The principle of overwhelming force is fairly straightforward: if you want to achieve a goal (really, really achieve that goal), then you should attack the project with more energy and resources than what you really think are necessary.For example, if you are moving into a new house, and you think it will take 4 friends and 1 truck to get the job done, then you might decide to use 10 friends and 3 moving trucks instead.That would be applying overwhelming force to the situation.Instead of finding yourself with just enough resources (or possibly not enough), you will completely dominate your goal and have no problem in achieving what you set out to do.
That’s overwhelming force.
Understanding and using this principle can be helpful in overcoming addictions.Whether you are quitting drugs and alcohol, or trying to give up smoking, the concept of overwhelming force can be really useful.
An Example: Quitting Smoking
The first time that I ever tried to quit smoking, things didn’t go so well.It was a pathetic attempt, really, and it perfectly illustrates how valuable something like overwhelming force can be in battling addictions.Here I was totally unprepared for quitting; I had amassed almost no resources or knowledge to help in any way whatsoever.It was the complete opposite of overwhelming force.Needless to say, I failed to quit, and I also made many “more serious” attempts that followed that one.But all of those attempts failed as well.
I eventually developed a quitting strategy that worked for me.Without knowing it at the time, I was using the concept of overwhelming force to overcome my nicotine addiction.So what did I do differently that allowed me to succeed this time?
Thinking BIG and getting radical
I stepped back and thought about the situation.I knew from previous life experience that quitting smoking was essentially a week long detox for me.So I went to my employer and put in for 10 days off in a row.I scheduled this vacation for about two months down the road.My plan was to quit smoking at the start of that vacation.I now had two months to prepare for the quit, and part of the plan also included to save up some reward money for myself.Another useful strategy.
Notice that I didn’t just throw the cigarettes down and start trying to quit on a whim again.That didn’t work in the past.The idea is to think BIG.So I gave myself some time to set it all up.With the extra spending money set aside, and the 10 days off work, a lot of the regular triggers would be taken care of already.I also stocked up on all my favorite foods (steak) and lots and lots of candy.I had extra money, plenty of food, plenty of candy, and lots of time off work.If you don’t have these things, simply plan your quit for a few months down the road and then set up your goals to get everything in place.Get radical.Think big.That’s overwhelming force.
When quitting smoking, I also employed a radical idea for getting through the intense physical withdrawals that worked perfectly for me.Here’s what I did: I quit smoking and then stayed awake all night long.I then walked around like a zombie for a day and started going through the beginning of the nicotine withdrawals.But right as the withdrawals were nearing their peak, I was exhausted and sleep deprived, so I was able to crash out and sleep through the worst of it.It was all in the timing, and this technique worked like a charm.When I woke up from that extra long nap, I was through the worst of it and starting to feel better already.I highly recommend this technique, and it’s a perfect example of overwhelming force.Simply trick your body into sleeping through the hardest part of nicotine withdrawal.Do you have to sleep through withdrawal in order to beat nicotine addiction?Of course not.But it sure helps.
Overcoming Drugs and Alcohol with Overwhelming Force
Consider this: Nearly every single person underestimates the effort required to overcome an addiction.Initially, everyone thinks it will be easier than it really is.After trying sobriety and failing, many people realize how difficult it can be.But in the beginning, nearly everyone underestimates the disease of addiction.Remember that for drug addicts and alcoholics, there is no in-between.That is the nature of our disease.When we drink or use drugs, we tend to go all out.This is what defines our problem.There is no chance of moderation….not in the long run anyway.Recovering from chemicals is an either-or proposition.You’re either clean and sober or you are not.There is no such thing as a “tiny slip.”Such an occurrence turns into a full blown relapse with devastating consequences.Since our success in recovery depends on perfect abstinence from chemicals, and because a relapse is so devastating, the use of overwhelming force in recovery starts to make a lot of sense.
So how can you use overwhelming force in your recovery?One popular technique is to complete immerse yourself in AA and NA meetings.Many people go to several meetings every single day when they first get clean and sober.This is a perfect example of overwhelming force.Another good example that worked for me was to live in a long term treatment program.This is yet another way to complete immerse yourself in recovery, while also providing yourself with an added level of accountability and support.
So remember the idea of overwhelming force.Think big.Get radical.Don’t just dabble in recovery–instead, jump in whole-heartedly.
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