You might have seen it on one of the cards up on the wall at the meeting but what does it mean? H.A.L.T stands for “Hungry”, “Angry”, “Lonely”, “Tired”. As in don’t get too either one of those…
H.A.L.T. is a good acronym to remember when things feel like they’re getting a little crazy. It’s kind of like when you go to the mechanic and he tries to rule out all of the easy basic stuff first before deciding that you need a new transmission. As in with H.A.L.T the world is likely not coming to an end you just need a little tune up.
Let’s look at them one at a time.
Hungry - when was the last time you ate something? Was it well-balanced or a packet of candy you got from the gas station? How have you been eating in general? Could you be taking better care of yourself in this department? Not eating leads to low blood sugar which can impair cognitive function. It can also make you irritable and mean to people whom you otherwise love. Do them a favor. Do yourself a favor. Do us all a favor and have a healthy snack.
Angry - nothing like nursing a good resentment right? Wrong. You have to get those resentments out. Call your sponsor or better yet call a friend. Your sponsor is probably sick of hearing about your resentments. Do an inventory. Figure out your part. Make an amends if it is warranted and set yourself free. Resentments take up necessary space in our heads and block us from what’s really important. Sort of like when you have twenty-five tabs open in your internet browser but you’re not actually doing anything productive. Take an inventory and restart the computer.
Lonely - addiction thrives in isolation. We’ve said it many times. Reach out and call a friend. Schedule a fun activity with your sober friends. Call your parents. People want to spend time with you.
Tired - if you’re like most of us you probably get cranky when you get tired. Don’t keep pushing. If you need to rest, then rest. It’s ok. Most things can truly be put off until tomorrow if you’re lacking in the sleep self care department. We live in a society that places a lot of value on touting how little sleep we get, how many hours we work, and just how stretched thin we are. And then there are some people who seem to do just fine getting eight hours of sleep and working normal business hours. How do they do this? They take care of themselves. Don’t buy the hype and rest when you need to.
H.A.L.T. is all about self care. There are many other ways that we can care for ourselves beyond these four. H.A.L.T. is a great place to start though. It’s also a handy way to remember that when the world feels like it’s crashing down all around us, it’s actually not, and we probably just need to focus on one of these four simple areas.