Many times in one’s life there is the impulse to make a first move …a move to help someone who cannot help themselves, a hunch that you are on  the right path even though other tell you it will never work. In the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous Bill W., gives some examples:  Orville Wright who made that first airplane flight at Kittyhawk in the US or Stanley who made the first river steamboat, the Stanley Steamer. You can add others.

I remember well the moment when I requested from the Dean of the Masters level Psychology Department that I might set up a pilot project for depressed persons using the 12 steps.  Using the 12 Steps for other human addictions, to my knowledge, had not been adapted for persons depressed. This was in 1985. His response was that “if you couldn’t even get them out  of bed in the morning–you surely wouldn’t be able to get them to a meeting with other persons depressed.”  Then he added, “don’t be surprised if it doesn’t work, but go ahead and try it.” I tried it. I got referrals from  Psychiatrists, psychologists, and assorted  others and set up my group. After meeting twice a week for ten weeks, charting the pre-test for depression and post-test levels of depression I found that most  participants had significant improvements over the time frame of ten weeks.

In May of that year we opened it up to the wider community and the rest is now history. Depressed Anonymous is now a global and growing reality, using the 12 Steps of Recovery. I  could never have even dreamt of what has happened since that time with this hunch that people depressed could get well  using the 12 Steps of recovery. And thanks to Bill W., and Dr. Bob. co-founders of the AA program of recovery we now have a healing approach for overcoming our own depression using the Steps that they developed.  We no longer have to stay isolatd and alone!


“People are practical. They want change but feel powerless alone, do not want to be the blade of grass that sticks up above the others and is cut down.  They wait for a sign from someone else who will make the first move or the second. And at certain times in history, there are intrepid people who take the risk that if they make that first move others will follow quickly enough to prevent their being cut down. And if we understand this we might make the first move.

“SOURCE: You can’t be neutral on a moving train. A personal history of our times. Howard Zinn, Beacon Press. Page 10.

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