I met a woman who knows she has celiac yet continues to eat wheat. She has a lot of excuses, from a fixed income to a boyfriend “making” her eat this way. She recently contacted me and told me she was afraid because she heard of someone dying from complications from celiac. I wondered if her fear would motivate her to change.

Going gluten-free, I can so empathize with this woman’s challenge. I slipped a few days ago, wanting so badly to taste a “real” brownie again. However, my body, being a powerful communicator, let me know it didn’t appreciate the event.

Ultimately, though, this question came to me: If you know certain actions will lead to self-injury, why continue to engage them? I smoked when I was younger but didn’t give it up until I had a hard time breathing after walking up a flight of stairs. For a long time, I lived in denial. How else could I have continued to put such terrible stuff into my lungs?

I believe a lot of people live in denial. It feels easier there, less threatening and scary. But the safety it offers is an illusion. Living in denial is dangerous, like playing Russian Roulette and hoping that this cigarette, drink, doughnut, or whatever your vice, won’t carry a bullet that destroys you. But every puff, sip or bit carries the possibility of just that. How crazy and self-destructive is taking that chance?

Yep, it’s crazy but I can identify with that craziness. And I bet so can you. That’s why I can’t judge the woman who reached out to me. She’s on her own journey and all I can do is share what I know and wish her the best.