Abstinence exercise

RCE 603 – Substance Abuse Counseling Methods Abstinence Extra-Credit Exercise Project This optional, extra-credit opportunity is designed to: The purpose of this extra-credit exercise would be to help students partially experience some of the feelings/thoughts that addicted individuals experience when they quit their substance or behavior. Procedure: (1.) Each student will select one substance (e.g., nicotine, caffeine, alcohol) or a behavior (e.g., eating sweets, video games, Facebook, watching TV, etc.) for a period of time. The period of time may vary, but students should attempt at least two weeks of abstinence from their substance or behavior. (2.) Begin the period of abstinence by writing a “letter to my substance/behavior.” Write this letter in the first person to the substance/behavior from which you are abstaining. This should be a 1-2 page letter (e.g., “caffeine, you have always been there for me in the morning….”), and should cover the following areas 5 areas. How my addictive substance/behavior is: (a) loved and is considered a “friend”, (b) is sensual (appeals to my senses), (c) provides “healing” or is a “balm” to my emotional wounds, (d) controls and promotes my feelings of helplessness and entrapment, and (e) is hated (what it “costs” me). This letter should be typed and emailed to your instructor that the beginning of your period of abstinence. (3.) Keep a daily abstinence log. This log will describe your feelings and reactions, especially focusing on times you “lapse” or experience temptation. It is especially important to indicate times when it was both difficult and easy to abstain, as well as those specific circumstances during which you “slipped.” The daily log should be typed and emailed to your instructor at the end of the abstinence period. (4.) Write a brief summary paper at the end of the abstinence period. This paper should be typed, and be a minimum of two pages, double-spaced. Describe your abstinence experience (e.g., did you succeed or fail, what influenced you, what was the process like, what surprised or didn’t surprise you about the experience, do you wish to continue abstaining or not, etc.). It will serve as the conclusion to your overall experience. The paper (along with your daily log) should be emailed to your instructor.

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