When you are in recovery whether it be for an addiction or depression, there is a lot of talk about the twelve step program that is used by organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). When you are in recovery for depression and not addiction it is hard to see how those twelve steps could benefit you.
I was advised by therapists and counselors in Texas to do the twelve step program. I was handed the AA Big Book, a 12-Step pamphlet and sent on my way to work it by myself. I didn’t really “qualify” for a sponsor because I had no addiction in my background; and according to them I had broken ground and this would help me to continue to do so.
Well every time I would start it, I would get to step three or four and quit. Just quit, give up. It was easier than dealing with it and besides; this was for people with addiction. I could not have been more wrong.
I have a counselor/therapist now who is wonderful. She is good at pushing me towards goals and making sure that I achieve them. She has ingrained basic coping skills into my brain, things that seem like they should be so simple; but aren’t always for me. She has said, “let’s take the steps together”>
So, I take Step 1 now. And I look at the other 11 steps ahead of me and I feel a little scared. I know, just like therapy and group; that taking these steps is going to bring up things that are not going to be easy. But I am ready to take them, I need to take them. No elevator this time, only those steps.
Step 1 – We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable
In my case we are going to replace addiction with depression although in many ways the depression was an addiction. I had be come so use to being miserable, sad and angry that I thought something was wrong when I was happy.
I had no problem before admitting to my depression or even anything (and everything) that has happened along the way. I have never had a problem expressing my feelings, whether it be in a constructive or non-constructive manner. I have never had a problem admitting the depression and anxiety.
However actually admitting I was powerless over the depression was harder. I knew (and still know) that my depression can and will consume if I allow it to. I knew it was a problem, but did not accept or admit how big the problem really was.
I felt in many ways that admitting the depression had me powerless over myself made me feel like a failure. How could a person not have control over themselves. It seemed ridiculous in many ways. And it was easier to complain and blame the depression than actually do something about it.
I wanted to be strong and take it all on myself. I thought that by taking my medication and doing the minimal with therapy that it would be enough. It wasn’t.
My depression was destroying my relationships, my integrity and my life. And although I have depression, it does not define me. And I will not let it, any more.
My name is Kelli James, I have depression. I am powerless over my depression and my life has become unmanageable. I completed Step 1 on November 18, 2010. It is time to take back my life.