All posts by Hugh Smith

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.

Listen to the still small voice

“But  listen to that  still small voice folks — this is the voice that has been trying to be heard for years, only other negative voices and our own old negative mental  tapes have had more training  in getting their  message across.  Now that small voice, that little part of you that wants to have light and some hope is getting up the courage to ask more for itself. It tries to get stronger as it attempts to outshine those other parts of ourselves;  those parts that have been telling us how trapped we are in our feelings of worthlessness. How often do people say that part of them wants to do this and yet another part of them wants to do that. I believe that is the best expression of the conflict that goes on  in many of us when  we are depressed. Usually the part that is hurting and sad speaks the loudest and so often gets the most attention – but why not?  It’s hurting. When that part of us gets hurt it wants to withdraw –to hide and cry. It’s like a small child who wants to run away from all the anguish and disappointment. But inside  of us when the parts are struggling with each other, it’s like two teams pulling in a tug of war, and that takes energy to keep alive. We get worn out as we continually ruminate about how sad we are feeling and how hopeless everything looks. Most days we just want to go to our room, lie down and sleep. Have you noticed that the more depressed you become the more sleep you need or don’t need? There is that constant jittery feeling that won’t go away and reminds us of the hollowness of our lives.  The life we live is as bitter as ashes in our mouths.

Let’s listen now to the long – denied part of us that speaks out in favor of a change-that voice of hope that says we will feel cheerful one day…”


SOURCE: Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky. Page 33. (VISIT THE STORE for more information on this topic)

May the Force be with you!

The Force (in Star Wars movie) is that Power which guides, protects and surrounds those who believe in it.

For those of us who crawled(figuratively speaking) into our first 12 Step meeting of recovery,  Depressed Anonymous, we too were hoping that there was to be found a Force that would protect us, and eliminate forever the pain that we felt 24/7. We just knew that we were “sick and tired of being sick and tired” and wanted relief and help…now.

When we heard members of this group tell us how their lives had begun to change, with hope  being part of their new  way of thinking about themselves, we knew they were onto something big. We felt a spirit of hope as we listened to their  stories of how they to came into the group feeling  beaten and despairing.

And as we wrote in our book  I’LL DO IT WHEN I FEEL BETTER (2013)  we shared how Newcomers to the group reminded us of our selves when we stepped into the group for the first time.

“They struggle to keep back their tears as they speak, possibly for the first time  trusting that they are with people who have been where they are. This is what provides the beginning of hope and healing. People in the group speak the language of hope and possibility. They hear how recovery is possible. They want these tools to use in their own recovery. ”

Now we  can all  share our stories of our own personal recovery. The Force is with us!

Please read all of the 30+ stories of how persons coming into the group and using the steps of recovery, led by the Force, find  a daily source of hope and happiness for their lives. These stories can be found in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.


Waiting for the great Mother

…it is not until we have lost everything that had cocooned  us from the world (which is very different from what we want it to be) and when we have our back to the wall at the bottom of the pit, that we can confront the stark truth of our life  and our death…and crying in anguish and anger because the magical parent does not come. Instead at the bottom of the pit, we take charge of our lives. ”

Again I am reminded that I am  responsible for my life and the way  I live my life. So often I wanted someone to come  and tell me that everything would be fine and all that I need to do was for them to tell me that everything would be fine. All I needed to do was wait and then everything would be better for me.  This isn’t true. It is only today when I admit that I have become powerless over my depression that I can begin to allow the light into my life. I realize that I can begin the work of reconstruction  in my life today.

Fear of our own death can keep us frightened so that we can’t move beyond it. My rigid and absolute beliefs about life and death both have me imprisoned me. Life is terrible and death is worse. Since I have moved beyond my rigid ways of looking at myself, I am beginning to feel more relaxed as I look at the world in a more real fashion.


We know that the God of our understanding is ever present waiting and willing to help us with times life these.  The God of our lives will not break down the doors of our resistance to its love , but instead, waits patiently for us to open the door from the inside.”


SOURCE: Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowship groups. Hugh Smith. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.  (Thought for today October 3rd. Pages 199-200.)


Empowerment comes from being informed


Empowerment comes  from being informed and making choices that help us change our lives for the better.  When I came to a Depressed Anonymous meeting I am making a first major step- namely, that I admit my presence at the group meeting that my life is out of control.  My compulsion to depress myself is at the root of my inability to take on the challenge of living life with risk and enthusiasm. But how can I possibly say that I want to depress myself? We are not blaming ourselves  here but are taking responsibility for our own feelings, behavior and thinking. Now that I am conscious of some negative patterns of my own behavior I can get on with learning new strategies for my own healing. With the heartfelt prayer of a monk, I now understand it is by sharing the story of my life – and with the conviction that someone is there to listen, that this can in time help me make it out of my prison of fear and sadness.

I can be empowered by taking the bull by the horn and choosing each new day, one day at a time and start to feel different. I now have the support of the group – support from people who have walked where I am walking.

I am investing in myself. I am making my recovery my highest priority. I may have been on all the antidepressant medications -I  may have seen all the best counselors, psychiatrists and doctors but now finally I am going to a room full of depressed people –  people who understand me and what I am going through!

These people I discover are investing in themselves. What will I find there? I will find some of the most caring people on the face of the earth. Some of the group will have been coming for months, and they say that they are having more good days than bad and it’s getting better. The more meetings they attend the better they feel and the more support they receive. They are feeling empowered. It’s the miracle of the group. Instead of living with a compulsion to repeat old negative and life negating thoughts and feelings we now have a compulsion to live with hope plus a desire for a brand new way of living — and not just the way that  we  once talked to ourselves.

