Category Archives: Hope

“One of he great paradoxes of human life…”

DECISION 12 : “I will learn to share my sadness with others and to share their sadness.” Dorothy Rowe. Breaking the Bonds. Understanding depression, Finding Freedom. Fontana. London. 1991. Page 271.

One of the great paradoxes of human life is that, in the way that we are born and die and in between create our own unique world of meaning, we are always atone, yet the only way that we can live with the essential aloneness is to share our life with other people.” Page 271.
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Dear Reader, this concludes our journey of how to Leave Loneliness Behind. By making the 12 Decisions our own, and living out these truths as presented to us by Dorothy Rowe, we can leave loneliness behind.
I give total credit to Dr. Rowe, psychologist, for her wisdom, that she shares with us here in BREAKING THE BONDS.
Jill Tweedie. a reviewer, tells us that the writer Dorothy Rowe, is the “light at the end of the tunnel.” If you make that decision to read this work, I know you will agree.

Hugh S.

How do I deal with anger in my life?

DECISION 8: I WILL BE MORE ACCEPTING OF ANOTHER’S ANGER AND NOT ALWAYS TAKE IT PERSONALLY.

When you are both the focus and the cause of the person’s anger, you will need to find responses other than cutting yourself off from the person, by doing that, sharply reinforces your barrier of loneliness.

D.Rowe tells us that we find the cause of the anger and discuss the matter. For whatever reason for the anger, it might be best to write a letter the person. Or, Possibly, a friendly visit between the two of you will help solve the problem.

Making an apology when we see ourselves trapped, weak, worthless and hopeless, by making an apology to the person who caused the anger, seems frightening and humiliating.

Making amends, an apology to those we have injured us, seems gracious and creative, allowing a relationship to be strengthened and resumed.

In some families, there was no teasing, absolutely not. Maybe outside the family it might be allowed. Everything in the family was 100% serious. If a family member was teased, then this could result in a sulk and long term silence.

But in school, children might be teased, but never knowing how to tease back. We want to distinguish between friendly and malicious teasing. We could put bullying at the top of the list as one of the most harmful ways of malicious teasing. When I make an effort to get along with other people, distinguishing between friendly or imaginary teasing, this makes our relationship stronger, the other builds barriers.
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TOMORROW DECISION 9: i WILL IMPROVE MY SKILL IN DISTINGUISHING BETWEEN REAL AND IMAGINARY ENEMIES.

I will try to improve my understanding of my behavior.

LEAVING LONELINESS BEHIND: 12 DECS IONS

“DECISION 7: i WILL TRY TO IMPROVE MY UNDERSTANDING OF MY BEHAVIOR.”

All actions have consequences. and they are usually different from what we expect.

In a situation where we want our cake and eat it too, we always try to have both, but we learn that in trying to get both, we lose both.

If you are to improve your skills in understanding people, in order to rid your loneliness, working out the consequences OF what you and others do, is extremely important.

You really have to develop more flexible ways in dealing with the consequences when the consequence is anger.”
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TOMORROW DECISION 8: I WILL BE MORE ACCEPTING OF OTHER PEOPLES ANGER AND NOT TAKE It PERSONALLY.”

Depressed Anonymous Conference on Hope

Date: Saturday 4 March 2023
Time: 11:00am – 4:00pm Eastern time
Zoom Meeting ID: 851 593 3239
Passcode: hope
Direct  link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8515933239

The theme for the conference is hope.

There will be 5 time slots. Four of the time slots will be speakers sharing their story of recovery and weaving in the topic of hope. One of the time slots will be a brief meditation session and a brief yoga session.

All sessions will be recorded and shortly after the conference an audio only version will be available on the Depressed Anonymous website.

We hope to see you there.

If you would like to download a file containing the pertinent conference information please click: DAHopeConference.ics and then open the file on your phone or computer to add it to your calendar.

If you happen to use Google Calendar you can add the conference directly to your calendar by clicking:

Here is a link to a flyer if you want to distribute to others: DA Hope Conference

Do you want to hear what happened at the first Depressed Anonymous conference? Recordings can be found here: Depressed Anonymous Conference Recordings

Detour – Taking a different way home

Step Four

“MADE A SEARCHING AND FEARLESS MORAL INVENTORY OF OURSELVES.”

