Using the H.A.L.T Method In Your Alcohol Treatment Program

by | Mar 26, 2018 | Recovery | 0 comments

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Home » Recovery » Using the H.A.L.T Method In Your Alcohol Treatment Program

There are many methods that addiction treatments use to help maintain sober living. These can be huge lifestyle changes or small reminders of how to help an addict relax their mind in times of stress. When it comes to alcohol abuse and recovery, there are certainly times when an addict just doesn’t feel great. It’s stressful to deal with rehab costs and health care options. On top of that, addiction medicine can often make an addict feel groggy and upset. Recovery programs are made to help people feel better, but sometimes it gets harder before it gets better.

    During and after a drug rehab program, the H.A.L.T acronym is the perfect reminder of self-awareness and self-care. When things get hard, HALT is there to remind you to take a step back. Halt stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. These descriptive words are common in withdrawal symptoms. The word HALT also means stop. The idea of this simple method is to stop and think about your needs before you drink or react to a situation.  Since alcoholism and drug addiction centers in our mind, using HALT as a tool will help impulsive behavior. It can help prevent relapse and irrational decisions. Treatment provides you with more balance, while the HALT method continues this balance. In this article, we will explain the relevance of these four withdrawal symptoms. This will provide a better understanding of the H.A.L.T method.

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Being Hungry Effects Your Mental Health

Being hungry certainly makes us feel physically drained. Often times, we forget that it also impacts our mental health. It makes people tired and irritable. It seems like common sense that a person would know to eat. This is especially true in a treatment center, where there are health professionals there to guide you in making smart diet choices. When you’re no longer in inpatient rehab, however, remember to stop and think about your hunger. Don’t just fix your irritable mood with substance abuse. Rather than feeding your body with unhealthy things, try something healthy. Don’t choose drugs and alcohol. Don’t choose food that will make you feel tired. Feed your body with healthy food that will energize your body and mind. When you feed your body with tasty, healthy food, you’re setting yourself up to feel good.

    The hunger in HALT can also be more symbolic. The hunger could be for something less tangible, like affection or understanding. Often times, being at a recovery center can make people realize that they’re longing for more support from their loved ones. In this case, your hunger should drive you to build up the right support system. This will lead you away from substance abuse or other destructive choices. Most addiction treatment programs offer a lot of group therapy. You will always have the people in your group therapy to rely on as lifelong friends. Let them feed your hunger with support.

Anger Can Lead to Substance Abuse If You Let It

     First things first, being angry is normal. You are human and all your feelings are valid. Life can be very challenging. Alcohol addiction can cause a rollercoaster of emotions. The most important thing for you is to HALT and take the time to give yourself some behavioral therapy. Ask yourself what is making you so angry. Is it a friend? Is it something you did that you wish you hadn’t? Or is it more situational? Process that emotion. Ask yourself how you want to feel and think about what you can do to make that happen. When you identify that you’re angry, you can pause, and address the emotion in the moment. This will prevent resentment, which is poisonous for alcoholics and drug addicts. Dealing with your anger in a positive way is part of 12 step recovery.

     Addiction can cause so many mental health issues. It’s common to use alcohol to fix those issues. That’s the very root of addiction. When you struggle with alcoholism, it’s often a cycle. You become angry, you drink and then you become angrier.  Your substance abuse and mental health affect each other. Your behavioral health is centered on things that temporarily relieve pain. While it can be tempting, nothing is worth a relapse. You are gambling with your life.

     Anger can be so easily talked out with families, friends, and caring professionals. Anger can be driven away by doing a fun activity. Try to express your feelings through exercise, art, prayer, yoga or meditation. Scream as loud as you can. Go for a drive if you can and sing at the top of your lungs. Seek treatment for your anger through something that will heal it, not cause more of it. Don’t let this feeling spiral out of control.

