The Line Upon Line Battle Strategy

The Line Upon Line
Battle Strategy

My fellow warriors,

I recognize there are times when Satan seems especially determined to keep you from conquering addictive behaviors.  These are rough times when, after many efforts, you find that you just cannot beat him all at once (go cold turkey).  You have committed and recommitted  over and over again with the same results. Your hopelessness is starting to drain the life out of you.

In my own ferocious determination to fight back, I have found a way, supported by the Holy Ghost and the Atonement of Christ, to defeat this Satanic strategy.

We are taught in our religion that our efforts to become perfect can be line upon line, precept upon precept.  Even Christ developed grace for grace.  The theme behind the battle technique I will be describing here is designed to gradually take back “territory” he has stolen from us.

It is very common for the addict part of the brain to panic when the idea of being neglected for the rest of your life is proposed.  In therapy sessions, I observe an  involuntary “addict panic” when I propose to one of the warriors an extreme change in behavior that would starve the addict part of the brain forever.  The strategy I discuss here is designed to use the “frog in the pot” concept to control the addict part of the brain, instead of it using the same strategy to control us.  You will see that this subtle approach keeps the “addict panic” from sabotaging the efforts of the warrior as it has done in the past.

I start by calculating the average number of “good days” the warrior has between “lost battles” over the course of the last 3 months.  This does not have to be exact, a rough estimate is sufficient.  I then have the warrior pull out a calendar, and from the last lost battle, we mark a 🙂 on that many consecutive days starting from the last lost battle.  I then have him put an “x” on the next day.

I then have the warrior remember that he is fully capable of winning, on purpose, for that many days with some determination because he has done so in the past.  In almost every case, when the warrior also remembers why he is fighting against the addiction, he can make a commitment to do what it takes to win for that many days with only a hint of fear instead of a flood of fear or panic.

The warrior will still need to use all his weapons (border patrol activities : reading, writing, prayer, warrior chemisty drills, exercise, calendaring, planning, listening, text-coaching, etc) in order to win, but he knows he is fighting toward a land-mark, instead of endless and eternal fighting.

The warrior starts by winning all battles on the series of days he has marked with a :).  When he gets to the day with an “x” he is allowed to rest.  He does not make much of an effort to win.  Sometimes he accidentally wins for longer than planned.  It is okay either way. He has won for the time he planned.  This is a great victory.  If and when a lost battle occurs at this point, there will be little pleasure in it, but it will placate the addict part of the brain for now, and the Holy Ghost will only briefly withdraw.

Following the lost battle, the warrior quickly pulls out the calendar and adds one more day of consecutive :)’s than he had last time.  If he conquered 4 consecutive days last time, he marks, in advance, 5 days this time on the calendar, followed by a day with an “x” again.

Again, he uses all his skills and weapons to win each day markes with a :).  The Holy Ghost is quick to join this battle because the warrior is improving.  Perfection is not required to have the Holy Ghost, only determination to become perfect is required.

When the invitation to misbehave surfaces on days marked with a :), the warrior can firmly and easily respond, “It’s only one day more than last time, I don’t need it yet.”  Interestingly, like the frog in the pot, the addict part of the brain doesn’t fully register the change as much because it is gradual.

As I have seen this strategy in real life practice, after about 5 cycles of this, where the warrior improves just one day in each cycle, the confidence of the warrior starts to skyrocket!  Some warriors start to add two or more days instead of just one, although this is not required for the strategy to work.

For those concerned about how ecclesiastical leaders respond to this, it has been my experience that if the improvement is measurable and consistent (without relapse to more frequent lost battles), the leader will validate and reward the warrior for his efforts.

Scientifically speaking, this strategy does amazing things for the brain.  Every time the brain experiences winning a mini-battle thoughout the days marked with a :), it becomes stronger and the preferred neurological pathways become more likely to be followed in the future.  Also, the longer the brain goes without a dose of the addictive deviant sex chemicals, the less it feels a  need for such chemicals.  Eventually, the warrior still notices “hits”, but they have less of and effect on him.   And the strength he has gained from winning all the mini-battles, empowers him to win more frequently.

So, start by estimating your average number of successful days between lost battles over the last few months.  Mark  that many days out on your calendar to succeed, “:)”.  And let the war begin!  If your are accountable to someone ask with Text-coaching, report each day as “2/4” if your just finished winning 2 days out of the 4 you are committed to.  Or “5/7” if you are on the 5th day of 7.

(If you want my day by day guidance through the process, sign up for Text-coaching if you are not already on it.)

About Maurice W. Harker, LPC

Director of Life Changing Services, Director of Sons of Helaman, Facilitator of the WORTH group, Consultant for the Daughters of Light program.