“Let’s Just say that you always took path A home from work everyday. You passed the same old signs, the same old buildings, the same old malls–you feel you could almost drive home with your eyes closed. This is of course boring, and also deadening to our thinking processes as we do everything out of habit. The saying is true that we are creatures of habit. But let’s just say, for example, that a detour sign pops up along our old familiar path -we become disoriented – we become confused. We say to ourselves-Where am I? Now where do I go? Good questions.” The inventory will ask questions of you which you may never have asked of yourself.

“But we have figured out that even though my path home is very predicable, it is still a path that is gradually incapacitating my ability to keep a focus on hopeful outcomes.” We need to be awakened out of our routine. The daily grind is putting our mind to sleep.

Let’s take an example taken from the Depressed Anonymous Workbook, which presents us with a metaphor, on how an inventory will become a critical part of our personal recovery. The 4th and 5th Steps in the Depressed Anonymous Workbook, includes questions dealing with our lives, while detailing areas which have been influenced by our everyday feelings of sadness, hopelessness and despair.The inventory questions, prepared in the 4th and 4th Step chapters of the Workbook, (all 12 chapters are in a question and answer format) will provide for us some surprising pieces of positive information about ourselves that will be recovered from examining some of our past life issues. (Don’t forget to share all the good things that you like about yourself.)

We have mentioned how working the 4th Step Recovery Program is like coming home a different route. We will take the detour (inventory) which will help us get back on the right path. That is why, our inventory work, puts us on a different path for living. We are fitted with a new hope. We will quickly learn how doing or not doing what we always used to do, is NOT working.

By using the Depressed Anonymous Workbook, with its 12 Step questions, accompanied with our personal answers, can provide us, with a gradual process of self-understanding, self-awareness, and emotional healing. These positive thoughts and feelings about ourselves, continue to manifest as a direct result from our personal answers to Workbook questions and our hard work on ourselves. We find that we are able to live with hope the more we commit ourselves to our recovery work. Our mind continues to put a “spotlight” on these negative concerns which keep us from a life lived with hope and peace. In time, the fog in our brain will gradually be lifted. We will begin to see ourselves and future in a positive light.

Path B, points us in a different direction from where we were used to going. And for many of us, this is the first time that we are intent upon taking a good and hard look at who we are. Taking an inventory, looking at the negatives as well as all the strengths that are ours, helps us to give a gratitude for all the good areas of our life that are beginning to awaken in us and continue to take root. These awakenings are the new and fresh beliefs about ourselves and our inner world that is gradually being created.

In the 4th Step of recovery, we are ready to “make a searching and fearless inventory of ourselves.” The inventory method will help us, as we take take a little time each day, reflecting on how we think about ourselves, while discovering reasons why our “mistaken beliefs” about ourselves, has gotten us to the place where we are today. This motivates us to get into action. We make a decision to change the way we live out our daily lives. We want to be fearless in uncovering any and all rocks, that have blocked our path in the past. We will begin to take action and we will possess a new courage, taking care of business.

We must look the beast in the face. I pray that the “God of your understanding” will lead you to where the light of love shines bright and where the darkness is swallowed by hope and love of self.

Hugh S., for the fellowship

For more information on the Workbook, and other literature which can be helpful, please check out the Webpage (Depressedanon.com) at the DA Literature Store

Copyright(c) Depressed Annoynous Workbook Depressed Anonymous Publications. (2002) Louisvllle, KY. Pages 22-24.

Step 2 and Hope

Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity

Hopelessness is common in depression. Many members identify with thoughts like “life is bleak and things will never change,” “I’ve lost the ability to enjoy life – I just endure it,” or “What’s the point anyhow?” Underneath all of these thoughts is the lack of hope. Hope is the principle behind Step 2. So how does a member work Step 2 and regain hope?  Let’s break it down!

Came to believe – This little phrase tells us that we don’t have to have hope when we come in the program. Instead, it is something that we develop over time! When we come to meetings and hear the stories of how others who suffered like us have found a way out of their depression, we start to think “Maybe, just maybe, there is hope for me too!” We don’t need hope to make a beginning.  All we need is to be open to the possibility of hope.

Power greater than ourselves – This program gives us the freedom to identify our own Power greater than ourselves, or our own Higher Power.  We don’t even have to use the word “God.” We can choose a term that suits us, such as Creative Intelligence or Spirit of the Universe. We can use the group as our Higher Power, or God as we understand Him/Her. The main idea here that we agree upon is that there is some Power greater than us in this universe.

