What is H.A.L.T.?

hungry, angry, lonely, and tired in recovery

Life in recovery from addiction can be full of successes and challenges. While it’s tempting to believe that rehab can cure addiction, the truth is that addiction is a condition that requires lifelong management. Even after completing treatment, many people in recovery from addiction experience at least one relapse–a return to substance abuse after a period of abstinence.

Two of the most critical aspects of lifelong addiction recovery are identifying your triggers and developing new strategies for managing stress. Hunger, anger, loneliness, and tiredness (H.A.L.T.) are daily stressors that may limit your ability to resist cravings. While these feelings are a normal part of being human, they also play a role in your ability to avoid relapse. 

Learning how to pause and think before giving in to a craving is crucial to preventing a relapse. It is easier to make healthy choices and avoid relapse if you are not living with stress that overwhelms your ability to cope.

This article will look at how to use H.A.L.T. to be aware of everyday stressors that often lead to relapse. Contact the Moving Mountains Recovery staff today for more information about starting addiction treatment

What is H.A.L.T.?

H.A.L.T. is an acronym that can help you check in with your emotional and physical state before making a big decision. H.A.L.T. stands for:

Hungry

Angry

Lonely

Tired 

Often, people may have emotional or physical discomfort, such as hunger, anger, loneliness, or tiredness, making it more likely they will make quick or impulsive decisions. In addiction treatment, practitioners may teach patients H.A.L.T. as a way of checking in before deciding to use substances. Learning to be aware of these common stressors can help people make healthy decisions. 

Hungry

Many people experience changes in their appetite or eating patterns when they get sober. Some live with anxiety or depression, which makes it challenging to shop for groceries and prepare meals regularly. 

Feeling hungry may make people feel stressed. Even without the typical sensation of hunger, going for long periods without eating can put stress on your brain and body. 

To counteract this potential trigger, make sure to eat regularly. Sometimes, this may mean getting a little creative and planning ahead. If you do not feel hungry for a full meal, make sure you have healthy, filling snacks available throughout the day.

While eating regularly and nutritiously may be challenging for some, it is essential to a healthy, sober lifestyle. The better you care for your body and mind, the less likely you are to experience a relapse. 

Angry

Everyone feels anger from time to time. Anger is a normal human emotion. Sometimes, though, a person’s anger can grow to overwhelm their ability to manage it. This may lead people to make impulsive decisions they regret–including using drugs and alcohol. 

It is essential to practice healthy ways to manage anger. Some ideas include:

  • Practicing meditation or mindfulness
  • Participating in individual therapy
  • Exercising regularly
  • Writing about your feelings
  • Talking it out with a trusted friend or family member

Sometimes, anxiety or depression may show up as anger. Feeling angry often may also be a sign that your boundaries are being crossed. A trained therapist can help you identify the sources of your anger and give you the tools to manage it without returning to substance abuse. 

Lonely

For many, getting sober means giving up old, unhealthy relationships with people who still abuse drugs and alcohol. Recovery doesn’t have to be lonely. Instead, focus on forming new, healthy relationships. There are many ways to develop relationships that support your recovery. Look for:

  • Recovery support groups
  • Sober meetups
  • Sports or recreation leagues
  • Classes or events

Being aware of loneliness and being proactive about socializing may help reduce your stress. This may reduce your likelihood of relapse. 

Tired

Life in recovery can be demanding. In addition to balancing work, school, parenting, chores, and socializing, you’re likely to have medical visits, therapy appointments, screenings, meetings, and other recovery-related activities. Your sleep may sometimes take a backseat–but this can backfire. 

Sleep and rest are essential to your recovery. Make a plan to get the rest your body and mind need. Go to bed at a regular time each night. Follow a pre-bedtime routine that includes relaxation, even for just a few minutes. This could include reading, listening to gentle music, doing yoga, or journaling. Skip coffee and other caffeinated drinks after lunchtime, and limit your screen time for an hour before bed. Try to get a little exercise every day. If possible, get some sunshine around lunchtime to help you fall asleep more quickly at night.

Getting more sleep may help you feel more energized and less stressed. The better your body and mind feel, the less likely you will give in to your cravings or relapse. 

Get Help Now

If you or someone you love require addiction treatment, reach out to the Moving Mountains Recovery specialists today. Addiction is a disease that affects the whole person, and for effective recovery, treatment must address every aspect of our life.

Our team can help you develop a healthier lifestyle, learn relapse prevention skills, and build a network of sober support so you can achieve long-term recovery. Call now to get started.

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