Category Archives: Step 01

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.
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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.
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Our website is 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

I wish my family had a depression support group

If you are reading this blog today, and are a family member who is depressed and wishes they had a family that understood how the disease of depression has taken over our whole life, then this Dep-Anon 12 Step recovery group is for your family.

Starting this Monday, August 22, at 2PM EDT and 1PM CST our first Dep-Anon meeting will LAUNCH with its own group program of recovery. The Dep-Anon manual will be used for all our meetings, either on ZOOM or at face to face meetings.You can read more about the Dep-Anon manual on our website at depresedanon.com.
JOINING THE MEETING<

To JOIN the meeting, please use MEETING ID: 846 6885 1123 and the password is: serenity (lowercase).
You can also use the link to enter the meeting by emailing us at depanon@netpenny.net. This link can be used at all recurring meetings.

Over the years i have heard this statement, “I wish my family had a depression support group tp go to,” voiced more times than I can count. Since depression is a family illness, each of us who are or have been depressed, know the importance of a family supporting their depressed significant other. But that is not always the case. Because of a lack of understanding of the illness of depression -the focus of the family is mostly focused on attempting to cure, heal, or change their depressed loved one.

Now, we know, from personal experiences, that the focus needs to be where it belongs–on the person(s) who need to be changed. That would be the family members. Recently, Dep-Anon, a 12 Step recovery program for families and friends of the depressed has been developed. There is nothing new to our approach as we are modeled on the successful Al-Anon program of recovery. Their focus too, is not on their alcoholic family member but is focused on their own need to understand the nature and disease of alcoholism. They learn as families, helping other families, how alcoholism affects not only the alcoholic, but affects the whole family system. It’s a family disease. By putting into use, for their own personal lives, growth and health using the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Dep-Anon, has but one purpose, to help families of the depressed. Here too, the family uses the 12 spiritual principles of Depressed Anonymous–a program geared for family to family support and encouragement. These families gather together, supporting each other, encouraging and sharing their own successes and ways that work for them. They continue to learn about the serious nature of depression. Instead of being critical and frustrated trying to get the depressed to do what we want them to do, for example, trying to get them out of bed, or telling them to get a job, or to “snap out of it.” Family members, many times discover that their methods of helping don’t help, but instead, push the depressed further into isolation.

Dep-Anon can be a key for a family to give the best support that they can to their loved one. This is examen, in a group setting with other family members, learning and discussing with each other what depression is, what it feels like (to the depressed person) and how it effects their total thinking, feeling, and behavior. The Dep-Anon family group will help family learn what depression is and what it is not. We learn how to keep the focus on ourselves, our own self-care, and living in the solution of positive ways to take care of ourselves. Again, we focus on ourselves. In a very real way, it is in taking care of our selves and being provided with a solution focused understanding of what depression is, that we will provide our loved one a positive family environment, where there is respect and which gradually creates harmony and healing among all its members.

What is created here is a symbiotic relationship between the depressed member and the family. What one does positively in helping themselves in recovery (Depressed Anonymous fellowship) will have a positive effect on the other. (families supporting other families).


Remember, Dep-Anon ZOOM meeting Monday at 2PM EDT and 1PM CST.
MEETING ID: 846 6885 1123 Password: serenity (lower case-no Capitals).

In helping others I helped myself. Gloria’s story, continued.

The following story continues from page 140 of Gloria’s story In helping others,I helped myself

“There are four of us who were there together first on June 6th 1985. We had become very good friends. I still remember the things from the very first meeting that the counselor told us. I’ve seen people come and go. Some helped from the very first meeting. Some wanting a wand waved. It has helped me over the rough spots., and gave me courage and to go on as a widow, I have found a peace in life, a special joy in knowing and loving people. In helping others, I have helped myself. I know my background in life has made me degreased at times. My mother was abusive and I realized later in life that it was an emotional illness. I forgave her.

I will continue to attend Depressed Anonymous. Every meeting is different and who knows what mystery each group holds? One never knows who needs me, who needs a smile or hug, who needs to feel that they are not alone, or who needs to know that there is a God that loves all.”
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Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous. THIRD EDITION (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY 140-141.

In helping others, I helped myself. Gloria’s story.

” I remember my first night at a Depressed Anonymous meeting. It was the 6th of June, 1985. I went into the room of people I didn’t know and was afraid, I wondered what it would be like and sat at the back of the room so that I could leave if I wanted to. I was withdrawn with the pain of depression, so I knew I wouldn’t open my mouth to these people I didn’t know. The man in charge took me out to another room and asked me a few questions. I found out later it was to see if I needed medical care. When it came my turn to talk at the group of nine people, I refused. Everyone had a very sad story to tell. When I came home, I decided that I didn’t need any more sadness, so I wouldn’t return the next Thursday night. I didn’t. However, the next Thursday, I was ready To
go try again.

After my fourth Thursday, I opened up a little. I didn’t trust these people yet. As the Thursdays past, I became more relaxed and realized they could become good friends to me. I felt a closeness to these people, and I always liked helping others, so I opened up more and more.

After meetings we would go to a restaurant for coffee and food. One night I was laughing and talking, and our counselor in charge said “Gloria you have opened up like a rose. Petal by petal you have opened up.” Well, I felt special and very good inside. It had been a lot of work, and it was noticed by him. I felt proud.”
-Gloria’s story is continued tomorrow here at the blog.

Hugh S., for the fellowship

Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous Publications. THIRD EDITION. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Page 140.
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You can find 30 other positive recovery stories and literature at Depressedanon.com. See The Depressed Anonymous Bookstore. You can order online.

A new publication by DAP is their new manual, Dep-Anon, a 12 step recovery program for families and friends of the depressed. This book is also available at the bookstore.

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters


1. I walk down the street
There is a Deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost..I am hopeless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

2. I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend that I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe that I am in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still a long time to get out.

3. I walk down the same street.
There is a hole in the sidewalk.
I see it there.
I still fall in…it’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

4. I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

5. I walk down another street.

NOTE
This poem appeared in The Antidepressant Tablet.Volume 2.4. Winter, 1991 Edition, P.3
Portia Nelson, 2001 This poem is copyrighted. Please credit the author.

Lois, wanted to get rid of her pain

“It was December of 1992 that I made that decision. I know that I was powerless over depression and that my life had become unmanageable. I was willing g 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 Step at a time, from Step One through Step Twelve. Working the Steps to me meant posting the Step I was working on and consciously pondering it throughout the day.”

Our friend and member of our fellowship, Lois, continues to share with us her story and her experiences as a member of Depressed Anonymous.

“I no longer experience those black, bleak, and hopeless periods. My life is joyful. Then why do I continue to go to Depressed Anonymous meetings five years later? The Twelfth Step of this program “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to the depressed, and to practice these principle in all of our affairs.” I am so grateful to Depressed Anonymous that I want to be there for those who are still suffering.
The final situation that brought me to my knees and to Depressed Anonymous has not improved. In fact, it appears to be deteriorating. Our book tells us(in the section which discusses Step Six) that many would no longer express themselves if they could be sure there wouldn’t be any more pain. No one can be promised a bed of roses without pain.

Today I view the situation as ‘unfolding’ and my spiritual journey is unfolding with it. My Higher Power is in charge.”


Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous (2011) 3RD EDITION. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY Pages 110-111. Personal Stories.

All Depressed Anonymous publications can be ordered online. Check our our Depressed Anonymous Bookstore at Depressedanon.com.

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.