How I "trained" to drink whiskey neat years and years ago:
Bought a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black
1st night: 2oz + 4oz water
2nd night: 2oz + 3oz water
3rd night: 2oz + 2oz water
4th night: 2oz + 1oz water
5th night: 2oz + 0.5oz water
6th night: 2oz + splash of water
7th night: 2oz neat
You now have a gradually conditioned brain/mouth that no longer overreacts to high proof liquor.
Sounds remarkably similar to how I learned to drink Johnny Walker in 1970. I shared an office with a fellow from Fort Worth who set out a bottle of JW and a bowl of jalepenos. The routine was to take a bite of the pepper and then cool it down with a swig of JW. It did not take a week to get the hang of it. From there, of course, I learned that bourbon is far superior and that the jalepenos were no longer necessary.
I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.