This exercise is designed to help you experience some of the feelings

Abstinence Assignment

The Abstinence Assignment (35 points)

This exercise is designed to help you experience some of the feelings and thoughts that addicted individuals experience when they quit their drug or behavior of choice. Your task is to identify a substance (e.g. nicotine, caffeine, or alcohol) or a behavior (e.g. internet use, eating sweets, playing video games social network watching television, texting) that you will abstain (or add on) from for a period of five weeks. This is supposed to be a challenge so please select something that is a struggle for you. If you are not able to come up with something please contact me and I will help you to identify a substance or behavior. Near the end of the course, you will be asked to turn in a paper that describes various aspects of your experience in completing the project.  You must break your paper down into the following sections, and you must stay within the specified page limit for each section and for the paper overall:

  • Introduction (maximum: 1.5 double-spaced page)
    • Identify the specific habit/behavior that you worked to change.  Include descriptions of at least the following:
      • The reason(s) why you decided to work to change that habit/behavior.
      • The reason(s) why you had not previously worked to change that habit/behavior (that is, reasons you maintained the status quo).
      • What stage of change you were at regarding the habit/behavior, before completing this project.  Include your rational for stating you were at that stage of change.
      • Going into this project, what your hypotheses were regarding how the habit/behavior developed, was maintained, and might be changed.
  • Methods (maximum: 1.5 double-spaced pages)
    • Include descriptions of at least the following:
      • The specific goals and objectives you had for yourself going into this project.  Your goals must be behaviorally anchored and objectively measurable.  In your objectives for accomplishing your goals, you must include evidence-based techniques, when such techniques are available.  Include information on how you measured progress and on the rationale for each goal and each objective.  Whenever possible, use research evidence to support your rationales.
      • Include information regarding any individuals who helped support you through the self-improvement process.
  • Results (maximum: 1 double-spaced page)
    • Include descriptions of at least the following:
      • How well you met each goal and objective.  To support your points, include both self-report data and reports from other sources (e.g., family, friends, coworkers, etc.).  Remember to make these reported results behaviorally anchored as much as possible.
      • How much or how little the support of others played into your ability to meet your goals and objectives.  State how such support helped and/or hindered your progress.
      • Whether you had any “slip-ups,” “lapses,” or “relapses,” and if so, what they looked like behaviorally and how/whether you were able to “get back on track.”
  • Discussion (maximum: 3 double-spaced pages)
    • Include descriptions of at least the following:
      • Whether your hypotheses were confirmed or disconfirmed.
      • Whether and how you were impacted by the experience of you completing this project.
      • Whether and how others in your circle of influence (e.g., family, friends, coworkers) were impacted by the experience of you completing this project.
      • What you learned about self-improvement (the change process) and about yourself through completing this project.
      • What strengths and coping resources you drew upon in your completion of this project.
      • What obstacles and limitations hindered your ability to complete this project?
      • Whether, how, and why some techniques proved more helpful to you in the completion of this project than other techniques did.
      • Whether your results were consistent with what you might expect based on prior theory and research evidence.
      • What contributed to any shifts in your motivation to change the habit/behavior, how it contributed, and why it contributed?
      • What you would do differently if you could go back and complete this project over again and why.
  • Conclusion
    • Briefly summarize what you are taking away from this experience and how it may or may not assist you in conducting addictions counseling with clients.

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