Category Archives: The Promises

Making “resolutions” on New Year’s Day hasn’t worked for me

My New Year’s resolutions usually self-destruct, sometimes quickly (same day) and most times, a little bit later. What’s the point? Why make them? It sounds good when I hear myself tell others how I am going to do this or I am going to do the other to change my life. Now, today, I tell myself, that this year it’s going to be different. I know that the one major change in my life was a decision I made more than three decades ago…to no longer sad myself. That is the one “resolution”, if you will, that I have kept over the years and has worked for me. It continues to work for me.

I don’t make big “announcements” that I am going to do this or that. What I do now is to keep making decisions that I know with time and God’s help I can change my life, my thinking and my moods.

Recovery’s North Star is honesty – honesty with self and honesty with others. With this in mind, I place the resolution business aside. I know the New Year is about a new start, for some, a new beginning, filled with hope, promises and experiences. Whatever works for others is fine – it just doesn’t work for me.

My life has been geared toward living one day at a time. Keeping it simple, and putting the 12 principles of recovery into practice in my everyday life. My life is as Bill W., points out in Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions,

…service gladly rendered, obligations squarely met, troubles well accepted or solved with God’s help, the knowledge that at home or in the world outside we are partners in a common effort, the well understood fact that in God’s sight all human beings are important, the proof that love freely given surely brings a full return, the certainty that we are no longer isolated and alone in a self constructed prison, the surety that we no longer be square pegs in round holes but can fit and belong to God’s scheme of things – these are the permanent and legitimate satisfactions of living, for which no amount of pomp and circumstance, no heap of material possessions could possibly be substitutes.
True ambition is not what we thought what it was. True ambition is the deep desire to live usefully and walk with humility under the grace of God.


Copyright © Hugh Smith. I’ll do it when I feel better. (2020) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. p.95.

Copyright © Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. (1952, 1953, 1981) The A.A., Grapevine,Inc and Alcoholics Anonymous.

Promises of Recovery

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.  We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.  That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.  Self-seeking will slip away.  Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. The fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.

When I first joined DA, the Promises of Recovery statement gave me a glimmer of hope that I have not seen in a long, long time. Living in this modern world as a thirty something year old, with unrealistic expectations of myself and my life, and resentments building up overtime, I found myself burned out like a log turning into ash. But I got used to finding comfort in the smoldering fire… at least my life was basically over and I could just fade into the background and withdraw from this world.

Joining DA really made an impact on how I saw life, and towards the word “future”, which I was avoiding at all cost. The Promises of Recovery gave me hope, that there was a life waiting for me if I made a decision to change my perspective and my old habits. It was a scary decision filled with doubts and terror and a whole lot of shallow breathing. But I was desperate; I would have believed in a chair if that meant that it would help me feel and be different. So I decided to give it my all, with the same energy I used to fulfill my perfectionist self. I stuck to meetings and diligently worked on the steps. I’ve faced some of my past and figured out a way to live with it without regret or shutting the door on it. I was shown many instances of serenity and peace throughout the shares in the meetings. I was very much down the scale and at the very bottom, but I used that to relate to others and helped my fellows by just listening and understanding and crying with them. I realized that so much of my suffering came from my self-seeking ways, and helping people with something I deeply understood filled me with acceptance and service. I was giving myself permission of being helped when I helped others. I learned to forgive others and by doing so was able to forgive myself. It’s funny how everything starts circling back to you.

I thought The Promises of Recovery was all such extravagant promises. It took me a while to allow myself to believe them. But that’s what I learned. Spirituality is a choice. There are so many things standing in my way, but they will be gone if I decide to let them. My recovery has been a slow process, with one step forward and many steps back. I can’t put a finger on a certain step or mantra, but the promises are being fulfilled inside of me, sometimes quickly, most of the time slowly. “All growth is gradual in this natural world.”  I can really stand by that now. And when I hit one of the many bumps and roadblocks on the way, I just have to tell myself, “It’s fine, I’m working on it”. 

Anna T.

I need to get prepared for a new me today!

I am getting healthier the more I realize that I don’t have to feel the way that I feel. I have the option to feel content and even smile today if I so desire. I will act like I want to smile again even though I don’t feel like smiling.

