Category Archives: Step 04

Strands vs. Steps

OK we all know the metaphor of the steps. They are an ever increasing ascent into sobriety. But is that the only metaphor that we can use for recovery?

I think not. I’m a big fan of trivia, and I have a thirst for the esoteric. One image that comes to my mind about recovery is the act of rope making. Thread is woven together to make yarn. Yarn is woven together to make twine. Twine is woven together to make rope. As the strands come together the result becomes stronger and stronger.

We start off with Step One, our first thread of recovery. It is the beginning of our recovery and a necessary part of it. Admitting powerlessness is a difficult undertaking. I think I have power: I am the master of my domain. Nothing is further from the truth. We can quibble over whether powerlessness is 0% power or is it 1% power, or some other single digit percentage of power. The bottom line is that we have very little power in our lives. Admitting powerlessness is a turning point in recovery. Something, somewhere, a power exists, but it is definitely not within us. Powerlessness is not the same as helplessness or hopelessness. It means that we are fallible and flawed beings. That is not a condemnation of our state of being, merely a statement of truth that we are fallible and that we need help.

Step Two is then woven in with Step One. Step One is still there, but we are now adding the additional wisdom of another spiritual principle. The most beautiful words in the English language are “Came to believe”. We see that there is a way out of our pit of depression. This power, this Higher Power can restore us to sanity. What does sanity mean? Well let’s look it up:

sanity – the quality or state of being sane
sane – proceeding from a sound mind
Sourcehttps://www.merriam-webster.com

Can we say that being in a state of depression is “proceeding from a sound mind”? I would say it is not.

Step Three is then woven with the other 2 strands. Turning our will and lives over to the care of the God1 of Our Understanding is a very hard idea to wrap your mind around. There is a saying in recovery: “Surrender to win”. Surrender is not about giving up. It’s about accepting fully to your current reality. You need help and your Higher Power can help if you’re willing. Remember that it is God’s will and not your will. You have it within your right to ask for things, but it is up to God1 to decide what is going to come to fruition.

Step Four is then woven in with the preceding strands. Making a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves is a difficult task, but a necessary one. We need to put down on paper what we have done, both right and wrong. Don’t just include your liabilities, but also include your assets. You haven’t been all bad, and neither are you all right. Have the courage to write is all down. You won’t die because of it.

“Admitting to God1, ourselves, and another human being…” is necessary as well. Step Five is about humility and sharing deeply about ourselves with another. Some people say: “I don’t want to confess my sins to another”. Confessing is not about supplicating yourself on the alter of forgiveness to escape damnation. The origin of the word confession is “testifying to the truth”. State clearly and concisely what has brought you to the state of depression.

Now that we have taken our inventory we can follow the guidelines of Step Six and make a list of all of our shortcomings. We can surrender these to the God1 of our understanding and become entirely ready to have Him2 remove them. This is not about beating yourself up, it’s about having the humility to admit where you have fallen short.

Which brings us to Step Seven: “Humbly asked Him2 to remove our shortcomings.” We can ask to have our character defects removed, but it is up to Him2 to decide which character defects will be removed. When asking to have your shortcomings removed end your petition with “Thy will, not mine be done”. Which ones will be removed is not up to you, it is up to Him2.

Step Eight is about making a list of all persons we have harmed. We don’t have anything else to do just yet. We are merely making a list. Don’t get ahead of yourself, you are not at Step 9. Focus on making the list.

“Made direct amends to such people, wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others”. Step Nine can be very frightening. If you are afraid to start making amends then I suggest that you talk to your sponsor. You may have created a terrible situation in your mind that you discover after talking with your sponsor that you don’t need to make amends to that person. Don’t avoid this step – it has amazing healing ability. A weight will be lifted from your shoulders. Making amends is not about begging for forgiveness. It’s about admitting what you did hurt another person, and that you are striving not to make that mistake any more. You can start with the easy amends and work your way towards the more difficult ones.

