One of the co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill Wilson, experienced depression. He wrote the 12 steps, which are a set of universal principles for better mental health. The steps did not cure his depression, but the impact of them helped. Today there is a wide range of treatment options available for those dealing with depression. The 12 steps can be a great complement to other therapies.
12 Steps for Depression
In step 1, we admit we are powerless. Admitting we are powerless over our depression is the first step in healing, just as it was in admitting we had a problem with drugs or alcohol. Healing begins when we accept what is true. We can’t recover until we take this step.
In steps 2 and 3, we turn our life over to a higher power. We admit we can’t cure depression on our own. Sometimes our higher power works through others, so these steps are about receiving help. This help may come from a therapist, a psychiatrist, a massage therapist, or a support group. Here we surrender and allow assistance.
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Steps 4 and 5 are our opportunity to take a searching and fearless moral inventory and share it with another person. Depression can trigger negative thinking, so this factual assessment of what is so can be very healing. Sharing the inventory of wrongs done is cathartic. Depressed people tend to isolate themselves from others. Being vulnerable and connected can also be healing.
Steps 6-9 address our character defects and allow us to make amends. Depression can feel like an ongoing negative spiral. Taking action to clear the wreckage of the past can be invigorating. It can also be a time to see the impact your depression has had on others. This honest appraisal clears the garden for new fruit.
Step 10 teaches us to analyze ourselves daily. We look at our character defects as well as our assets. This balanced view can be a challenge to the depressed mind, focusing on the negative. Step 11, prayer and meditation, can be soothing to anxiety and give hope to depression.
Sometimes being of service is just what we need to stop the isolation and take a break from our own mental swirling. Step 12 encourages us to share the spiritual awakening that we have received due to the steps. While the steps don’t cure depression, they are a great complement to other therapies. If you are having symptoms of depression, treatment is available. Call today.
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