Halt, who goes there? It’s you, heading toward a cranky mood, an argument, or in an extreme case, relapse, if you don’t meet the needs being identified to you right now. HALT stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. When a recovering addict or alcoholic gets too far into any one of these emotional states, they lose sight of themselves, their recovery, and the way they treat other people. HALT goes a bit beyond what almost anyone can struggle with which is “hanger” or being so hungry to the point of being angry. Instead, HALT combines emotional issues as well, which, when not resolved, can worsen other parts of the equation.
Food is an important part of living a healthy and balanced life, which is what we strive for in recovery. Feeding yourself and making sure you’re well fed is as much a practice of diet and nutrition as it is a spiritual practice. Your brain needs food to continue functioning optimally. Your emotions need food to stay regulated. Your body needs food for energy. Your soul needs food for nourishment.
Reaching the point of hunger usually feels like starvation, because you’ve already been hungry. Likely, you’re hungry for more than the lunch you skipped or the snack you’re in need of. If you’re also noticing anger and loneliness, you are hungering for emotional release and connection.
Resentments are considered fatal to the recovering addict or alcoholic. Holding onto grudges is like taking back to back shots of poison, though you’re hoping to hurt someone else. Anger is a natural response to life but it is not a sustainable one. Usually, anger is rooted in fear and sadness.
You become consumed with anger when you can’t identify or cope with what you’re really feeling sad or afraid of.
Isolation is a common problem in addiction and alcoholism. Avoiding isolation is a major focus especially during the early months of recovery. Connection to others has been touted as the real answer to addiction, as opposed to sobriety.
One experiment with rats found that even with open access to cocaine laced water, addicted rats chose to be abstinent when they had a happy environment and other rats to play with. We isolate as a defensive response, a sabotaging response (which is a defensive response) and a way to shut others out. Really, we want people to be close, but we are afraid to ask.
Not eating and satisfying hunger lowers your energy levels. Holding on to grudges and resentments is exhausting. Spending isolated time in anxiety and working hard to push other ways is tiring as well. Sleep is important during recovery at any stage. We don’t get the same nap time we got as children, but we need it! By taking care of yourself you’ll make sure to get enough sleep, rest, and take naps where you can.
Learning how to live life in recovery is the primary goal at Lakehouse Recovery Center. Our residential programs are designed to help you learn how to have fun again while healing in mind, body, and spirit. For more information, call 877.762.3707.