All posts by hopeservicefellowship

An old saying

Note: originally published December 23, 2015

There is an old saying that goes like this: “When my ship came in, I was at the airport!” How true. How many opportunities in my life have I passed up because I kept telling myself, “I’ll do it when I feel better.” Just recently I wrote about this in my book I’ll do it when I feel better because that was my personal mantra when I was depressed. I would rather sit and do nothing. I just wanted to try and think my way out of the unending thoughts that kept me imprisoned. I sat in the prison of my own making. I was chasing hopeless thoughts around in my mind.

I always wanted to escape the pain – but not just now. The work that I knew which was involved was too much for me to even consider. I had no energy to speak of. Getting out of bed in the morning took a superhuman efforts and somehow, magically, I mistakenly thought I was going to be OK. I kept doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. This is insane.

But finally, when my ship came in, I was standing on the pier waiting for it, and I knew that I had to climb aboard. How did this event come about? Well, it came about when I knew I could wait no longer for help to come to me. I had to make a decision to go after it. No matter how big or how small, any ship would do. I had to get on board. Then it happened. I had to make a choice – stay in my misery which was predictable and unending or to go and find something, somebody that could help me live a life which was truly unpredictable and that I could live my life in peace and hope. The name of that ship is not the “good ship lollipop” but the ship is a vessel of hope called The Depressed Anonymous Fellowship. The sailors on this ship are tried and true, having endured all sorts of trials and perils of life, who have found this vessel of hope to be seaworthy and a life support. All we need to do is admit that we have to get aboard this ship. Will you like to join us on this voyage we call life? Would you like to find yourself on calm seas? If so, a ship is coming for you. Get aboard and live.

See our book, Depressed Anonymous – it’s my and your passport to safety and serenity.

Order it today. VISIT THE STORE here at our site and learn more about what we in this Fellowship have to offer those who feel there is no hope. And adrift. Grab an oar!

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

A culture of comfort

Note: originally published March 21, 2016

In the past, my response to a situation that needed my attention I would tell myself “I’ll do it when I feel better.” This was my “old normal” behavior for making excuses for NOT taking care of business in my life.

I believe that for most of us who were or are depressed the “normal” behavior was to just sit in the comfort of doing nothing and letting our lives spin out of control. Now when I mean comfort, I don’t mean without pain, I mean taking NO action when action is seriously needed. And it was only when the situation , that depressing paralysis of will and life activity began to come to a deadening halt, that I had to face myself, make a decision to do something and get my body moving.

I believe that when I unexpectedly found myself drifting down into a sort of a deadly physical inertia, that this discomfort, this slow motion moving and thinking, forced me to come to my senses and stop whatever it was that had me sinking in quicksand up to my chin.

How many times have persons shared with me, as well as sharing in the Depressed Anonymous group, that the comfort of staying stuck in neutral was better than trying to dig themselves out of the stagnation of depression. Depressed persons sometimes have the fear that their unending physical sadness , their mental torment and the comfort of doing nothing is better than trying to change it for fear that they might get something far worse. In fact, many felt that to change would be like turning themselves into the hole in the doughnut. They would be reduced to zero.

Like it says in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, most times we all are looking for an easier and more comfortable way out of whatever has us by the throat. Why not stay in the cocoon of our predictable misery than try to live in the real world which is unpredictable and challenging. Of course, to live this way, takes energy. To live this way takes hope and the belief that I can and I will take the plunge to be proactive in doing all that I can to feel differently. I also have come to the point where I will make a “decision ” to take action today, not tomorrow, but today. Today is all that I have. I have just 24 hours at a time to begin deciding to live differently and find out how this can be accomplished. Where to start.

Just by reading this piece today, you can find the hope and energy to turn your life around like thousands other have done over the years.

Read the following literature and see how it may be of help to you in leaving your own “comfort zone”.


    • Copyright (c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.
    • Copyright (c) I’ll do it when I feel better (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Please VISIT THE STORE at this site for information for ordering your own copies of valuable literature on ways to leave behind the misery of your own depression experience.

Being solution-focused is our way out!

Depressed Anonymous mutual aid is solution focused. We DO have a solution in digging our way out of depression. Just the word mutual aid should tell you this. And one of the best things a newcomer discovers when they come through the door of a Depressed Anonymous meeting is the fact that  the people in attendance are those who have been depressed and now working themselves free of the scourge of depression.  These person continue to speak solution to the rest of the group and share how the 12 Steps and the DA Fellowship  provided them the keys that free them from the prison of isolation and shame.  And for those of us who have been freed from depression for months, years and decades, we are the ones who continue to share the lasting effects of those “tools” that we continue to use in our everyday lives to stay serene and focused on  recovery.   I and many others have been sharing these “tools” which freed us years ago and now we  WANT to  share what we have learned with others. We know we have the keys to freedom and we want to share these keys, these solutions of self care  to you as well. Are you ready?


