Fighting H.A.L.T. During Recovery

Recovery is something to be proud of. It means you've fought to beat addiction. Substance abuse and addiction is a disease that can take over anyone. Thankfully, with a great support system and loved ones, alcohol rehab in Charlotte NC and therapy programs geared to help you fight for recovery, you'll be happy and healthy again, before you know it.

H.A.L.T. | Alcohol Rehab in Charlotte NC

Unfortunately, at some point in your newly recovered life, you'll face triggers that might lead you to thoughts of relapse. While it might take a long while to lead up to actually using again, you'll want to steer clear of anything that might lead to thoughts of using. That's where H.A.L.T comes into play.

If you're wondering what H.A.L.T. means, it's an acronym for the four biggest triggers of relapse during recovery.

  • H - Hunger

One of the things we learn in recovery is how important it is to eat a well-balanced, healthy diet. That means we aren't loading up on junk food every day. We are consuming things that are fresh, unprocessed and natural. That doesn't mean, however, we can't have the occasional junk food snack or pizza for dinner. It just means that we should restructure our diets so that we get the fruits, veggies, fiber and protein we need each day.

Sometimes, we lead a stressful, busy lifestyle. When that happens, we forget to eat healthy. After a long day at work with no lunch break, we might find that we forget to eat at all. When that happens, your body goes into survival mode. We may be fine one minute and starving the next.

This is a dangerous trigger, as hunger can take an emotional toll on our body and mind. Many times, during an alcohol binge from the past, we might have been hungry at times, but it was masked by the alcohol consumption. Our bodies could mistake hunger for an urge to drink excessively, as we did before recovery.

This trigger should be avoided at all costs. It might not be much of an adjustment to make sure you eat during the day, while at work. But, if you need to find a new job that allows you to have an adequate break during the day, no matter how busy things are, you might have to do that in order to continue on with a healthy, recovered life.

If you are constantly forgetting to eat for whatever reason, remind yourself by asking these questions throughout the day:

  • When was the last time I ate a meal or snack?
  • Am I hungry?
  • What have I eaten today?

If you have to, set a reminder alert on your phone, asking yourself whether or not you're hungry or if you've had an adequate meal today. You'll be thankful later, when you get home and you're not starving frantically looking for something to eat.

  • A - Anger 

Many people tend to get angry, especially in early recovery with little coping skills at their disposal. Although anger can be used as a healthy emotion, not everyone knows how to handle it in the same way. For instance some say anger is a form of depression and others direct their anger at someone or something.

The first step to conquering this shortcoming is to recognize the feeling and take a look at things to see where it is coming from. The next step is to diffuse the anger. There are multiple ways to do that. Ways to deal with anger can vary from person to person. Some need to get the aggression out. Activities such as exercising, punching a pillow and even cleaning can calm some people. Another method is to start a creative project, something to turn anger into calmness. Others call their sponsor and talk it out with them or their support group to get out all the emotions. This can help them figure out where the negative emotions came from, why they came out and to learn how to approach things differently for different results. Anger can be dangerous in recovery and can lead someone to pick up that drink or drug. It is important to find the best way to deal with your feelings of anger.

  • L - Loneliness 

Loneliness can be a very dark state of mind. Some may feel completely alone while being surrounded by people and that can be very dire to recovery. It can lead to depression, being overwhelmed and having anxiety. The way most addicts and alcoholics would handle this in active addiction is by continuing to drink and use drugs.

In recovery there are other options to avoid feeling lonely. There are ways to unmask this feeling that most addicts and alcoholics experience when using. Some people have different opinions about how to handle this emotion, but the best thing you can do is turn to your sponsor and your support group and to let people know where you are at.
Other options for dealing with being lonely include running errands and even taking a walk to clear your mind which could help you identify this feeling. Going to a 12-step meeting and possibly sharing your feelings with other people or the group are highly suggested. These tactics will all help you get out in the real world, feeling that you are a part of something important.

  • T - Tiredness 

Everyone gets tired to varying extents. Being tired can take a toll on the body, mind and soul and can often lead to depression as well as other dark symptoms. This affects your wellbeing and sometimes people just need a break.

Taking a day off from everything and everyone will help you relax. Also, make sure you are getting the right amount of sleep you need. Sleep is a very essential part of your life. You may be surprised by how taking a break from everything and recharging your body can work wonders. But never ignore the feeling of loneliness or feeling tired. It can lead down a path that could affect your journey in and out of recovery.

H.A.L.T. can be an important part of your recovery process as well as keeping yourself healthy. Not only can it affect your wellbeing but also your recovery. Staying clean and sober is saving your life and freeing you from the disease of addiction. Make it a daily routine to ask yourself throughout the day, am I hungry, angry, lonely or tired? Don’t ignore these feelings and emotions because one bad decision or reaction can be vital to your wellbeing and recovery process. The H.A.L.T. acronym is there to help maintain recovery and life on a daily basis.

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