Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Seven Days Sober: HALT!

HALT is an important acronym to remember

This acronym is one of the most important to learn in early sobriety. It's a way to remind ourselves of four major triggers to relapse: hunger, anger, loneliness and tiredness. If you find yourself having drinking thoughts or cravings, ask yourself, am I ...

Hungry?

Substance abusers often ignore their nutritional needs. How many of us would answer a hunger pang by pouring a drink? It is important to relearn how to eat properly. Being hungry can make people less able to control themselves and less likely to control cravings. Someone who isn't accustomed to eating regularly may feel anxious or upset without associating these feelings with hunger. Eating regularly increases emotional stability. A good snack in early recovery is peanut butter toast.

Angry?

Anger is probably the most common cause of relapse. We often drank to handle feelings of anger, and it is very important to learn healthy ways of handling this and other negative emotions. Talking about anger-producing situations and how to handle them is an important part of recovery.

Lonely?

If we weren't lonely before we became sober, we may very well feel lonely once we stop drinking. Part of recovery may involve giving up friendships with people who still drink, or relationships may have been lost due to substance use. Feelings of loneliness are real and painful, and make people more vulnerable to relapse. Developing a good recovery network is very important in maintaining sobriety.

Tired?

Poor sleep patterns are often a part of early recovery. Being tired is often a trigger for relapse. Feelings of exhaustion and low energy leave people unable to function normally, paving the way for substance use as a "pick-me-up". Getting sufficient, regular sleep is a vital part of the early recovery plan.

Journal Exercise:

Describe how often and at what times you find yourself in these emotional states. What could you do differently to avoid being vulnerable to relapse?

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