Step Ten is the next strand: “Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.” The longer you are in recovery the more prompt prompt becomes. It’s all about not creating a further wrong that needs to be fixed with another Step 9. Admit you were at fault. You will be glad you did.

If you’re in a hole, quit digging.
– Will Rogers

“Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God1…” brings us to Step Eleven. It’s all about seeking that deeper relationship with your Higher Power. The seeking is what is important. There will be times you feel connected to your Higher Power and there will be times that you are in a dark night of the soul and you don’t feel the presence of your Higher Power. Don’t beat yourself up that your relationship with your Higher Power ebbs and flows. That’s what it does.

Yes it is important that you have had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps. The critical thing with Step Twelve is “..we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.” Be of service to others. Help someone else. Not for accolades, but rather to pay your blessings forward that you have been pardoned from the prison of depression.

You have woven a rope of recovery. It is so much stronger than the single thread that you began with. You are free from depression, and with this rope you can move great obstacles in your life.

Notes:

  1. Here I mean whatever you conceive your Higher Power to be. It could be God, or Jesus, or Allah, or Buddha, or Universal Truth, or Love, or any other conception. Your conception of your Higher Power is yours and yours alone. It is just a whole lot easier to write it in the shorthand term God. Please don’t be offended.
  2. Using the pronoun Him does not mean that God is definitively masculine, it’s just a shorthand way of referring to your Higher Power. Please don’t be offended.

I will make a daily inventory of all my strengths

Believing Is Seeing: 15 Ways To Leave The Prison Of Depression – Eleven

I will make a daily inventory of all my positive strengths. I tended to magnify the worst in everything in my life and make mountains out of molehills. I will focus on my stars and not my scars.

“One of the problems of being depressed is that every circumstance and situation is filled with potential hurt and disappointment. The depressed person has a tendency to think in patterns of despair, hurt, and disappointment. It appears to be a proven fact that the more a person keeps their fears and anxious thoughts to themselves, this can cause the mountain to grow larger. But by sharing these fears and thoughts with others, either by writing them out, as in a daily journal, or group discussion (like on SKYPE and ZOOM) we soon discover that our fears are not as big as we thought. The expression of fear many times decreased the size of their fear. Now that we are accepting ourselves we can begin to see that we possess the strength and persistence to tackle whatever obstacle lies ahead.

One of the features that stands out in our lives when depressed is we see everything in dark colors. Nothing looks hopeful. There does not appear to be a light at the end of the tunnel – except that it might be an oncoming freight train. We feel that we do not have a friend in the world. We feel that we’ll never feel good again. The list goes on and on.

What may be of some help is to take out pen and pencil and begin writing down your good points that you feel are your strengths. We have already done this, but it still remains an excellent exercise no matter how often you do it.

What do you remember as strengths before being aware that you are depressed? Going to Depressed Anonymous meetings has the potential to restore your sense of proportion about your strong points. At the meetings your friends in the fellowship will begin to tell you are showing improvement the more you are participating in the meetings. To listen to those who themselves are working the program and who share their lives week after week, you begin to realize that you too can begin to feel differently. Today can be a new start and yes, you do have it within yourself to be that person who is reversing old negative patterns of thinking and replacing them with thoughts of hope and optimism. You now believe that there is hope for yourself. Right now your strength seems to be that of maintaining a habitual way of thinking thoughts of hope. By the fact that you are reading this, takes the strength to want to feel good and continue to maintain a positive recovery. Begin now and reflect on your strengths. Believe that you have a way to maintain a personal persistence and desire to continue with gratitude for this new feeling of hope.”

NOTE: Take your pen and/or pencil and begin writing your thoughts down in response to the questions posed in the DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK. Depressed Anonymous Publications.

Resources

Copyright © Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2020) Hugh Smith. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Pages 57-59.

Copyright © The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

Copyright © Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.

These basic books of the Depressed Anonymous Fellowship can be ordered online.

