Loosening our grip on the life of the depressed loved one !

” A major element of our personal renewal in this program of recovery is the gradual “loosening of our grip”  on the life of the our depressed loved one. We have learned the hard truth that it is in “giving up control” of what is to happen to our loved one. The only way our loved one is to get better,  is for each of us in our own way to support their efforts at getting connected with life, others and those like themselves. in a Depressed Anonymous Group.

The paradox here is that the times that we spend taking care of ourselves has an inverse effect on the condition and recovery rate of our beloved one. We only win the fight with depression by not fighting. The proof here is that the more we promote a positive emotional and upbeat home environment and trying ourselves to understand depression the more we will assume a new sense of identity  and be a survivor instead of a victim.”

See The Dep-Anon Family Group Manual (2000). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.

Remarkable things happen.


Remarkable things happen  when we are willing to admit  defeat and talk about our powerlessness over our depression and how our lives had become unmanageable. This first step is the beginning of the flight of steps that takes us up and into our new way of living. At our fellowship  of Depressed Anonymous we talk hope, we are hopeful, and we think hope.  We learn that our thinking depressed and negative thoughts might have gotten us in the  shape that we are in today.  What you think is  what you become. For us who find sadness our second nature, we at times continue to revert  to the comfort of our old familiar negative thinking and are in actuality returning to self-destructive activity. Hope is overcome by sadness.

When we become convinced that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity, we found ourselves turning many times during a twenty-four period to that power. It is a rock in a rocky sea that we all hold onto when we find it easier just to give up and sadden ourselves instead of facing the storm and living through the fear.  What Bill W., said about the alcoholic applies equally to the saddict:  “He/she can settle for mediocrity and self-satisfaction even though this may indeed prove to be a precarious perch.  Or he/she can choose to go on growing in greatness of spirit and truth.”

You never stop using and following the Steps. We are in recovery all our lives. You don’t graduate. When we return to saddening ourselves, we return to the old compulsion that can again reduce us to that bankrupt individual who is bereft of peace and hope. We want to grow in the conviction that the Higher Power will restore us to sanity. One of the  best ways to grow out of our saddiction is to start acting the healer instead of being the passive victim. We are under the care of no one except our God.”


SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Page 107.


I knew that the Twelve Steps had a power.  I now had a plan.  A plan, like a map, showing me a way out of my aloneness and misery.  Not only was I not alone, but now I was part of a fellowship of persons – just like myself.

At the root of  my addiction was depression.  It was then that I not only appreciated my particular recovery program but I felt that what I needed,  more than anything now, was a Twelve Step program to  deal with my depression and isolation from family and friends.  At the time, 1982, there wasn’t a  program specifically 12 Step that dealt with depression.

What we felt that was needed was a group program specifically oriented to depression. We knew  one’s compulsions and addictions had at some level a sadness, those depression symptoms rendering  lives unmanageable and out of control.

By the Spring of 1985 we had developed a program of recovery, specifically using the Twelve Steps as means for  recovery from that life threatening scourge of depression.  There were some of us who knew that we needed to have a Twelve Step program, developed by those of us who were depressed.  In May of 1985, we held our first Depressed Anonymous meeting in Evansville, Indiana.

Our Big Book, Depressed Anonymous (May 1998)  was written and created by those  of us who were depressed. (An earlier edition  titled DEPRESSED? HERE IS A WAY OUT! was published in 1990) . Ever since that time, persons depressed could read literature written   by persons just like themselves.  The Twelve Steps are a perfect solution – focused  recovery program that fits the needs of the depressed.


It takes one to know one!

And so it goes in life that God often uses those of us with a certain experience to help others who are experiencing that same hurt and pain.” Debra Sanford in her recent publication: A Medley of Depression Stories.

Without a doubt, the statement  “it takes on to know one, ” is right on target. The truth of this   statement is verified by the increasing number of mutual aid groups that  keep cropping up in our communities. The fact remains, that if anybody can understand my situation or my particular  physical or mental condition, it most likely  will be that person  who has  experience the same condition.

