All posts by hopeservicefellowship

I had lost myself- until …

“All of what I have written down so far(see articles for July 22,23 at this site) has to do with creating meaning. Humans have as their occupation  to constantly create meaning for their lives. Whatever we do has to have meaning. Most important of all, I felt alone, worthless, and especially unacceptable to myself. During this time I had the thought that if someone were seen laughing or having a good time –this made me angry. How dare anyone could smile while I felt so miserable? This unfamiliar feeling made me  think that my brain was made out of cotton. I couldn’t  shove another thought into my head. It was as if the cells of my brain were filled to the brim.  Like they were saying “sorry, we’re full.”

NOTE/ Please tune in tomorrow and discover how  my life finally got turned around!

SOURCE:   I’ll do it when I feel better.(2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 3/Ch.#1-How it all began.

Not even will power could lift my sadness

“To this day I can tell you exactly the place and time when I began to feel this terrible sadness suddenly and dramatically come upon me. I felt myself sliding down and over a dark precipice from which I was not able to climb out of for over a year of painful months. An unfamiliar  feeling of inner pain and numbness descended upon me.

At the time I truly thought this descent into hell came from “out of the blue.” But like all feelings that we experience, I now know that because of situations in my most recent past, and my reactions to them, that these thoughts and feeling had accumulated a wealth of debt whose note had come due on this particularly warm day in August.  Starting with this day, I began to move through a fog that not even will power could lift.

I realized in time, unless I started to do something about the way I felt and take responsibility for myself and my behavior, my situation most probably would worsen.”

COMMENT: And my depression did just that–it worsened. Tomorrow the story will be continued. Stay tuned.



SOURCE: I’ll do it when I feel better. (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. (Chapter One: The Depressed Anonymous Story. How it all began. Pages 1-2.)


Our ultimate resource

“Our ultimate resource is our willingness to believe that we will in time and work get better. We can feel better too. You will finally come to a group of people who have the same desire that you do, namely the desire to free oneself from the feeling of despair and hopelessness. But if my 30 years or more in the program mean anything –it is that I can become my own best resource for living a life free from fear, shame and anxiety.  I am a believer that my ultimate resource  is the God of my understanding. For some the Higher Power is the group. You know, “two heads are better than one.”  We also believe that the spiritual awakening that the program promotes is absolutely  an essential feature of the program. I have finally trusted the God of my understanding that it will get me through each day, even minutes, hours at a time. I truly believe and know that I can choose the way I feel! So will you. That’s a promise. Come join us.”


Source: I’ll  do it when I feel better. (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 57. (Quote referenced from Chapter 6: Compulsions and Choices: The addictive nature of the depression experience.)

I just wanted to sleep.

“My mind was blank and my feelings were on edge. I felt as if a large hole with jagged edges was located in the center of my psyche.  It was at this time that I began to feel like I was walking in a fog.  The anxiety was exacerbate by the fact that I was having trouble getting out of bed in the morning. The pain that this hole produced became a daily reminder that something was not right and so I took comfort in sleep. I went to bed as soon as I got home from work. I thought that I could shake off with sleep whatever held me by the throat. All that had held interest for me–all my interests in people -my future career as a therapist –I lost interest in everything. Nothing provided any pleasure  for me at this time. My life was on hold. The only thing that I was interested in was sleep.  I just wanted to sleep.”


This is taken from the 1st chapter of I’ll do it when I feel better. It’s the story of how my own depression gave me the impetus to set up and organize a group of persons   depressed, following the program of the Twelve Steps.  This 1st chapter tells how it all began.

In the following weeks we will take excerpts from this work and help give an idea of what some of our basic beliefs are about. Please join us here.



SOURCE: I’LLDO IT WHEN I FEEL BETTER(2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 2.

Depressed Anonymous refuses to blame anyone for their depression

I couldn’t believe a recent review of our Big Book Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition, claiming the book blames people who are depressed. What nonsense.   The book states explicitly that we are NOT in the BLAME GAME. What we are saying is that once we discover the origins of our depression experience we can begin to take responsibility for this devastating experience. Many folks do think that, somehow depression just  comes out of the blue and one doesn’t have an idea how they became depressed.   I felt  the same way. It was only until I began to look at my life through the lens of others, in the Depressed Anonymous group, who just like me, were looking for a way out of their hell of pain. They quickly learned that it was not their fault that they  are depressed (like hey, who wants to live in hell every hour, day, year?).

We learned quickly that we are NOT VICTIMS –but survivors. We now have the tools to work our way out of this prison. I am responsible for doing all I can to release the positive energy that is inside me for regaining  my emotional and physical balance. I do this by following the recovery program of Depressed Anonymous, Step by Step. For many this all takes place in the  context of a  non-judgemental  and accepting   group such as DA.  In all my years, I have NEVER heard anyone blame another for their depression. How could they? All of us who have experienced this hell know and believe that if we did not do something, take responsibility and find out how to deal with the symptoms  of our depression (DA shows us how), the whole matter may spiral into a life threatening situation.

