12 steps for depression

12-Step Programs for Anxiety and Depression

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By Kristina Robb-Dover

The road to recovery from anxiety, depression and other mental health issues can be daunting. There are still many people who may not even realize what they’re suffering from; worst of all, many of those who do are afraid to talk about it openly. Communities all across the world suffer from a shortage of available mental health care, and even when care is available, some may find their insurance only covers up to 20 therapy sessions per year. Resources and time to dedicate to the individual patient are often limited, leaving both the client and the provider seeking a better solution that may provide a more adequate amount of time for the healing process to fully flourish.

What Is a 12-Step Program?

Famously created by Alcoholics Anonymous, 12-step programs are designed to take someone who’s suffering from something like alcohol addiction, gambling addiction or narcotics addiction and help to create a better sense of understanding, a method to coping and a sense of community. This is done through a 12-step process that, when sought with an outward perspective, can be seen as a great foundation on the path to beating those addictions with like-minded people. The power of these groups lies in the ability to maintain total anonymity while allowing yourself to become completely vulnerable and truly see, often for the first time, that you’re really not alone in your struggle.

What Is Emotions Anonymous?

Founded in 1971, the Emotions Anonymous 12-step recovery program shares structural similarities to Alcoholics Anonymous but is for people who suffer from emotional issues. The program is great for people who are experiencing anxiety, loss, depression, grief, anger, low self-esteem and many other emotional stressors. There are 12-step programs for many different emotional and mental health issues; if you don’t see yours immediately, consider reaching out to your local meeting center for more information on how and when these specifically needed sessions could take place.

There are more than 600 active groups in 30 countries that offer group meetings and apply the 12-step approach used in AA. The goal of the Emotions Anonymous 12-step program is to help the individual attain full psychosocial function while also avoiding negative or self-harming behaviors.

As the name anonymous would suggest, members are not required to disclose personal information. This allows participants to share as much or as little as they’re comfortable doing while still benefiting from the program as a whole.

Although the 12 steps focus on finding help and peace in a higher power, this concept is open to interpretation among its members. A major benefit of this group for newcomers is the idea that no one is alone in their struggle — while situations and symptoms may differ, the underlying depression and anxiety remain the same.

Members are not required to stop any medications, and group meetings can be used in conjunction with traditional therapy. Sometimes 12-step programs are even suggested by therapists for additional support. The sense of community from these groups can be of great value to members who struggle with loneliness. The act of getting out of the house and attending a meeting can serve as an accomplishment as well.

This 12-step program can also be adapted to other problem behaviors, too, such as helping bipolar patients who suffer from compulsive spending or adult children of alcoholics who have feelings of worthlessness from an abusive childhood. Codependents Anonymous, for example, addresses the issues of feeling responsible for another person’s success or failure, which may lead to depression, panic attacks and more. Each program offers a sense of understanding and a wealth of anecdotal support from members who have lived similar experiences.

What Are the 12 Steps of Emotions Anonymous?

Borrowing from the success of other 12-step programs, Emotions Anonymous cements itself with 12 mission-fulfilling steps that act as pillars in the overall EA program. The 12 steps of AA are each set in a specific order, although the amount of time an individual may spend on any one particular step is different for everyone.

12 Steps of AA

  1. Admitting powerlessness over emotions
  2. Acknowledging a higher power
  3. Turning one’s life over to that higher power
  4. Taking a moral inventory
  5. Admitting personal wrongs
  6. Acknowledging the ability of the higher power to remedy character defects
  7. Asking the higher power to remove any personal shortcomings
  8. Listing the people one has harmed and developing a willingness to make amends
  9. Whenever possible, making amends with any individuals who have been harmed
  10. Taking personal inventory on a continual basis and admitting any wrongs
  11. Improving one’s connection with the higher power through prayer and meditation
  12. Living the Emotions Anonymous principles and sharing the program’s message

Testimonials for Emotions Anonymous

Beginning the process of life reconciliation, whether from mental health issues, addiction or both, can be incredibly difficult without a support system. It can also be pretty intimidating to put yourself out there to try to beat something or get help again once you’ve had past failures. We collected a few testimonials from participants who’ve undergone the Emotions Anonymous program and found success.

“EA will always be a gift for anyone that wants to start a meeting no matter how old or new one is to the program as I am lucky to start the program as young as I did as I’m 51 but have 21 years in.” — Lee R.

“This program is giving me my Life Back and My Inner true Self…” — Tanya M.

“WHAT IF… Worrying is thinking about ‘what if something goes wrong’. Dreaming is thinking about ‘what if everything goes right’. Both are necessary. When I get out of balance with either one, I need a way to keep from capsizing. To do that I take some steps. For me, EA is all about that.” — Janet H.

