Tag Archives: THE PROMISES OF DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS

A secure base providing recovery: Depressed Anonymous.

 

One of the areas of my life, when I was depressed, was to begin looking for that personal and secure base    providing me with  hope  and resources for a complete recovery.  My first attempt at finding this refuge and secure base was preceded by a search for answers. Why was mind  always distracted? Why couldn’t I remember anything? I would read a paragraph and within no time I couldn’t remember a word of what I had just read. I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning. I was always tired and just wanted to sleep. Coming home after working all day I would hit  the sack. My mind was like in a dense fog.  I felt like I was driving a car at night with my headlights on off. I was lucky just to be able to get to work. For me it was do or die. No job -no  Master’s degree. My job paid for my education. It was that simple.

What can I do? What is wrong with me? I have never in my life felt so filled with anxiousness. Constant jitters.  I even began feeling tremors in my hands. That is when I got worried.  I didn’t have a doctor to consult. Since I lived back in the “stone age” there was no Internet. So, here is what I did. I forced myself out of bed every morning and I started to walk. I went to a mall located where I lived  and walked. I mean I walked miles around that store. Early morning walkers, like myself, were allowed to walk before the store opened. I  can relate to Forrest Gump in the movies. It was boring but I did manage to do it for over a year.  And then it  happened.

A feeling of lightness came over me. Wow! I almost wanted to shout with joy.  That horrible jitteriness stopped for a moment. I felt a cheerfulness that I thought would never come back. My mind was clear. Momentarily I began  reflecting  that something good had just happened.  And then the words, flashing across my mental screen, began spelling out  the words, It won’t last!”

And just as quick as the words flashed in my mind, with it’s lifting mood, it too disappeared.  I retuned downcast to my walking. And then slowly everything started to feel different for me. My mind cleared, my mood spiraled upwards and I began to feel like my old self–now, a renewed guy with a deep gratitude that all my walking paid off. I gradually began to see everything coming back into place.  Whatever it was (it was only later that I could put  a label on my experience and call it what it was, depression.)

Eventually, I designed a pilot project at my university using the 12 spiritual principles of Alcoholics Anonymous to determine if those depressed persons gathered in the  program would respond to the power of the Steps.   The Steps continue to help the alcoholic to recover from alcoholism.   Now we learned  that the 12 Step discussion groups, would also help others  make  progress, like our depressed participants in the study,  as their moods lightened over the 10 week pilot discussion period.  Today, the group that we call Depressed Anonymous is spreading worldwide and its Big Book (Depressed Anonymous)  is now translated into Spanish, Dutch, Russian, Farsi and English.

If you are looking for a secure base, that is a group, where everyone speaks your language of depression, and where you can be accepted and introduced to  a program of recovery that promises healing  and a brand new start in life.

 

RESOURCES

(C) Depressed Anonymous 3rd ed., (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Louisville. KY.

You can check out our literature at The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore at www.depressedanon.com.  You may also order books online.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did I build my own prison of depression?

How could that possibly be? Build my own prison of depression?  Impossible. Wait. There might be a possibility if I go back to my childhood and think about some of the things that happened to me growing up.

The following are some of the examples that others (my clients)  might have experienced   unconsciously or consciously influencing their thinking, feelings and behaviors in their later teens and adult life.

EXAMPLES

*My  parents fought all the time and made me scared. (They added   a few   bricks to the structure of your prison).  I would go in my room and hide in the closet.  ( The foundation for our prison is being built).

*Because my Dad was a town drunk he would show up at my school and make a fool of himself…I felt shame and anger at these   times . (Put a few more bricks on that foundation.).

* I was bullied at school and I just wanted to die. I felt worthless. I felt no one liked me… (Bullies added more bricks   to my  prison. The walls are getting higher and higher).

*I was told that I was not allowed to get angry. I was not allowed to cry. I was not allowed to tell my parents how much I hated their drinking.  No expression  of feelings were allowed in my family.  I wasn’t able to trust anyone with my feelings.