During  my experience with depression, I found myself isolated and alone. I also found myself asking questions about what was happening to myself. I was  not coming up with any answers. I was scared!  I was living a lie.  There was a smile on my face  with others, but inside I was also  fearful of being found out.  Without any exterior evidence on my body that I was in  pain, every day turned out to be a momentous challenge for me.

Not until I discovered that all my pain, mental and physical had to do with being depressed, did I start to deal with it.  It was then that I became proactive in my own personal recovery. What did I do?  I started walking five miles a day. The only way I could chase the pain away was to walk.  And walk some more. Every day.

During this time, just getting out of bed was an overwhelming  chore. At this time in my life, I had to have a job to support  myself. Calling in sick  at work wouldn’t get it.  I kept walking. And after months of  exercise, I gradually felt my mood begin to rise.  Of course, because of my familiarity with negative thinking and bashing myself unmercifully, I told myself that  this calm in the storm, would not last. I was right. It didn’t last. Eventually, because I persisted with my walking , I  eventually was able to live  my life   without depression. I could live with peace and hope.

Also, because of Depressed Anonymous and sharing with others in the group, I got stronger, found more tools to stay depression free, and helped others start their own  Depressed Anonymous group. One of our members   pointed out to the new members how  our own “feeling better”  could be attributed to the “miracle of the group.”  It was in the group where  sharing our struggles and experiences   made it possible to have hope and a gradual  from depression.

As Debra C., tells us in her account of persons who tell their stories     (A  Medley of Depression Stories) and experiences,   as being part of the Depressed Anonymous group.  She states a fact  about the members of Depressed Anonymous that “The sheer healing obtained from the group is immeasurable.”  A Medley of Depression Stories. (2017) by Debra  Sanford.  ( ISBN 978-1974499601). Her book can be purchased at Amazon.com/Books. I highly recommend it. Her book is filled with those personal and powerful testimonies of how people joined together for the same  purpose can find the help they need. Why wouldn’t they? We all have come from the same experience and isolation and now find kindred souls in our life who not only speak the same language of hope but continue to offer it to each other.


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

(c)  Debra Sanford A Medley of Depression Stories. (2017)  @      Amazon.com/Books

Who is in charge here, anyway?

The God of our understanding.

Please reflect on how the group that you are part of, Depressed Anonymous  , has helped you find acceptance, and mercy, from this God   of your understanding.

A comment from the AA Grapevine:

“…The faith of my Sunday school days was gone, and the “God of my understanding” was far off. (But not so far as I thought, as it turned out). It stretched me to even imagine “a power, a strength, and for me to   became willing to take this route. I wasn’t ready to take on God just yet.

However, God was ready to take me on, for in my ignorance I’d done about all that AA asks –I had become willing. And this is how he did it. In some casual reading about seeds, this statement caught my attention: “Science can construct a seed identical to a natural seed in every detail but one -science’s seed will not germinate.” The words seemed to leap from the page. They demanded answers. What is the missing ingredient in the man made seed? Is it some dimension I don’t know about? Is it in everything? Even people? And then the big question. Who is in charge here, anyway?

Backed in a corner finally, by a logic greater than my ego, I conceded. Too many miracles, too much coincidence, and too much evidence of a power greater than  myself all around me left me defenseless and in awe.  I surrendered. And the power wasted no time in reinforcing my new belief with these words from the Big Book:” We found that as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and express even a willingness to believe in a power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results, even though it was impossible for any of us to fully define or comprehend that power which is God…

He is always there if I but look, feel and want him to be; my conscience contact  is dependent upon my being willing.”

How willing are you now to continue the progress that you have made so far?  Please note how willing you are  to help your fellow sufferers of depression in Depressed Anonymous?

Pages 81-82. The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. Depressed  Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY

Question: Does the natural beauty that surround us everyday lead us to the thought — how did all creation come to be?

What are the triggers that spiral you downward into depression?

Question: How do you see your depression as a compulsion? What are the triggers that cause you to spiral downward back into the dark pit of depression?

