All posts by Hugh Smith

The Depressed Anonymous spirit!

What is the Depressed Anonymous spirit? To me the word Anonymous means that it most probably is a group centered on  the 12 step principles of recovery and living these principles out in their daily lives.

The word “depressed” indicates to me that painful isolating experience that continues to keep me from friends, family and everything else that gave me a sense of  personal fulfillment and hope.

So what is the “spirit of Depressed Anonymous? ” The spirit is that feeling and fellowship which provides  a solution for that  gradual release from  isolation and hopelessness.

Please continue to read and think about the various insights about depression and recovery that our site provides to anyone looking for a solution and hope for everyday of their life.

Click onto  and it is there you can find out how the “spirit of Depressed Anonymous” can become a vital part of your everyday life.


PS. You can also visit with me at [email protected]. Hoping to hear from you.

I was trapped in the narrow confines of depression. I found a way out.

I found a way out of my prison of depression and  so are the  many   others who are using the  “tools” of recovery. And what are the “tools” of recovery but the 12 Steps of Depressed Anonymous. And how did I discover these great “tools?” I found them because I was feeling hopeless and completely out of control. My life was unmanageable. I was on a spiraling downspin.  I was trapped. I was trapped until I discovered a group of people back in 1982 who said, “hey, we can help.”  That group was the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. And yes, they DID help.  So it wasn’t long after that that we founded our own group to help the depressed. Yep, we call it Depressed Anonymous. Now, let’s fast forward. Today there are groups around the globe. We are not many in total numbers, but we are where those who need us are doing all they can to form groups.

Yesterday I got a message from a person from Belarus (formerly of the Soviet Union) who told me that she was interested in getting  a group started in her country where she  is a member of another 12 step program. Because her country is adjacent to the Ukraine, and finding groups in Ukraine listed on our website  she was able to get a published Russian translation of our Depressed Anonymous manual and Workbook. With these books she will   begin working with others who speak Russian as they form a Depressed Anonymous Fellowship.

Step Twelve of Depressed Anonymous reminds us that “Having a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to the depressed, and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.”

About the potentially life threatening experience of depression we  have learned   much from those who have recovered and now continue in the recovery program living out their lives based on the powerful  spiritual principles of the 12 steps.

In our Big Book we read about a very important issue which affects all of us who have been depressed,  who are in recovery  and symptom free, and who want to continue feeling better–everyday. One day at a time. It’s possible.

”  We all know that any addiction and compulsive type of behavior gradually removes you from the regular activities of persons around you, including family, friends and co-workers until you are established in the narrow confines of pain  and isolation. We are always going to be just a little more isolated the more we try to think our addiction through in the circle of our own thoughts. Most of us need the fellowship of the group to keep ourselves honest and in recovery and our dark thoughts out in the open.”  DA, Pages 105-106.

And that’s the power of the group –you are NEVER ALONE. There is always someone who is there for you. All of us are advised to have a sponsor so that when a need does arise someone is there to help get you through the rough times. I have a sponsor and I have not been depressed since 1985.  And how have I been able to stay sane and sober all these years. First,  by living one day at a time, walking almost everyday, talking with my sponsor once a week if possible, reading DA literature, and helping people who phone or email ([email protected])  me for help. I also write a BLOG at www.derpessedaon,com. almost  everyday.


Many persons who ask for help cannot find a group  in their locality and so we have developed a Depressed Anonymous Workbook that is coordinated by page reference and Step # with our Big Book. I have helped many who have no face to face group in their community and who now use the Home Study Kit to help begin their own program at home and so have a good idea about depression, their own unique experience, and are provided with a way out with HOPE.  Many times a person who uses the Home Study shares their answers with another person in the family, a therapist or through emails or SKYPE or many other assorted ways that they can connect with that person (s) who also want to learn how to live without depression. For a fact I know that even though you are not part of a local group you are always a part of the fellowship worldwide.  Anytime you want to share your thoughts and work you  can contact anyone of us online, via email, SKYPE or telephone. Don’t stay isolated. Get connected today! It will be life changing.

All the best to you!

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

Depressed Anonymous Workbook  (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.




We learn how to re-kin and re-parent ourselves. Find out how.

A quote from Chapter Eleven of  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (DA Big Book).


“One remembers the prayer of St. Francis where he prays to be a channel of God’s grace. This is where we come in. Those of us in the recovery program of Depressed Anonymous want to be a force for good in the world, and what greater good can you do for the world than to tell people depressed how being open to the will of God has helped free you of depressed thoughts and feelings?  Also by choosing to re-kin ourselves by developing new friendships with others in the Depressed Anonymous group, we gradually get in touch with the frightened small child within us. We can begin to get in touch with childhood hurts and quit looking forever for mother and father figures to approve of us and affirm us.  Our addiction to getting other’s approval begins to waiver as we share our story with our new family, the Twelve Step group, dedicated to  helping us leave the prison of depression. We begin to re-parent our child inside and gradually we work through our feelings of shame and sadness. Remember, we don’t want to tell God how to run our life. We just want to pray  that God will do with us  as God wills.”



SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. (Personal stories section) Page 100.


What is the power of Depressed Anonymous?

What is the power of Depressed Anonymous?

“Well,  first let me say that when I first started attending Depressed Anonymous, I went for s couple of months and then stopped. I stopped going because my depression was so bad that I didn’t  want to leave my apartment. I didn’t want to be around or talk to anyone. I just didn’t want to do anything except crawl in a hole somewhere and isolate myself from everything. Then after about six weeks of isolation, I called the residential treatment center where I had been a client to see if I had received any mail there and one of the members of the DA group where I attend answered the phone. I spent a few minutes talking to her and there was something in her voice that told me  that for some reason, it was important for me to be at the meeting. I attended the next Depreseed Anonymous meeting. After the meeting was over, I suddenly realized the importance  and power of Depressed Anonymous.

So what is the power of Depressed Anonymous? For me, it is just like attending that first meeting. I was a little scared and apprehensive at first, but then I found the Depressed Anonymous meeting was a place to go where there were other depressed people just like me. They could relate to and understand what I was going thr0ugh. They didn’t judge me or think of me as crazy. I was accepted.

Another power of Depressed Anonymous is the miracle fo the group and what each person brings to the group. I have seen our fellowship get stronger and grow. I have developed many friendships that I can depend on for support and understanding. I have watched some  of the newcomers that have kept coming back grow and improve. Even something as simple as a smile when there was none before.  The miracle of the group empowers and energizes me.

The most important power of Depresseed Anonynous is hope. Hope that we will not be locked into the prison of depression forever and that there is a way out for each of us. A hope that our Higher Power will work the miracle through us and that we will find our own happiness. I have hope that our heart and minds will know love and peace like we have never known or felt before.  The power of Depressed  Anonymous works for me.  I hope and pray that it works for you. Keep coming back!

SOURCE:  Copyright(c)  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY . Pages 134,135.  Ray’s personal story of recovery.


If there is no Depressed Anonymous group where you live–don’t let that stop you from joining our fellowship. Get started today and use the HOME STUDY KIT (SEE STORE)  where you can begin your own recovery using the tools that members in a “face to face” group use at their meetings.  The HOME STUDY  version provides you with a Depressed Anonynmous WORKBOOK plus a Depresssed Anonymous  MANUAl. These two works will provide you with an amazing process in which you can grow and learn more about depression and its effect upon your own  life.  It can also  provide you with an access to our web blog where you can read article after article on the “how” to leave the prison of depression. You are always welcome to involve yourself with any and all comments that you would like to send to the site in response to what you see and read here.

We welcome you.

Home Study Kit

“We’ve got work to do.”

When my grandson  was  3 years old  and older he would always say “papa, we ‘ve got work to do. ”  When he would see me with a hammer in my hand or a can of paint and ready to work on some repair project around our house,   without fail he would always be willing to pitch  in and do his part. As a little guy he always seemed so much older than what he was because of his strong desire to help his papa. He is 19 today and now he is doing his own  work. But not surprising is his continued willingness to help me when he can. Now that I am in recovery, thanks to our Depressed Anonymous program of recovery  and  after these many  years,   I am still free from depression.  I attribute that  this freedom is due to what I did learn  when I was depressed and continue using these tools on  every basis. I have found  that it does take some work to get through the darkest periods of the depression. It also takes a supportive group of men and women who know what we know,  and feel what we have felt when depressed.

Every meeting that we attend, and every step that we take on the road of our recovery, we find the fog lifts, the desire  to live again returns. Not all at once–but in short spurts – the fog lifts and we feel the hope churning in our hearts and minds.  And at every Depressed Anonymous meeting we hear the following words read from HOW DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKS.

“You are about to witness the miracle of the group. You are joining a group of people who are on a journey of hope and who mutually care for each other. You will hear how hope, light and energy have been regained by those who were hopeless and in a  black hole and tired of living.

By your involvement in the group we are feeling that there is hope – there is a chance for me too – I can get better. But we are not the people with the magic wand and the  easy formula for success. We believe  that to get out of the prison of depression takes time and work.

And so at each and every Depressed  Anonymous meeting the group listens as we hear  what it will take to escape  from the prison of depression. ”

Also, at every meeting of the fellowship we hear how by using the spiritual tools, our Twelve Steps, we can gradually find the path that will that can lead us out into the light of freedom. We come to believe that a power greater than ourselves  can restore us to sanity. And then we make a decision to turn our lives and our wills over to the care of God as we understand God.”

