young man thinking

Analyzing Lost Battles: Increasing One’s Ability to Beat an Addiction

Like Dragons Did They Fight Book Cover

Question #5: Analyzing Lost Battles (from the book Like Dragons Did They Fight and used by clinicians in the Sons of Helaman and Men of Moroni programs to help men and young men gain sexual self-mastery.)

In the Sons of Helaman program a “lost battle” is when you have done something that is against your value system.

It is vital to analyze your lost battles correctly if you are going to be more prepared for the next attack.

Usually, the process an untrained warrior goes through right after a lost battle is counterproductive.

In typical situations, after a lost battle, the warrior feels significant guilt and self loathing.

Often he gets angry with himself and irritable with others. He feels stupid. He feels hopeless.

Not much thinking takes place. If there is any thinking, it sounds something like, “Why was I so stupid?” or, “What is wrong with me?”

Because of this, most warriors try to forget the whole experience as fast as possible. The chemical shifting associated with these thoughts and feelings weaken the warrior and he becomes more susceptible to further lost battles.

Spiritually, the young warrior has forgotten who he is and who he is up against.

A more healthy, useful and powerful approach can be observed in a military or athletic competition. I was a wrestler in high school. I took my sport pretty seriously. I was dedicated to winning my battles on the mat. It was nice to beat up on the guys who were not as skilled as I was, but important things happened in my heart and mind when I met a skilled opponent.

As much as I don’t want to admit it, there were times when I actually lost. The way I was coached to respond to these experiences has greatly impacted my research and training of young men who are fighting against Satan and his addictive behaviors.

As with sports, after a loss, a certain amount of anger and sadness is appropriate, if it builds the individual toward determination, instead of hopelessness. Imagine a military situation where because of some skill on the part of your enemy, one of your best friend’s gets killed right in front of you. If you stop and grieve for too long, it puts your own life in jeopardy. Sitting around crying and feeling stupid is just going to get you killed.

So, how long should you feel like crud after a lost battle? Just long enough to be motivated to take the next step. This should take less than a few minutes.

It is valueless to linger in negative feelings toward one’s opponent in sports. It is more useful to gain an increase of respect for your opponent. You will notice that the question we use to train the young men is, 

“When you lost, what technique did the enemy use to defeat you?” 

This shifts the focus away from looking for weaknesses in the young man, and increases focus on the strengths of the opponent. I had no idea when I first started training men to beat sexual addictions that they would need to gain a testimony of the power and intelligence of Satan, as fast as they were gaining a testimony of the power and intelligence of God.

With this new respect (laced with intense determination), the warrior will “review the video tapes”. This is a very uncomfortable part of the process. Men do not like to be reminded what they do wrong. It is humiliating. But every serious athlete or performer must gain the courage to review their past if they are going to make the future better. When reviewing the ‘video tapes’, we look for patterns.

“Is there a pattern?”

In order to identify a pattern, it is wise to use the chemical scale as a reference and work your way backward.

Start with level 5, the “I Give Up” moment, because analyzing anything after a level 5 is not a very valuable use of time. After level 5, the higher brain is mostly numb and the body is just functioning like an animal. This is the moment in time when the warrior stops fighting and gives up (for the moment).

I encourage the warrior to identify where he was (geographically) and at approximately what time he hit the “I Give Up” moment (within 15 minutes).

The most common answer for beginners is, “I don’t remember.” I have learned that even blacking this out is part of the Satanic strategy. If the warrior cannot “remember” how he got shot in the forehead, then he cannot prepare to avoid it in the future. With a bit of courage and concentration, the young man can identify his where and when.

young man thinking

Level 4, the Confused (Retarded) Conversation. I hope no one takes offense to my use of the word “retarded”. I actually do know what it means scientifically, but so many of my clients can relate to this word better than all the others I have tried to use.

To analyze a lost battle, we need to know how long the level 4 lasted, and what the conversation contained. Some have level 4 experiences that are barely a few seconds. Others can last days or months. “You know where his is headed. Yeah, I know. You should stop. Yeah, I know. Okay then, stop. Yeah okay…”

Level 3, the “Dude!” Moment. Every addict I have worked with understands this with minimal explanation. This is the first awareness of an inappropriate thought. It is one of the easiest parts of the scale to recognize.

I encourage the warrior who has recently lost a battle to remember where and when he experienced the Dude! Moment. This can be seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, before he actual lost battle. While it is not most effective to fight battles at this level, it is helpful to be prepared.

A warrior prepares by writing down as many “Dude”s as he can on paper, thus increasing the likelihood of identifying him (Satan) next time.

1- “Dude, it has been a while.”

2- “Dude, your parents are gone. It is a perfect time.”

3- “Dude, you are going to lose eventually anyway, might as well do so now!”

4- “Dude, your life sucks and isn’t going anywhere anyway, might as well.”

5- Etc. etc. etc.

Level 3 is specifically designed to be a pain reliever. There is a “gate keeper” between the higher brain and the animal brain. One of the main jobs of the gate keeper is to propose solutions for pain when pain (emotional) becomes overbearing. The gate keeper has a handful of prepared activities based on what has worked in the past.

When life becomes too ________, he says, “Dude,….” Satan whispers to the gate keeper a suggestion that has worked in the past to relieve emotional pain, but usually does not take into consideration the values system.

Level 2, the Pain Build up. Feelings. In my experience, men of all ages are very uncomfortable with the idea of being pushed around by their own feelings. To avoid feeling like they are being influenced by feelings, they just avoid being aware of having feelings. I know; I have done it myself! :-/

The build up from level 2 to level 3 is experienced when there is an increasing amount of legitimacy to one or more negative feelings.

For instance, if one of your Achilles’ heel feelings is Overwhelm, then it might sound something like, “You are never going to get it all done.