We are going to get a new life. And here is how.

I now feel that that I am getting better learning how not to repeat my old way of thinking, feeling and believing and isolating myself when I fear –whatever. I now know that with work and patience I will get better. For most of us, it has taken us a few years to get here (depressed) so why not take the plunge today and work toward getting better–one day at a time – one meeting at a time —  and using the “tools” of the program.

It has only been when I began to examine the way I talked to myself (negatively) and how I gradually isolated myself from a life lived in serenity and hope,  that I realized I could change this pattern of diminishing myself . Others were doing it and so why couldn’t I? And so can you!


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

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


I can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel

“I believe that by working the 12 Steps of Depressed Anonymous, the more my Higher Power can release in me the serenity that I seek. While not giving up hope — I can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Fourteenth Statement of Belief.

This is the 14th of 15 Statements of Belief as laid out in our recent work, BELIEVING IS SEEING. 15 Ways to leave the prison of depression (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY

As long as I have the belief that somehow, sometime, I will begin to feel differently and by not giving up on that hope, I can begin to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

The reason Depressed Anonymous was started in the first place is to bring those suffering from depression together so that an individual could be empowered to find the support that would lead each of them, with each other out of the pit of depression.

This 14th Statement of Belief produces a peace and serenity which assures me that together with the fellowship I will win and have victory over my depression. I am no longer alone!

The Higher Power, or God as we understand him, is at the core of our gaining success over our depression. It is precisely here at this juncture that my belief is to carry the day. Carpe diem! Seize the moment.

I do have to go to meetings, read from the Big Book of Depressed Anonymous, talk to other members in the fellowship and set a time for daily prayer and meditation in my life. I also have to exercise and eat right. I have to remember that motivation follows action. Move the body and the mind will follow.

I have always believed in the power and influence of groups–either serving as a power for good or a power for destructive ends. But as for our group that we call Depressed Anonymous I see that it builds up and enhances anyone who gets involved with it. Those who interact with the fellowship eventually come out of the pit of their depression and start feeling different. This is actually happening all of the time with those who work and live out the Steps in their daily life. (Read their personal stories in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition(2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville.)

I remember when I first proposed back in 1984 to a psychologist friend, and Dean of the University Psychology Department, that we ought to get depressed people together with each other. I was given a look that I was completely out of my mind to suggest that depressed people could even get motivated enough to roll out of bed in the morning, much less try and go to a meeting with other sad and depressed people. With the Dean’s reluctant blessing we set up a pilot program for the depressed at the university. Because of the success of the people involved, it became our impetus to form the first Depressed Anonymous group which now has roots and groups around the world.

But just as many of us who were depressed got there by trying to juggle too many situations and circumstances that happened to be personally overwhelming I have found that by listening to the stories of others in the group and sharing my own story my life has hope and meaning.

If you know that you will really find hope and a possible way out of depression by going to a Depressed Anonymous meeting, there is nothing to stop you but your own fear of the uncertain.

My Higher Power has with time, work and using the “tools” of our recovery program, released me from my depression. That recovery has continued now in my life for over 30 years. Now I am trying to carry this message of hope to those who are still hurting. You don’t have to hurt any longer. If you are looking for help you may find it with us. We hope you join us!


Bowling with an attitude!

Yesterday I went bowling with my grandchild. I learned a life  lesson yesterday at the bowling alley. I noticed that the more my bowling became sloppy and  my  bowling without much of an attitude, positive or negative, my scores continued to drop. It was like I was stepping up to the line and going on automatic  pilot.   Not much gets done with that,  either  in one’s life  or even  in bowling.

I stopped and reflected. “Wait” I said to myself.  At that moment I knew that my attitude of mindlessness and negativity was not helping me. I reflected some more and looked at the ten pins down the alley, picked out the center pin, and became mindful of what I was about to do.  I did better from that moment on. I did not get more strikes — but  fewer pins were left standing. Mindfulness.

In my own life I now have become mindful of “red flags”, those situations that  make me mindful and alert me  that my thinking is becoming erratic, negative and fear producing. I am mindful that this type of thinking, in the past, spiraled me down into that pit of darkness and despair.  But now as I use the “tools” of the 12 Steps, I am mindful, on a daily basis  of living a life of mindfulness, one day at a time.  It is in my prayer and meditation times each day, plus the supportive fellowship of my Depressed Anonymous group, that keeps me mindful of my Higher Power and the path that I want to  travel today.

My bowling score is also getting better!


My attachment to depression

I pray that my time alone might help me  better hear the love of God’s voice.


“The beautiful thing about God is that he is simple. There are no parts to God -no body, mind and soul. We see God as a oneness  and are only praying for knowledge of his will and the power to carry it out.  This is where we pray that we might listen quietly for the still small voice that already dwells in each of our hearts (the kingdom of God lies within) and comes to light the more we make time for it to speak.” (8) Depressed? Here is a way out. Smith, H.  HarperCollins, Fount. London.


It is such a painful thing to wait all day long wanting so desperately to feel better and not being able to will myself into that better feeling. I know that my attachment to depression has been going on so long that I will have to gradually await the changes that I believe will come the more I work this program of recovery. I will find the serenity and the peace of all those who have centered their attention on hope in stead of  the problem, namely our sadness.

I have to get quiet, take a few very deep breaths and let the breath of God fill every corner and niche of my mind. The breath of the healing spirit gives me hope that I will begin to see my world differently and so I will begin to act differently.


“God, please give me back the joy of your healing voice, and let a willing spirit sustain me.” Psalm 51:14.

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

Comment: And what do you think? How hard is it for you to take the time to get quiet and listen for the prompts of God in your own spirit?