All posts by hopeservicefellowship

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost. I am hopeless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever for me to find a way out.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend that I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I saw it there.
I still fall in. It’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault. I get out immediately.
I walk down the same street
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
I walk down another street.

© Portia Nelson 1981


Definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Tapering off of booze, smoking, overeating etc., negative thinking, suicidal thinking, I hoped it would finally help me end my strong attachment/addiction to any one of these life threatening behaviors. Wrong. I kept going down the same street and falling in the same hole. The Twelve Steps is what gave me the courage to go around the hole and begin to travel down a different road. The road I followed and still follow after 30 years is the great fellowship of Depressed Anonymous. You can read the stories of those who started walking down that “other street” – that broad highway of recovery that we call Depressed Anonymous.

Read their personal stories in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY

I Can Ttill Hope…


I am finding a way out of my sadness and just for today, I will remain hopeful!

“…We have come a long way on our journey,  for the road to coping and recovery is widening and has its obstacles, but we have all fared well, we have braved the storms and found a hope that extends beyond tomorrow.”


Even though the journey out of this darkness might be longer  than I am wanting to admit, I can still hope that the end will be in sight at some time. There is going to be a light at the end of the tunnel. With time and with work, I will get better. I have already admitted, time after time, that I need help in learning how to free myself from my need to sad  myself, day after day.   This compulsion of mine has been with me for many years, but I have hope that it will not be long until my good days begin to outnumber my bad days with depression. I have the faith of a beginner, a novice if you will, in the ways of recovery. I can’t find a way out of this depression without hope. I know that there is going to have to be a change in the way I view life if I am to get better. I am going to take responsibility for my life and begin to change!

Troubles in one’s life may cause our persistence and endurance to grow and is the reason our faith is strengthened.


God, help us realize that we are part of your plan and that we have a purpose here on this earth; if for no other reason than to let others like us know that we have a place where hope starts, namely, in you.


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

FAQ (Frequently asked questions) about Depressed Anonymous

Question: Is Depressed Anonymous a class? Does someone teach this class?

Answer: Depressed Anonymous is neither a class nor does someone, such as a professional lead the group. We are a mutual aid group where each of us brings our own experience and shares them with each other. We also live our life based on the 12 Steps, the suggested spiritual principles of Depressed Anonymous.

Question: How much does it cost to join the group?

Answer: There are no fees or dues. All a person needs for membership is a sincere desire to keep from saddening themselves.

Question: Can you come to a meeting even if you are not depressed? Like a family member or a friend of someone depressed?

Answer: Yes, in fact we encourage family members participation in the group. The more we attend meetings the more likely we are to get a better understanding of the experience and nature of depression.

Question: What position does Depressed Anonymous take with regard to antidepressant Tablets?

Answer: Depressed Anonymous takes no position on medications. We are a support group which has as its base a spiritual foundation as laid out in the 12 Steps. We are not professionally led. We do not discuss topics of a religious nature which are specifically oriented to one religious faith or another. One’s personal medication regimen as well as religious preference is solely the responsibility of that individual and is not discussed in the group meeting.

Question: Do I have to give a talk if I attend a meeting?

Answer: No one is asked to say more than their first name at a DA meeting. We have all been where you have been, namely as a newcomer and we respect one’s right to talk only when one feels ready to talk. Every member of the group is given the understanding that when they have a turn to talk they can just say “PASS” and everyone is very OK with that.

Question: How many meetings will it take before I am no longer depressed?

Answer: That is a question that we can’t answer. I believe that even though my good days are now more frequent and my bad days less, I still keep coming back to meetings so as to help myself and give help to others still suffering. Our program is one that you don’t graduate from –it is a lifelong fellowship where one continues to learn that to stay well means to keep connected with the group, use the daily spiritual tools that keep us all out of the prison of depression.

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

A lesson from the geese

Have you ever wondered why migrating geese fly in a V formation?  As with most animal behavior, we can learn a valuable principle of mutual aid.

As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an “uplift” for the bird following. By flying in their V group formation, the whole flock adds more flying range than if each bird flew alone.

When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the resistance and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of that “lifting power” of the bird immediately in front.

When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into formation and another goose flies at the point position.

The geese in formation honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

When a goose gets sick, wounded or shot down, two others drop out of formation and follow to help and protect. They stay until he is either able to fly again or dies. Then they launch out on their own, with another group, or to catch up with the flock.”


Source: National Empowerment Center, Summer/Fall 1997 Newsletter, 20 Ballard  Road, Lawrence MA 01843. Reprinted with Permission.

Depressed Anonymous helps us get in touch with our best selves.