See: www.depressedanon.com

Literature Available

To receive a mailing of Depressed Anonymous literature, send a Self addressed stamped envelope to: DAP, Box 465, Pewee Valley, Kentucky. 40056.

The material can be used as “handouts” at your local Depressed Anonymous meetings.

Approval seeking and emotional dependency.

 

I have observed that many depressed persons, including me, are given to approval seeking, some more so than others.  It seems fair to call it a kind of emotional dependency. Little children are truly and completely  dependent on their parents or whoever is taking care of them. They have no choice and are helpless. They’d better have their parents approval or else.

Some of these children carry this kind of dependency right into  adulthood, even to their graves unless they do the hard work of unlearning it. They have become so unsure of themselves, their opinions, thoughts and skills, that they feel an imperative urge to get someone’s approval that they are doing the right thing and that they  are still OK.

When we, the former children, reach physical maturity, we find that people soon resent those who become dependent on  them. They often become contemptuous of them – leaners, clinging vines, etc.  We literally drive them away from us with our constant demand for reassurance, hanging onto them, and begging them to throw us a few crumbs of approval now and them. We become fearful of asserting ourselves at all,  for fear of retaliating with outright ridicule, not being given a seat around the campfire,  prolonged silent treatment, or stopping cooking for us, etc.  How can we avoid this treatment? Please them more, of course? Hardly. That brings us more contempt.

What will become of us? We will spend our lives doing what others want us to do. Not what we want to do. If it gets bad enough, we will have feelings of total worthlessness and self-loathing. Some will reach the point  where they would rather die than to continue living with that yoke around their neck.

You can free yourself from this fetter, but it’s really rough depending how badly you are addicted. It will take determination and sustained effort. It’s worth it to finally breath the air of freedom. And you, give it to yourself. Start with a proven self-help program like Depressed Anonymous. Here you will learn how to prize yourself.

I include some words by Lao Tzu, 500 BC, who wrote the TAO TE CHING.

“Care about people’s approval

and you will be their slave.

Must you value what others value

and avoid what they avoid?

How ridiculous!

When you are content to be simple yourself

and don’t compare of compete

everybody will respect you. ”

(c) Quote from The Antidepressant Tablet.

NOTE : Bob P., author,  of Evansville, Indiana, is  founding member of Depressed Anonymous and one whose friendship I cherish. (Hugh S.)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

 

I Can’t Make A Decision!

AFFIRMATION

I make a decision today to read one of the newsletters listed at the Newsletter Archives on this website (www.depressedanon.com.) or the BLOGS from the past week.

“Psychiatrists regard a person’s statement, ‘I can’t make a decision’ as a symptom of an illness, when really it is a reasonable effective defense…if you are trying to shut out all the matters which you find uncontrollable, threatening and confusing, you cannot give those matters the careful scrutiny they need if you are to make a decision about them. They create such turmoil in our mind that you decided that it is best to not decide. You can say ‘I am depressed. I cannot make my decision.’ Spending the day with the blanket over your head is as much a result of a decision as is going out and facing the world.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

Most times when I am depressed, I don’t want to think about  changing anything. Everything is hopeless and  useless anyway so why try and  use all that mental  energy to sort it all out. This is the type of thinking that continues the fuzziness and the confusion. It is a refuge from having to do something. about where I am today.

But when  I decide that I’ve had enough, I get my dander up and declare to myself, and really to the world around me, that I am going to play my cards differently. This is a good place to begin working on the Fourth Step, that “I will make a fearless and  moral inventory of myself.”

Meditation

God help us change what needs to be changed today and let us know what it is and what is OK with us as well. Help us sort out the fog and fuzziness of our mind so that your guidance will create in us a desire to help ourselves.”

SOURCES:             Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. February 7th.

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

  I’ll do it when I feel better. (2018) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.

 

Cleaning House: Steps 4 & 5

AFFIRMATION

I know that I can be forgiven.

