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.


  • 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

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