All posts by Hugh Smith


I have a manual, a Survival Manual if you will, that continues to save the lives of those who feel that they have lost all hope. They feel “locked down” and in a deep dark pit of nothingness.  What used to be a life of daily ups and downs has  spiraled down, spinning out of control. All their thoughts and feelings are swallowed down in this relentless swirling  whirlpool.  A great dark monster  is chewing up our lives moment by moment. The more we fight it without any seeming results,   the more defenseless we become to its ravenous appetite, and the more hopeless our lives become.

Like Job in the Bible, others come round us, and tell us that all we have to do is “just snap out of it” and all will be well. They tell us  to think a positive thought and tell ourselves  of  all the good things that we  are surrounded with–family, friends,  and people who care about us.

It’s all so simple for those who have never been depressed. They don’t realize the pain  our bodies feel, resultant of the  constant pounding of fatigue and our relentless hopeless thinking.

The Depressed Anonymous fellowship is there to help us  survive our feelings of hopelessness and helplessness that kept us isolated and alone.  And by using our Survival Manual and listening to all those  stories from  survivors like ourselves, we loosen the bonds that have kept us imprisoned.

In order for any of us who are presently depressed we highly recommend our Manual which is written by those of us (survivors) who have used the tools for recovery.

Our step by step program of recovery provides a map out of the woods of our confusion, despair and isolation. We have support. We are never alone–unless we choose to be.  If you want  a solution, pick up a copy of Depressed  Anonymous today (Survival Manual) and find hope for your own life–today. Read the   31 stories written by survivors and included in this Manual.

We no longer are victims!

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

To order your own Survivor’s Manual from Depression, please visit  the store here and for the many other publications which will help you in your  getting free.

I am going to have a Higher Thought today!



“You dismantle your depression by thoroughly  examining your own beliefs and how you construct your world. It’s in the way we usually think about ourselves and the world that enables us to predict with accuracy the way things turn out.” (9) The Antidepressant Tablet


In my past I usually predicted gloom and doom about everything that I chose to do.  I always felt that whatever I did or whatever I tried to do would end up in the trash.  I never felt that I could do anything worthwhile.  because I never considered anything I did in the past as being worthwhile. I predicted that nothing would ever turn out for me…and you know I was right! Now I am predicting success as I am beginning to value myself and the things I do. I have found that with some small experiences that the more I predict success, the more success appears on my horizon. Is this what they call a self-fulfilling prophecy?

My depression made me an excellent  prognosticator of things to come. These things were always bad. I always thought I had cancer, was suffering from a heart attack or had some rare and incurable disease. I was always seeing life from the negative and hopeless side.  I am learning that it is only when  I practice seeing life as hopeful and filled with promise, that I discover  that my moods begin to lift.  I am feeling more cheerful like when I used to have hope in my life and took it for granted.


We trust you our God, to let us see life as it is and not as we usually think of it when we are depressed. I see life with promise and possibilities.


SOURCE   Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for Down days; 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 Step fellowships. (2014)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.Ky. Pages 218-219.

VISIT THE STORE and discover our KINDLE  edition of  Higher Thoughts. Also, take a look at all  the   other  Depressed Anonymous  Publications now available.

These folks were the real deal!

I get it! When I first  crawled  into my first 12 step meeting I was alone and beaten. I had no place to go but up.  I didn’t know one person in that strange group of men and women united by their addiction.  All I knew is that I might be one of them –that is, an alcoholic. Dread! But  I found a group of men and women who were no longer strangers. I came in the group that day thinking I was  only a guest there for a brief appearance. I didn’t really want to be there. I knew that I probably didn’t belong.

By the time this meeting adjourned I was no longer a stranger nor a guest. I felt I found a home. I no longer felt shame or guilt, These folks were the “real deal.” I felt welcome.  They spoke about me and all that troubled me. The only  thing was that they were speaking of their own lives–and it sounded just like my life. Their lives and battle with alcohol was my battle too.

Then came my greatest curse, so I thought. It popped up soon after I had a few years of sobriety and sanity. It was a darkness that filled my body like a poisonous liquid  gradually filling me up from the bottom of my feet to the top of my head. It all began unnoticed at first,  then the poison immobilized me  like the poisonous sting of a Black Widow spider. I had to battle to get myself out of bed in the morning. I began to feel fright. What was happening to me?

