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 alcohol/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 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. Eating a balanced healthy diet will help you feel fuller longer and you’ll be much less irritable.
A – Angry Many people use alcohol/substances to help them deal with feelings of stress, depression, and anger. As your body recovers and heals from alcohol/substance use 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. Overcome feelings of anger by journaling, listening to music, exercising, or talking with a friend, family member, sponsor or a professional therapist.
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. 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 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, recovery support group meetings, work and family demands make it difficult to find time for rest. . Proper rest is a necessity to think clearly, feel energized, and utilize coping skills to overcome your triggers. Relax your mind by meditating, listening to music, or taking a short nap - great ways to increase energy. Get a restful night’s sleep: reduce late night snacking, avoid caffeine, limit screen time in bed, and incorporate stretching to help you relax.
Utilizing the H.A.L.T. acronym in 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 recovery.
If you know a healthcare professional that is experiencing an alcohol/substance use disorder, please encourage them to reach out to the NE LAP at 800-851-2336 or 402-354-8055 to begin their recovery process.
Michelle Hruska, LIMHP, LADC
NE LAP Coordinator