Tool 10: Extra Strong Fences - TaPhSiC Method
Part 3: Finding the Perfect Formula
So all we have to do now is find the perfect formula; a combination of spiritual and non-spiritual repercussions that ARE big enough to stop us.
We have seen that AFTER the fact (when the desires have been quieted), we are much more willing to do what it takes to stop the NEXT occurrence. And we have also seen that we are able to hold out better when the spiritual repercussions are BIGGER.
So let’s try this:
If we made a shvuah in the name of Hashem (and actually pronounce Hashem’s name) that AFTER we act out (on our bottom line behaviors) we will do x,y or z – would we keep this shvuah? Most frum addicts would. After all, it is AFTER the acting out. The desires have already been silenced and we feel bad. We don’t want to throw away the rest of our Yiddishkeit. So would we not keep a shvuah that we made in the name of Hashem? Will we transgress one of the 10 commandments “Lo sisah es Shem Hashem Elokecha lashav – Do not swear in G-d’s name in vain” (and as the pasuk continues, “for Hashem will never cleanse he who swears in His name in vain”)?
We have to make the shvuah to do something hard and painful. Not too hard that we might come to even break the shvuah in Hashem’s name c”v, but hard enough to make us not want to act out next time. Something we know will hurt, but something we know we can keep.
For example, one guy wrote that he vowed to give $200 to tzedaka after every fall. Within 4 falls, he was free of his addiction. Another person (in Israel) wrote that he succeeded breaking free by making a vow for one year that every time he fell, he would have to take a trip by bus to the Kotel and stay there for 90 minutes. This ultimately helped him to stop completely, because each time he felt that he was about to give in, he would remember what he would have to do and be deterred.
Some other examples might be: “I swear in the name of Ado-nai – for one week, that if I am motzi zerva livatala, then within the following 24 hours, I will:
- tell my Rebbe
- tell a close friend
- fast the following day from “alos hashachar” until nightfall. (If it’s Shabbos or Yom Tov, I will fast the day after.)
At first, these Shvuos should be for short periods of time, as in the example above. If we see that this is working well for us, we can extend the shvuah for longer periods of time. If we see that the deterrent turns out not to be strong enough for us, we might need to find something a little more painful. (See Tool #7 - “Making Fences” above, for an example shvuah that we helped someone set up. If we make that same shvuah in the name of Hashem, we are taking this fence to a higher level).