SOURCE:  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Page  67.

PLEASE VISIT THE STORE for more info on depression and ways to free ourselves from the agony of sadness.

Go to Groups on Menu to see if there is a DA group in your State or LOCATED  outside the USA.

The Goose Who Missed His Flight! Almost

Albert Schewietzer shares a wonderful story about one creature caring for another. He makes this an example of how we all can have a “reverence for all life.” This is his story.

”  It happened in a park where a flock of wild geese had settled to rest on a pond. One of the flock of wild geese had settled to rest on  a pond. One of the flock had been captured by a gardener, who had  clipped its wings before releasing it.  When the geese start to resume their flight, this one tried,  frantically, but vainly, to lift itself in the air. The others, observing his struggles, flew about in obvious efforts to encouraghe him, but it was no use. Thereupon, the entire flock settled back on the pond and waited, even though the urge to go on was strong within them. For several days they waited until the damaged feathers had grown sufficiently to permit the goose to fly.  Meanwhile, the unethical gardener, converted by the ethical geese, gladly watched them as they finally rose together and all resumed their long flight.”

SOURCE: Albert Schweitzer:  Essential writings, (2005)   Orbis Books. New York. Page 164.

I love this story. So true about all living creatures, it’s in our  DNA to care for those  who are the weakest.  Even the geese knew it was for them to be sure this little goose was not going to be left matter what. And so they waited…and waited some more, till  he was able and  ready to fly with the rest of them. As they say in the military, “We got your back.”

I believe that the story about the goose who couldn’t fly is much like the stories you and I have shared. In other words, I too have had the time when I was isolated, alone and motionless. I was totally immobilized by fatigue, fear and shame.

I became imprisoned. The key out of this prison eventually was found and I was free. I was free because of others who just like me had once  succumbed to the belief that they were worthless, useless and  hopeless. And thank God they came to my rescue and helped me learn to live again without the weight of depression forcing me to the dirt. And there you have it. They helped me, step by step, to sort things out in my life and I was able to not only live life again, but I also learned a lot about living the Twelve Step recovery way. Now we have Depressed Anonymous fellowship recovery groups  where we  are able to share our hope, strength and experiences.  If you are feeling stranded and alone, join us and fly with us.

I have learned that by admitting that I am depressed is my key which unlocks the door


I will let  go of the negative thoughts about myself as soon as I am conscious that I am experiencing them.

“…try to live one day at a time. We know from past experiences that our sobriety, our disappearance  of sadness is due to letting go, admitting my powerlessness over my sadness and turning it over to my Higher Power  and letting it take care of my sadness. I can’t do anything to remove my compulsive behavior until I choose to live with out.


I know that I have to work on myself and the way that I speak to myself on an on going and daily basis.  My letting go and letting God take over my life doesn’t mean that that I’ll just sit back and let God do all the work, no, it means that I will work on my self and leave the outcome up to my Higher Power.   I know that my life can be lived differently. if I just make an effort to choose to be conscious of the thoughts that I let myself ruminate and think about during the day.  The more I monitor   my thoughts, the more I am able to filter out the negative thoughts and  have them replaced.

So often when I am depressed  I continue a thinking style that was learned as a small child.  I am not even conscious as to how I would always select the negative attributes about myself to reflect upon instead of attempting to think positive and hopeful thoughts and about myself and my relationships. The more I believe that I have a choice as to how I am to feel, the more I become conscious of the thoughts that influence the way that I feel.

God, just let us for today, dwell on your mercy and kindness that you desire to bestow on us. We pray that our awareness of your love for us will free us from sadness.”

SOURCE:  Copyright (c) HIGHER THOUGHTS FOR DOWN DAYS: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowship groups. (1993, 1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Page 248.

I wasn’t taking care of myself


I am going to choose to do one thing today that I can find pleasant. I will keep a list of things that I do for myself that I can always have at hand something that I like to do.

“You can’t please everybody. I wasn’t taking care of myself, so that  I contributed to my depression but I will live  the best I know how. But I will never deliberately hurt anyone else but I am going  to take care of me too.”



I am discovering over time that I was the one responsible for my sadness.  I have come to accept  the reality and the truth that I am the one who is causing the depression and that I need to learn the different ways to get out of the depression. In the past, I had always been willing to crawl along in life but now I am learning how to stand up for myself and begin to recover my true self and be my best self now that I have all the tools. The tools that I am now using, the Twelve Steps, are freeing me up for  a life with hope instead of despair and dread.