Finally, please let me say that the reviewer of our work obviously had not read the book.


I’ll do it when I feel better.

One of the many ways that we rationalize and make excuses is to put off what needs to be taken care of today. You don’t put off  today  from taking care of what could be a life threatening illness  or disease tomorrow.  We all have said to ourselves, “I’ll do it when I feel better.” This procrastination is also operative in those of us who want to wait a little  longer before we see the dentist, for example, or get a check up for  an unrelenting stomach ache and for whatever  else that may  ail us.

The same with depression and its ongoing symptoms of anxiety, fatigue, constantly ruminating  about all the bad things that have happened to us or all the things we feel shame and /or guilt about. These negative feelings just never seem to end.  One solution is just to stay in bed, pull the sheets  over our head and sleep. We then say to ourselves, “I’ll get help when I have the energy and when I begin to feel better.”

I know all about this procrastination business and this interminable sadness that had me by the throat that  it was only until I became worried enough to do something about it, that I got moving.

In our book “I’ll do it when I feel better” published in 2014, that I give a  look at some of the ways we can get busy today, to do something about our lethargy, constant negative thinking, and total lack of physical activity. All this is undergirded by the spiritual principles of the 12 Steps of Depressed Anonymous. It is when we realize  we are part of something bigger than ourselves that we can finally quit rolling the stone up the hill like Sisyphus in the legend of old. The way to get ourselves out a  hole is to stop digging!


SOURCES: I’ll do it when I feel better.(2014)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

I’m depressed! Now what do I do?


If you happened to land on our Depressed Anonymous site here on the Internet and you think you are depressed, we have some thoughts to share with you.

First of all, we welc0me you.It’s not easy to admit that something is happening in our body and it is not getting better. What is it? Well, it has been over thirty years ago that I experienced those same feeling —  gradually losing control over how I felt and finding myself  sliding slowly down a slippery slope. I didn’t have a clue of what was happening to me. It was as if I could see myself, in slow motion, losing my grip on anything to hang onto. I couldn’t get enough sleep; lost weight; bashed myself continually for past personal situations that ended up badly in my life; lost girlfriend; guilt and shame filled my thoughts, every day and every hour. I think you get the picture.

And with all these negative emotions running through my  veins –wouldn’t this bring any body down? And I was down.

Thank God, I already  had begun a 12 Step program of recovery three years prior (for another addiction)  to this experience with depression and I knew it had the power to help me out of this depression prison that I had  me locked down.

Then I made  a  decision and admitted I had a problem and needed  to act quickly or my sadness would completely put me down and out. I started walking five miles every day for weeks hoping this would take  away this interminable jitteriness and anxiety that was keeping me less  able to function. I knew that I couldn’t lose my job. But I couldn’t get out of bed as well. So, walking was a solution that I settled on. I would have to see a Doctor  if the pain didn’t stop. In time it did stop. I came to believe that a Power greater than myself would restore me to sanity. I made a decision to do something. I knew if I moved the body, my mind would follow. For the past year my mind, body   had been stuck in “park.”

Did  I get better? Yes. And then I became a member of Depressed Anonymous and told people how the Steps can help one get better with the Steps and the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous.

By studying the Steps and reading the literature everyday, I finally understood what the depression experience will do to our relationships, our mind and our  physical body. The one great advantage for me was the fact that I could talk to people just like myself. It takes one to know one. To have friends who neither put me down, or who thought I was crazy,  or told me just to “snap out of it” was a  great healing for  me.

Slowly the mental fog lifted and I began to feel like my old cheerful self as I   began to live in the freedom of  that Power greater than myself who was now at the center of my life.


 SOURCES: (C) Depressed Once-Not Twice (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

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



Mutual aid as integral part of the 12 Step recovery program


The other day I was taking my grandchildren to a children’s amusement center here at home. My oldest grandchild ( 13 years) has an IPhone with a GPS(Global Positioning System) integrated with his phone. So, as we were traveling along on our way to our destination, he points out to me that his GPS indicated we were going the  wrong way. Alas, I turned off the road,  turned the car around and headed in the direction of the children’s amusement center-just as the GPS directed me.

Not too long ago I came in contact with a captivating and insightful work by a Russian author who  described how everything in the natural world, human, animal and  plant life is able to survive because of mutuality among its  species. As many  believe, it is only by the  survival of the fittest that ensures ones survival in the natural world. It is this fact, according to Darwin, which  makes  it possible for its members to survive the struggle between individual members for the means of existence.

