Tom had a problem.

“Tom asked why we needed Step Four in our recovery which states that “we made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”  He said that he was depressed and didn’t need anything else to make him feel worse – like dredging up things that he might have done in the past. Why, Tom wondered, should he resurrect old ghosts?  Anyway, when we spoke about a moral inventory it reminded him of religion with its “do’s and  “don’ts ” with special emphasis on the “don’ts.”  Tom said he came into Depressed Anonymous to learn about what was making him depressed and that he didn’t need anything else to make him feel guilty or sadder.

Some people think that for a person to dredge up old hurts and wrongs will make them that much more depressed. I guess it depends on what type of stuff we put on our inventory. The following list will help  our sadness persist: our perfectionism, our need to control our fears, guilt, shame or resentments, dishonesty, selfishness, passivity, anger, indecisiveness,  fear of change or finally the inability to live with uncertainty. When we begin to ask God for help in removing these areas from our live, this asking for help  will not make us more depressed – it will in fact make us more hopeful. In Step Three we said we make a decision. This means just that and not just a promise as it says in the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book.  When we begin to surrender our will and our life to the Higher Power and are willing to expose our  effects to others in the group, it is then that our life may be able to take on a peace coupled with new purpose. This really is an essential and necessary step that has to be taken if we want to leave our prison  of depression behind.”  SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 53.

In our Depressed Anonymous Workbook, which coordinates each of the Twelve Steps, with its questions and answers coordinated with the individual Twelve  Step commentaries in the Depressed Anonymous big book, we can  discover who we are and  how we became the way we are.

Here we can deepen our awareness of what makes us who we are by continuing our search by means of those questions put forward in our Depressed Anonymous Workbook. Because of the essential nature of the inventory procedure as outlined in our personal recovery program, an individual will see  that their own openness to the process will provide  them with a wealth of hope and serenity.

Working the 4th Step is like coming home a different  route.  It is a path that is filled with signposts that point us in a  different direction than where we are used to going. And for many of us this is in a different direction than where we are used to going. And for many of us this is the first time that we are really intent upon taking a good hard look at who we are. This taking inventory of ourselves has much to do with our loving ourselves and making ourselves open to a new path and feeling different.” The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, (2002). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.  The 4th Step, Page 24.

–For more information on this Group/Home Study Kit and how to order it, please VISIT THE STORE.  Both Workbook and the Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition, comprise our Study Kit. One can order all literature online.

MORE TOMORROW ABOUT THE 4TH STEP.

“Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” Step 5 of Depressed Anonymous

“I haven’t done anything wrong, so why do I have to admit anything? And anyway, what does this have to do with my depression?”

In the Depressed Anonymous Workbook these questions there are provided answers for those who are struggling to free themselves from depression. In fact, the more we work through each of the questions posed in the Workbook, we can also go to the Depressed Anonymous Manual, 3rd edition., and find six pages  (pgs. 59-64) of thoughts from members of the fellowship on Step 5.  We discover that the Depressed Anonymous Manual is written by people like you and me. We have been where you are and we came to believe after admitting that we were powerless over our depression and that life was unmanageable we had to make a decision.

In Step 3 we made a decision –that is what life is all about –namely, making decisions. Our decisions are the product of the meaning that we give to those persons, events and circumstances that fill our lives every day.  We make the decisions based on those meanings that we give to those situations and experiences. We are making a decision to day to share part of our dark side with another human being.

In Alcoholics Anonymous it describes the way to make a good 5th Step:

” We pocket our pride and go to it, illuminating every twist of character, every dark cranny of the past. Once we have taken this Step, withholding nothing, we are delighted. We can look the world in the eye.  We can be alone at perfect peace and ease.  Our fear fall from us. We begin to feel the nearness of our creator. We may have had certain beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience…”

Telling someone else seems to be the key to our freedom: When we decided who is to hear our story, we waste no time. We have a written inventory and we are prepared for a long talk. We explain to our partner what we are about and why we have to do it.” (This is why it is so important to write down in a  separate notebook the answers to all the questions in the Workbook which now bring us to the point of sharing our answers with a person we can trust, such as a clergy person or our sponsor. ED).

Steps 1 and 5 are the two Steps where the word “admitted” is used.  When we hear the word “wrongs” such as in this Step 5 – we may induce in ourselves a feeling of guilt. This is NOT the intention of Step 5 at all.

To be depressed is not to be wrong. We are not accusing ourselves of being bad. We are only pointing out the ways that I need to act, think and behave as a non-depressed person.”

SOURCES:  The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2001) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 49-50.

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 59-64.

Overcome our need to be compulsive about everything…

Affirmation

I will be fearless as I take my personal inventory and uncover those thoughts that I sad myself with on an ongoing basis.

“The most common symptoms of emotional insecurity are worry, anger, self-pity, and depression. These stem from causes which sometimes seem to be within us, and at other times to come from without. To take inventory in this respect we ought to consider carefully all personal relationships which bring continuous or recurring trouble.”

Clarification of thought

I am seeing how my attitudes of worry, anger, self-pity and depression can keep me imprisoned. Working with my program has been and is part and parcel of my every waking minute.  The Steps that I put so much faith in are the road signs that keep me on this shining path which I call God’s will for me. I am reminded of not sticking my nose always into other people’s business so that my serenity is lost.

I am mindful that this program is mine for the used.  I believe that this program deals with the way we respond to our attachments and compulsions.  The Second  and the Third Step help me realize that there is a God larger than me. Once I am in his will, I can move on and be changed for the better. It is a simple reality to realize that to work on my program is to let God work through me.

Depression sometimes is a symptom of something inside me that I have lost. It is a sadness over something gone out of my life.  This loss could be the reality of never being good enough, never doing enough or being les than perfect. The symptoms disappear when I can learn to live with the belief that I will find hope and begin to feel better.

Meditation

God will help us today to overcome our need to be compulsive about everything negative that we say to ourselves. God will help us say Stop to all those compulsive and self-defeating thoughts.”

Sources:

Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for Down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 168.

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

             Hope to hope. Depressed Anonymous Publications. (2000) Louisville.