That Vital Spiritual experience helps us become conscious of God’s light within each of us.

” If we have worked the Twelve Steps on a daily basis, I do believe we   now realize the value of surrender and the power that releases in us. Just by making a decision at Step Three “to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand God” is the beginning of reconnection with life and with our selves. Now, we are conscious how our own isolation paradoxically  isolated family, friends, loved ones from us.  The more our friends tried to help us the more we went deeper into the darkness. Our darkness and their inability to comfort us in turn pushed them deeper into their own feelings of helplessness and isolation. Many times the desire to help the depressed pushes the helper deeper into the isolation of the depressed –mirroring the reality of the depressed person.”



(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. (Appendix B: The Vital Spiritual experience.).

(c) The Dep-Anon Family Guide (2000). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.KY.   ( This important work will soon be reprinted and published at the end of 2019.)

Running out of gas?



Running out of gas  is a scary proposition, especially when you know  the   nearest town and gas station  is fifty miles away. Your  mind starts cranking up some o f the most dire scenarios  one can  imagine .   Running out of gas has not been a problem for me in recent years.  I have learned that it’s best to keep an eye on one’s  gas gauge.  That usually takes care of any problems of being stranded on the highway.

For me, being depressed is like running out of gas.  Even though I was   going about my life as usual, I began noticing my energy level (physical gauge) was reading close to empty. This didn’t cause much concern at first and I kept plodding along. I didn’t give the thoughts too much attention.

Suddenly, yes,  it was suddenly  like some huge hand reached into my head, turned the mental ignition switch off, with my life  spiraling down into  a bottomless pit. I was out of gas, emotionally, spiritually and motivationally  paralyzed.  My battery was dead and my tank was empty. What to do?


” The important thing to remember about depression is that you are not a victim. You have bought into the belief that you can’t change how you feel. You need to believe that once you change the way you think then that in itself can begin to produce a change in the way you feel.”

It’s been more than 30 years since I spiraled into the bottomless pit.   I continue to live, one day at a time,  with the strength that daily replenishes me with hope and confidence. That strength I call my Higher Power, or my God as I understand God. (Step Two).

My battery is charged by those others in the Fellowship of Depressed Anonymous who as  my companions on this broad highway of recovery, who speak the language of hope.  Each time that I read and reflect on the thoughts in the big book of Depressed Anonymous (Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition) and stay in touch with a weekly meeting and my sponsor, I find my strength and resolve renewed.

If you are visiting this website for the first time or the hundredth time,  know and believe that you too  CAN  rise up and resist all  those hopeless and helpless thoughts  trying  to crowd out these new feelings of hope and resolve.


(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (1998, 2008, 2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.

(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, (2001)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

For more information about ordering material online please click onto VISIT THE STORE at THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS BOOKSTORE.



Magic wands and silver bullets are not available here.


“…seeing and talking to other people are amongst the most helpful experiences for depressed people generally.”


What a novel thought: a  depressed person talking  to another depressed person.    When I tell people I am going to a Depressed Anonymous meeting their first response is   “Isn’t that depressing?” “Actually,”  I respond, “it isn’t.”  I know from my    experiences in other 12 Step groups how sharing with persons who have the same problems as  my own,   is always helpful and therapeutic.

“It takes one to know one”  as the saying goes. The reason that meetings with the depressed are not depressing is that all of us speak the same language. All of us come with a  HOPE that they  can find a way out of the  isolation and pain. The depressed person  is discovering  meetings which are hopeful and solution focused. No “poor me” attitudes here.  No ” pity party”   going on here.

I find the meetings upbeat and focus on the solution. The solutions are found in the 12 Steps;  spiritual principles presenting a Step by Step plan  for recovery and freedom from sadness and isolation. At the core of these meetings is a belief in a power greater than ourselves, who is restoring us to sanity. This power, for some, is the group meeting and while for others it is a being  called  God, the God of our understanding.

How Depressed Anonymous Works.

At each Depressed Anonymous meeting the following message  is read to the group  by a volunteer:

“You are about to witness the miracle of the group. You are joining a group of people who are on a journey of hope and who mutually care for each other.  You will hear how hope, light and energy have been regained by those who were hopeless and in a black hole and tired of living.

By our involvement in the group, we are feeling that there is hope – there is a chance for me too. I can get better. But we are not the people with the magic pills and the easy formulas for success. We believe that to get out of the prison  of depression takes time and work.

We all  have been wounded in different degrees by the experience of depression. We also know that there is a method to regain control over our lives that is practical and workable.  It is successful for all those who want to change their lives. Some of us believed that there was no hope and that suicide was the only way out.