VISIT THE STORE here at our site for more information about literature that is available on line for your personal perusal.  BTW, it is all written by those who live out the solution in their  daily lives.

Restoring me to sanity and serenity

I believe that the God of my understanding will draw close to me as I draw closer to him. I am learning how to trust my God and my fellow human beings.

“Still more wonderful is the feeling that we do not have to be specially distinguished among our fellows in order to be useful and profoundly happy. Not many of us can be leaders of prominence, nor do we wish to be. Service gladly rendered, obligations squarely met, troubles well accepted or solved with God’s help…”(10)

My life is slowly changing and my hope is growing in my heart as I attend to my fears and anxieties, look them in the eye and profess my faith in a power greater than myself who is slowly restoring me to sanity and serenity. I am no longer wallowing in the sins of my imperfections, but am resting in the secure knowledge and feeling that God, as I understand him, loves me just the way I am.

The more I “carry the message” of hope to others, the more I am able to believe in the hope that carries me through today and each and everyday. I will always strive to be an instrument of God’s peace and God’s hope wherever I am in this world.

We are convinced that we must carry the message of hope to any and all who want to listen. Like an army, we must all go out and share our stories with those who are flat on their back and who want our hope and strength so that they too, can walk again. We can’t allow them to stay down. God, please lead us to that person who is in need of our help this day.

SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowship groups. Louisville. Pages 162-163.

HIGHER THOUGHTS is now on Kindle @AMAZON.COM/kindle. Check it out! Purchase it online at our Store here at Now you can carry it wherever you go!

What we hold onto holds onto us

The PROMISES of Depressed Anonymous

Change is painful. The first step is really the beginning of the end of our pain.By admitting that we are in pain is that which paradoxically begins the release of our pain. This is the paradox of letting go and holding on as we learned for Step Three.What we hold onto holds onto us. What we seek–seeks us.

The pain of depression begins to dissolve as a result of doing something we have never done before- or rather doing something about our lives that we have not done before. It happens to be true that the more we get in touch with and remove our resentments , fears, guilt, and self-pity from our lives, the lighter we feel emotionally. The less need we have to rely on our defense mechanisims, which shielded our fragile egos from pain, hurt, or remorse, the freer we become.

I believe that the pain of our depression originates from inside of us. We construct present day reality based on past life experiences. The past is the predictor of the future.

As it says in Depressed Anonymous, many of us held the absolute belief that “since bad things have happened to us in the past, bad things will happen to us in the future.” In other words we have made up our minds-nothing will ever change. And of course this belief is what promotes and keeps our depression alive.

(C) I’ll do it when I feel better. (2013) Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville. Pages 3i-32.Chapter Four: The Promises.

The Aims of Depressed Anonymous

To let the depressed person know that she or he is not alone in his or her struggle with depression.  We also help others learn to do pleasant activities again.

To provide a group where members  can help one another and learn new skills in making mastery over their lives and begin to live again  with hope and joy.

To help each member feel better about themselves -today. One day at a time.

To educate the depressed person and his or her family about the nature and cause of depression and remove the  SHAME  of their feeling depressed. It’s OK  to admit that we are feeling overwhelmed.

SOURCE: Copyright(c) I’ll do it when I feel better. (2013) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.  Chapter. Three: What is Depressed  Anonymous. Page 23.

Depressed Anonymous meetings are normally positive and the focus is upbeat!


Depressed Anonymous is modeled after the 12 Steps (principles) of Alcoholics Anonymous and was founded in Evansville, Indiana in May of 1985. It uses a group approach where members mutually support each other.

In Depressed Anonymous the depressed person admits that he/she is powerless over his or her depression. The depressed person admits that the various areas of his/her lifer are controlled by depression, and that he /she needs help from one’s inner resources, combined with a faith in a Higher Power to help work through one’s time of hopelessness and helplessness.

At Depressed Anonymous meetings, we do not pry into people’s personal lives. We also do not give advice at meetings but instead tell our story and how the 12 steps are releasing us from the tight grip of depression. Meetings are normally upbeat and the focus is positive! Each of us set small concrete and positive goals for ourselves and begin to learn how to gain some mastery over our lives and feelings. Each of us has time at meetings to share our experiences with other member so f the group. As a new member you are ready to make a commitment to quit sadding oneself, and that’s when results begin to happen.

This 12 Step recovery program can be a great healer of personal wounds and provides the depressed with a new start in life. It also provides hope for people like yourself who have been where you are. Hope now resides where once there was only darkness and despair!

SOURCE: (C) I’ll do it when I feel better.(2013). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky. Pages 22-23. Chapter Three: What is Depressed Anonymous.

Please VISIT THE STORE and discover the many exciting chapters, which will outline hope for the depressed and how the group can provide essential tools for unlocking the prison of one’s own depression.