*Another message that I always got was  “You’ll never amount to anything,” or “you’ll never be like your older brother.”  (An especially large row of bricks is laid here  when a Third grade teacher tells you this in front  of the whole class and your face  always turns crimson when you think about this shaming event).

*I was given the message that the world beyond  my family was dangerous and threatening. ”

*It was at this  point that my teenage years were spent behind the walls of a nearly finished prison. I was locked down and there was no way out of my prison. No one gave me a key.

*All these  building blocks that produced a prison  for myself all came with  early life relationships.  The messages that I got growing up gradually and effectively locked me down. I was   growing up with out hope. All the messages were  like  building blocks  which further imprisoned me.

Now that I am an adult, I have  begun to take  bricks away, one by one and the structure  is being dismantled,  one brick  at a time. And how did this happen?

It all happened when I became sick and tired of being sick and tired.   I needed help. I needed someone, something, other than the alcohol and opioids that I was abusing  to turn my life around.

Yes, I built my prison and I was not even aware that  each block carried to my structure was imprisoning  me. So many of my toxic relationships, growing up,   all came with another brick to put into my prison.

Taking the wall down, brick by brick we have to have a plan. We have to find ways to remove the bricks and free ourselves from those deadly feelings  of personal worthlessness and feelings that we  are unacceptable  to ourselves and to others. I know now that   I was not to blame for being in a prison and that  I had no idea that all those messages given to me when I was growing up,  influencing my life so directly,  they all were only  other people’s opinions of me. These opinions determined my future. They were responsible for building  my prison. No child or young person wants to live their life in a prison–especially which is not of their own making.  The tragic point here is that their imprisonment is not their fault.  For some youngsters and even older adults the tragedy is that they believed what was told them so that their pain is so great they take their own life.  They wanted  to be free, be  happy and have people around them who love them  and support them in every way possible. The real problem is that none of us  had  a choice when we got our parents,  teachers and relatives.

I think Bill W., the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous says it best when  gives us hope when he   wrote the following:

“We must never be blinded by the futile philosophy that we are just the hapless victim of our inheritance, of our life experiences, and of our surroundings –  that these are the forces that make our decisions for us. This is not the road to freedom. We have to believe that we can really choose.”  (c) As Bill Sees it. A.A. World Services. NY. 1967.

Now the plan that is working for many of us  is  to discover   that when we live out the solution in our lives,  that we focus on the solutions for removing those bricks from   the walls of our depression, that  it wasn’t our doing that the prison was built.  We didn’t choose to have the wall built. Who chooses to live in a prison  anyway? We didn’t know when we were young that these messages were never true but we believed them.   We do not take the blame today for our depression and feeling worthless and unacceptable. We know that blaming others doesn’t do us any good either.

What works for us is a well thought out plan of recovery.   We can begin to learn how to   prize  ourselves and  realize and celebrate who we really are and  the person whom we desire to become. The 12 Steps will get you there!  You will have the tools to rebuild and you will see results. That is a Promise. (See page 109 in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition where it lays out the PROMISES of the Steps  for those who choose to use them).

By using the spiritual principles of the  12 Steps we have begun to choose to dismantle all those negative and hurtful messages from others  that were never true in the first place.

If you want to write your own story as how the 12 Steps helped you remove the blocks from your own prison, please let us know by writing to depanon@netpenny.net., as we would love to hear from you.

Also, please read the   personal stories of those who have chosen to  free themselves from the prison of their own depression in our Big Book:

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. (2011) Louisville.Ky.

Click onto The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore at our website www.depressedanon.com. Online purchases of our literature is  available.

Intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us

From the Promises of Depressed Anonymous #11.

