Tag Archives: inventory

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:

  1. The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, © 2001, Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville KY. Pages 49-50.
  2. Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition, © 2011, Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville KY. Pages 59-64.

TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE

“To  thine own self be true.”  is an old axiom that has much merit for those of us who work the spiritual  program of the Twelve Steps.    Often in therapy I ask people to list as many strengths as they can, and for some this is a difficult task when they are depressed and the world appears to be a grey and fearsome dark place.  But this is a n inventory that we must make– we must begin to look at  our strengths and stop wallowing in the self-pity which denies the new directions and progress occurring in our lives through the life of our depression, namely that we can’t seem to see the gracious goodness in ourselves that has been placed there for all time by the Higher Power. This in itself is the attitude that keeps alive our depression, sadness and self-deprecating attitudes.  We need to look at our assets and list our strengths as we gather together time after time in our Depressed Anonymous group or our individual working ( HOME STUDY PROGRAM)  of the Twelve Step program  in our lives.  We  need to remove as quickly as possible all the old excuses and reasons that we cling to which  keep us depressed and out of healthful recovery. Let’s be objective about ourselves and admit that just as we possibly have caused ourselves to be depressed, we likewise can un-depress ourselves in the same way.”

SOURCE: DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS, (3rd Edition, 2011).. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky 40217. (p. 56)

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Only when I had taken a complete inventory of my own life (Step Four) did I realize that certain ways of personal  thinking, feeling and behaviors gradually spiraled me physically into the painful pit of my own personally  manufactured  melancholia. (Some depression experiences can also be the result of physical illness/diseases. That is why it is best to talk to a medical professional before we diagnose ourselves. )  Now here is the part that people can’t quite understand –that we caused ourselves to be depressed. How could that be? Why would I want to cause myself so much pain? Good question. The real issue here is that I discovered over time that because of emotional issues that were mine, mostly unpleasant to reflect upon, such as guilt, shame producing isolation from family, friends and the world, plus the grief over lost employment and relationships. And then, because of this continued mental and emotional beating myself up it all came crashing down  as no longer could I think of anything but disaster, grief  and gloom. I became paralyzed emotionally, physically and spiritually and mentally. My body responded by not responding so that in time it was a battle just to get out of bed. So, there you have it. I caused all this by the way I thought about myself. In Step Four I was able to take each issue by itself and then to see how I might restore myself before my experience with depression. I learned how to un-depress myself. Remember, most of the things that come “out of the blue” are  the rain, snow and lightening. And now that I know where my melancholia originated and why, I am un-depressed today.

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WE ARE OUR PARENTS

” In order to make a good inventory I need to go to my roots and discover how I came to be the person that I am today.  As the saying goes, “We are our parents.”

When we were small we “swallowed” our parents, meaning “swallowed” their main personality characteristics. Even today parents, grandparents, a stepparent, or guardian are all now part of our personality — for good or for ill. For myself to escape from my depression I need to discover how I might have received certain messages about myself from these adults who surrounded me as a helpless infant and child.  All of us have received  messages as children — some helpful and others not so helpful. Some messages directed toward us might have made us feel worthless because we got the message that we could never do anything to please others. ”

See FAMILY OF ORIGIN in THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK (P.29)  Please visit the store at DA website for more information.

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It has been said that the make-up  of one’s personality is a mix of the personal, the biological and the environmental.  As for our parents, so much of who we are can be traced back to early childhood beliefs about ourselves.  When we t reflect on  early childhood experiences are there any messages about ourselves that come to mind presently. These messages could be helpful to our development or not so helpful. Write down in your Workbook some of these reflections.

I AM FILLED WITH HOPE FOR MY OWN RECOVERY TODAY!

AFFIRMATION

“…The more we want to experience the temporary comfort of the addiction the more that experience dictates the course of life’s focus.”

Our lives are not lived in  straight lines but in the cycle of a twenty-four hour period. My life used to be filled with pain and hurt. Now my days are beginning to be more hopeful and cheerful as I declare my dependence on my Higher Power rather on my depression. I am conscious of the fact that I have been habituated to thinking only one way about myself all this time, but now with my new recovery experience operating consciously in my life, this has helped me learn to go down new avenues filled with hope instead of the hopelessness and despair of the past.

My focus is on getting myself free from depression. One of the best ways is to take an inventory of my life for me to check out which of my beliefs and attitudes keep me stuck in my depression. I need to ask myself what is my strength that gets me through another day?  Not much will change in my life until I grapple with these areas of my life.

MEDITATION

God fill up the holes in our soul which keeps us from thirsting after your justice, your peace, and your will.”