Peter  Kropotkin, who was a Russian Prince and an anarchist had these  important words to share about his belief in mutual aid among all species. In the foreword to his work on Mutual Aid the editor tells us how Kropotkin

 drew on his experiences in scientific expeditions in Siberia to illustrate the phenomenon of cooperation. After examining the evidence of cooperation in nonhuman animals, “savages,” “barbarians,” in medieval cities, and in modern times, he concludes that cooperation and mutual aid are as important in the evolution of the species as competition and mutual strife, if more so.

It was in reading this masterful work, Mutual aid: A Factor of Evolution, which was written over a 100 years ago, and all  based on scientific observations in  the real world that Professor Kessler, the  a well known Russian zoologist, in an address  (1880)  to Russian naturalists who is said to have understood the full importance of Mutual Aid as a  law of Nature. The following is part of  that lecture:

I obviously do not deny the struggle for existence, but I maintain that the progressive development of the animal kingdom, and especially of mankind, is favored much more by mutual support than by mutual struggle…All organic beings have two essential needs: that of nutrition, and that of propagating the species. The former brings them to a struggle and to mutual extermination, while the needs of maintaining the species bring them to approach one another and to support one another.  But I am inclined to think that in the evolution of the organic world  — in the progressive modification of organic beings –mutual support among individuals plays a much more important part than their mutual struggle.

I have written all this today just to arouse  the reader’s interest in the power of mutual aid to form viable, supportive   communities–while struggle for survival works against itself and  community formation with self serving individual concerns,  which may lead to more divisiveness and fragmentation in established societies and communities.

In our day,  the “selfies”  mentality mirrors a trend in our societies where the individual now stands like a nomad  in a desert, without  reference points to  past societal traditions which gave value and meaning to one’s life.  Familial breakdown, loss of traditional religious beliefs, migration, poverty and the disappearance of tribal and national customs gradually erase connections between peoples that were formerly in place  providing  support and a sense of security and trust  for the life of the individual and the  community where they lived. 

This leads us to a brief discussion on the importance of the  establishment of mutual aid groups, support groups in our society today.  Mutual aid group members are an integral part of a community where there is fellowship, support and mutuality. When   one member suffers, all members suffer with them and support them. No one suffers alone. No one is an isolated individual who swims alone in today’s  modern cultures of individual competition and struggle.

Amazing as it is, the 12 Steps have brought to us a way out of our isolation and a way into a supportive community and mutuality. Truly, these groups  promote the belief that everyone is equal in the fellowship — mutuality lived out in the real world–and all members of the group come together to serve each other with hope. The mutual aid given to each other in the group provides a dynamic positioning of one’s life so as to  live life with each other with hope and love. One has  a concern for the welfare of all just  as one’s own welfare becomes the concern of all.



SOURCE: Mutual Aid: A factor of evolution. Peter Kropotkin. (1902, 2008) Forgotten Books. Org.


Happiness is a side product of helping others

I always wondered –how can I possibly bring peace to others when I feel so low and down in the mouth? It is my wish to help others who are still suffering and living without the hope of ever feeling better. It is by doing what I have to do every day and living today for all its worth, that I will be able to stay in the now and try to change my moods as they start their usual spiral downward. I believe that ‘Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.’ Thus, I can help others.

Happiness is the side product of my letting go of my self and thinking of some larger effort or goal in my life. It is in setting a goal to work on my self just for today, that I get in contact with my Higher Power and listen to his promptings. I am happiest when I am able to live with hope that possibly, just possibly, my life has a purpose and a meaning.”

We ask God to point out to us where our areas of self-will lie so that they might be brought to light. We can work on them and get rid of them as these areas block us from our serenity and growth in happiness. We again want to turn our lives and our wills over to you God.

SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. (1993,1999, 2016).Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

What you seek will seek you.



I want serenity and pray for it today. I locate the ways that I can risk just for this one day.

“…everything that I need I get — and when I get what I need I invariably find that it was just what I wanted all the time.” Depressed Anonymous


This truth works out in my life the more I follow and work my program of the Twelve Steps of recovery. When I admitted that I was powerless over my depression and that my life was unmanageable, I began to come across people and the literature that I needed to work myself out of my depression. I had to take the next step and come to believe that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity. I began to believe that I can get better. I can choose to feel a little better today. I am able to risk living just for today, and not in the fear that tomorrow I’ll probably feel like my old awful self once again. “What you seek will seek you.”


God, you didn’t create us to live in this continual fear and anxiety. You created us to find the joy and serenity that can be ours if we continue to search out and follow your will for us. From this day forward, we refuse to tolerate this sense of despair in our lives, but instead do something about it. Lead us on God, to what we need for today. We trust that you will.”


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

Take your spiritual vitamin and energizer wherever you go by making Higher Thoughts for Down Days available on your AMAZON /KINDLE, each day and everyday.