Taking charge and being responsible for oneself is at the core of all recovery programs. As we get into a discussion with other people who are depressed, much like ourselves, we see that they talk about feeling better while at the same time acting on their own behalf. These people who are doing better are also talking about taking charge of their lives and doing things for themselves instead of constantly trying to please others. In fact, at Depressed Anonymous meetings, the recovering people often delight at how assertive they are becoming now that they have gained a sense of mastery over their lives. They are also committed to their own recovery. People who want to change begin to swallow their pride and ask for help. They begin to get in touch  with their feelings and feel! This is truth and this is getting in touch with one’s best self.”


SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.(2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 91.

Depressed Anonymous monthly online newsletter premiers Tuesday, September 8. Subscribe today!

The Depressed Anonymous online newsletter premiers tomorrow. Subscribe today and receive our informative newsletter every month in your mailbox. The newsletter will not only give you updates on our mutual aid groups  plus provide information on how to start your own group. Also, there will be information on how to do your own Home Study program if there are no face to face meetings in your locality. All in all,  we hope you take the time and subscribe to this new venture. You’ll be glad that you did.

For more information on the Home Study  program, and its component parts,  the  Depressed Anonymous manual , 3rd edition., and The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, both are available at the Depressed Anonymous bookstore. You will also find other helpful  literature, written by those of us who were depressed, at our Publications store here online.

Be sure to get your copy of the newsletter. Subscribe today!

1440 Minutes

1440 is the number of minutes allotted to us everyday. Every 24 hour period, one day’s worth, we are given 1440 minutes to use however we like. We can divide up the minutes so that we can work so many minutes, feed ourselves. go to a movie, exercise  or do whatever we like to do. It doesn’t seem like 1440 minutes is a lot of time but by the time we reach the age of 65 we will have been allotted 34,164, 000 minutes to do with as we choose.  That’s a lot of time to do some good.

Let’s go back to what we have today. For myself, I only have 120 minutes left in my day. And as I write this BLOG to you I realize that I am very grateful for the minutes left for me this 24 hour period. Many minutes today were spent celebrating the Birthdays of my 6 year old Grandchild and my 11 year old Grandchild. It seemed only yesterday when Leah was born. And now she is 11 years young. And Eli is six. What a age of wonderment and joy.His minutes seemed to last for ages as he expectantly waited for this, his special day, enjoying his special minutes with family and Grandparents.

I hope that your minutes found you hopeful  today. I know from my own experience that when I started on  my road to recovery my minutes always dragged on and on and seemed like hours. I felt this time warp most severely when I was in my deepest depression… the pain was forever. Everyday I had to remove the pain and I accomplished  this by sleeping. It was only when I awoke that the minutes made every one of my efforts feel  like I was in slow motion or swimming in a large vat of molasses. My  mind, my body, myself was slowly drowning and I watched myself, like a curious bystander,  powerless to give me any help.

Now with thirty years of 15 million plus recovery  minutes under my belt, living 1440 minutes a day, I am grateful that I can keep my focus on those “still suffering from depression”, and let them know that they  too have today, still have time to do what they need to do and to live with hope.

.  _____________________________________________________________

Source: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011).  DAP. Louisville.

The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2001) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

The Pattern Of Fear

When we are afraid we feel a horrible sensation in the “pit of the stomach.”  This is the most distressing component of fear. However, the complete picture of fear includes all the symptoms induced by adrenaline: the sweating hands, churning stomach, racing heart, tight chest,. etc., as well as the spasm of fear left in our “middle.”

Normally we do not feel our body functioning, because parasympathetic nerves hold the sympathetic nerves dominate the parasympathetic and we are conscious of certain organs functioning. A healthy body without stress  is  a peaceful body.

The treatment of all symptoms depends on a  few simple rules. When you first read them you may think,” This is too simple for me. It will take something more drastic to cure me.” In spite of this, you will need to be shown how to apply this simple treatment and may often have to reread instructions.
The principles of treatment as laid out by Dr. Claire  Weekes is as follows:




Letting time pass

Thee is nothing mysterious or surprising about the treatment and yet it is enlightening to see how many people sink deeper into their illness, by doing the exact opposite.

First, becoming unduly alarmed by his symptoms, examining each as it appeared, “listening in” in apprehension. He tried to free himself of the unwelcome feelings by pushing them away, agitatedly seeking occupation to force forgetfulness =–in other words, by fighting or running away.

A person is bewildered for not having a cure overnight. He kept looking back and worrying because so much time was passing and he was  not yet cured, as if this were an evil spirit that could be exorcised if only he, or the doctor, knew the trick. He was impatient with time.