Loneliness Is Common During And After Abuse Treatment

     It is very common when addicts are having emotional health issues to isolate themselves. You probably think that no one will understand how you feel. You probably think that your situation is so unique to you that you have to get through it alone. Families and friends can be helpful, but they only understand so much. The treatment types offered to you are helping but you feel alone while you go through the steps.

      If you’re feeling lonely, do not turn to your drug or alcohol of choice. HALT and ask yourself when the last time you reached out to someone was. When was the last time you told someone how you were feeling?  When was the last group therapy session you want to? Have you called your family just to chat? Go to an alcoholic anonymous meeting, or call your old childhood best friend. When you struggle with alcoholism, having someone that doesn’t understand completely is usually better because they provide you with new insight. Believe it or not, even if someone is not going through alcohol rehab, they still might have great advice for you.

     Even if you don’t feel inclined to talk to someone about how you’re feeling, get yourself out into the open. Loneliness is often a feeling that people give to themselves. If you take the time to go outside in your community, you’ll feel less lonely.  Observe the things around you. Do not shut yourself away. Observe the area you live in and go explore the people there. Perhaps you’ll make a completely new friend, or run into someone you haven’t seen since you started sober living. The world has a way of making us realize that we are never alone. We just have to be sure to open our eyes to the way the world works.

  You have to be willing to HALT. Breathe and remember that you are part of this world and have the opportunity to interact with so many amazing people. Whether you are in a treatment facility or not, you will be surrounded by people if you choose to do so. You will make friends if you choose to do so. You will open up and feel relief if you choose to do so. Don’t shut yourself away in fear that no one will understand you.

Substance Abuse And Tiredness Are Best Friends

      Last but certainly not least is the tiredness. Substance abuse and being extremely tired go hand in hand. This is especially the case with alcohol abuse, since it is a depressant. When you’re in a rehab program, you live a very structured life. Most treatment models are focused on rebalancing your habits. When you’re out of inpatient rehab, however, you have more freedom in your days. This can make you very tired. Being tired can change the way you think. This can definitely lead to alcohol abuse. Before relapsing, HALT and think about how you’re feeling. Will alcohol and drugs help that? Is substance abuse going to make you less tired or more tired?

      After you take some time to think about what is making you tired, take a nap. Allow your mind and body to take some time to recover. Alcohol treatment centers provide tons of methods for addicts to reset their bodies. A nap is the best one. When you’re alcohol dependent and very tired, it’s easy to want to drink. A nap prevents the mind and body from running right to alcohol to solve problems.

     If you can’t take a nap, listen to some music for a few minutes or take some nice deep breaths. Drug addicts often have anxiety, and this tiredness can cause you to get up in your head. Overthinking situations and anxiety can be relaxed through simple meditation if a nap isn’t an option.

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The most important thing to remember is that alcoholism is a behavioral addiction. To fix behavioral addictions, you have to change your behavior. By using the HALT method, that’s exactly what you’re doing. It takes less than a minute to think about how you’re feeling. From then, it takes a few minutes to make a plan to fix that. Rather than turning quickly to drugs and alcohol, think about what you can do instead. This reduces alcohol consumption and will stop you from feeling even more hungry, angry, tired, or alone.

    Look at all your treatment options. You are the keeper of your mind and body. It is yours to take care of and to cherish. If you’re hungry, stop and think about your behavior. Think of what will fuel your body. If you’re angry, ask yourself what made you feel angry. Then, do something that will calm your mind. If you’re lonely, remind yourself of the people that make you happy. Go see them. Make a gratitude list. In Alcoholics Anonymous there is a saying– “move a muscle, change a thought.” Or try going to an alcoholic anonymous meeting and sharing with someone.If you’re tired, rest your body and mind. You deserve that. Whether you’re in a treatment facility or not, HALT and think of how you can best care for yourself. You will go from alcohol-dependent to being free from the desire to drink and use. You will go from anxious to relaxed. Above all, you will know yourself better than anyone else knows you. You will be able to learn a more personal lesson about yourself than a recovery center can teach you. This powerful tool provides you with a lifelong method of feeling strong and sober.

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