Halt, read this! The word HALT is a great acronym that can help anyone struggling to overcome an addiction or for a partner of an addict trying to heal and be in recovery.
When you are tempted to act out in your addiction or feel that your recovery is in jeopardy, remember HALT. Ask yourself if your uncomfortable feeling or actions could be attributed to these other factors.
Am I hungry? When we are hungry we can experience mood swings. Just like an infant, we can be irritable and demanding. We often can’t think clearly and may appear irrational. Be sure to take care of yourself and be aware of when and what you are eating.
Am I angry? Yes! There is a good possibility that anger has reared its ugly head and you just don’t know what to do with it. Some people stuff it down and try to pretend everything is just fine. Others lash out in inappropriate ways by acting out or shaming others. It’s best to recognize and accept that you are angry and to find ways to express that anger in healthy ways. Talk to a therapist or a friend, journal your feelings or exercise. Anger isn’t the problem; it’s what we do with it.
Am I lonely? The addiction itself has been your pretend friend for so long, it’s squeezed out other real friends and relationships. It consumed your time, emotion and energy. The person you may want to reach out to now for a sense of security and comfort may be the person that’s been hurt the most by your actions and unable to give you what you need.
You may be a partner of an addict and feel like the addiction has been your rival for intimacy and connection. Feelings of isolation and detachment can be powerful, but not permanent. Be committed to your recovery and reach out to others. Talk to a trusted friend, share with your therapist, and get involved with activities.
Am I tired? Our thinking can be impaired simply by lack of sleep. Sleeping on decisions, or going to bed and finding out in the morning that our situation feels less urgent and more manageable is a common experience that we often forget. Again, we can be like infants irritable, inconsolable and irrational without sleep. Be mindful of your sleep times and patterns.
As you work through recovery, there are going to be challenging moments. Fortify yourself in every way that you can. Remembering HALT and asking yourself these questions can help ground you and keep you in recovery.
For more information about our leading out patient program go to www.lifestaralberta.com
Jennifer Thibodeau MSW, RSW,
Clinical Social Worker, Certified Sex Addiction Therapist