Bad habits live in the dark

monster figurine toy on macbook pro keyboard

While I have been chugging away at certain goals, book-reading and Nei Kung-doing, especially, I've been lagging embarrassingly behind on others.

One of the most embarrassing failures has been my inability to resume my dedication to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. For a regimen that not only turned my health around seven years ago but also managed to get me down to a negligible amount of medication, I'm amazingly dismissive of it. I'm not just talking the occasional cheat: there are oceans of Rolos between me and my former healthy self; vast chasms you could fill with Pizza Hut Thin-and-Crispy Veggie-Lovers Supreme. I would think nothing of driving through the Jack-in-the-Box window for their revoltingly delicious, deliciously revolting 2-for-99¢ tacos, of tossing a bag of Jelly Bellies, or M&Ms, or Marshmallow Peeps, in season, into my basket on the way out of Vons or the Rite-Aid.

Literally. I would not think. This has made transgressions surprisingly friction-free, but has gotten me further and further from feeling like it's possible to be on SCD at all.1 And you know, I can't count on there being prednisone and other immunosuppressants after the apocalypse, so it behooves me to get off the junk well in advance and give my poor intestines a chance to sturdy up.

Fortunately, I seem to have stumbled on a solution that costs nothing, is easy to implement and that, thus far, has stopped all fast-food cheats dead in their tracks: the Specter of Wayne.

Wayne is a good friend and an even more exacting external conscience. A fellow ACoA with bigger balls than I, he simply has no tolerance for moral ambiguity. Like the SCD, you either are or are not with Wayne; he won't argue with your choices unless you want him to, but there is no lipsticking of the pig with Wayne. It is broccoli, and he says the hell with it.

Which is how, after he gently brought up a very embarrassing lapse in, uh, judgment I was making over and over again, we ended up with the brilliant fix of me contacting him before succumbing. I could succumb after that, but I had to let him know first. If you are an addict or someone who loves one, you may recognize this as sponsor-like behavior, which it is, with one significant exception: it would not be Wayne's job to talk me out of my indiscretion, just to bear witness to the possibility of it.

Well. The genius of this was immediately evident. I am ruled by shame and fear (yeah, yeah, I know); Wayne is an inflexible arbiter of right and wrong. There was no fucking way I was going to cave if it meant letting Wayne know. The mere idea of it was enough to stop me when I was on the brink. Hence, the Spector of Wayne!

At last week's Success Team, my little weekly gathering of like-minded self-improvers, I reported that the Specter of Wayne had worked so well in curing me of my previous bad habit that I wanted to apply it to another: the getting of me back onto SCD. We would go slowly, just junk/fast-food, for starters, and fuzzy borders, at that. I went to a wine-tasting event on Friday night with the full intention of enjoying whatever delicious illegals they laid out next to the Malbec and sangria. Hell, even the sangria was illegal. But these were fine-quality baked goods and chocolates, not thank-you-drive-through abominations.

Eventually, I will banish even those, of this I am sure. Partly because with each thing I say "no" to, I grow a little stronger and more confident. I live a little more in the light of truth, and believe a little more deeply in the power of focusing on that which is best for me.

But I also retain a healthy respect for the Specter of Wayne. Whatever it takes to get there from here...


1The SCD is a binary proposition: you're either on it 100% or you're not on it. And, in my experience and that of many thousands who have gone before me, one requires fanatical adherence for a while before one can feel safe letting illegals creep in here and there. If ever.

Image by Random Activity via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.