Tag Archives: Twelve Steps

Powered Up!

Powered up can mean a countless number of things to a lot of different people. It means that by involving myself in certain activities, I benefit from moving on to what I know is vital for me. Necessary in the sense of staying fit and healthy (walking, weight training), I get myself powered up to do what I want to do. For the athlete, or musician, writer, songwriter, and others, we all get powered up by doing whatever is needed to be the best we can be. When this happens, we feel powered up.

As a member of the Depressed Anonymous Fellowship, I am powered up when I involve myself in positive and healthy daily activities. This means that I am open and willing to do all that it takes to get myself undepressed, maintaining a daily regimen for my recovery.

Here is a formula for getting yourself powered up.

  1. I do positive self-talk. I no longer fall into the trap of self-bashing. I produce “sunspots (memories, pictures) in my mind” that keep me positive.
  2. I walk as often as I can when I can. Usually, three times a week.
  3. I pray and meditate daily and keep in touch with my Higher Power – having conscious contact with my God.
  4. Social engagement. I keep going to my Depressed Anonymous meetings, whether online or face to face. This is a must! Meetings energize me and motivate me always to want to come back.
  5. Exercise keeps me powered up. I feel energized, and I feel in harmony when I am in nature. Go green!!! Nature has a calming effect on me.
  6. Staying in the NOW. Practice mindfulness.
  7. Serve as a co-sponsor for a member of our fellowship. Call a friend when in need. Meet with members between meetings.
  8. Read Depressed Anonymous literature.
  9. Eat a healthy plant-based diet.
  10. Play. Have fun.

Hugh, for the fellowship

The Depressed Anonymous group and the Dep-Anon family group – a symbiotic relationship

The dictionary indicates that Symbiosis or symbiotic is the intimate living together of two kinds of organisms, especially if such associations are of mutual advantage. 2. A similar relationship of mutual interdependence.

The Depressed Anonymous fellowship and the Dep-Anon family group fellowship working separately while building families together. These two very essential recovery groups are symbiotic in that they are two kinds of organizations, especially associations of mutual advantage to each other.

Depressed Anonymous is a 12 Step support group for individuals depressed. Dep-Aon is a 12 Step recovery program for families and friends of the depressed. These two recovery groups have an important symbiotic relationship, as they both concern a family member. When one member grows strong, of either group, both groups are influenced in some way, either directly or indirectly by a member’s recovery efforts. A symbiotic relationship can create new healthy areas of relationship in both the Dep-Anon and the Depressed Anonymous fellowship. Our two fellowships will be equally advantaged by having as their central focus the spiritual principles of the Steps as well as the belief in a power greater than themselves.

As the Dep-Anon family group strengthens all the family members, the depressed also find support from their fellowship, Depressed Anonymous, which gradually releases them from the grip of despair and hopelessness. No more is the family concerned about their depressed loved one or try to fix or change their behaviors and thinking. They finally see that the best way for a person to change, especially the depressed is to take a “hands off” attitude while placing their attention on their own problems and begin to fix in themselves what needs to be fixed. The discovery that they cannot cure the depressed loved one, only learn how to cope with it, no longer criticizing the depressed or cajoling them. The family develops a new understanding of the nature of depression and by sharing, discovers their concerns at Dep-Anon meetings while discussing the power of the 12 steps together with their fellowship.

If the group members make the 12 Steps, the spiritual principles a big part of their daily lives and thinking, they will grow. They grow separately, but in the unity of each fellowship, they begin to manifest their strength by their serenity and their willingness to dig deeper into themselves, taking care of their own lives. Family members gather together to help each other and find peace and understanding what depression is all about. The depressed member helps the other members of their group begin to look at how their lives, with their mistaken beliefs about themselves, and how these thoughts and behaviors have kept them isolated from family and friends. The family finds that they have no access to the key that will free their family member out of their emotional and physical lockdown. I believe it is clear how the two groups are entwined together, not only by the fact of a family member’s depression, like the two sides of a coin, but by the fact that this is “family” and all wanting the best outcome for their loved one.

