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.


Why do I continue the work of bringing hope to those still suffering? What motivates me to continue to try and help others? What has made the change in my life where now I want to share what I know and what I feel.  Basically, I know that the program of recovery works. I no longer feel powerless over  my depression. In DA group meetings members speak my language. We see how useless it is to waste time looking back over our shoulder to see if the dark shadow of my own inner fears is going to overtake me.  I now have attained small amounts  of hope and strength as I go from day to day. I am prepared for those moments of despair that at times overtake me and cause me to feel paralyzed and out of control.

In the first step “we admitted we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable.” It is a paradox that it is in the admission of our lives being out of control that we began to take control of our lives.”

It was an interesting fact that in the very beginning of my recovery   that I received a very important message… that if I was to get well I had to motivate myself to do something. I had to get in motion. That sounds simple enough doesn’t  it?  I must stop the isolating of myself and get to work on ways that would gradually lead myself  out of despair and hopelessness, and deadly inactivity.

The first thing that I began to do each and everyday was to start walking.  I just knew  that the inner war that  was waged with every step that I took was the message that “walking would not do me any good”  would almost  completely scuttle my best intentions to complete my walks.  The odd thing about it was that, almost without fail, if I could just continue on and walk at least for 15 minutes  and ignore the messages “that I was too tired to walk this morning”    my body began to get into  a  rhythm. I would feel content  to finish my walks. And ironically, there is not a day that goes by,  when I start my walk that I don’t feel the lethergy and resistance to continue my walking.  Then as always, after about 10-15 minutes into my walking, I feel  a rush, an energy spurt, to continue walking. Other walkers have told me that they have the same experience. It must have something to do with the human body,  with all its members working together and harmonically working in sync with each other.

I just add the above note to let others know that your body will repel the healthy attempt to move out of its   isolation. It’s the force of one’s motivation powered by action that will in time help us all do one of the more beneficial exercises that our body can undertake, namely to walk.


(C) I’ll do it when I feel better. (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Page 42.



God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

the courage to change the things I can,

and the wisdom to know the difference.


Every 12 Step program of Recovery begin their meetings with this powerful   prayer. Most of us say it a couple times a day.

Think about printing the prayer out  and experience  the power that comes from its guidance,   each and every day!



I refuse to be a victim.


” It has been my experience that those who come to at least six Depressed Anonymous meetings in a  row or more  can discover how their lives take on a new hope with a spiritual outlook they never imagined possible. So, if you find yourself depressed and want to do something about it–make a decision today to feel better and attend a meeting near you. If a group is not available -read the DA literature.

So many times I have found persons who tell me that they didn’t really know that they had a choice. Namely, they hadn’t heard that there was a way to get yourself out of depression  with work, time and a step by step program. They hadn’t heard someone say that now you have a choice to get out of your depression.  We see this happen all the time at the Depressed Anonymous meetings.

The First Step of Depressed A nonymous says that” we admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable.” We know and believe that we are no longer victims.

“Now that I have admitted that I am powerless over my depression  I don’t do myself any good blaming myself with those daily reminders of how bad and unacceptable I am. I now am conscious of a new path out of my misery.”

SOURCE: (C) BELIEVING IS SEEING: 15 WAYS TO LEAVE THE PRISON OF DEPRESSION (2015)   Hugh Smith  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.KY.

Share your story-save your life!

“It is my belief, after participating in hundreds of DA meetings over these past 25 years that the compulsion to repeat these self-destructive thoughts and images can be broken by attendance at our group meetings. It is at the meetings where these unpleasant feelings, swallowed these many years, can eventually be brought safely out into the light and accepted by the fellowship. No one puts me down for saying I am depressed. We never hear a “snap out of it” at our meetings. If we could just “snap out of it”  then there would not be a need for our group meetings.”

