So what to call my diabetic self-care program, a sometimes disorderly process? Naturally the word "diet" came to mind immediately and was just as quickly dismissed. A "diet" is often something temporary ("I'm on a diet so I can look good at the reunion") and I intended for this to be a change for life. I also needed a term that didn't address my eating habits only--diabetic self-care includes diet, exercise, sleep habits, education, support systems, etc. Besides, "diet" has a lot of negative connotations: often imposed and planned by someone else, ill-fitting and painfully restrictive, like a bad pair of bowling shoes. Not a word to inspire enthusiasm, certainly.
"Program" sounded too Jenny Craig, and "health plan" too governmental or institutional. I considered biblical language based on the Exodus, but didn't want to wander in the desert for 40 years if I idolized a doughnut when Moses was on the mountain. Besides, Scriptural terminology often had a moral overtone I was trying to avoid--more on this problem in my next blog.
Eventually I came up with the idea of "The Regime." It is often used in the context of health (e.g., "an exercise regime") and implies going beyond dietary issues to include every aspect of my life, the way a political regime affects every aspect of a society. It is a word that connotes discipline and order, with a clear plan of action. It seemed to have all the characteristics I was looking for, and I've been using it ever since.
It's not perfect. Some political regimes are totalitarian and repressive (it's a word journalists use for the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, for example) and don't allow any bending of the rules or "wiggle room." But in my view, I am the head of this regime, which means I am the one who makes choices for my eating habits, and therefore takes responsibility for them and their consequences. I choose the exercise routine that's right for me, I assemble my own support staff, I establish the norms for everything. In The Regime, I'm in charge.
This last point is crucial. In AA, people have to admit that they are powerless over their disease in order to become healthy. That simply isn't true of most diabetics. Unless a genuine eating addiction is involved or other serious health issues, most of us diabetics have a remarkable amount of control over its effects in our lives. As one man put it, "I know diabetes is going to kill me eventually---I get to choose how soon."
This post is getting a bit long, so I'll simply end with this thought for you to ponder: I consider myself the head of The Regime, but I have placed myself under the Sovereign King. So how does the Regime fit into the Reign of God?
Let the peace of Christ reign in your hearts,
for this why you were called to be one body.
And be thankful.
Next post: The Moral Squint