In working a 12-step program like AA and Al-Anon, an important recovery and self-help tool is the acronym HALT. Whenever I feel Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired, I need to HALT, identify this need and address it. Here’s how HALT works. HALT or HALTS (which stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired or Sick) is an important recovery tool because it helps me to listen to my own needs. It also helps me to focus on myself and work my own program.
The basic idea behind the HALT acronym is to literally HALT when I any of these things: hungry, angry lonely or tired. When I HALT it gives that much time to reflect on what my needs are right now. If I HALT, I can make efforts to address those hungry, angry, lonely or tired needs. If I am feeling hungry, angry, lonely or tired, it’s easy to confuse those feelings with other feelings, like depression. Depression as a mood is imprecise and more difficult to address; understanding feelings of being hungry, angry, lonely, tired or sick is clearer. Those are needs I can more readily meet.
Al-Anon and AA use several slogans in recovery. ‘Keep it Simple’ applies very well to addressing HALT needs. When I confuse or ignore basic needs, I’m complicate what is really a simply issue. Am I hungry, angry, lonely, tired or sick? Those are simpler needs. I can address those needs. I can ‘keep it simple’. But often, it’s difficult to focus my energy where it needs to be when I feel hungry, angry, lonely, tired or sick. If I feel confused about what’s really going on, I may blame the natural feelings on the wrong source. I may take it out on someone else. By recognizing where the negative emotions are coming from, I can redirect any misguided energy toward healthy self-care activities. I can set about meeting those HALT needs.
HALT is an amazingly useful tool in self-discovery, self-care and recovery. More times than I care to count, I could have avoided relationship problems if I had practiced HALT self-care. But recovery is a journey, not a destination. It’s about progress not perfection. One day at a time. What I learn today I can use in future situation. For more on emotional health, recovery, AA and Al-Anon slogans, visit the blogs listed.