Restore us to sanity – One definition of sanity is “soundness of mind.” When I am in the grips of depression, I am not very sound of mind. My thinking is distorted so that I view life through a dark depressive lens. I amplify the negative and don’t see any positive. This distorted view of the world is not rational. Furthermore, I cannot see the irrationality of it when I am in the midst of depression. What I need is some power greater than myself – some force for Good – to help restore me to sanity.

So putting the pieces together, if I am open to the possibility that there might be something out there that can help me get better, then I am on my way!  When I came into the program I listened to the stories of the members of Depressed Anonymous; I heard how they suffered like I did and how they gradually began to experience recovery. I started out with the group as a Power greater than myself that could help restore me to sanity.  Today, my Higher Power is something more. At first, I was skeptical. Later, I slowly opened up to the possibility that maybe this could work for me. Today, I KNOW that there is a Power Greater than myself that restores me to sanity on a daily basis. Today, I know hope is alive and real! I Came, I Came to, and I Came to Believe in Hope.

The Circle Dance

If you have ever been depressed or are depressed at this moment, you are familiar with the Circle Dance.

I know the dance steps well, and in fact, I could share with you some of the basic steps, illustrating familiar dance steps.

First of all, let me say that you already know those steps that automatically get you to perform the “Circle Dance. You get caught up emotionally, the moment certain negative thoughts come bouncing across the dance floor into your mind. You know them as that painful hollowness in your gut, a desire to quit the dance and lay down, or to bash yourself with thoughts of how bad you feel.

Sometimes, starting with those life events from childhood, when your caregivers, be they parents or guardians, made you feel worthless and unwanted. These thoughts and feelings are constantly triggered by those with whom you share this life. You avoid people, think of yourself as unlovable –and the dance goes on and on in your head.

The Feelings of hopelessness produces unpleasant feelings. The feelings produce an unpleasant mood and the dance begins. The mood speeds up the dance and whisks you away into that painful circle with its attendant anxieties, sucking you down into the mental quicksand, swallowing you with all the terror and fright of losing all hope, much less your future. The Circle Dance will take you, everyday and in every way, to where you know you don’t want to go.

This dance is familiar. It is like the helpless insect caught in the web of the spider. The why of this hellish addiction to sadness, is never fully addressed with any solutions or answers. We want to know how to stop it. How to control it. We ask ourselves, how is it that I am depressed? How did I get into this terrifying circle, this loop which keeps me locked in a mood of hopelessness and despair. Where did all this sadness, anxiety originate? Will I ever find a way out? Is the dance, on automatic pilot, going to destroy me? Am I, a victim, without a source of help? Is this the way life is for me to be–forever filled with misery?
So much of the time I feel like I am on a train, heading toward a precipice, with no way of stopping it or escaping disaster?

Through all this, pain and confusion, you become an expert dancer, in fact, you know of others who like you, are expert dancers — trapped in dancing within their own Circle Dance.

The dance, it is so familiar. It is a defense, a comfort. We gradually learn to use it to protect us from the pain, without ever having a clue as to how it took over my life.

“A famous psychiatrist, a Dr. Freud, once theorized “that the reason a person continues to do the Circular Dance within themselves, is an effort to touch an unpleasant early life behavior or that long since forgotten event, buried in one’s unconscious. The Circular Dance promotes our addictive nature and the compulsion to repeat, is an effort by our mind to remember what it was that is the cause of our present cycle of misery, spinning us around and around – looking for answers as to what we do and why we do what we do and feel the way that we do, but never able to unlock the prison of our sadness.”

The Depressed Anonymous 12 step fellowship provides us with a possible solution to this question of no longer allowing the Circular Dance to determine the our life’s direction.

It is my belief, after participating in Hundreds of Depressed Anonymous meetings, over three decades or more, that the compulsion to repeat these sslf-destructive thoughts and images, may be linked to early childhood periods, accompanied with their painful, traumatic events. It is in those early days, that our Circular Dance took root and began to keep us locked down in its circular loop.

It is here, in the 12 Step Fellowship of Depressed Anonymous, that those unpleasant feelings, resultant from physical. emotional and mental abuse by significant others (parents and/or guardians, others) can be shared, voiced and talked about safely, and confidentially in the light of the accepting fellowship that we experience in all of our mutual help meetings.