As my mind began to heal and my thoughts became more lucid, it became apparent that something inside of me is changing. Depression, when you begin to examine the various symptoms up close and deal with them, the experience becomes less threatening. Some say that depression is a collection of behaviors that are brought into play to defend us against things that are too painful to face. Also, depression results when a love object is lost through death or that one feels abandoned. We have become so at one with our lost love, that we mourn the death of part of us. The love object and ourselves has become one. I believe we use the word co-dependence today.

At first I was frightened by my various symptoms of depression. The symptoms proved to be baffling. I was not able to get out of bed as well as being unable to concentrate or manage a complex thought. I began to worry that I was losing my mind. I often asked myself if I was going to survive. But now my ability to handle situations in a meaningful way is due to my frequent attendance at meetings. I was also making a daily time for prayer and meditation and began to feel that my life has purpose and meaning. The more I am physically active, i.e., going to meetings even when I don’t feel like it. I began working in my Depressed Anonymous Workbook and reading my 12 step literature.

The behavior is where my freedom and hope begins. And yes, I do feel lousy at times but I also know that nothing can stand in my way to make in my own behalf. Previous to my involvement with the group I had no idea that my depression was not so powerful as to prevent me from even thinking that I could choose to feel differently.”


Sources:
Copyright (c) I’ll do it when I feel better. (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 50-51.
Copyright (c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY

NOTE: More to come tomorrow on how to respect our “gut” feelings and handle those difficult situations that come up in our lives.

“Depressed Anonymous is a light to guide me.”

Dear All,

I have been very busy lately, out living life, and I wanted  y’all  to know that just being on this Blog subscription list and reading the shares and the “Big Book” of Depressed Anonymous has helped me tremendously to not fall into depression in blind denial as was my custom,. Two things are helping  me.

do the next right thing

motivation follows action

Thank you so much for being here!

Also for the first time I can handle flashbacks from PTSD more easily because I am not depressed. I even had more repressed memory come up. I was depressed for about a day and a half and then got sick of it and got up and went back to my daily life. It  is a miracle! Thank you, thank you, thank you…I believe I am  on the path that leads to depression being something that I used to struggle with so mightily. I don’t think I’m cured, just that Depressed Anonymous is a light to guide me, to keep  me on the path to wellness….

Trish.”

The Antidepressant Tablet.

A     Comment

Thanks to you Trish,  for your thoughts and your enthusiastic response to the  power of the 12 steps of Depressed Anonymous at work in your own  life.  And yes, the mutual aid support group  which we  fondly know  as Depressed Anonymous  group  has participants thought out the world.  It  has come a long way since it was founded in 1985, Truly, the group is like the “mustard seed” of the Gospels. Our BIG BOOK  is being translated into Dutch, Spanish, Iranian(Persian). It has already been translated into Russian and now made available to those in Eastern Europe who speak Russian.

All of us who use  the Steps of recovery can give thanks to Bill W., and Bob S., the co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous (1939).All of us in the program continue to stand on the shoulders of these two giants, plus those who were the first members of this healing initiative.

I personally can say that my own recovery and the life I lead now  would not have been possible if I had not become a member  of a 12 Step  recovery program and lived my life around the Promises of the Steps.

You might want to participate in our online HOME STUDY PROGRAM  where you will be able to work your own program using the DA Workbook and Manual (BIG BOOK). The online program works via emails and  correspondence that are set up between you and the sponsor.

You can find out more about this personal recovery effort by clicking onto the Depressed Anonymous Publications website  www.depressedanon.com. At the Site menu, you can use the drop down individual menu HOME STUDY PROGRAM, and learn how to order the materials and then start your own program using these two books. Trish, would be happy that you will find the serenity and hope that she has found.

Hugh

 

Our feelings come about due to how we think of things.

Happiness is an elusive feeling – and for each of us happiness can mean something very different. When I say to myself “life doesn’t get any better than this,” then I know that life is indeed good and that all is well with my soul.

What can keep us in the prison of depression is a construction that we place on events and situations that occur in our world.