We propose that all those with whom we have a relationship, a sponsor, co-sponsor, or fellow members, encourage us to use the DA Workbook, either as members of the Dep-Anon family or Depressed Anonymous. We take a full look at ourselves and not others. As family members, we see that the only one that we can change is ourselves. To believe that is a lesson well learned.

By now, we realize that we are focused on our own recovery and that we are never alone. We learn who we are by being in the group and sharing our lives. The power of the group is experienced as we go through the Steps, learning not only how depression has crippled countless lives but continues to even threaten and take lives.

It becomes evident that the well-being and growth of either or both groups continue to emerge stronger by having a direct advantage by “by all of us staying in our own lane” and keeping the focus on our own recovery. We continue to learn that the group is our “miracle.” Not just for today, but every day forward.
Copyright@Hugh S.

RESOURCES

  • Copyright(c) Dep-Anon is a 12 Step recovery program for families and friends of the depressed. (2021) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY
  • Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd Edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY

NOTE: Both of these publications can be ordered online at VISIT THE STORE at this site www.depessedanon.com

If God is for us who can be against us?

Is this not a strange way to open up our blog today? Depends. It centers around what our topic might be. Today our topic is centered on spirituality and depression. As a member of a 12 Step fellowship, Depressed Anonymous, we talk and reflect upon the fact that we believe in a Power greater than ourselves. We also commit ourselves to the belief in Step two that “a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity.” Following this we reflect on Step Three which states that we “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand God to be.”

It was here at this point that Bill W., and Dr. Bob made a very important decision in how God would be presented to the alcoholic, who for many different reasons would reject the idea that the God of their understanding had their best interests at heart. Their idea of what the “preachers” had to say about God was not what they were looking for. In fact, there were the “preachers” in New York’s Bowery, during the Great Depression of the 1930’s who set up store-front churches where the practicing alcoholics come, get off the street, get a free meal, and hear a Christian message about salvation, redemption and freedom from drink. But it appeared that some of the preachers emphasized hellfire and fear instead of giving the alcoholic a way out that included a plan – a simple process of surrender and how “to turn over our will and life over to God as we understood God to be.”

I believe with poet Robert Frost, who wrote that memorable poem, The Road Less Traveled, where he was faced with a fork in the road, one road went one way and one the other. The one he eventually took was “the road less traveled.”

This poem speaks to me when I think of Bill W., the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, who by his personal experience with the God as he understood God, provided him with a way to understand God, not just a Christian God, a Buddhist God, a Muslim God, but a God as we understand God. It was only when he had his own epiphany with God, did it prepare him to share this understanding with other alcoholics so all could choose the God of their own understanding–not just the God of the Christian “preachers.”

This was the freedom that the early A.A., pioneers brought into the discussion where anyone could believe whatever they wanted about a Higher Power. In today’s modern world, you can find AA, NA, DA, Al-Anon in almost every nation on the planet. If he had not traveled down a road that only God knew where it led, would we have the Twelve Steps be open to all, regardless of their own spiritual beliefs or religious dogmas.

The following is an autobiographical account of Bill W.’s own encounter with God.

My depression deepened unbearably, and it seemed to me as though I was at the very bottom of the pit. For the moment, the last vestige of my proud obstinacy was crushed. All at once, I found myself crying out, “If there is God, let Him show Himself! I am ready to do anything, anything!”

Suddenly the room lit up with a great light. It seemed to me, in my mind’s eye, that I was on a mountain and that a wind not of air but of spirit was blowing. And then it burst upon me that I was a free man. Slowly the ecstasy subsided. I lay on the bed, but now for a time I was in another world, a new world of consciousness. All about me and through me there was a wonderful presence, and I thought to myself, so this is the God of the preachers!

– A.A. Comes of Age, page 63

And finally, there was another road that Bill W., and others traveled and that was how one alcoholic talking with another alcoholic, sharing their story, would make all the difference in the world. It’s a simple story, one recovering alcoholic being open, honest and willing to share their own painful story with another alcoholic, one person at a time. One day at a time.