When you think of depression do you think of it like one big thing or do you see it for the many parts that make up a depression experience, namely, the way that we think, behave or feel!  In other  words,  when we make it to be a thing, that is,  when we reify it — it holds power over us – like it comes out of the blue .  We talk about depression in medical terms such as” I just had a bout of depression,”  like  it came from outside of us like an infectious germ or virus. In reality, our depression is made up of many parts, such as our  negative ways of thinking, behaviors and feelings.”

The  Depressed Anonymous Workbook,  asks us an assortment of questions which  can  reveal to us the various parts that  form   our depression experience.

The following questions as proposed by the Workbook,  will help you to distinguish  those various parts and ultimately to their dismantling.

Which of the following illustrations can you relate to as being a part of your daily living and thinking?

  1. A need to be perfect?
  2. A need to be successful
  3. A need to please others?
  4. A need to never get angry?
  5. A need to have someone in my life love me before I feel like somebody?
  6. A need to always put myself down and think thoughts that I am worthless, and unacceptable to myself and to others.

Now, write down how one or more of the above keeps you down, despairing and hopeless? Also, write about where these attitudes come from?

As we move from one question (from the Depressed Anonymous Workbook) to the next, we will begin to find a way to remove these negatives from our daily behavior.

This week, we will begin to take a deeper  look at some of these parts and how they can cause us to be isolated and depressed. Keep coming back and learn more about yourself and ways to be free!



SOURCES:   (c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Pgs. 79-80

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

(c) The Home Study Program of Recovery. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY

  VISIT THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS BOOKSTORE for information on the above publications  plus how to order online.

How can I help the depressed? Join a Dep-Anon Family Group.


“One thing I’ve learned is that of all the horrendous problems we face in the world, what strikes me as the root cause of them all, and it is a myth: “I don’t have any power.” Mark DuBois, Director of Worldwise.

“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.”

Sometimes in our efforts to help the depressed significant other, we often forget that it is our own recovery that needs to be first considered. We need a fresh approach and we need a plan. We can now admit that we became angry because our depressed friend  didn’t recover according to our schedule of events for  their life. We might have even berated our depressed friend or family members that all they had to do was pick themselves up by their boot straps and all would be well. Now that our eyes have been opened and our minds have been enlightened we realize that we are learning new ways to take care of ourselves.

We want to be conscious of the ways that have neither helped or fixed our depressed significant other.   Because  our ways have not worked is no reason why we need to beat ourselves up over the past experiences which have done more harm possibly than good.

We might even begin to talk to our loved one about how we now are going to take care of ourselves. We  also might tell  how we are getting help for ourselves. We are doing what we have asked them to do so that they might get the help that they need.

Our recovery begins the minute we make the decision to turn our minds and our wills over to the care of God as we understood God.  ” ( Page 64, Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition).

We are learning that our own individual strength, our sanity if you will, comes from our active participation in the Dep-Anon Family Group where we are no longer alone, but instead find ourselves in touch with a healing  process of those much like ourselves. Instead of casting any blame at the depressed significant other we now are in the active process of discovering areas in our own  lives that need work. (The Dep-Anon Family Group, pages AR-AS.)

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

Copyright(c) The Dep-Anon Family Group, Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.


I have a gratitude attitude.


“I saw that I had been living too much alone, too much aloof from my fellows, and too deaf that voice within. Instead of seeing myself as a simple agent bearing the message of experience, I had thought of myself as a founder of A.A.

How much better it would have been had I felt gratitude rather than self-satisfaction – gratitude that I had once suffered the pains of alcoholism, gratitude that a miracle of recovery had been worked upon me from above, gratitude for the privilege of serving my fellow alcoholics, and gratitude for those  in the fellowship   which bound me ever closer to them in a comradeship, such as few societies of men have ever known.

Truly, did  a clergyman say to me, “Your misfortune has become your good fortune. You A.A.’s are a privileged people.”

Bill W., co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous.



Hugh S.

I have a plan for living one day at a time.


