Category Archives: The 12 Steps

Keeping my Higher Power Highest

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.”

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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.


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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.

I need to get prepared for a new me today!

I am getting healthier the more I realize that I don’t have to feel the way that I feel. I have the option to feel content and even smile today if I so desire. I will act like I want to smile again even though I don’t feel like smiling.

“If you have made yourself a martyr to your unappreciative family, remember the principle of partial reinforcement and apply it to your family. If you are always at their beck and call trying to meet their every demand, they will not appreciate you, but once they see that they cannot rely on you to to meet their demands, they will appreciate what you do for them.” (Breaking the Bonds, D. Rowe.Fontana, 1991).

REFLECTION
i Know that so often those who are codependent and live all the time in everyone else’s feelings need to remember that the real maturity and happiness lies in being there for me — not for everyone else. I think that reflection points out the fact that I need to reinforce my own worth by going to DA meetings, actively getting involved with my own recovery over anything and everyone else. I am going to begin to be a pleasant person. I will want to learn how to be pleasant to myself.
Now is the time and this is the program where I start to detach from other people’s opinion of myself and start to reflect where I start to detach from those people’s opinions of myself and start to reflect on my own opinion of myself. When I am depressed, I know that I haven’t been able to get angry, not to forgive anyone, much less forgive myself. I feel cheerless. I meet my own demands and continue to work the steps so as to get in touch with what I need to do to reinforce those positive concepts that I am forming about myself. I need to get prepared for a new me today.
“We are now on a different basis: the basis of trusting and relying upon God, our Higher Power. We trust an infinite God rather than our finite selves. Just to the extent that we do as we think he would have us do, and humbly rely on him, does he enable us to match calamity with serenity.” (As Bill sees it.p.265).

MEDITATION
When we gradually work our way to the real self we get closer to the God who made us.

RESOURCE
Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Hugh Smith. Pages 14-15.

A light at the end of the tunnel

Now that I have admitted that I am powerless over my depression and that I don’t do myself any good blaming myself with those daily reminders of how bad and unacceptable I am. I now an conscious.

  1. CONSCIOUSNESS. I am conscious of my need to discover what there is about myself that I do not find acceptable, good and wholesome.
  2. PREPARATION. I am aware how I have depressed myself by the faulty beliefs that I have held about myself over past years. I now know that part of the way I feel is due to the way I automatically talk to myself through out the day. I now realize that my feelings about myself are very negative and emotion laden.
  3. ACTION. i intend today to replace all negative statements that I make about myself, like waving a red flag before my eyes every time I call myself “stupid” or put myself down mentally. I will use affirmations such as the following: ‘I will build a new life for myself. I am strong today. I have the courage to go through the experience. I will no longer blame myself or others for my depression. I do not have to wait for someone to make me feel better, as I can do this myself if I choose to do so.’
  4. SUSTAIN. I am very hopeful that I can feel better just for today. I am going to tolerate my imperfections while at the same time refusing to feel sorry for myself. I am going to make myself accountable for how I feel, not blame it on someone or others.

RESOURCES
Copyright(C) Believing is seeing: 15 Ways to leave the prison of depression. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Pages 54-55.
Copyright(C) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of Twelve Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY 40241.
Copyright (C) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook.(2002). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.
Copyright (C) Depressed Anonymous, THIRD EDITION. (2011). DAP. Louisville, KY 40241.
Copyright(C) I’ll do it when I feel better. (2013) SECOND EDITION. DAP. Louisville, KY. 40241.

NOTE
These publications can be ordered online at www.depressedanon.com. These books can be purchased together or individually. The DA Workbook and the DA Manual, THIRD EDITION, are available as Ebooks and are downloadable. If you order with the intent of setting up a Depressed Anonymous support group, having all five publications will be a source of support library for the fellowship.

Depressed? Looking for a stable and secure environment?

Depressed and feeling alone? This is what many of us have felt when a combination of the many symptoms of depression shackled us physically and put our mind in park.

Some of us felt that there must be a way out of the pain of depression, but as yet were unable to find what might help us. But this feeling changed once I came into the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous, our 12 Step program of recovery. When I was asked if I would like to share with others my own path of recovery I heartily agreed. Here is my story.

I am sharing my story here to give others a chance to read what happens when we land in this circle of friendship with its healing acceptance and support.
After ten years of repeated meetings with the depressed of Depressed Anonymous meetings, it’s clear that that the meetings create a secure base for those who in their childhood had neither kindness nor the life giving warmth and affection of a loving family.
People who keep coming back to Depressed Anonymous continue to grow and become aware of the inner change taking place, week after week, as they find not only attention to their story, but find that they are loved and and cared for at the same time. Possibly for the first time they find that they look forward to each weekly meeting and become attached to the positive feelings that emerge inside themselves as they continue to share the story of their pain. In time they share how their week is suddenly being filled with more good days than bad. It also becomes obvious to the participant that childhood behavior and experiences are carried right on into adult life. Trusting is such a hazard for the depressed, because every person is different. You can’t trust your environment because it could suddenly shift and you would be without a certainty that you were bad and worthless. The meetings gradually present to you an opportunity to be someone worthwhile and valued. Your sharing and risking information about yourself begins the construction of a new and secure you. The DA group becomes for the first time in your life a very secure and stable environment where you can share, trust and grow.
–Anonymous

Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, THIRD EDITION. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Page 162-163. (Personal stories: #25. Depressed Anonymous provides a secure (love and acceptance) base for those who never experienced love nor support growing up.


To read more stories of inspiration (Depressed Anonymous, THIRD EDITION. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Please click onto the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore at www.depressedanon.com. Literature can be ordered online. Ebooks are also available.