Briefly, he spent his time:

Running away, not facing;

Fighting, not accepting;

Arresting and “listening in,” not floating past;

Being impatient with time,  not letting time pass.

I want to give credit to that wonderful Australian Psychiatrist,  Dr.Claire Weekes, whose  incisive thoughts, here and in other  excellent works on how to have peace, hope and help for one’s nerves. (See: Hope and help for your nerves.).

I personally have found her thoughts on anxiety and panic to be so accurate as I have experienced these feeling myself. In fact one occasion I remember with clarity as  I let my first fear  of panic over come me. The intensity of that first fear caused me to try and run away, not face the feelings, fight the feeling and continue to “listen in” and not just let the fear float on by, and with time our thoughts and feelings became calm and tranquil. I learned that if I could tell myself calmly, which I did,  when I felt the intensity of the first fear that the feeling is  ” uncomfortable but not life threatening,” and continued saying it like a mantra of sorts, until my heart rate went down, my hands were no longer clammy, and all together I regained my  emotional balance.

Connecting the dots

One of the ways that helps us to overcome, deal with, and leave the prison of our depression is to connect the dots of our lives. What does this mean, exactly? It simply means that by using the 12 Steps of the Depressed Anonymous program of recovery we can gradually and at our own pace build a relationship with our Higher Power ( anything bigger than just me) or as it has it in our program, the God of our understanding. This is what we call “connecting the dots ”  which means our unique  thinking, our feelings, and all the behaviors of our lives.  In time, as  we move along the trajectory of our own recovery–working each of the 12 steps,  we begin to develop a picture of who we are and who  we want to be. We have connected all the dots.

Granted we are not going to get a true picture of ourselves right away. This program does asks something of us. We are going to have to be honest with ourselves and others, We have to be open to the reality that we can find the help and serenity promised in this program,  and  be willing to get on with our work. Yes, work. It takes work. It also takes time, as it  is a step by step process. If you want to leave the hellish feelings of isolation and shame that many of us have felt you will start this program. It will provide you with hope. And you will not be alone. You will have all of us here to support you!

I connected the dots almost 30 years ago now. In fact, I still go to meetings (went last night   ) and still making sure that today, just for today, I am still right on track. So now with my Depressed Anonymous Workbook and Depressed Anonymous Manual I continually keep in touch with my feelings, right behaviors (don’t isolate and beat myself up) and my relationship with God and my neighbor. And most importantly, I try and share a message of HOPE with those who are still suffering from depression. Could that person be you? If it is, you can have a Home Study program that will offer you hope and a real way out of the prison of your own depression. The Home Study Program is great preparation for a face to face group that could be formed in your own community.


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

The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. (2001) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2015) DAP . Louisville

I’ll do it when I feel Better. (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

    Visit the store for more info for other DA literature.


Stay tuned for our ONLINE Newsletter and please subscribe so as to keep up with current places of DA starting up  as well as interesting testimonies from  those who have found hope in the program of recovery; people who have connected the dots!

We learn to be “nice.”

” Because you are unaware of being angry does not mean that you are not angry. It is the anger you are unaware of which can do the most damage to you and to your relationships with other people, since it does not get expressed, but in inappropriate ways. Freud once likened anger to the smoke in an old fashioned wood burning stove. The normal avenue for discharge of the smoke is up the flue and out of the chimney; if the normal avenue is blocked, the smoke will leak out the stove in unintended ways…around the door, through the grate, etc., choking everyone in the room. If all avenues of escape are blocked, the fire goes out and the stove ceases to function. Likewise, the normal human expression of anger is gross physical movement and /or loud vocalization; watch a red-faced hungry infant sometime. We learn to “be nice,” which  means  (among other things) hiding “bad” feelings. By adulthood, even verbal expression is curtailed, since a civilized person is expected to be “civil.” Thus, expression is stifled, and to protect ourselves from the unbearable burden of continually unexpressed “bad” feelings, we go to the next step and convince ourselves that we are not angry, even when we are.  Such deception is seldom completely successful and the blocked anger “leaks out” in inappropriate ways…”

Source: The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2001) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 33.


Some of my own feelings about anger have to do when anger is stifled or swallowed. I do know that a result of stifling my anger is the build up of resentments. If we want to really deal with our anger then we must be willing to express our feelings,  even though they might make us feel very uncomfortable. All I am saying is that  NOT to express feelings and stifle them will create more emotional pain and more damage for our lives. So, to my mind, the best way to get the anger out is to get oneself to a Depressed Anonymous meeting where we can get the help we need  and share those feelings that cause us so much grief.