So, the logjam of all these unpleasant feelings, all balled up into one, gradually get untangled. The group fellowship accepts us for what and who we are.  Gradually, as we are able to tell our story  – tell who we are and trust ourselves and our story with this DA group – we begin to feel again.  We free ourselves of the deadness, which has not only isolated us but has kept us disconnected from family, friends and those who love us. As the Yiddish saying states “share your story – save your life.”  I have witnessed this miracle many, many times at our face  to face Depressed Anonymous meetings. Now that  I am learning how to choose a different way of thinking and feeling which  results  in breaking up the cycle of my addictive thinking and behaving.  I now lead a normal life where my depression addiction experiences,  are helping others get connected to those of us who are now living in hope,  one day at a time.”

SOURCES:  (C) I’ll do it when I feel better. Hugh Smith (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.  Pages 54-55.

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

NOTE:   Examine  helpful  literature for depression  at The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore.  Online ordering is  available.

I believe that my life is going to get better! Hope is a hard habit to break!


How often have I heard these powerful words at one of our group Depressed Anonymous meetings. In fact, it is  oftener  than one would think, seeing where most of the group members have been before opening the door  into our fellowship.

Not only have we heard powerful stories of recovery but we also witness them with  own eyes. By coming to meetings week after week, we  begin to see the truth of the Promises as laid out for each of us who take that first step into recovery.  In Higher Thoughts for Down Days I read that I am going to be secure in my belief that my life is going to get better.

Today is the day. Doing your best, living each day to the fullest is the art of living. Yesterday is gone forever, and we don’t know whether we will be here tomorrow. If we do a good job of living today, and if tomorrow does comes for us, then the chances are we will do a good job when it arrives – so why worry about it?

This makes sense to me. What about you?  I know that the more I share myself with others, be that with my DA sponsor or with other members of our fellowship, that my life is beginning to change for the better. Also, the more I share with others the more spontaneous I become, and there are now some bright periods  of my life beginning to appear in my life.

I believe that by living in the present reduces my trust in the past fears of yesterday or the anxious moments I thought I needed for tomorrow.

Knowing that others, who are just like me, can make it through   the day with a greater amount of serenity and peace  as they try to live in today-just for the next 24 hours.

We all believe that the more we turn our minds and wills toward God, the more God will turn his love and will for us in unmistaken ways  and with our belief that God is truly with us.

AS Brad Cohen tells us in that great Hallmark Movie, FRONT OF THE CLASS, “Hope is hard to break.”

Hopeful people gather together on  every continent on this planet. Their hope stems from a strong belief  that with God’s help and support from their fellow members of DA (Or any other 12 Step mutual aid group) they become energized by people feeling better and coming more energized about trying to live their life with purpose and meaning.

Every Depressed Anonymous meeting starts with a statement on How Depressed Anonymous Works:

” 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. ”

In the Big Book of Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition,  you can read story after story of those persons who have  escaped from the prison of their isolation. These stories tell each of us that there is hope and you can have it too. If it has taken  you a lifetime to find a healing way out of your depression, you then can   appreciate those others who have made it-all now living with hope and trust.


(C) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011). Depressed Anonymous Publications.Louisville. Ky. (Personal stories section).

(C)I’ll do it when I feel better. (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky.

(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowship groups. (1998) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.


Talk is not cheap! Walk the talk!

When I first attended a 12 Step mutual aid group meeting  I found  the members   talking about their feelings, life situations, and other painful memories. Talk is not cheap! It cost everyone in  the group who wanted to talk about their lives that sharing themselves comes at a certain price.  At the same time,  they discovered that by opening up to others and talking with others, an   important  shift began to take place in their thinking. Many  times when  they were sharing they found others in the group who  also wanted to talk about these same  problems.  Even though each of us was a unique individual , we all suffered from the same compulsion and addictive attachments.

The price that each of us paid at these meetings was an investment   in personal freedom releasing  us  from what had kept us locked down in despair.   For some, this talking with others was the first time they were able to share their hurt and pain with others.

For some, including myself, it took   awhile to trust others. It is only when someone else talks about a life situation  that I was given the   prompt   to  talk and share how we had the same experience. Talking helped me to see that I too could be accepted and loved–just for me. Talking helped me believe  that from this time on I was not alone.

