CREDOS:Good to have a friend — III

Later in the day, when I was working on my grocery list, I discovered my left hand in my mouth.

I quickly retrieved it and sat on it while I completed the list.

Every day for a week Virginia came over and did a complete manicure.

She filed so much I feared my nails would never grow, but they looked and felt so much better because the surrounding tissue was no longer inflamed.

Gradually, as I became aware of where my hands were, I could keep them in my lap or wherever else my brain directed them.

No longer did they subconsciously go to my mouth. My nails had become my focal point because Virginia cared about them. And I was learning to care, too.

At the end of two weeks there was a smooth band of white around the tip of each nail.

“We’re going to switch to twice a week now,” Virginia said. She laughed. “I’ll have to see if I can break my new habit of Chocolate Raspberry coffee.”

The last time Virginia came to do my nails, she brought a bottle of shocking pink polish.

She polished and I “oohed and ahhed” as I displayed a set of long, polished

nails. Then she pronounced me “graduated.”

So was I no longer tempted by a crunchy nail treat? Hardly! I found that every three or four months I had to reinforce my decision and new habit.

Virginia suggested that I temporarily cover the evidence of any fingernail attack with a press-on nail, refocus on where my hands were, and start manicuring again.

I found myself frequently whispering, “Thank you, Lord, for a friend who cared enough to help me break my nail-biting habit.” Otherwise, I might never have tried. — (concluded)