In this natural world, one of the first laws is that all growth is gradual – that belief is the bottom line for all of us who are depressed and who want to get better. The more we attend meetings, the more we will learn and see the various ways to escape from depression. We also learn  how important it is not to give up on ourselves.”



(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Pages 156-157.

(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

(c) Believing is seeing:15 ways to  leave the prison of depression.  Hugh Smith (2016) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. .

Please VISIT THE STORE @THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS BOOKSTORE   if you would like to order online any of the books  listed here.

Approval seeking and emotional dependency.


I have observed that many depressed persons, including me, are given to approval seeking, some more so than others.  It seems fair to call it a kind of emotional dependency. Little children are truly and completely  dependent on their parents or whoever is taking care of them. They have no choice and are helpless. They’d better have their parents approval or else.

Some of these children carry this kind of dependency right into  adulthood, even to their graves unless they do the hard work of unlearning it. They have become so unsure of themselves, their opinions, thoughts and skills, that they feel an imperative urge to get someone’s approval that they are doing the right thing and that they  are still OK.

When we, the former children, reach physical maturity, we find that people soon resent those who become dependent on  them. They often become contemptuous of them – leaners, clinging vines, etc.  We literally drive them away from us with our constant demand for reassurance, hanging onto them, and begging them to throw us a few crumbs of approval now and them. We become fearful of asserting ourselves at all,  for fear of retaliating with outright ridicule, not being given a seat around the campfire,  prolonged silent treatment, or stopping cooking for us, etc.  How can we avoid this treatment? Please them more, of course? Hardly. That brings us more contempt.

What will become of us? We will spend our lives doing what others want us to do. Not what we want to do. If it gets bad enough, we will have feelings of total worthlessness and self-loathing. Some will reach the point  where they would rather die than to continue living with that yoke around their neck.

You can free yourself from this fetter, but it’s really rough depending how badly you are addicted. It will take determination and sustained effort. It’s worth it to finally breath the air of freedom. And you, give it to yourself. Start with a proven self-help program like Depressed Anonymous. Here you will learn how to prize yourself.

I include some words by Lao Tzu, 500 BC, who wrote the TAO TE CHING.

“Care about people’s approval

and you will be their slave.

Must you value what others value

and avoid what they avoid?

How ridiculous!

When you are content to be simple yourself

and don’t compare of compete

everybody will respect you. ”

(c) Quote from The Antidepressant Tablet.

NOTE : Bob P., author,  of Evansville, Indiana, is  founding member of Depressed Anonymous and one whose friendship I cherish. (Hugh S.)




When the student is ready the teacher arrives.


My shame of not being in control of  my life has paradoxically placed me in more of a state of powerlessness,  feeling hopeless and helpless.

“…that’s the way it is with depression –over the years you get comfortable with being miserable, which doesn’t mean you like it,  but that you’re just too afraid to risk feeling different.

Now that I have admitted I am having a difficult time living, I wanting  to learn some new avenues that will make my life more enjoyable and   more livable.

I know now that at this point that I think my life is at its lowest point  – that is when  this program of recovery came into my life. I believe with the Psalmist  that who said  that we need to commit ourselves to God, trust in God, and that the God of my understanding will act in my behalf.

When I learn to let   go of all those persons, mental images, past hurtful situations and memories, the better I am able  to let God control my life. I find this “letting go” a fearsome project. I nevertheless  find that I must do it– if I want to find hope .

Some of the major ways people help build the walls  of their depression are to consider themselves worthless. They won’t allow themselves to get angry.  They can’t forgive themselves or others, and they believe that life is hard and death is worse. Also, they  believe that since bad things happened to them in the past bad things are bound to happen to them in the future.”


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

(C)) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.  Page 7.

See the Home Study project for more information  for working with another for one’s recovery.

Want to help yourself out of depression? Good. Get a plan.

Sounds simple enough doesn’t it? The working out of a plan might not be simple but it does hold a promise once the plan becomes active,something good will most probably happen.   Now if I was still depressed I would have stumbled over the word “probably” and say to myself, see “it won’t work.” I used to think that everything had to be perfect. No more.

Here’s the point: a plan is an active small goal oriented operation in which you take each step one at a time. In our program of recovery you have 12 steps and you don’t move on from one to the other til you have finished working the step before. You give each small goal as much time as you need or as little time as you think you need. We have heard the question “how do you eat an elephant? Answer: “one bite at a time.” By setting  up small attaintable goals, you can gradually get at the root of your problem and move slowly on developing answers to what is bothering you and causing you to feel sad and anxious inside.