To be free means  to act with a degree of spontaneity. This after all, is the opposite of depression. Events of themselves are not the cause for depression – similar events are in the lives of many folks  but there are some folks that don’t experience depression because of them. So, it must be the way we think about these events and the meanings that we place on the situation. Our lives and the way we look at life is composed of past and present events. Our past life is a way we predict the future. “Since bad things have happened to me in the past – bad things are bound to happen to me in the future.” How true this is.  Our  prison is composed of blocks of times and situations which at one time were fluid – like a river moving. Since these events affect our sense of self – we caused the river to stop flowing – and instead our painful thoughts and feelings – are the blocks that make up the walls of our personal prison. We need to restore the fluidity the of our lives. Once when our self has been restored – namely our spontaneity,  we will experience freedom and happiness. By having that spiritual experience and being an active member of  the fellowship  of Depressed Anonymous is what can restore us to sanity. Happiness comes from finding loving support, and acceptance.”

_________________________________________________________

SOURCES:  (C)   The Promises. (2002). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

(C) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011). Depressed Anonymous Publications.  Louisville.

(C)The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, 2nd edition. (2002)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Admitting that we are in pain is the start of freedom!

  THE PROMISES OF DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS.

PROMISE #1. We believe that once we have diligently and with rigorous personal honesty managed to complete the first nine steps of our program – good things can begin to happen in our life. It is after we have made amends to those whom we had harmed, swept the porch in front of our own house, and go to step ten and complete the remainder of the steps, we will be amazed at the peace that is become a part of our life.

The pain that we experience now – and working our program step-by-step is indeed slight – compared to the pain that may continue if we don’t bite the bullet and look at the issues that have trapped us these many years.

Working the 12 steps is like the person who heads toward  the light at the end of the tunnel. The closer one gets to the light – the more one discovers a way out. The light in this case is symbolized by the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous. The expression of light, health and recovery of its members helps each of us to stay focused on recovery. Work is to be done if we are to find not only the light  – but a life free from the symptoms of depression.

Change is painful.  The first step is for the beginning of the end of our pain.  By admitting that we are in pain is that which paradoxically begins a release of our pain. This is the paradox of letting go and holding on as we learn from step three. What we hold onto holds on to us. What we seek – seeks us.

It is difficult for any of us to admit that our lives are out of control.

People sometimes speak of their depression as a comfort. I can identify with that, because if they were to change for anything else, they might end up with something far worse than what they have now. They feel that they might end up the hole in the doughnut. This pain of depression begins to dissolve as a result of doing something we’ve never done before – or rather doing something about our lives that we have not done before. It happens to be true that the more we get in touch with and remove our resentments, fear, guilt, and self-pity from our lives, the lighter we feel emotionally. The less need we have   to rely on defense mechanisms which shielded our fragile egos from pain,  hurt or remorse, the freer we become.

I do believe that the pain of our depression originates from inside ourselves. We construct present-day reality based on past life experiences. The past is a predictor of the future.  As it says in Depressed Anonymous, many of us held the absolute belief that “since bad things have happened to us in the past, bad things will happen to us in the future. In other words – we have made up her mind – nothing will ever change. And of course this belief is what promotes and keeps our depression  alive.”

The opposite of depression is spontaneity and vitality. When we are depressed we move about as in a fog.  we are stuck.  Since we desire everything to remain the same, that is, predictable, we in no way believe that life can be different. If we intend to stay suck, we make the decision, choose to stay in the rut of being  lifeless, hapless and helpless.

As we change old beliefs into new ones we believe that things can change as things begin to change.  We will begin to experience light, hope  and joy.   ”

In every   Depressed Anonymous story (See Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition) one’s personal story of recovery  illustrates how pain has been the admission price for the beginning  of a new life without depression and isolation.