I am one of those persons with whom a recovered alcoholic shared his story. Today, I am celebrating my 32nd year recovery birthday. I am a friend of Bill W.

Hugh

God doesn’t act like gangbusters.

“In Depressed Anonymous, we are exposed constantly to the tough message that we have to give up our self-pity  and sadness if we want to be happy. We have to think in terms of what is possible with God in our lives. Sometimes people come to Depressed Anonymous and don’t want to talk about  God and the Twelve Steps, and can’t understand what this has to do with how bad they feel. If after a number of meetings they still don’t want to work the Twelve Steps, we recommend other groups to them. Depressed Anonymous is a spiritual program and it is allowing the Higher Power into our lives that eventually delivers us from the habit of feeling sad and depressed. We in Depressed Anonymous are committed to working  the Twelve Steps and listening to each other share how God, as we understand God, has worked in our lives….

Jim, a member of Depressed Anonymous admitted that he had seriously thought of taking his own life as he had lost all hope of removing this sadness which, like a cancer, was taking his life by inches. It was only when he had nothing to lose that he made a decision to turn his mind and his will over to the care of God as he understood God. It was at this point that that the God of his understanding or the Higher Power was allowed to work in Jim’s life. God doesn’t act like  gangbusters and force its way into our lives -God has to be invited. Once again there is an invitation from us and we admit our dependence  on God instead of on our own addiction. It is then that our feelings begin to come alive and the flow of God’s love makes its way into our lives. We begin to to find that we are feeling better and that something good as we trust, possibly for the first time,  this God who will give us our heart’s desire. “God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things that we can and the wisdom to know the difference. ” Trust God to be God, and let this power help you, as it has helped millions of other men an women before you.”

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

 

Do you want a new way of living?

AFFIRMATION

I now  have a new way of living!

“But with OUR new way of living and thinking we are going to stay in the now. We know tomorrow produces anxiety and fear. Yesterday is there with all the past hurts and anger. All I have is the now!  If I live in the now I can begin to  try to stay out of yesterday  with all its old wounds  and hurts and resist living in tomorrow with its unknown problems.  Negative thoughts about our past or those about tomorrow can numb our feelings so that we don’t have to feel the pain of whatever it is that isolates us from the world around us. We also admit,  like any one person addicted to a person, thing,  place,  chemical or drug, that our lives are out of control. We have to admit, that by depressing ourselves, we have chosen saddening ourselves as our drug of choice. We medicate ourselves with sadness any time we might have to change the way we live our lives. Sometimes, our depression or sadness arises out of guilt as we continue to turn our personal mistakes into giant catastrophes – this continues to make us feel as if we are nothing and valueless. This all adds to our frustration and the feeling of our being out of control. We know that if we just give up our struggle against depression and admit our powerlessness over it, we can begin to surrender it to our Higher Power and practice letting go of it. I can decide that I want to feel happy and put this constant sadness and hollowness behind me once and for all. I know that no longer will I have to retreat or flee from   those sad feelings and escape with sleep, over activity or drugs.  I know that, whenever my sadness seems unending, I then just admit that I am not helpless and that I can do something about it because I have the tools and I can learn the skills that I didn’t know were available to me before.  Now I am deciding to think, act and behave differently, much to my personal credit and a new-found trust in the Higher Power.  I am a sailor who sees the land, knows the right direction and does the rowing to get where I want to go.  The Twelve Steps are my compass. I also   know that this group of people which we call Depressed Anonymous will help me assume a sense of no longer feeling out of control.”


SOURCE:  Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd ed., Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Pages 34-35.

The “before” and “after” stories of those who freed themselves from the tyranny of depression

I just want to write a few thoughts this morning about the “before” and “after” experiences of group members  battles  with depression.  Before there was a Depressed Anonymous group for me to attend, where I could address my problems, I joined another 12 step program of recovery. It was at this meeting that I heard and saw people who shared their stories how it was “before”  they got into recovery and  the  “after”  now that they are living the recovery program.