Let’s make it clear here that I cannot promise that this is an easy road to take but a plan that once activated (put into practice on a daily basis) and will give you the best chance for ongoing recovery. How may times have I tried a program and I failed. It’s like  buying something that you have to assemble yourself. You know how that goes (or at least familiar with it) because initially you are excited about getting the thing up and running. But you miss some essential step along the way. You either have to go back and reread the instructions, and start over again and pay close attention to the plan’s directions.

Depressed Anonymous has a plan which is like a map indicating the right direction. The beauty with an activated plan, the 12 Steps such as the one that guides our mutual aid groups with a positive result, serenity and hope. Even though you might be in therapy or on meds, you can work this plan  everyday, anytime of the day and find yourself hopeful about something good happening for your life. Now you have a workable plan. You don’t have to wait around til your meds take effect. You can get started right now.

When I had used this plan of Depressed Anonymous, I felt that a Workbook would be a helpful way to guide myself gradually and with others toward serenity and a hopeful life. You also can read the DA book, Depressed Anonymous with its thirty stories written by members of the DA group who have activated a plan, worked the 12 step program into their daily lives and found hope and  happiness. No longer are they feeling helpless. The Workbook provides, by questions, in response to each Step, covering every facet of your life’s major life’s transitions. Also, the personal issues specific to one’s own life situations can be broached.

The Deprssed Anonymous Manual and Workbook both contain commentaries  on each of the plan’s 12 Steps and helps elaborate on depression and how to deal with your own situation and the severity of one’s depression. Every person depressed has an unique depression experience, even though symptoms may be similar to others, it remains that your experiences are totally your own.

Our website has a home page with menu items where you can check out your own question about the plan and how it works. You might also want to read some past issues of the Newsletter (See archives) and that can be helpful in understanding abut your own experience with depression. One can also review almost 1000 past blogs at the site which will give you a quick look into the nature of depression and the many tools provided for its recovery.

Depression is constructed with many symptoms. Our recovery plan attacks each of the symptoms in one way or the other. Formerly depressed individuals, have written about their success of finding the 12 Step map that took them out of their sadness and aloneness into life in a community of light and peace. In fact, all of our books are written by those of us who are recovered from depression.

Our program and plan is a “we” plan. We come together in groups and as individuals  seeking that path that brings hope and healing. When will you activate your plan?

For more information about Depressed Anonymous literature available, please click onto


The prescription for sanity in one’s life.

This idea of choosing sanity  is   what we desire.  Who would ever choose insanity? But, believe it or not,  people choose insanity all the time. You  remember the saying, “doing the same thing over and over again is insanity.” If you are honest with yourself, I think you might   remember a time when you yourself  kept doing something that was assuredly insane. Today, if you   can honestly say that  you  always choose sanity,  then my response to you  is that   is a good thing.  I am happy for you.

In our 12 Step program of recovery we  learn about the   2nd Step, “Came to believe that a power greater than myself can restore  me to sanity.” Now for most of us, like it says in the 12 &12 and 12 Traditions, written by Bill W., co-founder of AA,  sanity “means soundness of mind.”  Now here is the point, when I was in the throes of depression, I was scared and I really did think that I was losing my mind. I could not concentrate. My feelings and emotions were flowing through me like a river overflowing its banks. My thoughts always circled back on themselves, making a tight grip-like  on every thought that flowed from   my mind. I was in a circular round dance – without a partner.  I would   try to think my way  out of my depression. What was happening to me I thought? The more I thought,  the more I got tangled up in my own mental fog.  After the mental wrestling which  went on in my mind, hour after hour and day after day, I begin to wonder if there was any  way out of this  labyrinth. The paths led to places which indicated that there was no exit. I began to believe   there was no way out and so my daily recourse/solution was to sleep. Sleep was the only thing that would deaden the assault on my mind.

Many times my own mind goes back to the time when as a therapist I tried to help others break down their life choices into  small pieces. When I was depressed,  all I could think of was a wall, a huge wall that would show up,  every time I wanted to go  and try to figure out a solution for my problem. And it was here that I would continue the insane banging my head against a wall that would not let me gain entrance. But when I began to break the  symptoms of my depression into smaller parts and take a closer look at where the solutions might lie.  I discovered a way out of my own prison by  this method and   it  gradually provided  hope for me. I  discovered that what I needed  to do was to utilize some of these ” tools ” as a way out of the prison of depression and gave me a gradual  exit out of my prison. Instead of going over and over in my mind on how bad or worthless I was, I began to cut off these self-bashing thoughts with hopeful designs on making a new me. No more was I engaged in that insane circular thinking that provided no solutions, but instead, always sent me right back to square one from where I started. Insanity! It was like a dog chasing its tail.  Doing the  same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Sorry, it doesn’t happen that way when we are with a group of people at a Depressed Anonymous meeting.  We all have experienced the type of thinking that puts us deeper in the lowest mood possible. It is the group experience and the spiritual principles of the Steps that help us to spiral upwards into wholeness and sanity.