Getting the Help You Need

Now that you’ve learned about the power of Emotions Anonymous, are you ready to take the next step? Give us a call at FHE to get started on the road to recovery from your mental health issues today at (833) 596-3502. We’re open 24/7, 365. Your journey to relief can start today.

Filed Under: Featured in Rehab, Rehab Explained

About Kristina Robb-Dover

Kristina Robb-Dover is a content manager and writer with extensive editing and writing experience... read more

SAMHSA’s National Helpline | SAMHSA

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  • SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

    Also visit the online treatment locator.

SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357) (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service), or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.

Also visit the online treatment locator, or send your zip code via text message: 435748 (HELP4U) to find help near you. Read more about the HELP4U text messaging service.

The service is open 24/7, 365 days a year.

English and Spanish are available if you select the option to speak with a national representative. Currently, the 435748 (HELP4U) text messaging service is only available in English.

In 2020, the Helpline received 833,598 calls. This is a 27 percent increase from 2019, when the Helpline received a total of 656,953 calls for the year.

The referral service is free of charge. If you have no insurance or are underinsured, we will refer you to your state office, which is responsible for state-funded treatment programs. In addition, we can often refer you to facilities that charge on a sliding fee scale or accept Medicare or Medicaid. If you have health insurance, you are encouraged to contact your insurer for a list of participating health care providers and facilities.

The service is confidential. We will not ask you for any personal information. We may ask for your zip code or other pertinent geographic information in order to track calls being routed to other offices or to accurately identify the local resources appropriate to your needs.

No, we do not provide counseling. Trained information specialists answer calls, transfer callers to state services or other appropriate intake centers in their states, and connect them with local assistance and support.

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Last Updated: 08/30/2022

Depressive Anonymous 12 Step Program - Life - Yes!

Every difficult undertaking, and overcoming depression is a difficult undertaking, requires not only significant efforts from the beginner, but also certain support from the outside world and from the people around. The inner strength necessary for the initial push to recovery appears not only with the help of drug therapy, but also as a result of making a decision and starting to change the established way of thinking, which in depression is pathological: gloomy, pessimistic, fixated on self-abasement and self-blame. Forces will accumulate as we move forward.
Since our feelings and actions, as well as states and moods are mostly the result of our thoughts and beliefs, first of all, we need to change the style and way of thinking. That is why the Program of Steps for Reflection and a consistent phased recovery program is proposed. Overcoming depression goes in all areas of human life: physical, mental, emotional health, material and everyday life, all kinds of relationships, work, etc. The Program below is a 12-step program for Depressive Anonymous that has been revised to reflect our experience and knowledge. They expanded a little, deepened, universalized, got rid of religious attitudes and lined up in a more logical, in our opinion, order.
How can you work with thesis steps?
The first option: Read one a day (or even with a longer period) and for 10-30 minutes meditate, meditate on the designated topic, analyze your situation comprehensively from the proposed position, look for parallels and analogies in your life and the lives of those around you, in literary and film materials, think about the possibilities of passing this step, look for the necessary methods. Work on each step for as long as you need, until you get a clear feeling of “everything is enough, you can move on to the next”. When all the steps have been carefully worked out, return to the beginning, doing more in-depth work and adding a comparative analysis with previous experience.
Second option: Print the Steps and hang them in a visible place. At the onset of especially difficult periods and a gloomy mood, reread them like a mantra / affirmation. If there is a desire to think more carefully about any one, take a moment.
Third option: Discuss the Steps with loved ones, talk on given topics, read literature, watch movies.
In especially difficult moments, the Steps can serve as a sedative. As you move forward and restore, you can replace the pronoun I with We - new semantic facets will open.
And of course, it is not forbidden to come up with your own methods of working with the proposed materials.
12 Step Program:

