Pinpointing Addictive Demands

Pinpointing Addictive Demands

book cover recommend book⇒Gathering Power Through Insight and Loveto book home
by Ken Keyes Jr. with Penny Keyes 978-0-915972-13-5 paperback
birth 1921-01-19 died: 1995-12-20 at age: 74 978-0-940687-37-0 audio
publisher Love Line
published 1993-01-01
Informally known as The Methods Book gets down to the brass tacks. All the various exercises you can use to help get rid of addictions. It contains some template pages you could use to create a Getting Free Book diary.
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Ken does his deepest discussion of pinpointing in Gathering Power Through Insight and Love.

If you are feeling afraid, bored or angry, there is always an addiction or many addictions being triggered. It greatly helps to know precisely what they are. We have overarching general demands such as "I create the experience of sadness because my programming addictively demands that everyone love me." You won’t have much luck upleveling such a monster to a preference. You have to partition it, using a divide and conquer strategy.

Here is my personal technique for splitting off a very specific demand. Pretend there is a magic fairy who will grant you one wish. Here are the rules.

  1. You have to take the wish right now. So, for example, could not wish for a skiing vacation next winter, but you could wish for airline tickets to Whistler Mountain.
  2. A five year old child must be able to verify if the wish were granted. You can’t wish vaguely that somebody love you. You could wish that Jimmy call, that Shannon kiss you, or that Mom bring you a pie etc. Stick to sensory based language. Avoid any words that would require the child to use judgement. Avoid pejorative language. Keep it as objective as possible.
  3. You can’t be too greedy. If there is a weaker form of the wish that would still make you happy, you don’t get the wish. So if you wished for $1,000,000 when $5000 would have worked, you get diddlysquat.

The wish then precisely identifies your addictive demand. You can formulate it in canonical form:

I create the experience of ________ (some negative emotion),
because my programming addictively demands that ________________ ( your wish).
Most addictive demands are trivial: e.g.

Some are noble: e.g.

The hardest part most people have is reframing the wishes in terms of what they want right now, in the present moment. If you can’t do that, at least be honest and explicitly state either "I want the past changed so that… or I want the future arranged so that…"

Addictions trick you into thinking you need them to effect the necessary changes. You are far more persuasive without addictions because you aren’t so rabid and because you are more willing to look at the issue from the other’s point of view and values. You have more energy without addictions. You don’t get discouraged. You are more patient with people. You listen more effectively. You are cleverer. You aren’t like a bee in a bottle. You also are more willing to consider indirect routes to your goal.

Addictive demands are often ridiculous: e.g.

There is little hope, until the advent of virtual reality, of satisfying these sorts of demands. All you can do is reprogram yourself to stop suffering because of them, or to seek something similar that is under your potential control.

Addictions are often inconsistent. For example, you may both addictively demand your partner change his clothes more frequently and simultaneously addictively demand he not generate so much laundry by changing his clothes. You have it rigged that you will be miserable no matter what he does.

Ken tinkered with the canonical form of an addictive demand. Two other popular variants go like this:

The precise wording of the skeleton is unimportant. What counts is accurately nailing down the precise emotion(s), and specifying a specific demand.

Why So Specific?

Impatient novice Living Lovers attempt to knock out huge general addictions, e.g. "I create the experience of loneliness because I demand that somebody wonderful become my lover." They get nowhere. They will have much more success with a minor subdemand such as "I create the experience of loneliness because I demand that Bernard phone me tonight."

They could say to themselves, I don’t need Bernard to call, Roy would be fine. or I don’t need Bernard to call tonight, tomorrow morning would be fine. This minor demand is a lot easier to give up.

Here is the good news. After you reprogram a number of specific subdemands, the whole family of related demands topples as a side effect. Thankfully, you don’t have to nail them all individually, or even become consciously aware of them.

Here is an analogy. When bowling, you try to knock out only the one king pin. When it falls, it takes the others out for you. If you had the absurd notion you should hit all ten pins at once directly with your ball, you would never get anywhere.

Imagine a table supported by pillars. If you jump on the table and try to knock out all the pillars at once you get nowhere. If you kick them out one by one, sooner or later the whole table will topple.

Novices refuse to pinpoint sufficiently because any one pinpointed demand just scratches the surface of all that is upsetting them. They get nowhere. The whole idea is to find only a tiny sliver of what is upsetting you, something so trivial that you can drop it. If it is too big to drop, find something even smaller and more trivial.

