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There is a little masochistic man who lives next to my heart. He lives to squeeze; pulling at all the veins and arteries, constricting my chest. He receives his orders from my alcoholic brain, which loves to make shit up.

Step Seven: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

It’s no fun thinking everyone is constantly going behind your back. Without my knowledge, there is a secret smear campaign at work. How much longer until they all jump up and scream “gotcha!”?

When I was young, long before I ever picked up a drink, I spent three years coming to the realization that human beings are horrible. People were talking behind my back. People were organizing a smear campaign. I was a pariah. And I had a nervous breakdown.

In order to survive, I became friends with the sick feeling. Not the greatest survival instinct; isolation and constant dwelling, but that’s what I was working with.

And the feeling was so big and so real, now that I no longer have a need, it still wants to come out and be of service. Hence the insane thoughts.

It all comes around to trust. I lost faith in humanity, then in myself. The Twelve Steps are helping restore hope. But days still remain when my ears prick up, my shoulders tighten and my head drops. Because it’s all I seem to know.

The Lesson? Familiar pain is still pain.

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