A fellowship of the spirit has never been a conscious option…

“We know that for many of us in the fellowship that our depression has been a continued scourge since childhood and medication has been the mainstay of some sort of pain.relief. A fellowship of the spirit has never been a conscious option for many of us who were depressed. We didn’t have a clue that we even had a chance to leave our isolated depression prison. Little has been told how we might want to seek alternative and adjunctive directions for relief from our pain.”

SOURCE OF QUOTE: (C) I’ll do it when I feel better.(2013) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Chapter Two: Bill W., and Depression. Page 9.

How many times have I received phone calls from folks inquiring about our fellowship of Depressed Anonymous. How many times have I heard them say “I wish I had this group when I needed help.” I tell them that we are here for them, now! And I tell my own story of being in the prison of depression and how I regained my life because of the power of the 12 Step program of recovery. But today, if you find yourself depressed you have an option for getting help. Besides medication alone or with therapy such as Cognitive behavioral, we now are on the scene (since 1985) with a mutual aid program of recovery–all based on the Twelve Steps. If you really want help and give yourself to a program that works for those who work it, then you will be surprised how quickly something good can begin to happen in your life. But don’t get me wrong, we don’t have any magic wand or secret formula for success, that will suddenly make you feel better or change your life. No, it takes work and time, to gradually loosen the deadly grip of the depression experience. We believe that all good growth is gradual and if you are depressed today then our program may be for you. Just email our office at and we can go from there on how we might be of help to you.

Since our website at is a rich source of literature available to those interested and who want to make a commitment for finding a way out of depression, we have a HOME STUDY PROGRAM which includes our Depressed Anonymous manual, plus an accompanying Workbook used at all of our meetings and can serve you well for finding your own personal pathway out of depression.

To discover more about our Depressed Anonymous material on depression, please VISiT THE STORE here at our site.


Jerry was the kind of guy you love to hate. He was always in a good mood and always had something positive to say. When someone would ask how he was doing, he would reply, “If I was any better, I would be twins!”

He was a  unique manager because he had several waiters who had followed him around from restaurant to restaurant. The reason the  waiters followed Jerry was because of his attitude. He was a natural motivator. if an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one  day I went up to Jerry and asked him, ” I don’t get it! You can’t be a positive person all the time. How do you do it?”

Jerry replied, “Each morning  I wake up and say to myself, ‘ Jerry, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.”

“Yeah, right, it’s not that easy,” I protested.

“Yes, it is,” Jerry said. “Life  is all about choices.  When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a  good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It’s your choice how you live life.”

I reflected on what Jerry said. Soon thereafter, I left the restaurant business to start my own business. We lost touch, but often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that Jerry did something you are never supposed to do in a restaurant business :he left the back door open one morning and was held up at gunpoint by three armed robbers. While trying  to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the combination. The robbers panicked and shot him. Luckily, Jerry was found relatively quick and rushed to the local trauma center,

After  18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital; with fragments of the bullet in his body.

When I visited him in the hospital, I told him how amazed and happy I was  that he pulled through like he did. All he said was when he was on the operating table and the Doctors told him the seriousness of his injury, and were  about to remove the bullets, he told me that ” all I could think of at that moment was  I had a choice. I could either live or die. I chose at that moment to live.”

–By Francie  Baltazar-Schwartz


Life grows by given away, and it weakens in isolation and comfort

AS Bill W., tells us in the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book, that when we are looking for an “easier and more comfortable way” to deal with our  addictions is when we  we plan to fail. Our need to isolate and withdraw from those around us can produce no good. If you want to get out of the hole of depression-stop digging!

In Depressed Anonymous we read and understand that those of us who had a “spiritual awakening as the result of these steps (12 Steps of recovery), we tried to carry this message to the depressed, and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.”

And as Francis tells us  that  “those who leave security on the shore and become excited by the mission of communicating life to others” discover they are empowered by empowering others with a daily plan to live with hope and serenity. For us there are no magic wands waved over our heads that will produce instant serenity. No, it takes work and some time.   For  some it may involve therapy and medications . But best of all, it can include   the ongoing support from the Depressed Anonymous Fellowship, in  face to face encounters or  online at SKYPE.

The time that we admit that our lives are out of control and unmanageable, that is the time that we begin to find a way out of our depression. And it is in the context of the loving  community of Depressed Anonymous that we leave the comfort of our isolation and join with the  fellowship of others like ourselves who have left the  safety of the shores of sadness.  “Our sadness, like any other addiction, is merely a symptom of some deeper compulsion that manifests itself in our need to seek comfort and safety in sadness.” How well I remember this symptom of depression,  trying to figure out why I feel the way I do and then giving up hope that I would  ever feel anything different.

Now,I find myself almost daily trying to give  hope to others who find themselves locked down in the shackles of sadness. I have been doing this for over 30 years and hopefully will continue till  I am unable. HOPE!

Continue to come to our website ( where you will be inspired daily to continue working your way out of depression.

SOURCES: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd Edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.