“If you have made yourself a martyr to your unappreciative family, remember the principle of partial reinforcement and apply it to your family. If you are always at their beck and call trying to meet their every demand, they will not appreciate you, but once they see that they cannot rely on you to to meet their demands, they will appreciate what you do for them.” (Breaking the Bonds, D. Rowe.Fontana, 1991).

i Know that so often those who are codependent and live all the time in everyone else’s feelings need to remember that the real maturity and happiness lies in being there for me — not for everyone else. I think that reflection points out the fact that I need to reinforce my own worth by going to DA meetings, actively getting involved with my own recovery over anything and everyone else. I am going to begin to be a pleasant person. I will want to learn how to be pleasant to myself.
Now is the time and this is the program where I start to detach from other people’s opinion of myself and start to reflect where I start to detach from those people’s opinions of myself and start to reflect on my own opinion of myself. When I am depressed, I know that I haven’t been able to get angry, not to forgive anyone, much less forgive myself. I feel cheerless. I meet my own demands and continue to work the steps so as to get in touch with what I need to do to reinforce those positive concepts that I am forming about myself. I need to get prepared for a new me today.
“We are now on a different basis: the basis of trusting and relying upon God, our Higher Power. We trust an infinite God rather than our finite selves. Just to the extent that we do as we think he would have us do, and humbly rely on him, does he enable us to match calamity with serenity.” (As Bill sees it.p.265).

When we gradually work our way to the real self we get closer to the God who made us.

Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Hugh Smith. Pages 14-15.

A light at the end of the tunnel

Now that I have admitted that I am powerless over my depression and that I don’t do myself any good blaming myself with those daily reminders of how bad and unacceptable I am. I now an conscious.

  1. CONSCIOUSNESS. I am conscious of my need to discover what there is about myself that I do not find acceptable, good and wholesome.
  2. PREPARATION. I am aware how I have depressed myself by the faulty beliefs that I have held about myself over past years. I now know that part of the way I feel is due to the way I automatically talk to myself through out the day. I now realize that my feelings about myself are very negative and emotion laden.
  3. ACTION. i intend today to replace all negative statements that I make about myself, like waving a red flag before my eyes every time I call myself “stupid” or put myself down mentally. I will use affirmations such as the following: ‘I will build a new life for myself. I am strong today. I have the courage to go through the experience. I will no longer blame myself or others for my depression. I do not have to wait for someone to make me feel better, as I can do this myself if I choose to do so.’
  4. SUSTAIN. I am very hopeful that I can feel better just for today. I am going to tolerate my imperfections while at the same time refusing to feel sorry for myself. I am going to make myself accountable for how I feel, not blame it on someone or others.

Copyright(C) Believing is seeing: 15 Ways to leave the prison of depression. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Pages 54-55.
Copyright(C) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of Twelve Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY 40241.
Copyright (C) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook.(2002). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.
Copyright (C) Depressed Anonymous, THIRD EDITION. (2011). DAP. Louisville, KY 40241.
Copyright(C) I’ll do it when I feel better. (2013) SECOND EDITION. DAP. Louisville, KY. 40241.

These publications can be ordered online at These books can be purchased together or individually. The DA Workbook and the DA Manual, THIRD EDITION, are available as Ebooks and are downloadable. If you order with the intent of setting up a Depressed Anonymous support group, having all five publications will be a source of support library for the fellowship.


AN EXCERPT FROM THE PROMISES OF DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS as presented in the book “I’ll do it when I feel better.” Pages 28-51. Depressed Anonymous Publications.

PROMISE #13. “Are these extravagant Promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us. Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. These Promises will always materialize if we work for them.”

The word here that catches my attention, now that we have reached the end of the Promises, is the word “work.” The word “work” is what strikes me as the most important. And we go back to where we started, namely, if we are painstaking in this phrase of our development – things will change. I think that this is what it is all about. If we continue to grow we will see that indeed, before we are halfway through, some very amazing things begin to happen. ” WE CAN PROMISE YOU THAT!

Check out the previous 12/13 Promises posted here.
1. Can you share when and how you became to believe that it was important to have to “work” to get out of the prison of your depression?

2. How much do you attribute to God for your ongoing recovery and your own work?

3. Please describe some amazing things that have occurred in your everyday life since being an active member of Depressed Anonymous and working the 12 Steps of recovery.


We would suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. (#12 Promise)


“We would suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.”
This belief is at the core of our recovery. It is precisely at this moment in our lives that we realize that somebody, someone greater than myself is guiding me. This someone is not forcing us but is guiding us through our darkness. It is lighting our path so we neither stumble or regress into our old ways of thinking and behaving. It is with this in mind that we continually redirect our attention to have that desire to do its will.

