was fully alive. But then at a certain point(I can still feel it) life started to spin out of control. If you have had this experience you definitely know what I am talking about.

Long story short. My life was falling apart. I started isolating from friends and family. All I needed was to get away from the world and try figuring out what ws happening to me. I did not need a world that looked so gray, forbidding and threatening.
I only wanted to live in a world of which I could control. Now, I was moving slowly in a world that gave me no promise of direction. I was a walking zombie.

Then gradually, a light went on in my dull and darkened spirit. I discovered a new and exciting path. It was a new world for me. I was no longer alone. It was my gradual awakening to a new reality. I was no longer alone. I was part of others who are on the same journey. It was a journey of hope. I had a direction. It is called recovery.
My depression was gone. The fog had lifted. I came alive with the help of the group. It is better called a fellowship.I am needed. My experiences of recovering from depression is needed. I am called to give hope. My life’s ultimate concern, my purpose is to walk with others just like myself–once wounded –now wounded healers. I am fully alive.

I believe that the world truly needs me–needs you. What once made me think I was worthless and useless, now I am alive. Depressed Anonymous helped me come alive. Now I have no doubt what makes me fully alive. It’s those others, just like me at a time in my own life, who said, we need you. We need you to help others become fully alive. Now we know what the world needs.

With a gratitude that I am alive.

Hugh, for the fellowship

Need a friend? Feel isolated? Need to talk?

If you answered “yes” to any or all of the questions above, then we have help for you. Many times your answer could also indicate that you may br feeling “blue” or even depressed. Please read on.

“I am affirmed to know that I can always find a group of people who know how I am feeling anytime I want to get in contact with them.” Higher Thoughts

We also learn that the “isolation of depression begins as a place of safety and goes on to become a place of torture.” D. Rowe, Breaking the Bonds. Fontana. 1991.

I hear it often in meetings and I see it in the faces of the new members in the group. There is the fear of the new and the different. One has to give credit to those people when they come to their first Depressed Anonymous meeting. They are admitting first of all that they are having a problem. Admitting that their lives are out of control takes courage. They are coming out of their isolation and looking for help with their problem. They are willing to give up the safety of their isolation for the pain of telling others that they are miserable and have no hope of ever feeling differently.

Every move that I make toward other depressed when I am depressed takes me closer to another human being and help. My torture is so great that I am willing to come and meet with a group of total strangers and tell them my story. The amazing thing is that they listen. No one else wants to or has time to hear me tell my story. I have the key to gain an escape from my misery if I just use it. One of the telltale signs that I am depressed is when I begin to isolate and withdraw from others. When I find myself not wanting to be bothered by anybody, I just get myself to talk with another person who is like me, understands and can predict the painful path of depression.

MEDITATION

Our powerlessness lies in not being able to snap out of our depression. We know now that God as we understand him, or our Higher Power is going to get us through this period of our lives. We are on no time table with God, but we know his power is inside of us and we want to be conscious of this power in our lives now and everyday.”

RESOURCES

Copyright(c) Higher thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for twelve step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.PAges 17-18. January 28.