.”The God that we know speaks to us through members of the Depressed Anonymous group. The Higher Power will put a new sense of purpose into  your life once you know how to turn  to it and surrender your pain. The Depressed Anonymous group will lead you safely and gently. The miracle is in the group.”

“The starting point is the admission that so far everything we have tried has not worked…”  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. DAP. Louisville. DA/P.39.

“… Life doesn’t have to be lived alone in agony or misery.” DA/.41.

 

Coming Attractions!

How often do we  hear about “coming attractions” when we go to our local theater? There are always movies that are advertised to be shown in the future. They usually depict short clips from some of the movies  that will be coming  soon.

Now, today, as we go  about our day, our mind reviews some of the coming attractions that we will bump into this day. Have you ever noticed that the human mind, with its fears and apprehensions, usually attracts all those things that we fear might actually  happen to us. Let me give  an example of how “coming attractions” works in the brain. It’s very much like Murphy’s law which tells us that if you think something bad is going to happen–it usually does. It is a strange phenomenon but it actually works out that what we fear many times actually occurs. It’s almost like the negative fear attracts the very thing that we fear. Let’s say we are thinking about a person who is a big pain and suddenly there they are -right in front of us. How does this happen? Is  there some mysterious magnetic force in the universe that  makes this fear become a reality? Or another example: I go to a room filled with strangers and I think, “nobody will want to talk with me.” And almost magically we find ourselves standing in a corner watching everyone else interacting with others.  We just knew that this would happen. This is one of those “coming attractions” to which  our mind alerted us. And then again, how about this situation. You are at the grocery or market and you  see someone you’d just as well not want  to see . So you go down another aisle in the store and head for the check out lane. Lo and behold, guess  who pulls up their cart right behind you. Yep, you guessed it. It’s one of those “coming attractions” that our mind makes happen. Negativity attracts negative events. Negativity thoughts  attracts more negative thinking.

Can there be a reverse side of this “coming attractions” business of the mind?  I believe so. It is just as true that our mind attracts whatever we put into it. If we fear this or that,  make a mountain out of a molehill, but then reflect and see it for what it is, and reduce it to its appropriate size, we will not get stuck in the cycling negative thinking  of how bad it is or might appear to us at the time.

In Step Three  of Depressed Anonymous we  read that “we came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”   This is one of my favorite “coming attractions” that has proved time and time again to be so true. Over time and with practice,  I no longer waste my time thinking about what is going to happen to me in the future  with its promised catastrophic end. So now my positive thinking abounds in a positive outlook for my life. I just know that whatever comes to me today I can handle. I just know that the Promises of Depressed Anonymous are as true today as when they wewre first written back in 1935. I also believe that all I have is today–just this 24 hour period. That is all God gives me. One day at a time. And whatever the “coming attractions” are  for me today–God and myself can handle them. I am going to have a great day  today! How about your day?

For more about the “coming attractions ” for your life,  read what will happen for those of us who choose the  way that leads out of depression. In the program of recovery we call them the “PROMISES.”

“If we are painstaking about this phase of our development , we will be amazed before we are halfway through. We are going to know a new happiness.  We will not regret the  past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word “serenity” and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how  our experience can help others. That feeling of uselessness and self pity will disappear. We will  lose interest in  selfish things and  gain interest in our fellows. Self  seeking will slip away.  Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. The fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations that used to baffle us. 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, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize  if we work for them. ”

SOURCE:   Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition(2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 109.

The Promises (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications .Louisville.

Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

VISIT THE BOOKSTORE FOR MORE INFO.

PROMISE # 2: We realize a new way to live.

“After having made a clean breast of things we begin to live with a clean conscience. We have made amends, made it right with our God, others and ourselves.

How does one acquire freedom? Freedom is based on detachment. Detachment means to no longer cling to persons, places, things or behavior that cripples or demeans itself or others.