One of the great lessons that I have learned over the years is listening to those persons who share their stories of hope. They tell the stories of their own recovery sharing with us how they used all the “tools” at their disposal for their own recovery

.(See Tools of Recovery at our website Menu where you will find a list of many of the effective tools for extricating oneself from depression. You will be able to use  ” sane” tools as a means of rejecting the insanity of our own lives and making sense out of how to live a life without depression. A life with hope. It happens.)

Also read the many stories in our Depressed Anonymous “Big Book”   Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.KY). Personal testimonies section.

More information at the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore.

Order are accepted online.




We do not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. PROMISE #3/13.

Many of us have lived with guilt, shame and regret for our past.  Until we got down to business – that is taken a moral inventory – did we desire that the  God of our understanding help us see what we needed to do to forgive our selves and get on with our lives.

As the Promises state in so simple a manner, this does not mean that “oh well  we made some mistakes so let’s just forget about everything that happened in the past.”  We can spend a lot of wasted time wallowing in the self-pity that occupies our addiction. We also might regret all the time we have spent staring  at a blank wall, alone and trying to figure out in the circling of our thought the  “whys” of our immobility, passivity and pain.

It is in Steps Four and Five where our past regrets are played out and dealt  with. Once we have made a list of all our resentments and fears and spoke of them to a trusted friend we can begin to feel a new sense of freedom.

When we suppress a negative emotion an refuse to deal with it, either consciously or unconsciously, it becomes one of those blocks that form the walls of our personal prison. This unexpressed emotions can foster and boil over so that our energy level is dissipated, scattered . We find ourselves and our will weakened. We discover that with the internal war raging  inside of us we,  can hardly find the energy to get to work and /or roll ourselves out of bed a morning. The pain from depression freezes all efforts at mobility.

We discover that our ability to make ourselves do something is now beyond our personal strength and power. We have become helpless. We also discover that we are powerless. Our will power has no control over our feeling depressed,

How do we know that this particular Promise will come true for me? The only thing that we can rely on is our own experience. Our experience tells us that the more we live non the  solution of the Promises of Depressed Anonymous that the  serenity and peace is ours for the moment.

We have discovered that it is when we begin to live in the solution that our solution focused program leads us past the fear of what might happen to the serenity of the present moment. Our freedom begins when we start to reflect consciously on what is happening now at this very moment, I have noticed that it is when I become conscious  about what I am feeling –  the direct result of my thinking –it is at that moment that I make conscious  decisions to bring myself back to the present. ”

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

(c) The Promises of Depressed Anonymous : Planting a seedbed of hope.(2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.  40241.  # 3/12 Promises.



Today, Depressed Anonymous Publications has published the First Spanish Edition of DEPRESSIVOS ANONIMOS.   (This Spanish edition   is  the English  edition of Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition).

This Spanish edition provides the 12 Step fellowship with a Step by Step program of recovery.

See our website at for information on ordering online.

DEPRESSIVOS ANONIMOS  can be ordered from and/ or from the Depressed Anonymous website at www.

For more information  email at


We do not have to ask anyone’s permission to exist.


                                 CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

Like it says in the Desiderata, I have every right to be in this universe. I have a right to be here.  I need not shrink or fear anyone or anything. The times that I have felt so guilty for being alive, I now know it is my sense of not being worthwhile or acceptable to myself and to others that keeps me down.

I no longer need other people’s approval, just my own. Everyday I keep my mind and my heart focused on the solutions, while the problems seem less oppressive and frightening. Today, when I want  t o hide, avoid others, or just climb into the security of the comfort of my depression, I cease to exist. I know that I am breaking free from my sadness  by working the twelve steps and listening to the voice inside of me that promotes  my self-respect.

I now have the permission to give myself a real boost by discovering that I can free myself from my sadness and my desire to sad myself. I give myself permission to risk living life to the fullest.


I believe that my Higher Power has put me here in this universe to serve it’s purpose.  I do  know this, that I am here for the creator’s purpose and that when I  leave this place,   my human community, I want to leave  this green earth   in better shape than when I first came from my mother’s womb.

(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days:365 daily  thoughts and meditations and for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.