Expectations are too high.

There isn’t enough time.

No one understands how much pressure this is.”

As the believability of the thoughts increase, the feelings increase. And an increase in feelings is associated with an increase in chemicals that make one vulnerable to satanic attacks.

When Satan observes that there is probably enough emotional pain and vulnerability, the “Dude” moment occurs. This is when the animal brain, combined with some satanic assistance proposes an activity that will, “relieve the pressure.”

Level 1, the first of the chemicals. As described before in the Satanic Spin, certain thoughts cause chemical reactions in the brain.

The Satanic Spin specifically addresses the chemicals associated with deviant sexual behavior. Unfortunately, Satan is willing to manipulate other chemicals in your brain as well. To do so, he uses the same strategy. He carefully picks a thought that is likely to cause a chemical reaction in your brain.

Any feeling that cannot be associated with what one can expect to feel in the presence of the Holy Ghost (peace, comfort, confidence, etc.) is associated with chemical reactions that increase animal brain activity and decrease higher brain functioning.

I remember for me there was a time when Satan could easily use, “You aren’t going to have enough money to pay your bills this month.” I remember waking up to this idea like a sucker punch in the gut.

I remember the chemical spill in my body as I could feel my heart beating faster, and my mind starting to swirl. If I let such thoughts, and others like unto it continue to build, I could feel myself get more reved up, or spun.

With careful observation I noticed my creative problem solving skills decreased and my moodiness increased. If I did not have the skills to diffuse the strong feelings, I can easily see how I would be increasingly inclined to do whatever it takes to eliminate the pain, even if it is not logical and not in agreement with my long term values.

So, to analyze you own lost battle, review:

• Where and when did you say, “I Give Up”? (Level 5)

• Where and when did you experience the “Retarded Conversation”? (Level 4)

o What were some of the thoughts associated with this phase?

• Where and when do you remember he first “Dude” moment? (Level 3)

• Where and when did you start to believe the strong negative feelings that were spilling into your mind? (Level 2)

o Which negative feelings built up the pain this time?

• Where and when did you first get informed of a negative feeling? (Level 1)

o What thought(s) initiated this feeling?

• Is there a pattern to the times, locations, feelings and thoughts?

“If you could replay he event, what could you have done to beat him?”

As with sports and military situations, finding patterns in the methods of your opponent make it much easier to beat him. If you know that a military enemy is always going to hide in your bedroom at night and try to stab you with a knife as you are trying o fall asleep, how do you defeat him?

Sounds pretty simple when you put it that way, huh?

It has been my experience that about 90% of all “lost battles” take place at familiar times in familiar locations.

Here is a common military strategy I have seen Satan use on our young men.

The young man is on his way home from a long day at work or school. He is reminded of how hard he has been working and the thought of any more work in this moment could ruin his life, so he needs some “down time”.

Feelings of overwhelm or overworked start increasing the closer he gets to home. “Dude” moments start to occur, not about misbehaviors at first, but behaviors that put the young man in a more vulnerable position, like TV, or a nap in his room.

As the young man’s brain remembers how much more there is to do that day (homework, chores, etc) the pain increases. Eventually, the need for an even bigger “release” is present and the official “Dude” moment occurs. A little argument…and…crash.

So, after identifying the 1,2,3,4,5, create a plan to be a step ahead in the 1-2 zone. You must notice the moment in time when you feel a need to take a break from productivity. You must have a pre-created plan that will rejuvenate the body and mind accurately.

You remember that watching TV actually does not rejuvenate the body and mind, but a vigorous sport for a reasonable amount of time does work (basketball, running, biking, etc). Then get right on your stewardships (homework, chores) so you can finish the day with a sense of manly satisfaction, instead of another negative feeling of avoiding manly responsibilities.

If your 1-2 zone is in the area of stress, then you need to gain the skills of stress management. When Satan uses stress, he builds upon the idea that you will never be able to get it all done, have enough money, etc. With depression he builds upon “legitimate” descriptions of your flaws or hopelessness in life.

The possibilities are endless, but in our favor, in most cases we each only have about 3 major “Achilles’ heel” emotions. You may need some extra training on how to identify and how to create effective mood management skills, but once an effective plan is created…

“What drills can you do to make sure you win next time if he tries something similar?”

It is not uncommon that the final mistake I see warriors making is here. They come up with an effective plan, but then don’t practice it when they are NOT under attack. In all three comparative activities, music, sports and military, there is actual practice – WITH THE BODY – in artificial situations BEFORE the actual event is experienced.

If you are going to defeat a skilled enemy, you MUST practice, practice, practice! You must get your body to the point where it will take the necessary action quickly and without having to think about it.

For instance, the young warrior who discovers that he is regularly attacked right after school, and decides that going out to play basketball before working on other things, must do this every day, even if he doesn’t think it is necessary. Imagine telling a boot camp instructor that you didn’t do the drills that were needed because you didn’t FEEL like it!

So many “Lost battles” begin with losing an “I don’t feel like it” battle over a necessary drill.

Like Dragons Did They Fight Book Cover

The young men I work with who go on to success learn to respond with “Do it anyway” to every emotional excuse I propose to them to shirk drills.

If your 1-2 zone is stress, then every day at your vulnerable time you do your relaxation drills. If your 1-2 zone is depression, then you review your confidence building concepts that are written out on 3×5 cards at your vulnerable time. (a strategy boys learn in the Sons of Helaman program.)

If you really, really, want to learn how to beat this addiction, then you will type up the 4 parts of Question 5, and answer them in detail as guided above every time you have a lost battle.

To learn more about the concepts taught here and in the Sons of Helaman program, get your FREE copy of Maurice Harker’s book Like Dragons Did They Fight.

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