From the October 2010 magazine.

Safety valve

Using journaling as his Tenth Step, a self-critic attempts to conquer his turmoil

ONE evening, some years ago, I became aware of an endless stream of self-criticism flooding my mind as I was returning home at the end of a workday. I hadn't done this; I hadn't done that; I didn't have this; I didn't have that. I should turn my face to the wall in shame. I had no right to exist on this planet, etc. This self-flagellation simply has to stop, I said to myself.

That night I made a list of positive things I had done that day: meditation and prayer in the morning, projects completed or advanced at work, the AA meeting I had attended. That list was an attempt to rein in my negative emotions and achieve some degree of emotional balance.

-- DAVID S.

New York, N.Y.

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