Resisting temptation, all kinds of temptation, is notoriously difficult for a simple reason: the reward is immediate, while the consequences seem distant and nebulous. How many kids would have unprotected sex if the baby was born before the couple could even get out of bed?
But that’s not the way it works. The temptation is right there, the reward is immediate, and the consequences? Hey, they take years. Maybe it won’t even happen. Maybe you won’t be in the nearly 70 percent of diabetics who wind up with painful nerve damage. Maybe you won’t be one of the twenty five thousand diabetics who go blind every year, or the seventy-three-thousand who lose a foot, or even a leg. Maybe you won’t join the quarter-million desperate souls waiting for a new kidney. Just once couldn’t hurt, right?
Except it never is just once, is it? There will be donuts in the break room, cake at the wedding reception, cookies and egg nog at the holiday party, over and over and over again. The “just this once,” and “you have to treat yourself sometimes,” and “it’s a special occasion!” excuses will always be there. Every single time you push your blood sugar over 120, you are doing damage to your body. Every. Single. Time. It just takes a while to accumulate, that’s all.
“Sure, you can have that donut! Just let us cut off your pinky toe with a bolt cutter.” “Of course you can have a piece of Mom’s apple pie! While you’re doing that, we’ll put these thumbtacks in your shoes.” “Wedding cake? Why not?! Oh, but we’ll need to mist a little acid in your eye.” All of a sudden, you’re not so tempted, are you?
Good. I wanted to plant those images in your mind. I want to be there every time you’re tempted to throw caution to the wind and say “just this once.” I’m going to be the voice whispering “Go ahead, eat the donut. You didn’t really want that toe, did you?”