In time, the answer would come and the solution which I pursued like a praying monk, finally freed me. Thanks to the “miracle of the group” my 12 step fellowship .  I am free today.  I thank God, my Higher Power, for leading me to that group of alcoholics who gave me a key that released me  from my addictions–alcohol and depression. Now I want to share with you and anyone that needs to hear what I have to say: I know for sure that the key that I have in my hand will fit any lock that imprisons you in pain and despair.


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


SKYPE us today! We have a common home and so let’s be neighbors!

NOTICE: Whenever a blog post mentions an online meeting be sure to consult the page Online Depressed Anonymous Meetings for the most up to date and correct information. If the blog post is more than a few days old there is a chance it could be incorrect.

If you have SKYPE please feel free to contact me at this address.  I have talked with persons around the world who are members of Depressed Anonymous and find it a great tool to keep in contact with the membership. SKYPE also helps build understanding among all peoples how we are connected by a common bond. We have a “common home” and all live in the same household, and planet earth is our home!

Let’s be neighbors and share how we are dealing with what is our common problem, depression. A recent World Health Organization tells us that Depression is a common illness for all members of this our common home. When one of us suffers —we truly all suffer. The issue doesn’t stop there–because we have found a Higher Power who can deliver us from what ails us the most and causes us to isolate and suffer alone. For many of us the Depressed Anonymous mutual aid group is the support and Power that keeps us focused on recovery.  For most of we believe that the God of our understanding will and does deliver us from depression– which for many is life threatening. All of us who participate share in the Power and in the Miracle of the Group. We are never alone as we have each other, whether from Iran, Texas (usa), Siberia, Holland, Australia, Germany, Poland, just to name a few of our neighbors. All these neighbors I have made friends through SKYPE.

I would love to hear from all of you who are reading this today and let’s become neighbors with a common interest and talk solutions.

Thank you,

Hugh.smith75    by skype



Welcome to the Depressed Anonymous

Newsletter Issue #4

We seek to prevent depression through education and by creating a

supportive and caring community through support groups that successfully

keep individuals from relapsing into depression .


This Newsletter is published by those of us who are committed to sharing

our journey of hope as we live out the Twelve Steps of Recovery. The

Newsletter continues the tradition of an earlier Depressed Anonymous

Newsletter, the Antidepressant Tablet. Even though our emphasis is the

same, offering information on a regular basis about new Depressed

Anonymous groups forming, giving hope to the depressed, as well as being

an advocate for those who are still suffering from depression.

We also have as an objective the “how” of starting a Depressed Anonymous

mutual aid group, plus sharing the thoughts from the members of the

fellowship who are using the Twelve Steps of Depressed Anonymous in their

own lives and recovery. Their personal experience, hope and strengths will

be welcomed as an essential feature of our online newsletter.


How to Start a Depressed Anonymous Meeting

If there is a Depressed Anonymous group operating near where you live, you could go to one of their meetings. But if yours will be the first in your area, you might find it helpful to attend one or two other self-help groups just to see how they operate. Most self-help groups, as well as Depressed Anonymous, have literature about their work which you will find helpful. You can click onto the website at for a full explanation and information about our Depressed Anonymous group.

Once you have three or four people, who, like you, are struggling with depression and who want to set up a Depressed Anonymous group which will follow the Twelve Step program, you can form, a core group to work out how to contact other people as to where you will meet, and when and how you will all share the work and the responsibility of the group.

To contact other likely members, draw up a notice which states the aims of the group, who the group is for, the time, day, place of meeting, and the name and phone number or email address of the person whom you can contact for more information about the group, and who will arrange to meet and welcome new members.

When you are depressed, it is often very difficult to go into a room full of strangers, so having someone meet you beforehand can be a great help. Send copies of this notice to all those in your community who would know of persons who might be helped by this Twelve Step program of recovery. For starters it is recommended that Mental Health Centers are always a good place to start as well as local religious communities. Many people believe they are the only ones going through this painful experience that we call depression. When they discover that there is a group of people who feel as you do, this in itself can provide hope. In time and with regular attendance at Depressed Anonymous meetings, they will no longer feel like victims, but will reach out to others.