“Our moral inventory had persuaded us that all around forgiveness was desirable, but it  was only when we resolutely tackled Step Five that we inwardly knew we’d be able to receive  forgiveness and give it, too.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

In Step 5 we really get serious about our life and our thirst for freedom.  It is especially evident when we work this step that a new spirit of freedom penetrates the very fiber of our being. I know that it is when I look myself in the face, list and spell out each and every fault/defect that keeps me locked into my prison of depression. I can say with all truth and humility that I am more free now than I have  ever felt in my life because of my working the Fourth and Fifth Steps.  I am learning that what it takes to be set free from our painful past is the total honesty in speaking about it.

I gain forgiveness by giving it. When I release my anger or revenge toward another human being I am then free.

MEDITATION

God, please release in us our need to hang onto our guilt and anger. Cast your light on our pain and let us find peace. (Personal comments).

SOURCE:  (c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of Twelve Step fellowship  groups. (1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. pg 129.

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

(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. (2009) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

To order ONLINE please VISIT THE STORE at this site.

The Depression And Self-Esteem Inventory ©

The following is an inventory designed to enable you to evaluate your present level of depression as well as your level of self-esteem. The painful experiences of depression has a profound and devastating effect on your self-esteem and self-concept. If you have a few moments, please take some time out to find out how you stand in these areas. And remember, this is only an inventory – how you score may be due more to your mood today and what you had for dinner more than anything else. No paper and pencil test is that all knowing. We are merely providing this tool to allow you to evaluate where you may stand in your own feelings of yourself.

While some people seem to have been born with a melancholy temperament and have therefore attained the state of depression quite naturally – others have been awakened to bad feelings only after experiencing certain life events. Loss of a loved one, a prized possession, one’s health or job, for instance, will often result in depression and low self-esteem and how we feel about ourselves. Still others may need to study the following principles of thinking and behaving to reach their desired levels of lost self-esteem and despair.

Although the following suggestions will not necessarily result in a full blown “clinical” depression (that is, a depression observed in a counseling session or with a physician), they can be of great help to you if you have a desire to commit yourself to continue to make yourself feel bad. These principles are widely promulgated and are guaranteed to lower or destroy your self esteem in short order.

Circle the answers below that best describe your own thinking, feelings and behavior. And in order to get yourself undepressed it would be smart to do just the opposite of each of the items listed below. The more we do the opposite the better you are going to feel.

  1. Avoid vacations or other pleasurable activities plus staying away from things your apt to look forward to.
  2. Work should be approached in one of two ways: Work without ceasing or never work at all. Draw the shades and stay in bed.
  3. Seek not to find a sense of meaning or purpose in your life.
  4. Cultivate negative thinking.
  5. Indulge on a regular basis, in self-blame, guilt and remorse.
  6. Pity yourself. Do it convincingly and for sustained periods of time.
  7. Pity others in the same way.
  8. Hinge your happiness on the achievement of a major life goal and watch it turn to ashes in your mouth.
  9. Do not make effective use of leisure time by planning too many activities, none at all, are only those you consider a worthless waste of time.
  10. Practice ongoing self physical and emotional abuse and dehumanization techniques. Beat your self up with punishing shame and guilty mind talk.
  11. Attempt to do the impossible, striving always to meet expectations and standards you cannot possibly meet.
  12. Habitually subordinate your own needs and wants to the needs and wants of others.
  13. Always believe that yo must repay every good thing that happens to you because you are unequivocally unworthy.
  14. Visualize a supreme being who is meddling, controlling and heavy handed rather than one who is sustaining, guiding and encouraging.
  15. Never infringe upon understanding persons by asking them to sit and listen to your story.
  16. Avoid cultivating any sort of intellectual or creative potential you may have.
  17. Live vicariously through others, never attempt to create a life of your own.
  18. Refuse to accept any notion that there may be meaning and purpose in your life whether you see it or not.
  19. Squarely face the fact that in whatever pain and misery you may have experienced and or experiencing now, there is no purpose or meaning whatever.
  20. Take hold of the conviction that others opinions of you have far greater validity and significance than any opinions you may have of yourself.
  21. Believe it is more important to have someone else approve of you than any opinions you may have of yourself.
  22. Accpt and practice the widespread belief that the proper response to your failures, mistakes and hurtful behavior is self-condemnation, guilt and remorse.
  23. Remain convinced that you have something to prove to someone, whether you can identify that “someone” or not. Accept that there are things abut yourself which you will constantly need to explain or defend.
  24. Realize that it is selfish, egotistical and unacceptable to treat yourself kindly and lovingly.
  25. Accept as immutable truth that you are by nature a miserable and unclean wretch, deserving only condemnation, guilt and punishment.
  26. Refuse to see yourself as worthy and acceptable on the basis of your failures, mistake and shortcomings.
  27. Make it a practice to defer to others because of their education, wealth, power or position.
  28. Believe that you deserve and (accept with passivity) all insults, put downs, destructive criticism and other abuse from others.
  29. Accept the proposition that your personal worth and importance depend on what you have and what you achieve, rather what you are.
  30. Get comfortable with the belief that acting bad makes you a bad person.
  31. Try always to coerce others into making decisions for you in the vain hope of avoiding responsibilities for their consequences.
  32. Learn to identify with your actions, realizing that what you are is wholly determined by what you do,
  33. Adopt the popular belief that you could be better if you only tried harder.
  34. Embrace the maxim that you always have compete freedom of will and choice.

