The term HALT is a term used in AA and NA and it refers to those things that can negatively impact our recovery and can eventually lead to our relapse. This occurs when someone who has been clean and sober for a while, starts using drugs or alcohol again.
Relapsing is a process and a part of recovery. Thus recovery should include planning on how to avoid relapse by being aware of warning signs that may present themselves, which is where the term HALT comes in.
Each letter in HALT stands for a specific term:
When a person starts to neglect themselves and denying their body a balanced diet, they get hungry. If our body needs to call out for our attention in order to get proper nutrition, one’s recovery will no longer be their priority. This is when people who are in recovery start to miss NA meetings, skipping the meditation and stop following the program.
Anger is one of the emotions that can easily lead to relapse because although feeling angry is completely normal, it can at times remain bottled up, causing a surge of negative emotions. It can be difficult to accept that anger is a part of life and learning how to deal with it is not easy either. In moments of anger, it is important to try and calm down and wait until you’re feeling more tranquil. Having a clear mindset will help you reason things out instead of saying things that you will probably regret. Anger is an emotion that takes up a lot of energy and it would be beneficial for one to use this energy in their recovery process.
Loneliness is another important aspect in recovery because it can lead people to believe that only they are going through this difficult process and this leads to self-pity and the belief that nobody will understand. All of this can look like a good enough excuse to start drinking or using drugs again since that was a well-known coping mechanism in the past. In fact, loneliness is a normal part of one’s recovery process because once the effects of the drugs and alcohol start to decrease, feeling alone is expected. However, there are many things one can do to feel less lonely, like meditation, reading, practicing hobbies, physical exercise and trying to keep busy.
Tension can also lead to a chemical dependency as there is a belief that drugs and alcohol are effective stress relieving coping skills. Stress can have several physical effects because the body starts to release destructive chemicals that can lead to several illnesses. Learning to manage stress without the use of drugs and alcohol is imperative because it can reduce the chances of a relapse. Regular exercise, frequent relaxation and a change in lifestyle are the three main elements that can help a person reduce their tension levels. Furthermore, opening up about past experiences that are still causing us emotional turmoil is also a very effective way for a person to deal with stress.