The very definition of halt means to stop. This halt acronym is often used in recovery to serve as a reminder to stop, take a minute and evaluate what you are feeling that could be triggering a craving or urge to use substances.
Understanding your thoughts and emotions will help you to counteract an urge when it arises.
Ask yourself, are you hungry, angry, lonely, or tired (H.A.L.T)?
The feelings of hunger, anger, loneliness or tired are often common triggers that could lead to relapse.
H - Hungry
It’s easy to skip meals with the bustle of daily life. But not eating properly leads to hunger and can wreak havoc on your mood. When you continually deprive your body of proper nutrients it affects your ability to make decisions and may lead you to slip back into past behaviors or eventually relapse.
Making sure to eat a balanced healthy diet will help you feel fuller longer and you’ll be much less irritable. A tip that many find helpful is to have healthy, on the go snacks such as fruit, vegetables and/or protein shakes.
A - Angry
Many people report using substances to help them deal with feelings of stress, depression, and anger. Substances act as a band-aid, they do not solve your problems but oftentimes make them worse.
As your body recovers and heals from substance abuse you may experience anger. Anger is a normal reaction. It is our body's way of telling us we do not like a situation, it helps us to recognize our boundaries. Acknowledging when you are angry will help you identify ways to overcome it. Holding onto and carrying anger instead of expressing it or overcoming it can often be a hurdle to recovery.
A few ways to overcome feelings of anger are the following: journaling, talking with a friend or family member, talking with a professional such as a therapist, listening to music, or exercising.
Sometimes, simply talking about why you are angry can help provide you with a new perspective or ways to overcome your feelings before a relapse occurs.
L - Loneliness
Loneliness can occur at any time. You do not have to be alone to feel lonely. When you start a new life in recovery it is easy to feel alone and isolated.
Perhaps your old friends were also the friends you used with and now you are avoiding putting yourself in a situation where substances are present.
Often family members and loved ones do not understand what you are going through, and although they may be supportive it’s hard for them to relate.
It is human nature to seek out like-minded individuals in order to feel connected. Building a strong, sober support network will discourage your feelings of loneliness. Acknowledge your feelings of loneliness and make sure you are not isolating. Make plans, participate in activities that you enjoy, seek out friends and family that encourage and empower you.
T - Tired
When you are physically and mentally exhausted it makes it very difficult to think properly.
Treatment, AA meetings, work and family demands make it difficult to find time for rest. With so many engagements often lack of sleep is overlooked. Exhaustion can lead to relapse. Over time, your cravings and urges are harder to resist because your body is tired and not getting the proper amount of sleep.
Proper rest is a necessity to think clearly, feel energized, and utilize coping skills to overcome your triggers. Finding a little time to relax your mind such as meditation, listening to music, or taking a short nap are great ways to increase energy.
Other effective ways to help you get a restful night’s sleep are reducing late night snacking, avoiding caffeine, limiting screen time in bed, and doing some light exercise/stretching to help you relax.
Utilizing the H.A.L.T acronym in your recovery is a great way to prevent relapse. Making sure that you take care of yourself by meeting your basic needs will help you to continue building a solid foundation in your sobriety.
If you or a loved one need help for an addiction and want to know more about treatment programs, feel free to contact us.