Explanation Of The Inventory

All the items contained in the inventory are very negative and that is the issue at stake here, namely when we are depressed we can’t find anything positive to say about ourselves, our future or our present life. But our attitudes have more to do than how we talk to ourselves. It has more with the way we have perceived ourselves in relation to the world outside ourselves. it also many times has much to do with the way we related in childhood to those adults who were responsible for our safety, love and nurturance.

Practice The Opposite

In order for you to gradually begin the process of un-depressing yourself it is best that you start right now – today. Whatever items on the inventory that you circled you can start chipping away at your negative lifestyle and do the opposite of the behaviors of those circled items. For example, if you circled item #21 you would want to start approving of yourself in small ways instead of always depending on others approval. This is the way to greater self-esteem and the way out of the prison of depression – namely, turning the negative behavior into something positive and life giving. If you have a sponsor it would do well for you to go through each of the list on the inventory and work to commit yourself to positive behaviors for the items selected. Good luck! And God speed!

Inventory by Bob P., © Depressed Anonymous Publications

“Are you afraid of the dark?”

When I was a child I was afraid of going down into our home’s basement.  It was  dark and  gloomy.   My older brother convinced me that a frightening ghost was prepared to jump on me and eat me if I ever   ventured downstairs. Even when the single light that shone during the day couldn’t free me from my dreaded fear of the unknown.

As I grew older and outgrew my fears about ghosts and such I still was plagued with fears about things which popped up  unexpectedly  in my life. The way I handled  these fears was to think of all the possible ways that  I would be eaten (metaphorically speaking )  if the dark moods which  were   created  inside of me  continued.  It appeared that the more I  was feeling these unpleasant feelings swirling around in my mind, the more fearsome they did become. It was no longer the ghost in the basement  that terrified me but it was my own fears of being  reduced to nothingness that sent me spiraling downward into the great dark abyss. In a certain manner  of speaking, when I had a situation that caused my whole person to grieve something as much as a part of ourselves , loss of a love, a loved one’s death, loss of freedom through an addiction,  again I was  being thrust  into the dark basement of my childhood, with  those old  horrific feelings  suddenly rekindled and as real a threat as the imagined ferocious  basement ghost of my childhood.

Feelings are like that. They seem to just come out of the blue. In reality they come out of our past and those awful fears are being reignited by some of the same situations that caused us such panic in the earliest years of our lives. These fears continue to scare us and shut us down, feeling-wise, as long as we make no efforts to identify them and see how they are  connected  between then and now. Our body sensors are always alert to danger and so somehow a present danger or unpleasant feeling appears as fresh and new, when in reality it has its origin in a fearful childhood experience.