If surrender of our wills to the “care of God” is of the essence of the spiritual life, for anyone who truly desires to free himself/ herself from a chronic and compulsive behavior such as depression, then the Twelve Steps can be our stepping stones to a path of a hope-filled life.

The following is a list of publications produced and made available by Depressed Anonymous Publications.

A total of 12 Books have been published including e-books. For more information about these books, you visit our website and do online ordering of our literature. The following is a complete listing of available books.

* Depressed Anonymous

* The Depressed Anonymous Workbook

* Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for Members of 12 Step Fellowship Groups

* Teen Care: Helping Teens Prize Themselves

* SeniorWise

* How to Find Hope

* Depressed Once-Not twice: An Autobiographical Spiritual Journey of the

* Founder of Depressed Anonymous

* How to Find Hope

* Shining a Light on the Dark Night of the Soul

* The Promises of Depressed Anonymous

* Dep-Anon Family Group Manual

* I’ll Do It When I Feel Better

* Believing Is Seeing: 15 Ways to Leave the Prison of Depression

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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 asupport 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 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 stillkeep 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.


It’s the Miracle of the Group where I Can Start Loving Myself! I have hope that I can accept myself today and just let fly all the old messages from the old tapes of childhood.

You desperately wanted people to love you, but you became wary of giving your love to others. You reasoned that the less you loved another person the less it would hurt when the inevitable rejection came.” Dorothy Rowe


I have been holed up for so long in my own little world of feeling hurt and rejection that to attempt to love someone else like the greatest challenge of my life. I desire so badly to be loved by someone else that this lack of another’s love makes my isolation from others so hurtful.

After having witnessed the miracle of the group in DA, where depressed persons come together with their feelings of being hurt and rejected, I find that others love and nurture challenge me to hope once again, I can share with the group the fact that I haven’t measured up, that I am angry and that I just want to lay down and die.

I am open enough now to let the light of love from others, who like myself, realize that I am not alone and that I am beginning to feel better already now that I no longer need to be perfect.

This means to be willing to affiliate and give of myself for someoneelse’s good. In the program I am starting to love-myself.


We are going to make a mental decision right now to let God, as we understand God, guide us and instruct us on how best to love ourselves.

Source: Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous. Publications. Louisville. March 3rd. (Available on Kindle).

“Depression is Different from Normal Sadness”

Depression cannot be reduced to a single factor. It is the result of the coinciding of different factors. Biological, historical, environmental and psychological factors play a certain role in the beginning and its evolution.

“Many people never reach a state of clinical depression . Such depression, with the feeling of paralysis that it involves, is different from normal sadness. People with clinical depression, in general, demonstrate physical and psychic alterations; people who are not depressed manifest certain mental signs of sadness. In addition, people often confuse depression with unhappiness, and often one can hear the phrase I feel depressed, even though the person concerned only wants to say that he or she is not happy. Until one has really experienced depression one cannot realize the enormous difference that exists between being depressed and being unhappy. When we are unhappy, despite the scale of the tragedy that has afflicted us, we remain incontact with reality. When other people offer us consolation and love w can still feel gratitude for their warmth and support. But when we are depressed we feel like people who are excluded from the rest of the world. The comfort and love offered by other people do not penetrate our barrier and we feel neither consoled or loved. To experience real depression means to feel entrapped in pitch or suffocated by some dense, heavy material or buried alive in a dark tunnel. The depressed person is interested in nothing and nobody, and does not feel any hope.” SOURCE: Jose Saraiva Martins

Comment: If you are a depressed person and are reading this you know the guy who is writing the above material knows what he is talking about. But, if you are a person who has been unhappy but never depressed, it is impossible for you to even begin to fathom what he is talking about.

Yes, you might say, but I don’t see any plaster casts, no sign of physical brokenness and the guy or gal is always happy. You know, the life of the party. There is a night and day difference between being depressed and being unhappy. I know, as I have been depressed. I also have been very unhappy as well. Being depressed is a life threatening illness and for many the trajectory can lead to suicide preceded by thinking that is hopeless and suicidal.