It is possible that with time, patience and work, that these early feelings of hurt and feeling worthless, to name just a few, can be identified and shown how they have affected us negatively in the way we feel about ourselves today. With the help and work of the group, we are able to locate and make conscious those early life experiences that have been pushed aside. Because the feelings were too powerful and painful to examine and so they were buried in our unconscious. Basically, we can say, that there is no longer a need for that compulsive and addictive Circular Dance that our mind had used to punish us with guilt and shame. We now have the freedom to live life, recover from the wounds of the past, and live life today with hope and purpose. That is my wish for you this day.. And for myself.

No one puts me down, for saying that I am depressed. We never hear a “Snap nap out of it” at our meetings. If we could “snap out of it” there would be no need for our meetings. With work, time and the fellowship we no longer need a dance that goes nowhere but down. Now we are spiraling upward. We thrive!

Hugh S., for the Fellowship


Copyright(c) Hugh Smith (1986, 2013) 2nd Edition. I’ll do it when I feel better. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.
Pages 64-65.

In Control

The following is a passage from the Depressed Anonymous Workbook. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY Pages 7-8.

Surrender and accept.
I want to admit that my life has been out of control for many years, but now that I am in touch with truth, I believe that my life can be lived out differently.
I can begin to use the Twelve Steps and begin the task of working myself out of the pit of depression. I believe that with time and with patience, plus the group fellowship and support, that I will be able to make some positive strides in feeling different about myself and my world.

A question: How many years, months, days can I remember being depressed? How far back in time can I remember always feeling sad and wanting to withdraw. Write out your experiences about these experiences.

Write down the number of people you have admitted to that you have been depressed.
Write down their reactions to your admission.
When you feel depressed what do you say to yourself? What action or behavior do you do when you feel this way?

Does it promote more isolation or being more connected with others? Please write these out.

Is your life more unmanageable now since you have admitted that you are depressed? Can you tell a difference now that you are admitting that depression is and has been a big problem in your life? YES? OR NO? Please write out these experiences.


These are just a few of the many questions that you may want to answer as you go through this Workbook.

Each of the Twelve Step chapters has a number of questions that will help you discover how you feel about certain areas of your life. Positive solutions are included in each chapter and can aid in your efforts to escape from your own prison of depression.

You can answer these questions, possibly some of which have never crossed your mind before now. The Workbook, can be answered in your own privacy. Or, you may want to answer them with a friend or sponsor.

You can discover more about our fellowship of Depressed Anonymous and discover you can be part of a growing group of those persons like you, who are also searching for a way out of their depression.


Our website is https://depressedanon.com with listings of daily DA meetings (no fees or dues) online as well as literature, like this Workbook, which may be ordered online.

101: How to eliminate wild weeds (Negative Thinking)

Eliminating weeds from our gardens or from the Spring beauties who show their marvelous colors every year, makes it our major task to dig the weeds out, cutting down these thriving seeds of destruction. They become a pest when allowed to grow and take over what was hoped to be something beautiful and bountiful. Negative thinking is likewise that noxious weed- It yields no good fruit!
Our strategy, is to knock them out before they can get a root- hold, destroying our hard work and handiwork. Seeing the first sign of the noxious weed (negative thinking) tells us that more are on the way.

This I believe, serves as a metaphor for when a mind has been taken over with negative thinking and accompanied by a sense of hopelessness.
Our mind, if filled with uninvited negative thinking, cycling us down with a feeling of loss and hopelessness, we find it’s time to get into action, take a crack at that first negative thought–before it even gets a chance to sabotage our thinking, our feelings and motivation to change.
When the negative thoughts begins–say STOP–don’t go any further with a debate about that first thought. We refuse to get entangled with this tangent thought, always leading us to places where we don’t want to go. We have been at this point of thinking far too many times. We know now how to dismantle this crippling form of negative thinking. Change the script. You do the managing of what you think about.
First, cut the thought down to size–don’t let it scare you, but tell it “I’m not going to believe this anymore.” Another reccuring negative thought, for example might be, “You are worthless.” When this thought appears, we can replace it with a positive “sunspot.” This “sunspot” can be a positve recent mental image of a past event or a positive affirmation of ouselves. And with your own weed control operation, tell yourself as many good things about yourself as you want. What you can accomlish at this point is to see the weed (thought) for what it is. Cut it down, like a bad weed, and dig it out. Have an affirmation ready at hand, to replace each and every negative thought. Positivty thinking is what you are all about!