“By our continual shutting ourselves up in the little world of our own mind, we gradually sink more and more into despair and feel that no one can understand how we think and feel. The biggest freedom that we can gain from confessing to someone else is that we  no longer  have to have it all together and be perfect. We can then begin to admit we are petty, selfish and self-centered.  We can then  admit that we want to have restored a sense of peace by getting free from all worry and fear from the past and by turning these feelings  over to the Higher Power. We can discover that forgiving  ourselves and being forgiven by God are one and the same thing. The group will see to it that the more you admit your own fears about yourself and the future the less terror the present will hold for you.”


For more on this important  subject please read Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.(2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

VISIT THE STORE here at our site and order online more of our valuable books on the subject.

I Will Make A Moral And Fearless Inventory Of My Life

AFFIRMATION 

I will make a moral and fearless inventory of my life and devote myself to the truth about myself so that I might be able to admit my powerlessness over my past so that I might love myself today.

“Accepting yourself can mean resolving the grief left over from earlier years. Say you have lost somebody – or even something – and you were not able to show your grief, perhaps not even to admit it to yourself. There is nothing brave or wise in denying grief, in pretending that that you feel no pain or anger or sorrow.”

 CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

So often I have heard of the various stages of grief. For me to begin to work my way out of grief, I must go through these various stages of grieving. There is no fast way to grieve and it is an essential part of letting go of that which I have lost. One of the initial stages of grief is the shock of the loss of a love object and the need I have to believe that it will reappear again soon.

I have to get in touch with those who left me years earlier in my life and I never knew how to grieve their passing or even that I needed to grieve. I have many years of blocked up energy in my body as in the form of unresolved grief, anger, sadness and a general unease about myself. Somehow all these feelings from the past are like seeds that are trying to bear good fruit.  If left to themselves and never able to yield their fruit they fester inside me and continually keep me agitated, depressed and afraid.

MEDITATION 

God, lead us with the pillar of fire at night and the cloud by day as we move into the Promised land where we with those who have surrendered their wills to you, continue to recover and live with the belief that you will not desert us. You are my food, the manna for my journey through these lean times.


SOURCES:  Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 19.

Copyright(c)  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.(2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. (See Step 4).

The Miracle Of The Group

“By our continual shutting ourselves up in the little world of our own mind, we gradually sink more and more into despair and feel that no one can understand how we think and feel. The biggest freedom that we can gain from confessing to someone else is that we no longer have to have it all together and be perfect.  We can begin to  admit  it when we are petty, selfish and self-centered. We can then admit that we want to have restored a sense of peace by getting free  from  all worry and fear from the past and by turning those over to the  Higher Power. We can then discover that forgiving ourselves and being forgiven by God are one in the same thing. The group will see to it that the more you admit your own fears about yourself and the future, the less terror the present will hold for you.”

“My dear friends, it is this spiritual experience, to feel that God is with you, and that this joy is the joy that will restore your youth and renew your spirit.  We no longer have to be the way we are -we can choose to feel and be different. Others are doing  it-so can you!”

Depression feeds on hurt, pain and self-doubt. When we are depressed we have a need to bash ourselves for our misguided errors and sinfulness. The Fifth Step  if done genuinely and prayerfully, will in time help restore our sense of freedom and belief that we are truly forgiven.  It is in the miracle of the group and its acceptance, love and nurture that helps the depressed person feel secure without recourse to depression.”

THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK, examining Step Five, asks the following question at 5.21:  List what action you will have to take if you want to respect yourself again? Remember, it’s our past need to tell ourselves how bad and unacceptable that we are that keeps us depressed. This is a “wrong” if there ever  was one.


HOME STUDY KIT

SOURCES:  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.(2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 64 (Book One of the Home Study Kit).

The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002). Depressed  Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 52. (Book Two of the Home Study Kit).

VISIT THE STORE   at this site for ordering online.

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.