Before we discovered the program of Depressed Anonymous we were convinced that the only chance that we had to get better was to wait while the medications kicked in and then everything would be alright. But now we are certain that our ability to get well is surely based on how much we develop the belief that we can choose how we feel and think. Indeed we are now convinced that we can either sad ourselves or choose not to sad ourselves.

The community and common bonds of the Depressed Anonymous fellowship produce a feeling that just as other members of the group are recovering so can I.

We must be willing to let go of all our thoughts that tell us that we will never get well. These are the same thoughts that have imprisoned us over the years.

We now listen to the God of our understanding and proceed with the belief which we hold about the world on the outside of us and determined and governed by the world that is lived within us.

We are in a brand new way, on a new path, and find ourselves committed to a new and fresh belief that something powerful is starting to bloom inside of us. A peace that surpasses all understanding is beginning to be born when we learn to relax and wait and listen for that still small voice.

(C) I’ll do it when I feel better. (2002, 2013) 2nd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Page 50-51.
(C) The Promises of Depressed Anonymous, (2013) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

We intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. (#11 Promise of Depressed Anonymous)


11/13. We intuitively know how t handle situations which used to baffle us.

“As my mind began to heal and my thought became more lucid it became apparent that something inside me was changing. Depression, when you begin to examine the various symptoms up close, and deal with them, the experience becomes less threatening. Depression is a collection of behaviors that are brought into play to defend us against things that are too painful to face. Also, depression results when a love object is lost through death or is abandoned. We have become so one with our lost love, that we mourn the death of part of us. The love object and ourselves has become one. I believe we use the word co-dependence today.

At first I was frightened by my various symptoms of depression – true, they were baffling as I was not able to get out of bed, unable to concentrate or manage a complex thought.

But now my ability to handle situations in meaningful ways are due to my frequent attendance at meetings, daily times for prayer and meditation and a feeling that my life has purpose and meaning. My ultimate concern is to live life in peace and serenity. The more I am physically active, that is, going to group meetings, online or face to face, even when I don’t feel like it — working in my workbook, reading my 12 Step literature – these behaviors are where my freedom begins. And yes, I do feel lousy at times but I also know that nothing can stand in my way to make choices in my own behalf. Previous to my involvement with the group I had no idea that my depression was not so powerful as to prevent me from even thinking that I could choose to feel differently.

The group meeting is where trust and openness is promised among the members of the fellowship. My defenses gradually lessen at every meeting.

I find myself speaking about myself. I now believe that with my new found openness that no one will discredit or abandon me. I now feel secure in this new fellowship of persons who are just like me. I can live in hope -not despair.

In her personal testimony Starr tells us that “As a person that has suffered depression since childhood
I can say that until you start to open up, share your hurts and feelings, listen to members of the group, watching them as they grow from the support of the group, you will not be able to get out of the prison of your depression.”

(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.KY (Personal Stories, page 129-130)
(c)I’ll do it when I feel better. (2009) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.

Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us. (#10 Promise)


Losses may produce a variety of very intense and painful feelings. Pain can cripple the best of us. Why fear people and economic insecurity. It says in Steps 4,5, 6, 7,8,9 we have examined our lives
piece by piece, ending up with a good conscience, while feeling neither guilt or shame for things of our past.
Bill, in his personal testimony in the DA book relates how “you don’t get better overnight, but you do get much better. I was down in the muck as far as you would go . I had to go and open the door for the first time because there was no other place to go. I had already used up all the hiding places in my life. I still have many problems like everyone else, but when I need sleep very badly I turn this problem over to the Higher Power and go to sleep. I can always pick life up the next morning. Somehow it all gets done. Every few days the world dumps on you and beats you down.. That’s just life.” (Personal Story from Depressed Anonymous, page 171.)

I believe this man definitely “got it ” when he began attending the group, spending some quiet time everyday and learning that people like himself were able to get together to form a new environment where there exists healing and hope.

Granted this group cannot find you a job or take away fear of people – but it will provide you with a map where you can discover a way out of one’s prison of depression. How do you learn that?

Kim, a member of Depressed Anonymous in her persona story tells us that “the moment that I read that I had a choice to stay in depression I undoubtedly knew that I could make the choice to get out of my depression. Bingo! It wasn’t an illness. This did not have control over me. And another tool I use frequently through the DA manual is that thoughts produce feelings, feelings produce moods and moods produce behavior.” (A Personal Story from Depressed Anonymous , page 159.)

