It's not a flytrap, so I agree with you, option 1 is probably best, with some option 2. Sudden environment changes will shock just about any plant.
Increasing the distance would have the same effect as getting a lesser bulb since the light intensity will be lessened, but keep in mind you're paying the same amount for the electrical output even if most of the light is going to waste, and without measuring it, there's no way of knowing exactly how much X light is lost by increasing Y distance:
If it's getting direct sunlight every day, it would be easy to overdue the lighting with that CFL, as you've already seen. I'm no expert on this, but I think you'd do better if you take the route where you start with the same hours (light cycle) you'll always have but at a larger distance, say 20" to start (?), and slowly decrease the distance to the plant while never modifying its light cycle - it'll more closely emulate natural sunlight intensity increases...
as opposed to keeping the CFL at the same distance from the plant and playing with how many hours you run it; you're more likely to shock your nep this way.