Recovering can sound like a fairytale to those still suffering in addiction.
Recovering is possible with this simple sanity-saving strategy.
A Closer Look At the H.A.L.T.S. Strategy
The H.A.L.T.S mnemonic device is a great tool for recovering individuals. The truth is, ‘triggers’ are everywhere in life. We must develop finely-tuned coping skills in order to survive and thrive.
TRY THIS THE NEXT MOMENT YOU FIND YOURSELF STRUGGLING:
Ask yourself if Hunger, Anger, Loneliness, Tiredness, or Sickness is at the root of what you’re feeling. As addicts, we have turned to drugs to ‘scratch’ these everyday itches of normal life.
Feeling upset? To begin, ask yourself: Are you simply hungry? If so, you may need to reconsider your eating habits.
“Fasting cleanses the soul, raises the mind, and renders the heart contrite and humble.”
Mike Denton, M.S., LCAC, LMFT explains that it is common for those in early recovery to have great difficulty with healthy eating. “When we find ourselves with that ‘itch’ , the best way to scratch it is to reach for fresh fruit. The trick is accessibility–have a banana ready–just peel it and eat it! This can really curb our impulsive habits.“
Similarly, Nutition Expert Randel Kling believes that physical health and mental health are inextricably linked. “Everyone understands the relationship between eating and getting over weight, but very few understand that food affects mood.”
Next, take a breath and assess your emotional status.
“For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind”
–Ralph Waldo Emmerson
“Often times, shame or fear are underlying emotions for recovering individuals”
Samantha recommends CBT in order to understand the connection between thoughts and bodily experiences, and to teach impulse control.
“Anger is a secondary emotion. It hides and protects us from other painful feelings.”
Mishka explains the importance of talk therapy. When we’re recovering, we tend to numb unpleasant emotions like anger. For those new to recovery, feelings of anger are extremely common and must be worked through within a supportive framework.
When was the last time you reached out?
“Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible of poverty”
“The disease of addiction is a disease of feeling lonely. If there’s a secret to recovery, the secret is fellowship. Discussing this disease normalizes the shame, which is otherwise toxic to recovery.”
“Fatigue, discomfort, discouragement are merely symptoms of effort.”
“All Individuals–particularly those in early recovery–struggle tremendously with sleep. Addiction causes poor sleep patterns which frequently interrupt REM-cycles and restful sleep.”
Dr. Sell stresses the importance of proper sleep hygiene: Establishing night time routines and a proper sleep environment. She also suggests meditative breathing as a go-to coping skill to quiet the mind at night. “Second most important thing to remember: Sleep requires a holistic approach, as does addiction recovery.”
“Everyone has a doctor in him or her; we just have to help it in its work. The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well. Our food should be our medicine. Our medicine should be our food. But to eat when you are sick, is to feed your sickness.
Jessica Strong is a wraparound coordinator for the Hamilton Center and also the local SOC coordinator for Hendricks County. She believes it is a shame that stigma related to taking anti-depressant medication continues in our society..
To live life on life’s own terms, we must appreciate and embrace emotional pain for the lessons it can teach us. We must relearn to identify and appropriately satisfy the negative emotions presented in the HALTS strategy.
In conclusion, we must learn to accept the things in life we cannot change and develop the courage to change the things we can. Use HALTS to regain control and serenity in life.
A closer look at the techniques in the H.A.L.T.S’ Strategy:
Recovering from poor eating habits
Hungry: Experts Mike Denton and Randel Kling
Recovering from anger
Angry: Expert Mishka Kiball
Recovering from loneliness
Lonely: Expert Samantha Grimes
Recovering from poor sleeping habits
Tired: Expert Teralyn Sell
Recovering from our sicknesses
Sick: Expert Jessica Strong