The person who has experienced depression themselves and who seeks help to climb out of the dark pit now has friends in the Depressed Anonymous fellowship of the 12 steps. The new person coming into our group soon learns that the members know about the depression experience. Some have talked about trying to commit suicide. My point is that persons depressed live in a world that they cannot touch, a world which they are viewing from the insides of an enclosed soundproof glass room. They are completely isolated and adrift floating alone in a river of turbulence and dangerous currents. And when the time comes to flee this pain and isolation they run to the people who say they know what depression is. They also have a tool kitwhich they continue to use in their daily lives which helps them to forever stay out of that glass enclosed room. I am one of those persons who never returned to that past time in my life when I felt totally alone, without friends, purpose or meaning in my life. I owe my life to Depressed Anonymous and its powerful focus on hope instead of hopelessness.


HIGHER THOUGHTS FOR DOWN DAYS(c)- Publisher: Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.KY. 266 Pages. Author Hugh Smith. Book is available in Paperback and eBook Kindle


366 daily meditations for 12 Step fellowship members and groups. This is the right book for those of us who want to think and reflect on those Higher Thoughts written by persons who know how to use the Steps for their own recovery. Each days Higher Thought contains an Affirmative thought, a Clarification of thought paragraph and a final spiritual meditative paragraph. All in all, one has a positive and solid base on which to reflect upon the coming day.

One of our fellowship groups makes use of the Higher Thought as a Group topic on which members can center their discussion for the meeting. In order to discover more helpful literature please


Also please contact us with email at


Higher Thoughts today and everyday

I start my day with reflections from  Higher Thoughts for Down Days,  providing me with a spiritual and meaningful kick start for the hours to follow. This work, contains a daily Higher Thought affirmation, a meaningful reflection,   and closes with an appropriate short meditation.

Some  Depressed Anonymous groups use this daily Higher Thought for their group meeting  discussion topic.   In my effort to produce a meaningful daily  reflection  book for persons depressed, especially those of us who work  a Twelve Step recovery program,  I found this daily  approach  to be most therapeutic for those of us who are or were depressed and isolated.

Now those of us who like the electronic handheld  Kindle  ereader,  Depressed Anonymous Publications has made available a new KINDLE version of Higher Thoughts for Down Days. Not only are you able to put the meditation for that day on your screen,  you are  able to scroll through and find that particular thought which has meaning for you today.

Higher Thoughts for Down Days starts your day off with a hopeful boost, be it by way of a  hard copy of Higher Thoughts or a KINDLE version.

To learn  more about publications produced by DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS, please VISIT THE STORE at this site. It’s in your hands!

“Depressed Anonymous saved my life-twice.”

Depressed Anonymous has saved my life twice now. When I first came, I had been suicidal for some time and was only looking for the right time and place to make it look like an accident. After a few meetings, the suicidal feeling began to leave. I started to realize that I wasn’t the only one who was having problems coping with the problems of life.

In the spring of that year I suffered from another bout of severe depression and had decided to end it all. I had the date, the approximate time, the place,  and the accident all picked out.  I started withdrawing from the Depressed Anonymous group so that  they would not try to talk me out of it. I stopped taking my medication to make sure that I could not pull myself out of it. Our Higher Power had different ideas. Depressed Anonymous members for some reason kept in contact knowing something was not right. That added a great deal of difficulty in carrying through with my plan because I  could not distance myself from people who cared and showed it.  It was a very hard to know that I would be letting them down.

I managed to make the appointed day and had prepared to leave the house. As I said, the Higher Power had other ideas.  Just before I left, a Depressed Anonymous member called me to just chat about themselves.. That took a little time. Then  all the neighbors, one after another, kept coming over to ask me to help them with little projects. It was very hard to put on a “happy” front, but I knew I had to do it or somebody would figure out that what was about to happen was not an accident.

By the time everything was done, it was dark and too late to leave. If I had left after dark, and had the accident, it would have been obvious it wasn’t one. This was a 400ft bridge  in the middle of the wilderness that no one but emergency vehicles goes across in the dark. The day ended and I was still alive and angry that my goal ha not been accomplished. Now I would have to plan for another day.

Depressed Anonymous members came to my rescue again and through their support and listening. I finally overcame the deep depression. I am getting better each week. I know that if Depressed Anonymous had not been there for me that I would have continued on with my suicidal plans. Sometimes I get very depressed,  but Depressed Anonymous is there and it is the vehicle that the Higher Power is using to help me cope and learn how to “knock down this fire within me.”