The difference was like night and day. I could listen all day to a lecture on depression, alcoholism, overeating or any other addiction  and not be as moved as I am when I hear the actual person telling  their story of how life is  now by  actively participating in their own recovery. To hear the changes that have taken place in those many people whose lives had spiraled down into the darkness of isolation and hopelessness is a phenomenal  experience in itself.

Most of the books which serve as the basic text of 12 step groups such as Depressed Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous, to name a few, all include many “before” and “after” stories of those who have suffered the loss of their self only to find that with the help of the spiritual principles of the Steps were they able eventually to share how  their lives had changed dramatically.   Their stories are simple, direct and filled with powerful accounts of  human beings who once were lost in the chaos of addiction,  but now have been freed,  living with hope and serenity.

Depressed Anonymous’ basic text  has its own “before” and  “after ” stories as well. All the stories, the “before” and “after” accounts,   give credit to the program of recovery which  has changed the thinking and lives of thousands of persons throughout the world.  I see  these stories manifesting  the miracle of the Higher Power, at work in those persons who made a decision to choose to walk that different pathway out of their addictions.  They then  tell those others “still suffering from depression” about the power  they have received.

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to the depressed, and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.” Step Twelve of Depressed Anonymous.”

Sources:

Depressed Anonymous, recommends its basic text, Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition for the many inspiring accounts of those persons who came to a meeting, like myself, heard what others had experienced and decided that to see how it worked for them.

Also another excellent publication with many “before” and “after”  stories is A MEDLEY OF DEPRSSION STORIES, by the founder of two Depressed Anonymous groups in North Carolina, Debra Sanford.  Her work is available at Amazon.com.

Depressed Anonymous Publications also has books available at depressedanon.com. VISIT THE STORE

Making “gratitude my attitude” helps keep Robin out of depression.

A personal story/ testimony from Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition by Robin.

“Through the Depressed Anonymous program, which utilizes the Twelve Steps, I have been on a  journey of transformation from the familiar life of drudgery and gloom and desperation to discovering a new freedom and a new happiness – something I didn’t know existed. My entire perspective is changing.  Other people who I once thought were   judgmental  are now considered as all being a child of God–all created equal. What a peace provocative tool this is. Really! It helps me lift those negative attitudes and replaces them with affirmations. This is certainly 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 word,  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.”

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


It is truly a remarkable fact, that  by going to one meeting you may hear someone  share  their own personal story and you think they are talking about you. It is amazing how this works, but not really.  What happens  is that all of us who come to the Depressed Anonymous meeting for the first  time, find that members of this mutual aid group speak the same language … hope and support. It does take one to know one, which is true. I guess the point here is that if we all feel pretty much the same thing when we are depressed, even though my depression experience is unique to me and how it effects my life, that this awareness is a great thing as it helps to produce those many strategies for recovery which can be applied across the board for most of  us in the group. The Twelve Steps are  strategies that in time and  work can   give us a  fresh and healing perspective for  our individual lives.  To read more about the recovery experience   of  others who have used tjourney of transformation

he Twelve StepsVISIT THE STORE and continue to find other literature which can   provide you with hope  plus  a way out of your depression.

Hugh


The latest offer by the PUBLISHER is the KINDLE edition of Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily Thoughts and Meditations for Twelve Step individuals. Take a Higher  Thought with you were ever you go!

A therapist speaks out about Depressed Anonymous

“One of the greatest resources I’ve used in working with many depressed persons has been Depressed Anonymous. The transformation it causes in an individual’s life is truly miraculous. This stems from it being primarily a spiritual program of healing and recovery.  It encourages a person to seek a personal relationship with God, whoever they understand God to be. In doing this, it helps a person to look inside for healing, rather than in a pill or some quick “cure.” Many persons who suffer with  depression look on God as being one who judges them harshly. This thinking usually leads  to much anger towards God, which results in more negative thinking. I know this from my own experiences with depression, and the angry relationship with God I had during those times. This is where Depressed Anonymous offers hope by getting a person connected to a group who also suffers with depression, and are working the Twelve Steps. In doing this, it helps a person come to a realization that it will only be through a power greater than themselves that they will find sanity in their life.  Depressed people cannot do this alone because of the compulsion to ruminate endlessly over negative thoughts. It is only through coming together with a group of people like Depressed  Anonymous that they are able to break the cycle of negative thinking. ”

To read more of what therapists have to say about Depressed Anonymous please read  their thoughts in  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications.  Louisville. KY.  Page 67-68.  ( The therapist who wrote the above is Ms. Denise List, doing therapy in Louisville, KY.)