In the tradition of the major religions, there exists the three poisons of greed, anger and delusion.

” You can let your thoughts come into your mind, just don’t invite them to stay for tea.”

“In the Bible it states “Fear not, for I am with you. Let not your heart be troubled.” Jesus

“The knowledge of emptiness gives birth to compassion.” Milarepa


(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition(2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.
(c) I’ll do it when I feel better, 2nd edition (2009) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.

These two works can be ordered online from The Depressed Anonymous Publications Workbook

#9. The Promises of Depressed Anonymous


Why wouldn’t our relationship with other people improve. After we have begun to put into place our daily program for recovery, namely through prayer and meditation we now are expectant and hopeful. We reflect upon each step, and we complete a piece of the structure that in time will be the new me.

I think that one of the more critical areas to mend in our lives is the thinking part of our selves. Depression appears to start with the way our minds react and perceive events outside of ourselves. So, from the start we need to promote to those persons depressed to get involved in as much physical activity as possible, namely, walk, express to others, go to meetings, talk on the phone with supportive people – in other words, get connected as much as possible. The point where we hope to enter in the life of the depressed is at the point of hope – be it at different stages of recovery.

Most importantly we discover at our group meetings that there are many persons, much like ourselves and at the same level of recovery.

One of the immutable truths, according to Dr. Dorothy Rowe, who wrote the award winning book, Depression: The Way out of Your Prison is “that other people are such that I must fear, envy or hate them.” If we believe that we are bad and valueless then it follows that we must fear other people because they can find out how bad we are and so reject us. When we fear anyone for long enough we come to hate that person, and when we fear someone we don’t get close enough to that person to see their own difficulties. We think that they are having an easier time than we are, and so envy them. You will believe that everyone around you is on easy street. It is only when we ere able to look honestly into our souls that we will begin to see that it is how we feel about others that has an influence on our feelings today.

“Once newcomers hear the before and after of our lives it will make it easier for them to believe us when they experience our own enthusiasm and cheerfulness. Depressed Anonymous. Page 124

“We also believe that what you think is what you become.”

We can learn something not only about alcoholism but depression when Bill W., stated ” He can settle for mediocrity and self-satisfaction even though this may indeed prove to be a precarious perch. Or he(she) can choose to go on growing in greatness of spirit and action.”

In Depressed Anonymous (Page 125), we learn one of the best ways to grow out of our sadness is
” to start acting the healer instead of being the passive victim. We are under the care of no one except our God.”

I believe that our involvement with other people like ourselves in the group gradually broadens our perspective in the area of hope. We learn to utilize new found tools that help us live with hope as well as enable us to learn that we have to be active in our own recovery. In retrospect we know that it is in our making amends to those we have harmed by our depression that make our lives more open around us. Even if those to whom we make amends don’t accept our amends the main thing is that we have made them, We are doing the amends for ourselves. Whether or not the other accepts our amends is none of our business and out of our control.”


(c) I’LL DO IT WHEN I FEEL BETTER.” ( 2009, 2020, 2ND EDITION). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Pages 28-53.

#8/13. The Promises of Depressed Anonymous


“To really believe, possibly for the first time in one’s life that I too can recover and that I too can begin to feel better. I know that I need to be proactive in my efforts at self-discovery. What causes our outlook and attitude to change?

What is the reasons one’s outlook changes? I have to begin to believe that hope and healing is possible. Once we have gone through some painful inner changes, such as dealing with our character defects and isolating tendencies in ourselves we see indeed there is a way out. We have to have a positive attitude that will move us and motivate us to want to go and get to the next step. Watching someone actually take these steps week after week and watch that feeling of wellness rise up in them can promote in each of us a belief that with work and time gradually our lives definitely do improve. Soon we see that a sense of purpose will begin to manifest itself the more time and work that we put into our personal recovery. We have to do this work everyday. The more we work at this reality of getting well –the less irritable and lonesome we will be. A door opens ever slightly, and there appears a potential route to freedom. But what is most noticeable here is that when my hope and faith in recovery for my personal life rises, my symptoms of depression go down in inverse proportions.

When we find acceptance from members of our fellowship at Depressed Anonymous we get that boost that says “you’re ‘gonna be alright!” And we mean it. This is the beginning of opening wioder the door that leads to hope and a change in our negative attitudes. THAT’S A PROMISE.


(C) The Promises of Depressed Anonymous. (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Page 18.