Talk is not cheap. If you don’t talk, it could possibly cost you a lot more.


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

Did I build my own prison of depression?

How could that possibly be? Build my own prison of depression?  Impossible. Wait. There might be a possibility if I go back to my childhood and think about some of the things that happened to me growing up.

The following are some of the examples that others (my clients)  might have experienced   unconsciously or consciously influencing their thinking, feelings and behaviors in their later teens and adult life.


*My  parents fought all the time and made me scared. (They added   a few   bricks to the structure of your prison).  I would go in my room and hide in the closet.  ( The foundation for our prison is being built).

*Because my Dad was a town drunk he would show up at my school and make a fool of himself…I felt shame and anger at these   times . (Put a few more bricks on that foundation.).

* I was bullied at school and I just wanted to die. I felt worthless. I felt no one liked me… (Bullies added more bricks   to my  prison. The walls are getting higher and higher).

*I was told that I was not allowed to get angry. I was not allowed to cry. I was not allowed to tell my parents how much I hated their drinking.  No expression  of feelings were allowed in my family.  I wasn’t able to trust anyone with my feelings.

*Another message that I always got was  “You’ll never amount to anything,” or “you’ll never be like your older brother.”  (An especially large row of bricks is laid here  when a Third grade teacher tells you this in front  of the whole class and your face  always turns crimson when you think about this shaming event).

*I was given the message that the world beyond  my family was dangerous and threatening. ”

*It was at this  point that my teenage years were spent behind the walls of a nearly finished prison. I was locked down and there was no way out of my prison. No one gave me a key.

*All these  building blocks that produced a prison  for myself all came with  early life relationships.  The messages that I got growing up gradually and effectively locked me down. I was   growing up with out hope. All the messages were  like  building blocks  which further imprisoned me.

Now that I am an adult, I have  begun to take  bricks away, one by one and the structure  is being dismantled,  one brick  at a time. And how did this happen?

It all happened when I became sick and tired of being sick and tired.   I needed help. I needed someone, something, other than the alcohol and opioids that I was abusing  to turn my life around.

Yes, I built my prison and I was not even aware that  each block carried to my structure was imprisoning  me. So many of my toxic relationships, growing up,   all came with another brick to put into my prison.

Taking the wall down, brick by brick we have to have a plan. We have to find ways to remove the bricks and free ourselves from those deadly feelings  of personal worthlessness and feelings that we  are unacceptable  to ourselves and to others. I know now that   I was not to blame for being in a prison and that  I had no idea that all those messages given to me when I was growing up,  influencing my life so directly,  they all were only  other people’s opinions of me. These opinions determined my future. They were responsible for building  my prison. No child or young person wants to live their life in a prison–especially which is not of their own making.  The tragic point here is that their imprisonment is not their fault.  For some youngsters and even older adults the tragedy is that they believed what was told them so that their pain is so great they take their own life.  They wanted  to be free, be  happy and have people around them who love them  and support them in every way possible. The real problem is that none of us  had  a choice when we got our parents,  teachers and relatives.

I think Bill W., the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous says it best when  gives us hope when he   wrote the following:

“We must never be blinded by the futile philosophy that we are just the hapless victim of our inheritance, of our life experiences, and of our surroundings –  that these are the forces that make our decisions for us. This is not the road to freedom. We have to believe that we can really choose.”  (c) As Bill Sees it. A.A. World Services. NY. 1967.

Now the plan that is working for many of us  is  to discover   that when we live out the solution in our lives,  that we focus on the solutions for removing those bricks from   the walls of our depression, that  it wasn’t our doing that the prison was built.  We didn’t choose to have the wall built. Who chooses to live in a prison  anyway? We didn’t know when we were young that these messages were never true but we believed them.   We do not take the blame today for our depression and feeling worthless and unacceptable. We know that blaming others doesn’t do us any good either.