As a therapist myself, I have found, as  Denise herself found, that our own struggles with the isolating and painful reality that we call depression, made a difference in our relationship with clients. To have a mutual aid group such as Depressed Anonymous  to which we could  refer them had  special and positive outcomes.

Our manual contains a veritable host of testimonies from persons from all walks of life who found Depressed Anonymous to be the “real deal.”  It is  here where they found acceptance tools for recovery and most importantly a safe place to share their story.

Please VISIT the STORE here at our site.  And if you are a therapist reading this now, it would serve your clients well for you to suggest  that they pick up  this book and begin to see and find hope for themselves.

I realized that I was addicted to the self

“As a person that has suffered depression since childhood, I can say that until you start to open up, share your hurts and feelings, listen to the members of the group, watch them as they grow from the support of the group, you will not be able to get out of the prison of your depression. I have been going to Depressed Anonymous for four years and only until recently have I realized that I was addicted to the self.  Only then did I start to take a good look at myself and start to ask God for his help and truly mean it. I am learning to trust in God  and do His will and not mine. I feel better about myself. I can tell you it is a lot easier to be depressed than it is to work on yourself and admit to yourself that there is a problem. It is God’s will for us to live each day to the fullest because of our time on earth is limited. Live each day, not yesterday or tomorrow. Share with the group and your friends and you will be surprised who will be glad to listen  if you would give them a chance. Accept the fact that all of us at Depressed Anonymous are here to listen to you and not make judgments  on you or give advice. Even if you don’t want to share, come to the meetings because you can always get something out of them. Eventually, you will want to share and the group will listen.

In conclusion, trust in your Higher Power – God as you understand God. Support groups are the  way out of our addictions. We may have given  up on God, but God hasn’t  given up on us. Start your day out by asking God: God I pray for the knowledge of your will and the power to carry it out. ”

-Starr writing about her experience with depression and the healing support that she receives in the Depressed Anonymous 12 Step mutual aid group.

Read Starr’s whole story in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. (Personal Stories section/Pages 129-130 ).

It’s time to Bloom!

It’s definitely Spring.  Here in Kentucky, USA,  everything is suddenly turning green. The tulips, the daffodils, jonquils and the trees are all budding.

Spring can only start in my mind and today I want to be a beautiful flower. I will visualize myself growing tall and bright and filled with God’s most beautiful colors. Go out and smell the roses. Don’t get stuck in the prison of your grey  colored depression.

“One of the reasons I am depressed is because I have made this an absolute belief of mine, namely., “Since bad things happened to me in the past and only bad things will happen to me in the future.” Dorothy Rowe

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

Now that I am working on myself and admitting that I have work to do, beginning  some house cleaning on myself, I am beginning to hope and see a light at  the end of the tunnel. I also believe that I will begin to feel better the more I attend my Depressed Anonymous meetings and /or work my Home Study Program of Depressed Anonymous. I also will be attentive to how other people in the 12 Step program are  working out their healing, one day, one hour at a time..

The future is now. The future is where I live right now. The future now is the yesterday tomorrow. I am making my future now.

I no longer believe that only bad things will happen to me in the future, because now I hear how people who once were ready to give up on life now speak of how they have found a hope in the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous and are getting better, one day at as time.

MEDITATION

God, please help us live up to our belief that each day we will get better as we live only in today and not in the fears and anxious moments of a tomorrow that may never come.”

Personal comments please.


SOURCE: Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for members of Twelve Step Fellowships. (1993, 1999). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. March 21. Page 58.