[My friend Ron  has served for many years as  minister who supports and provides spiritual aid to long distance truck drivers in his roadside truck stop chapel and prays with them and for their needs. I have known Ron for many years and his faithfulness to those in need is truly a gift – a gift of hope! God saved his life that others might continue on the road of life and healing.  Hugh]

See more of these Depressed Anonymous members speak about their own recoveries and how they walked the talk of a new hope  who gradually left behind their anxiety and fears of living.  Many more testimonies can be found in Depressed Anonymous, 3d edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. (Pages 149-150. Please see the Personal stories section in our Depressed Anonymous.)

Recovery? How can I make it happen for me?

“By recognizing how it feels to be depressed, more people will have the help and guidance that will get them through their depression. Lives will be saved as well. Besides reading the Twelve Steps at each meeting, the group learns  on a firsthand basis about the ”  miracle of the group.”  It is in the sharing and getting connected with the other members of the group where one’s recovery begins.”

I have also learned how those persons who aren’t  able to get to a group meeting that they can start learning  how to leave the prison of depression by using the HOME STUDY KIT. This program of recovery is basically a do it yourself  program where one can go through all the Steps, one by one, using  the Depressed Anonymous manual and The Depressed Anonymous Workbook.   Both of these books combined make a great way to begin one’s own recovery and then hopefully others will want to join you with their own recovery efforts.

HOME STUDY KIT information is located at

Dr. Dorothy Rowe, author and Psychologist commends Depressed Anonymous

Dr. Dorothy Rowe, award winning author/Ph.D., psychologist commends the mutual aid group Depressed Anonymous in her Foreword to Depressed Anonymous (2011) 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, the Big Book of its 12 Step program of recovery.

This book offers a framework for setting up and running such a self-help group, which can be adapted to the special needs and circumstances of many different people. It can be used as a blueprint for a group or as a study book for an individual. It offers a set of steps and an inexhaustible source of ideas for meditation and discussion. It shows how we can all experience “the miracle of the group.” Most of all, it shows how we can discover the essential unity of living and accepting ourselves and one another, of being close to others, and experiencing the sense of oneness in all in which we can reside in acceptance and trust”

Foreword to Depressed Anonymous. Page 18.

VISIT THE STORE for more resources on depression and how mutuality can be a healing force for those who desire hope.

A therapist speaks out about Depressed Anonymous

“One of the greatest resources I’ve used in working with many depressed persons has been Depressed Anonymous. The transformation it causes in an individual’s life is truly miraculous. This stems from it being primarily a spiritual program of healing and recovery.  It encourages a person to seek a personal relationship with God, whoever they understand God to be. In doing this, it helps a person to look inside for healing, rather than in a pill or some quick “cure.” Many persons who suffer with  depression look on God as being one who judges them harshly. This thinking usually leads  to much anger towards God, which results in more negative thinking. I know this from my own experiences with depression, and the angry relationship with God I had during those times. This is where Depressed Anonymous offers hope by getting a person connected to a group who also suffers with depression, and are working the Twelve Steps. In doing this, it helps a person come to a realization that it will only be through a power greater than themselves that they will find sanity in their life.  Depressed people cannot do this alone because of the compulsion to ruminate endlessly over negative thoughts. It is only through coming together with a group of people like Depressed  Anonymous that they are able to break the cycle of negative thinking. ”

To read more of what therapists have to say about Depressed Anonymous please read  their thoughts in  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications.  Louisville. KY.  Page 67-68.  ( The therapist who wrote the above is Ms. Denise List, doing therapy in Louisville, KY.)

As a therapist myself, I have found, as  Denise herself found, that our own struggles with the isolating and painful reality that we call depression, made a difference in our relationship with clients. To have a mutual aid group such as Depressed Anonymous  to which we could  refer them had  special and positive outcomes.

Our manual contains a veritable host of testimonies from persons from all walks of life who found Depressed Anonymous to be the “real deal.”  It is  here where they found acceptance tools for recovery and most importantly a safe place to share their story.

Please VISIT the STORE here at our site.  And if you are a therapist reading this now, it would serve your clients well for you to suggest  that they pick up  this book and begin to see and find hope for themselves.