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Today’s Step

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    Day 1

    Addictive History

    “If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.”

    When we were very little, we dreamed about what we wanted to be when we grew up. We did this in part because adults used to ask us all the time, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We also did it because it is normal for little children to fantasize an ideal existence for themselves.

    As we grew older, our dreams began to fade under the influence of the giants in our life who dictated the path we were to follo. Some of us were traumatized by being told we’d never amount to anything. Others were ordered to live up to our potential (whatever that was supposed to be). Still others of us were expected to follow in our parent’s footsteps.

    Some of these expectations didn’t become harmful until they started clashing with our own personal yearnings and ambitions. While many of us followed those parental dictaes with good results, others of us assumed—but hated—the roles assigned to us. Playing those roles created negative thinking, negative attitudes and behavior. It’s exactly these characteristics that we need to examine now to come to a clearer understanding of our addictive history. An addict with no sense of addictive history can never admit to anyone the exact nature of his wrongs.

    Today’s Step: I share my addictive history fearlessly.

    Step by Step. Muriel Zink



    Day 2


    “All human beings have gray little souls—and they all want to rouge them up.” Maxim Gorky

    The rootof the word “personality” is “persona.” This is defined as “a character in a dramatic or literary work”—literally a mask for actors. In psychology, the definition of “persona” is, “The role we assume to display our conscious intentions to ourselves and others.”

    As we grew up we simply accepted the evaluations other people made of our character, and built a mental image of ourselves that wasn’t necessarily accurate.

    Over time we becae adept at wearing masks to project what others wanted to see. Because concealment, defense, deception and our need to adapt to our environment were necessary for our survival, these masks became our primary means of defense. As a result they’re very difficult to give up. We’re afraid if we take them off we’ll become a cipher—a zero—in the eyes of others. We have hidden, protected, disguised our true selves. The very thought of mentally undressing under the scrutiny of anyone else is terrifying.

    When we trust that those who are close to us wish for us the same ultimate good that we wish for them, we become less afraied and more self-disclosing. For the first time in a very long time, we’re beginning to trust enough to risk dropping our masks.

    Today’s Step: I can take off my mask with perfect confidence.

    Step by Step. Muriel Zink



    Day 3

    Clearing the decks.

    “There is something about a closet that make a skeleton restless.”

    Difficult as change is, it does lead to new good. We tend to cling to the familiar even if that familiar is causing pain and discord. We feel uncertain about taking steps to move from what we know into the unknown. Besides, we’re not convinced that change is going to work for us, anyway.

    We can point to the fact that we’ve tried all manner of changes—change of jobs, of spouses, geographic changes—and none of them have proved to be teh answer. We see no logic in the supposition that, afteer we’ve bared our soul, and admitted our past defects, there will be clear sailing ahead. Taking into account the problmes we have faced, we’re not even sure that some of our past behavior wasn’t necessary.

    What we don’t yet realize is that there was a payoff to our dysfunctional behavior. Despite its negative effect it gave us a certain amount of satisfaction in the doing. It was “self-will run riot”—the behavior of a two-year-old whose demands for self-gratification are insatiable.

    We cannot clear the decks for change, we cannot clear away past wreackage, without first identifying it, as we did in Step Four. The next move is to be willing to verbalize what we’ve found so it can be dealt with in a healthy manner.

    Today’s Step: Coming out of the closet willingly and admitting the exact nature of my wrongs is a change for the better.

    Step by Step. Muriel Zink

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