What works for us is a well thought out plan of recovery.   We can begin to learn how to   prize  ourselves and  realize and celebrate who we really are and  the person whom we desire to become. The 12 Steps will get you there!  You will have the tools to rebuild and you will see results. That is a Promise. (See page 109 in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition where it lays out the PROMISES of the Steps  for those who choose to use them).

By using the spiritual principles of the  12 Steps we have begun to choose to dismantle all those negative and hurtful messages from others  that were never true in the first place.

If you want to write your own story as how the 12 Steps helped you remove the blocks from your own prison, please let us know by writing to depanon@netpenny.net., as we would love to hear from you.

Also, please read the   personal stories of those who have chosen to  free themselves from the prison of their own depression in our Big Book:

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

Click onto The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore at our website www.depressedanon.com. Online purchases of our literature is  available.


” When  I stopped living in the problem and began living in the answer, the problem went away. From that moment on, I have not had a single compulsion to drink.” Bill W., co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous.

The people of AA  had something that looked much better than what I had, but I was afraid to let go of what I had in order to try something new, there was a certain sense of security in the familiar. And acceptance is the answer to all problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place or thing, or situation -some fact of my life – unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place or thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.  Nothing, absolutely nothing hapens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism (insert: depression ), I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms. I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate  not so much on me and on  what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and my attitudes…AA (DA) and acceptance have taught me that there is a bit of good in the worst of  us and a bit of the bad in the best of us…We are all children of God and have every right to be here on this earth. When I focus on what’s good today, I have a good day. And when   I focus on a problem, the problem increases; if I focus on the answer, the answer increases…When we deal in feelings, we tend to come to know ourselves and each other much better.”  Bill W. , Co-Founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. SOURCE:  Alcoholics Anonymous,  pp.449.



The world is round, and the place which may seem like the end may also  be only the beginning.”  Iva Baker Priest

That one sentence describe in  a few words what our recovery is like.

Since our mutual aid group, Depressed Anonymous is based and modeled after he 12 Step recovery  program of Alcoholics Anonymous, we have discovered that they are a powerful source of healing when used to recover from the life threatening reality   called depression.

Even though our fellowship is composed of many varied types of addictive behaviors, alcoholism being one of them, depression  is intimately connected to all compulsive and addictive behaviors.

Live in the problem and you deepen the problem. Live in the solution, and you deepen the solution. For samples of the many persons who no longer are depressed, thanks to their belief in the power of the spiritual principles of the 12 Steps, read their own personal stories of recovery in our Manual,  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) DAP. Louisville. Ky.

For more information about this book, and others like it, please go to the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore and find how to order online.


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


There  are two problems about deciding things for yourself. First, it means you can’t blame anyone else when things turn out badly. (But you can take the credit when  things turn out well.)  Second, other people can get very angry with you for not doing what they want.

Valuing yourself is a risky business.

Which risk is preferable? The risk of making your own decisions or the risk of not valuing yourself?

Undoing the training of our early years, when we learned that we weren’t good enough, that we had to be good to earn the right to exist, and never even think about, much less question, why and how we were taught this, is not easy. If you have spent all the years you remember feeling that somehow you have to prove yourself by your achievements , so that you have to earn the right yourself by your achievements, or that  you have to earn the right to breathe by working hard in devoted service to others, for if you don’t prove yourself to be brave or a hard worker, some vast hand will come down from heaven and pick you off the face of the earth like a flea off a dog’s back and cast you into nothingness, if this is how you have spent your life, then deciding that you are simply going to be and that you accept your being is a revolution in thought that you aren’t likely to achieve  in the twinkling of an eye.

Though some people do  it, just like that. They say to themselves. I’m not going to go on carrying this load of  s __t  that other people have dumped on me over the years. I’m dropping it now. And they do. They are free, just being themselves.

But some people, I find, don’t even know what I am talking about when I say, ‘Just be yourself.’

So we have to begin by saying, ‘Do we have a right to exist?’

If we exist, we have the right to exist.

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

SOURCE:  Beyond Fear.   Dorothy Rowe., PhD.  ( 1987) Fontana Paperbooks. London. Pages 383-384.