  1. As hopeless and gloomy as things seem at the moment, I make the decision to overcome my current situation and recover from my depression. Everything in a person's life determines his choice - I choose Life.
  2. A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. The first step on my path is the awareness of my condition and the decision to move from depressive turmoil and apathy to clarity, peace of mind and peace - to the light. I know that I am sick and that I need to overcome my illness. I have lost the ability to control my life and I want it back.
  3. Rejection of the future and passing away from life is not a method of solving problems, but only a way of escaping from oneself, people, the World. You can correct the situation only by actively participating in it, which means continuing life. Life is given to me as a Gift, and one should be grateful and grateful to the World. I will try to use this Gift in order to create my own life and help other people in this. I trust my life to the care of a Higher Power or God as I understand Him.
  4. I believe that the World is just, generous and merciful. My faith and the members of the group are my support and the source of the necessary strength. I am no longer alone in my state of depression. I found people who understand me, my feelings and problems. I trust other members of the group, share my experience, hope and strength. I learn from my comrades a new positive way of thinking and behaving.
  5. I take responsibility for my feelings, thoughts, actions and my future, realizing that the salvation of a drowning person is the work of the drowning person himself. No one knows me better than myself, therefore no one can help me better than myself. But at the same time I need support and new knowledge. "God, give me the peace of mind to accept what I can't change, the strength to change what I can, and the wisdom to tell one from the other."
  6. I acquire the skills to manage my feelings, thoughts, actions, life. I create my future today and every moment. The more constructive and positive I think and act, the happier and more joyful my life will be. Fixation on the past, on fears, doubts, regrets, resentments deprives me of hope for tomorrow. I can control my thoughts and not allow suspiciousness and negativity in them.
  7. I know that the burden is on the shoulders, and I am free to plan my own progress in accordance with my capabilities. I set realistic goals for myself every day. I am ready to fearlessly and comprehensively examine myself and my life, including from a moral point of view, as well as admit my errors and mistakes. I am going through the process of repentance: sins must be acknowledged, debts must be repaid, mistakes must be corrected. I understand that in a few meetings and months it is impossible to fix what has been destroyed for a long time, and I stock up on patience.
  8. I find out my strengths and focus on developing them, cultivating the necessary qualities and overcoming shortcomings. Mistakes and failures no longer scare me, they are a natural and indispensable part of becoming a person. I am not perfect and cannot avoid mistakes, but I can learn to accept them, strive to be better and improve my life.
  9. I strive to be cheerful and fit, lead a healthy lifestyle. Walking and playing sports, proper nutrition not only normalize physical well-being, but also restore clarity of thought, self-confidence and increase self-esteem.
  10. I don't avoid people, I learn to trust them, respect myself and them, and build relationships in a mutually safe and mutually beneficial way. I enjoy communicating with group members and with other people. Self-isolation is a sign of the resumption of the disease.
  11. I know that by working on myself sufficiently, I will definitely overcome depression. Although I sometimes feel hopeless and overwhelmed, I am not helpless, I now have support. I made the decision to change my life for the better. The more active my efforts to think and act constructively, the more confident and better I will feel.
  12. As I recover my strength and get out of depression, I will more and more help people around me - those who need my support and my experience.

Depressive Anonymous Classic 12 Step Program :
1. We admitted we were powerless over depression, that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that only a Power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Have deeply and fearlessly assessed themselves and their lives from a moral point of view.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to any other person the true nature of our delusions.
6. Completely prepared ourselves for God to deliver us from our shortcomings.
7. Humbly asked Him to correct our shortcomings.
8. We made a list of all those people whom we had harmed, and were filled with a desire to make amends for the damage caused to them.
9. Personally made amends for the damage caused to these people wherever possible, except in cases where it could harm them or anyone else.
10. Continued introspection and, when they made mistakes, immediately admitted it.
11. Strived through prayer and meditation to deepen contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for the knowledge of His will, which we must fulfill, and for the bestowal of strength for this.
12. Having achieved the spiritual awakening that these Steps led to, we tried to bring the meaning of our ideas to other people suffering from depression and apply these principles in all our affairs.

12 steps from depression - Psychologist Natalia Kholina's Blog — LiveJournal


Previous Entry | Next Entry

atlana in her post 12 steps for depression asks:

I wonder how effective the 12 step program is for depression?

In my opinion, item 1 is definitely an effective start. Understanding and accepting one's own illness releases a lot of energy that was previously spent on denying reality and running around in a race with "non-depressive" ( or so thinking :) . .. It is in paragraph 1 that is contained The most powerful tool for recovery it may take months or even years of therapy... This is the first step towards grief, without passing through which it is probably impossible to cope with depression and get out of it

« Step 1 . We admitted we were powerless over depression, that our lives had become unmanageable.

Step 2 . Came to believe that only a Power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity.

Step 3 . Made a decision to entrust our will and our lives to the care of God as we understood Him.

Step 4 . They deeply and fearlessly assessed themselves and their lives from a moral point of view.

Step 5 . Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to some other person the true nature of our wrongs.

Step 6 . Completely prepared ourselves for God to deliver us from our shortcomings.

Step 7 . We humbly asked Him to correct our shortcomings.

Step 8 . We made a list of all the people we had harmed and became willing to make amends for the damage we had done to them.

Step 9 . We personally made amends for the damage caused to these people wherever possible, except in cases where it could harm them or anyone else.

Step 10 . We continued to introspect and, when we made mistakes, immediately admitted it.

Step 11 . We sought through prayer and meditation to deepen our contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for the knowledge of His will that we must fulfill and for the power to do so.

Step 12 . Having achieved the spiritual awakening that these steps led to, we tried to convey the meaning of our ideas to other people suffering from depression and apply these principles in all our affairs.0021

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