In September 2022, my journey with DA began as I stumbled upon the group during an internet search for a 12-Step Program dedicated to healing from depression.
Despite my busy schedule, working full-time and pursuing a Master’s Degree in Social Work, I was taken aback by the depth of my own depression, as diagnosed by my doctor. How could someone so occupied with both helping others and managing their own life experience such overwhelming despair?
Fortunately, the DA group proved to be a wellspring of support and warmth. Making the 12:30 pm ET meeting a regular part of my life, attending at least four days a week, I gradually became acquainted with the compassionate individuals who constituted this community. Active participation in the group’s WhatsApp channel made me feel embraced by a loving community. Mutual assistance and empathy permeated our interactions; I was both heard and acknowledged by these caring individuals I had the privilege of connecting with nearly every day. When I encountered distressing moments at work, triggered by my colleagues and resulting in what I refer to as uncontrollable hijacking of my mind, the DA WhatsApp group members were readily available to lend an ear. Their presence provided solace, support, and validation.
Given my history of intermittent depression throughout my life, the aspect I treasured most about DA was the continuous camaraderie and the opportunity to nurture a relationship with my higher power. Through this practice, my mindset evolved constantly, reaching higher levels of understanding and growth.
Unbeknownst to most, deep within me, I harbored immense gratitude for DA, seeing it as a form of insurance. With my parents aging and my mother struggling with stage 4 COPD, I knew major life changes could transpire at any moment. Consequently, the presence of such an incredible group and way of life became increasingly invaluable. After nearly nine months in the DA program, tragedy struck. I received news that I have reactive Epstein Barr Virus, and my doctor simply advised rest, dismissing the severity of the illness. I found out I have been living with this active virus for over 14 years. Consequently, I was forced to abandon my workout regimen, a crucial element of my antidepressant treatment. It was during this trying time that I sought to employ the program to a greater extent. Now I had a tangible and pressing reason to experience depression. Yet, with the support of this program and the assistance of my higher power, I managed to stay afloat and recognize that I would never be burdened with more than I could bear. Instead of succumbing to despair, I summoned the courage to seek progress in various aspects of my life. Breaking free from my employment bubble, I mustered the audacity to apply for a new position within my organization, acknowledging that my fear had kept me stagnant in my current role for far too long.
The fellowship I have found in DA has become a source of immeasurable gratitude. Without the presence of these remarkable individuals and the unwavering support they provide, I would have struggled to rebound and advance despite the daunting health news I received. I consider myself immensely blessed and secure in the knowledge that I have discovered this fellowship.
Lisa P., California, June 2023