In the past, my life was filled with hurt and pain. In fact, the hurt goes back so far that I can’t even remember why I hurt so much. All I know now is that I want to choose to feel good.  Just like Bill W., a co-founder of A.A., I do have the belief that someday my days of fear, anxiety and dread will be  a thing of the past.


God of hope and serenity, let us just live  in your peace today. We want to absorb each and all your  messages of hope for our soul and spirit. We are waiting on you. We are listening to your voice so that we might learn the best way to take godly care of ourselves.”

Personal comment

SOURCE: Copyright(c) HIGHER THOUGHTS  FOR DOWN DAYS: 365  daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowship groups.  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.



Please VISIT THE STORE  for all available literature.


Listening to others gives them a gift.

We can give people the gift of their dignity. We can help others just by the way we listen to them and speak with them. We can show them by our own trust that what they have to say is important and good.  Community is caring for people, but of course as soon as we start caring for people, we know that there are some  people who will just drive us up a wall. Some we will really like, because they think like us. Then we risk falling into a world of mutual flattery. We are all so much in need of affection that when somebody gives it to us we want to hold onto it. Then we say to the other  person, “You’re wonderful! Keep at it! Keep flattering me! You know, it’s nice.”   We’re like little cats who need to be caressed. We then begin to purr.”

But flattery doesn’t help anyone grow. It doesn’t bring freedom but rather closes people up in themselves,. We are attracted to certain people, and others put us off. We don’t get on well with them. They trigger off our anguish. Perhaps they remind us of our fathers and mothers who were to authoritarian or possessive.  Some people threaten us, others flatter us.  Some meetings are joyful, and others are painful.  When we talk about caring for people, then we  begin to see how difficult it can be. In community we are called to care for each member of the community. We can choose our friends but we do not choose our brothers and sisters; they are given to us whether in family or in community.”

-Jean Vanier : (Copyright) FROM BROKENNES TO COMMUNITY. (1992) Published by  Paulist Press. Page 38.


One of the great situations that arise in a Depressed Anonymous meeting is how we find ourselves reacting to fellow members in the fellowship. Vanier is right when he tells us that  sometimes certain people remind us of  people in our lives, past and present who irritate us no end  and make us want to scream. But there are those in the group that are attractive to us for reasons of being like us.   They are kind and loving like ourselves (we say to ourselves,  regardless if true or not).

The group process is one of discovering more about ourselves than learning about the others in the fellowship. If there is someone in the group that especially irritates could it be that they have struck a nerve in your own character and personality. Usually this is the case. Is it that we are looking in a mirror?

Well, you get the drift.  Read our Depressed Anonymous book and there you will find various avenues which can and will lead you to your best self. You will soon realize that somehow, you and I have been the cause of our depression. Now wait! Don’t get all shook up about what I just told you. We are not blaming myself or yourself for being depressed. But by living certain  ways, thinking certain ways, and  by unconsciously acting certain ways thought out our lives that we have set ourselves up for what we are feeling today. Life situations come along and gradually life’s  losses push us over the precipice, spiraling us down and into an abyss such that we have never suffered before. None of us chose to be depressed. All I could do to release me from the grip of sadness was to begin to find out how I got where I did and then how to get out of where I am now. I began to have a life makeover.  I began to take  responsibility in the way I made choices. No more was I the blamer, the complainer, the victim of circumstances. And  now that I am in a fellowship, and people listen to me and believe in me I am free. I have been given tools to use to unlock my prison of isolation  and negativity and slowly find a purpose and meaning for my daily life. You can find out how to do it( makeover) for yourself. Read  on!


Read (c)  DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

“Are we like the little cats who need to be caressed? We then begin to purr?”

So often we depend on others liking us to have an identity. I believe they call it “people pleasing.” As long as people smile at us, greet us warmly, we are thinking we are  OK. So much in our lives, and who we think we are or who we are not, is dependent upon  others opinions of ourselves.

In our  program of recovery, it usually is our sponsor (do you have one?) who tells us the truth about ourselves. But also our DA group discussions  have those members who by sharing their strength, hope and experiences  and struggles with depression point us in  a right direction.

I remember a few years back when a member told another member that he was always saying the same thing week after week but never facing the challenge of changing his behavior. She told him that either he do some work on himself or join some other group. Ouch!  I believe that he was one of those DA cats who came to be caressed. They come but never change the way they live their lives. And yes, it’s risky to change. We never know what a change in our behavior will bring–chaos or healing.  We love to live in the predictable. The unpredictable is too frightening. But the Promises of the Twelve Steps (see Chapter 12 in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition) give us the definite hope that if we follow the path of our spiritual program of recovery, healing with replace fear, anxiety, chaos  and isolation.

Please don’t flatter me.  Tell me the truth. I am not a cat that needs to be caressed.



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