Pleasure Reduction

Break out of addictions, compulsions, and obsessions by reducing the pleasure they create. It is useful for behaviors that are based on real needs but have become excessive.

Select an “overused pleasure.” 

Pick something that you need to reduce or eliminate.

Determine the meta-state levels that give this meaning for you.

In the center of a sheet of paper, write down the pleasurable activity. 

Draw a circle around it. 

Think of the pleasure, and ask, “What positive meaning and values do I give to this pleasure?” 

Write each answer briefly in the space immediately around the circle. 

Think of each answer as a kind of state that embodies feeling and meaning pertaining to this pleasure.

Repeat this to derive higher levels of meaning.

For each of the answers, ask the same question, and surround it with the answers you get.

Take in the full enjoyment gestalt.

Review all the answers, experiencing them as a complete profile for a kind of happiness that drives the behavior in question.

Reduce the meaning and enjoyment.

Determine which of the meanings is the most important in driving you to excess. 

Do this by placing your hand over one answer cluster at a time. 

For each cluster, ask, “If I could take away this cluster of meta-states, how much would it reduce the pleasure?” 

Continue to do this, until you clearly see which meanings exaggerate the importance of the pleasure, and which are more intrinsic to the pleasure, that is, more essential or basic to its real meaning. For example, health is a core value for eating, while having something to do while watching television is not a core value for eating.

Future Pace this reduced meaning and enjoyment.

Think of something that can reduce the pleasure of the activity. For example, seeing yourself getting fat by eating too much. Imagine yourself engaging in the activity, and say to yourself, for example, “This is only food. I can enjoy it nourishing me, but that’s all.” 

When another kind of pleasure or meaning slips into your mind, imagine the negative factor, such as getting fat. If the behavior is something that you need to eliminate completely, that you would say something like, “This meth-amphetamine is only a way to try to feel more joy and vigor. I can allow healthy alternatives to fill my mind.” 

Of course, this technique is not intended to substitute for any treatment that is required for addiction or compulsion. It is intended to help.

Generate other sources for the highest meta-level meaning states that you identified in step two and three.

STEP into the higher-level meta state, which is a combination of all the high level meanings you found in steps two and three. 

Fully experience the pleasurable nature of this state. Invite your creative part to show you other ways to experience this pleasure, and to create the meaning that these pleasures come from. 

Generate the sense that it is fully possible to live a life filled with this pleasure, but without excess.

See how well this technique reduces the selected behavior to an appropriate level, and how well it helps you create pleasure and meaning through healthy pursuits.