If you’ve recently completed a treatment program at The Treatment Center or committed to a lifetime of sobriety, congratulations! You’ve made the first important step in living a long and fulfilling life without substances. Now a healthier life awaits you, but despite overcoming an addiction, you’ll always have to confront life a little differently than others.
You’ll face triggers, temptations, and situations that will cause you to feel the urge to regress or consider using again. Avoiding high-risk situations is an important part of maintaining your sobriety, and to discern your propensity for placing yourself in these situations, the HALT acronym can be helpful.
What Is A HALT Recovery?
The HALT method is a useful acronym for feelings that may prompt you to pay more attention to your mental state. Aside from its meaning, “stop,” HALT stands for the following triggers: Hunger, Anger, Loneliness, and Tiredness. Being aware of these feelings, what they mean, and the role they play in your addiction recovery is essential to your continued success. Let’s take a closer look at each.
Hunger is a biologically essential feeling that makes us feel well. When we’re hungry, our blood glucose levels drop, signaling our brains that we need more energy. Drops in blood glucose may make us feel irritable, lightheaded, or cranky. Healthy eating habits, such as timely intervals between meals, and eating a well-balanced diet rich in protein, fruits, and vegetables is essential. Eating well can protect your body from feeling depleted – a feeling someone with an addiction may be tempted to cure with a substance. Eating is an easy way to protect yourself. Staying hydrated helps this, too.
On the other hand, we also hunger for love, acceptance, understanding, and achievement. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with loved ones, free from stress and enabling tendencies, during your recovery. Abating hunger – both physical and metaphorical – means you aren’t feeling like you lack something essential.
While anger is a part of life, it can crop up unexpectedly, and people in the initial stages of recovery can struggle to address it in an appropriate way. Developing healthy coping mechanisms will help channel all that negative energy into something positive.
Coping with feelings of anger consists of two parts: First is finding what is triggering the behavior. Second is finding a positive way to diffuse it. This process looks different for each person: Some benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy and relaxation techniques, while others prefer physical exertion such as jogging, punching a bag, or doing housework. Still, others like to channel their emotions into creative pursuits or the ear of a sympathetic friend. The important thing is finding what works best for you.
The next time you feel angry, don’t act on impulse. Reach out to a sponsor, a friend, or another member of your support system. Use their advice to guide you through your own experience, and develop a system that helps you address your anger and its triggers.
While uncontrolled anger can put your recovery in danger, loneliness can be even more toxic. For someone recovering from addiction, loneliness is more than being alone; you can feel socially isolated, even when peers and loved ones surround you. It can be hard to relate to people when they don’t know what you’re going through. Left unchecked, loneliness and isolation can lead to extra stress, anxiety, and depression, all of which can be triggers for substance abuse.
It’s essential to communicate these feelings to others, especially those who share similar experiences. Call your sponsor or sober support, attend a 12-step meeting, or share your feelings with others in a group counseling session. This will help you realize a fundamental thought for your successful recovery: You’re never alone, and there is always someone who can help you on your journey.
Feelings of tiredness are also natural – it’s a biological response to the rigors of a long day. In the beginning of your recovery, every day may seem challenging. Some mental or physical tiredness is normal, but prolonged feelings of exhaustion or fatigue can lead to negative repercussions including depression, anxiety, anger, or other stress disorders.
In today’s fast-paced world, many people find it difficult to juggle school, career, and homestead responsibilities properly. To facilitate your recovery, it’s important to take care of you. This means getting enough sleep each night, eating well, and getting enough exercise. If you’re constantly feeling tired and stressed, it may be time to reprioritize what’s happening in your life. Talking to your sponsor or therapist can help you gain some perspective.
Use The HALT Method To Aid Your Recovery
The H.A.L.T. acronym can be useful on your path to continued recovery. Triggers exist all over. Developing appropriate coping mechanisms is essential to living your substance-free life. The next time you’re feeling a temptation or are in a high-risk scenario, ask if hunger, anger, loneliness, or tiredness is causing your plight. Once you pinpoint the source of the trigger, you’ll be better equipped to deal with it in a healthy way. Talk to one of your counselors at The Treatment Center for more strategies for staying clean.
Although HALT Can Be a Useful Tool for Anybody in Addiction Recovery,
It Can Be Especially Helpful for Those Who Suffer from Disorders Like Depression