H.A.L.T. & H.O.W.

Relapse Prevention - HALT and HOWThis is not some tricky code that we are inviting you to decipher, but rather, catchy acronyms that, if applied, can be instrumental in relapse prevention. Those in addiction recovery will be perhaps testify to the importance of taking care of the four basic needs contained in HALT, by regularly taking a moment to assess whether one is feeling ; Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. Similarly, approaching recovery with an attitude of Honesty, Openness, and Willingness, will undoubtedly support the journey of lifelong sobriety. Naturally, it does not end there, but it is worth noting that some of the simplest truisms, if integrated, often carry the greatest potential for transformation, and not just for people in recovery.

Whilst active in our addiction, we most likely did anything but nurture those four needs contained within HALT. In fact, addiction and self-care are contradictory terms, and while the mind is preoccupied with the attainment of our drug of choice, whether food, alcohol, or other mood altering substances, meeting our basic needs become a secondary concern. In this way, addiction is essentially a powerful form of self-abandonment.  The ability of the eating disordered person to accurately read and respond to cues of hunger and satiation is often so impaired that an essential aspect of recovery consists of restoring this ability. Attending to our feelings of hunger, anger, loneliness, and fatigue, when we are struggling with our recovery is often the simplest yet most effective action  you can take. Most of us search for complex reasons for various feelings we may experience during the course of a day, when in fact, our mood swings may be a result of hunger or fatigue.

Taking a moment to simply check in with ourselves before automatically searching for reasons for everything we are feeling, we might discover that unmet bodily needs profoundly affects our minds. This is essentially the practice of mindfulness, which our previous blog talks about in more detail. In order to embrace the simple advice of HALT, one will necessarily have to be Honest about what is felt, and Open and Willing to act differently. Doing things differently is necessary if we are to walk down a different path to the one that lead us down the road to addiction.

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