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In the abstinence exercise, you will choose a substance or habitual behavior (e.g., nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, sugar, shopping, or television [TV] viewing) from which to abstain for a period of five weeks. For this assignment, you will write a letter in the first person, addressing the substance or behavior from which you are abstaining and should be written on the first day of abstinence.


Write the commitment letter in the first person (e.g., “Caffeine, you have always been there for me in the morning . . .”). It should cover the following five areas:

  • How my substance or behavior is loved and is considered a “friend”?
  • How my substance or behavior is sensual (appeals to my senses)?
  • How I use my substance or behavior to help me cope with emotional distress?
  • How my substance or behavior controls and promotes my feelings of helplessness and entrapment?
  • How my substance or behavior is hated and what it has “cost” me?

Part II: Research Proposal

Conduct a brief review of the literature related to the substance or behavior from which you chose to abstain in Part I. For example, you may write about caffeine use of graduate students or compulsive social media usage among adults. Select at least two to three research article references pertinent to your selected substance or behavior.


Write a 1–2-page research proposal that clearly addresses the following:

  • The substance or behavior from which you are abstaining
  • Your personal demographics, age, gender, race, occupation, or other demographic variables
  • A thesis statement regarding the relationship between the patterns of substance use or behavioral addiction and your demographic population
  • A discussion of key findings from the literature on the selected substance or behavior

Note: If you have concerns regarding a potential emotional response as a result of participation in this exercise, please feel free to contact the instructor through e-mail or over the telephone.

Your final product will be in a Microsoft Word document, written in APA format, and approximately 3–4 pages in length (excluding the cover and reference page). Include the commitment letter and the research proposal in the document. Your response should be written in a clear, concise, and organized manner; demonstrate ethical scholarship in accurate representation and attribution of sources; and display accurate spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

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