When I was depressed I found it help to do some one thing, everyday that would keep me focused on my recovery. It was when I was deep down in the pit of hopelessness that I made a commitment to myself to do something positive for myself. I could no longer just “zombie” through a day and somehow magically think I was gonna  get through  whatever had my mind and motivation in chains.

Here is what I decided to do: I would walk every day. I would also join a 12 Step   program of recovery. The main thing is to have a plan and stick to it everyday. Move the body and the mind will follow. As a result, I began to get into a  rhythm  where I was able to keep motivated and was keeping faith with myself as I accomplished one small goal after another.

Today, I want to share with you, a simple plan of action for your own recovery here at depresedanon.com. Everything to inspire you to get moving is on the pages of this website.  So, first of all, here is a suggested plan of action.

For each day of  the week, for the coming  12 days, go to the TOOLS FOR RECOVERY menu, choose one of the TOOLS to work on for that day.  You will see that the following 12 TOOLS are all part of the healing elements for recovery from depression.

  1. Being in Nature 2. Cut off Negative thinking (The Law of the Threes) 3. Exercise 4.Journaling 5.Music 6. Nutrition 7.Positive self- talk 8.Sleep  9. Social engagement (support groups) 10.Stay in the present 11. Removing stress 12. The Serenity Prayer.

So, pick one for yourself and print it out and put it in a notebook. There you can keep it in front of you for each  day as part of a written campaign to help yourself.  Also, this will be a good plan/record  book to see where you have been and where you are going in your recovery…on a daily basis.

Besides working with the TOOLS OF RECOVERY, you might go to the menu’s NEWSLETTER ARCHIVES where you can choose one of the issues for more insights into the Depressed Anonymous Program of Recovery. These Newsletters can be read in conjunction with the TOOLS  as an added motivation for each day’s consideration.

Finally, before you start working your planned activity for each day–you might preselect 12 POSTS  from the  past editions as you move from one day to the next. And remember, you are setting goals only for one day at a time.

Remember the riddle “How do you eat an elephant? Simple. One bite at a time.”

We know, especially those of us who are procrastinators, “that to fail to plan is to plan is to fail. Makes sense to me. Set small goals for each day, stick to it and you will begin to see progress as you gradually work yourself out of depression.

For more information please contact us at Depanon@netpenny.net



The essence of the depression experience.


The essence of the experience of depression is that you are alone in some kind of prison. You can describe your prison. You might see your prison as being at the bottom of a deep pit, or locked inside of a cage, or wrapped in a shroud.  You might feel that you are stumbling across a stony desert, or through a thick fog, or that a large black bird is crouched on your shoulders, making it  impossible for you to move.  Whatever your image, you are alone, and in this prison you are both the miserable prisoner and the cruel prison guard.   When we are simply unhappy, no matter what terrible  fate has befallen us, we still feel a connection to the rest of the  world and to ourselves.  We let others comfort us, and feel warmed and supported, and we comfort ourselves. But when we are depressed, no warmth or support comes through our prison wall, and we punish ourselves most cruelly.”


If the quotation above,  from Dr. Dorothy Rowe,  paints a picture of yourself,  then you will find  answers for your own recovery at our Home page website  at depessedanon.com.  Literature is also available at Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore.


The Successful Self: Freeing Our Hidden Inner Strengths. Dorothy Rowe. (1988) Harper Collins/Publishers. London. Pages 197-198.

I am beginning to trust myself!




“The more I am able to break out of my isolation and fear, the better I begin to feel.  It’s like my past sadness and my attachment to it has prevented me from doing anything at all, including the pleasant feelings of joy and serenity. I have lived tied up in the cords of fear and anxiety. I am learning that this Power, whom I choose to call God, is steadily releasing me  from these  bonds, the more I face my fears and the shame of being depressed.

At one time, I found it difficult to place much trust in those people who crossed my path in this life. Now, little by little, I am beginning to trust myself as I am feeling more in control of what I feel, think and do.”

It is in trusting others, namely, those in my fellowship group of Depressed Anonymous, with whom  I share my hope and positive beliefs about myself. These feelings, when they come time and time again, free me gradually from the prison of my depression moods.


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