So I stopped.
My cuticles are still puffy from the years of trauma they've endured. Excuse the slightly tacky nail polish, but keeping a good manicure is the only way I've found to really keep from picking.
Here's what I did to stop.
Awareness is half the battle.
I was constantly aware because the ends of my fingers were literally itchy from not being messed with. I would chew or pick until I bled, and I guess my fingertips were used to nearly constant stimulation. It's a really weird feeling. I found that just pressing on the cuticles around my nails would help it to go away.
The other thing I did was figure out how to stop the little bits of dry cuticles from tempting me to pick or chew my fingers. I did a lot of research and discovered that this:
So, what has worked: forced awareness, nice manicures (if it gets chipped I will pick at it, and then it's all over), and stupifyingly expensive moisturizing creme. And gallons of regular old hand cream. Currently I'm using the Nivea Extended Moisture Hand Cream.
It's working. But I have to be very vigilant because it is really easy to slide right back into the habit. Someone actually complimented my nails the other day. And they don't embarrass me anymore.
And I also don't have to worry about getting some staph infection or something in my cuticles. Ugh.