Habermas summarizing G.H. Mead on identity creation and maintenance:
To the extent that the adult can take over and be responsible for his own biography, he can come back to himself in the narratively preserved traces of his own interactions. Only one who takes over his own life history can see in it the realization of his self. Responsibility to take over one's biography means to get clear about about who one wants to be, and from this horizon to view the traces of one's interactions as if they were deposited by the actions of a responsible author, of a subject that acted on the basis of a reflective relation to the self.
Depending on your own particular situation, on what you have done or failed to do in life, and what has become public knowledge, recuperating your moral biography, sanitizing, obfuscating, or redeeming it, can be a big project calling sometimes for drastic measures. Having been addicted myself to alcohol and gambling while serving as a prostitute in a think tank that shall remain nameless, I was tried and convicted of three counts of racketeering, one of money laundering, and one count of loitering in the public square solicting illicit trade. Getting Born Again in prison wiped the slate clean, but still did not net my life out to a positive. How was I going to tell my mother? I finally turned my reputation around by setting myself up as Morals Tutor to America's Wealthiest Families. That became a story I could proclaim proudly, plastering it all over the internet. As a philanthropic specialist much of my work is really that of a ghostwriter or PR consultant, though I call it morals tutoring. I help rich people, some good, some bad, use a big gift to make their own life stories come out even. It is good for them, good for society, and I make out like a bandit. Truth is often the only victim and she has been abused these many years long past caring. For a benign example of philanthropy-self-fabulists, see Bolder Giving.
On a public-spirited note, I would be happy to help Richard Mellon Scaife and Conrad Black restore their moral biographies through sacrificial giving for the public good. It has worked for Michael Milken, and lots of others too. If a wretch like me can turn his shameful moral biography around by associating himself with philanthropy, so can just about anyone.