AFFIRMATION
“Making direct amends and using a personal inventory continues our progress and helps free us from all the hurts of the past. We know now that we can’t afford to think long about real of imagined hurts, or we will throw ourselves back into saddening ourselves once again.”

REFLECTION
One of the things that is toxic for the depressed peron is negative thinking. This thinking continues to grow, once nurtured by my attention into a large and uncontrolled wild weed, taking all the attention from the good things happening in my life. I know that I can no longer give into that first thought allowing to pound me to the ground. My negative thinking is very much akin to drinking for the alcoholic. Once I give into that first moment of self-bashing, the cycle of depression begins. There can be no second negative thought!
Hurts from my past continue to grow stronger the more I allow them to dominate my thinking and my behavior. Hurts are best eradicated (Seep 4 and Step 5) when I deal with them openly and honestly.

MEDITATION
The spirit hopes in God as we begin today with a prayer and a belief that this day can be a good one, like the days that I have had in the past.”

Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 Step fellowships. Depressed anonymous Publications.Louisville, Ky. Pages 153-154. (September 17)

Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous. Third Edition (2011). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.

I wish my family had a depression support group

If you are reading this blog today, and are a family member who is depressed and wishes they had a family that understood how the disease of depression has taken over our whole life, then this Dep-Anon 12 Step recovery group is for your family.

Starting this Monday, August 22, at 2PM EDT and 1PM CST our first Dep-Anon meeting will LAUNCH with its own group program of recovery. The Dep-Anon manual will be used for all our meetings, either on ZOOM or at face to face meetings.You can read more about the Dep-Anon manual on our website at depresedanon.com.
JOINING THE MEETING<

To JOIN the meeting, please use MEETING ID: 846 6885 1123 and the password is: serenity (lowercase).
You can also use the link to enter the meeting by emailing us at depanon@netpenny.net. This link can be used at all recurring meetings.

Over the years i have heard this statement, “I wish my family had a depression support group tp go to,” voiced more times than I can count. Since depression is a family illness, each of us who are or have been depressed, know the importance of a family supporting their depressed significant other. But that is not always the case. Because of a lack of understanding of the illness of depression -the focus of the family is mostly focused on attempting to cure, heal, or change their depressed loved one.

Now, we know, from personal experiences, that the focus needs to be where it belongs–on the person(s) who need to be changed. That would be the family members. Recently, Dep-Anon, a 12 Step recovery program for families and friends of the depressed has been developed. There is nothing new to our approach as we are modeled on the successful Al-Anon program of recovery. Their focus too, is not on their alcoholic family member but is focused on their own need to understand the nature and disease of alcoholism. They learn as families, helping other families, how alcoholism affects not only the alcoholic, but affects the whole family system. It’s a family disease. By putting into use, for their own personal lives, growth and health using the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Dep-Anon, has but one purpose, to help families of the depressed. Here too, the family uses the 12 spiritual principles of Depressed Anonymous–a program geared for family to family support and encouragement. These families gather together, supporting each other, encouraging and sharing their own successes and ways that work for them. They continue to learn about the serious nature of depression. Instead of being critical and frustrated trying to get the depressed to do what we want them to do, for example, trying to get them out of bed, or telling them to get a job, or to “snap out of it.” Family members, many times discover that their methods of helping don’t help, but instead, push the depressed further into isolation.

Dep-Anon can be a key for a family to give the best support that they can to their loved one. This is examen, in a group setting with other family members, learning and discussing with each other what depression is, what it feels like (to the depressed person) and how it effects their total thinking, feeling, and behavior. The Dep-Anon family group will help family learn what depression is and what it is not. We learn how to keep the focus on ourselves, our own self-care, and living in the solution of positive ways to take care of ourselves. Again, we focus on ourselves. In a very real way, it is in taking care of our selves and being provided with a solution focused understanding of what depression is, that we will provide our loved one a positive family environment, where there is respect and which gradually creates harmony and healing among all its members.

What is created here is a symbiotic relationship between the depressed member and the family. What one does positively in helping themselves in recovery (Depressed Anonymous fellowship) will have a positive effect on the other. (families supporting other families).


Remember, Dep-Anon ZOOM meeting Monday at 2PM EDT and 1PM CST.
MEETING ID: 846 6885 1123 Password: serenity (lower case-no Capitals).