Pinpointing Tips

Here are some techniques for finding a more pinpointed demand:

  1. Instead of insisting that all people behave a certain way, try working with the demand that just X behave that way. I create the experience of disdain because my programming demands that X not drop a cigarette on the sidewalk.
  2. Instead of insisting that X behave a certain way for all time, try forgiving X for behaving badly just this once, (so long as X behaves at all other times.) I create the experience of indignation because my programming demands that X not chew gum while we were waiting in the restaurant.
  3. Instead of thinking of demands as things you cannot get; think of them as requests you are waiting for. Really good things sometimes require a long time to manifest. Some things you want very badly, you later realise were not such a hot idea after all. You are allowed to change your mind. What do you do while you are waiting for your request to satisfy? You have a choice:
    1. Suffer addictively by focussing on the fact you don’t have it yet.
    2. Fantasise preferentially about how nice it will be when you finally do have your request met.
    3. Get on with something else, e.g. helping someone, or doing something practical to speed up your request, e.g. phoning that guy you have been fantasising about. Another way of looking at it is, you must answer your own prayers, but that does not mean you won’t get some divine help. Heaven helps those who help themselves.
    Even if it takes eons, the principle is the same. Even if it never happens, the principle is the same.
  4. For addictions about money, adjust the amount. Let us assume somebody stole $10. You might decide to be angry about $9 of the amount, but drop your demand for $1 of it. I create the experience of anger because my programming demands that X not have stolen $9. Or you might consider working on your anger presuming the money were eventually repaid or the thief appropriately punished. I create the experience of anger because my programming demands that X not have temporarily stolen $10. If you are worried about money, see if you can find the level of comfort, say $10,000 in the bank, then see if you could deal with having one thousand dollars less. You might not be able to uplevel an addiction to having at least $5000 in the bank, but you might uplevel one to having at least $9000. I create the experience of worry because my programming demands that I have at least $9000 in the bank right now.
  5. Let’s say you were afraid of snakes. Again quantify and shave the numbers. You might be able to uplevel your addiction to avoiding only snakes more than 0.5 inch long. I create the experience of fear because my programming demands that I not see a snake today longer than 1.27 cm (½ in) any closer than 30.48 metres (33.33 yards).
  6. Let’s say you are addictively demanding sex. Perhaps you are willing to give up a small part of that demand, e.g. precisely who it has to be with, precisely who does what to whom, or precisely when it has to happen. If you get it specific enough you might be willing to drop it, so long as you got something else of course! e.g. I create the experience of frustration because my programming demands that Jimmy give me a blow job at 18:00.
  7. Try turning a demand containing the word not into a positive description of what you want, e.g. I create the experience of disdain because my programming demands that X not drop a cigarette on the sidewalk becomes I create the experience of disdain because my programming demands that X put the cigarette in the trash container. Perhaps if would be ok if they took it home, or buried it.
Much of the pinpointing self-talk to pry off an addiction sounds a bit contrived, even insane, but it works anyway. Most people are unaware of how truly irrational their normal self-talk is that they use to hang onto addictions. You have to fight fire with fire.


Here is an example of how you pinpoint a demand. You can partition it into many little demands or sharpen the demand.

One of my major addictive demands is that the Bush Administration resign. I make myself sick with dread, frustration and anger over this. I spend days fuming on it, creating nausea and exhaustion. I ruminate on it as I try to fall asleep at night and think about it first thing on waking. How can I pinpoint this demand? I can partition the demand into many separate demands that each individual member of the Bush Administration resign, i.e. Bush, Cheney, Perle, Wolfowitz, Abrams, Rumsfeld, Powell… Now let’s look at just one demand at a time, e.g. that George Bush resign. I can further sharpen this by asking myself if I really need him to resign right now. Would this afternoon be soon enough? Would next Tuesday be soon enough? Now I can reformulate my demand in pinpointed form: I create the experience of dread, fury and frustration, because my addictive programming demands that George W. Bush resign before noon today. Perhaps I can let got of that tiny thread of the tapestry of fury I have against the Bush administration. The intent is not to become a Bush supporter, but to more calmly and effectively get him out of office.

Making A Case

In formulating addictive demands, you may be tempted to play lawyer and try to make a case for why your addictive demand is justified, e. g. I create the experience of anger because I my programming demands that Aurelia not treat Cynthia in such bitchy way. Reformulate that in objective terms, e.g. My programming demands that Aurelia not tell Cynthia that her hair looked dry and lifeless.

Try to formulate the addictive demand bending over backwards to make a case for your adversaries. Ideally, when you are done pinpointing your addictive demand, it should look either: trivial, petty, silly, illogical, preposterous or impossible. It will then be much easier to give up (or figure out a way to satisfy).

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