In  our struggle with depression, we had felt that we had lost all freedom and happiness. We now know that we have the key to our prison in our hands and as we move through each of the steps a new fact was discovered, that we don’t have to remain frozen in time with our depression.  We know that now we can celebrate a release from all the old fears, resentments and images that we held of ourselves over these many years.

Our happiness is now dependent on how we look at ourselves, our world and the understanding that we have of our God. I know for a fact that when I first came into the fellowship, I felt like a stranger in a foreign country. My thoughts and feelings were all confused as I began the journey into myself with a deepening desire to discover the engine that drives my sadness.  The battle raged inside of me – a battle that was fought in the shadow of past events – relationships. It was a personal triumph for me to finally see that there was a way out of this despair and emotional atrophy.  I now follow a practical plan as outlined by our suggested 12 Step program.  I make sure that every day that I get into action and do something.  I used to think that if I wait long enough the good humor fairy would tap me on the shoulder and I would be well. This is exactly the opposite of what our program of recovery promotes. Our position is that you have to roll up your sleeves and get to work.

A pill might make you feel differently-but it will never take away the circumstances that brought you down in the first place. The Promises here tell us that we will find a new freedom of happiness – but first, work has to be done. Our lives and the way we look at life are composed of past and present events.”

______________________

SOURCES:     Copyright(c) The Promises of Depressed Anonymous (2002). Depressed Anonymous Publications.

Copyright(c) I’ll do it when I feel better(2015). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 33-34.

Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 109.

“…something powerful is starting to blossom within me.”

 Promise  #12 states that “We would suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.”

I believe that this Promise is at the core of our recovery. It is precisely at this moment in our lives that we realize that somebody, someone greater than myself is guiding me. This someone is not forcing us but is guiding us through our darkness.  It is lighting our path so we neither stumble or regress into our old ways of thinking and behaving. It is with this in mind that we continually redirect our attention to have that desire to do its will.

Before we discovered the program of Depressed Anonymous we were convinced that the only chance that we had to get better was to wait while the prescribed drugs kicked in and then everything would be all right.   But now we are certain that our ability to get well is surely based on how much we develop the belief that we can choose how we feel and think. Indeed we are now convinced that we can either sad ourselves or choose not to sad ourselves. We have a choice.

The community and bonds of the Depressed Anonymous fellowship produce a feeling that just as other members of the group are recovering so can I. We must be willing to let go of all thoughts that tell us we will   never get well. These are the same thoughts that have imprisoned us over the years.

We now listen to the God of our understanding and proceed with the belief that what we hold about the world on the outside of us is determined and governed by the world that is lived within us. We are in a brand new way, on a new path, and find ourselves committed to a fresh belief that something powerful is starting to blossom within me.  A peace that surpasses all understanding is beginning to be born in us when we learn to relax,  wait and listen for that still small voice.”


SOURCES:  (c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

(c) The Promises of Depressed Anonymous: Planting a seedbed of Hope. (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 25.

Promise # 11: I can live in hope and not despair.

Promise # 11 of the Promises of Depressed Anonymous shows us that with work and  a commitment to oneself that I will leave the prison of my depression.

Starr tells us in her personal story in Depressed Anonymous that it was when she opens up and shares her story with others in the group that she feels relief.  It was here that  she learns how to handle situations that at one time  baffled her. We all have learned that whether we share in a face – to – face group or online, our ability to trust others begins to grow.  We begin to feel empowered. We now know almost intuitively that trust of others can lead to trust in ourselves. We tell ourselves If others can grow and get well so can I. We also find ourselves doing less and less of the self-bashing that we once did. Now we find that we  can be free of the prison that we have constructed,.Our negative feelings about ourselves get gradually replaced by feelings of positive regard.  We find that the guilt and shame that once shadowed our every move  now begin to be diminished. How is this?  It happens because someone like ourselves has shown us that we too can live without depression.  We have become believers in what can be done with hope, work and time.

SOURCE: I ‘LL DO IT WHEN I FEEL BETTER. (2014)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.