Relapse Prevention: H.A.L.T

As human beings- addicts or not, we are driven mostly by our base instincts. It goes without saying that for many of us, the external world can feel pretty pressing at times. That is why it is so important for our sobriety to take care of ourselves, by always making sure that we have the four main components of health well managed. In order to prevent relapse, we have to make sure we take care of our H.A.L.T’s.

Do you know how on an airplane, when the stewardess is giving the pre-flight speech about the seatbelts and emergency doors, they always say that in case of the cabin pressure dropping, always apply your own oxygen mask before assisting others? They say this because it would be impossible to rescue another person if we ourselves were suffocating.

This is so relative to life in general it is crazy. For those of us who are now given the opportunity to live a life of service, we must remember this guideline especially.   

The anagram H.A.L.T stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired, and throughout most of my recovery, I can safely say that all of my foul moods and bad decisions were generally affected by any of these four categories being out of whack.


In our society, HANGRY has officially become an everyday term. This is because we are humans, we need food to survive, and when we are hungry, we are pretty much dropped back into an animalistic, cave-man sort of state where we can’t speak or think or interact until we eat… this is true for me anyway.

When we are hungry, our blood sugar can drop, our energy levels crash, and it feels like the world is ending and we are happy about it (again, this might just be me). But beyond all of the results of being hungry, the fact of the matter is, eating right and well is a basic aspect of taking care of ourselves.

Back when we were using, we most likely didn’t eat a whole lot, especially nothing nutritious or healthy, because let's face it, we didn’t have the money to just blow on food when we had more important items to be spending our money on. I personally used to avoid eating so I could get drunk faster, and then once the cocaine came into play, I wouldn’t be able to eat anyway. It was a painful blend of hunger pains from the drunk munchies and nausea when trying to put food in my mouth from the cocaine.

Now that I’m sober, if I don’t eat, it pretty much goes without saying that I am useless to society. That might sound like an exaggeration but I assure you, it is not.

So in order to keep your H.A.L.T in check, you must first eat!


Sometimes I think about the days of my past, and I laugh when I remember myself saying that I wasn’t an angry person. I used to say this because I was actually a codependent/ people pleaser who, in reality, just never EXPRESSED my anger. Lo and behold, as I’ve done some work on myself, I have found out that I actually have a pretty bad temper, that I have done some work on balancing out with rational thought.

But anywho, as alcoholics and addicts who are working a program of recovery, we now know that anger and resentments are guaranteed to get us drunk again. We cannot hold on to these emotions because with us, to carry resentments is to drink, and to drink is to die.

So on that footing, and simply because of the crazy and irrational things we do when we are angry, it is vital to our H.A.L.T prevention, that we learn useful ways to eradicate the anger in our lives.

Some people value meditation, others use exercise, some people sing really loud in their car with the windows up (me), and others go to meetings. The best thing we can do is call a sober support to evaluate the reason why we are hot-headed about a subject so we can get a different perspective on the matter. Whatever your flavor, you just gotta do it, get that anger bug out of you so you can be of service to others.


Again, this is probably one of the most troublesome states of being that we can find ourselves in. Simply because as alcoholics and addicts, we usually find pleasure in replacing one addiction with another. Loneliness leads to…. poorly planned relationship choices. Which can lead to all sorts of trouble. Never a good idea.

When we find that we are lonely, and sitting in self-pity, the number one best way to combat these emotions is to get up and do something. Call a friend or sober support, and get out of your house and your head.

This is yet another reason why having a sober support network and a healthy group of friends is so important for relapse prevention. These are the people that will hang out with us and eat with us (crucial) and let us vent our frustrations out to. We never have to be lonely again in a 12 step fellowship, this is TRULY the GREATEST BLESSING that comes along with getting sober.


Similar to the eating aspect, when we were out running, chances are that we probably could have had a healthier sleep pattern. Now that we are sober, getting enough rest is paramount to staying sane. When we are overworked, or just over tired from life and running around and errands, if we don’t get the sleep we need, we can start feeling all out of whack.

I know for myself that when I am short on sleep, I can get resentful at EVERYTHING. I lose my sense of gratitude for the things I have because I let them get in the way of my much needed R&R time. Then when I do finally get the time to relax, I can end up feeling guilty because I feel like I should still be doing something (this is obviously an issue I need to work on, hey I’m doing my best!)

Similar to the oxygen mask, if we aren’t rested and in a level head space, we are going to start thinking some crazy thoughts.

Relapse prevention starts with taking care of ourselves first. Until we are healthy or at least trying our best to be, we won’t be able to be of service to anyone. Prevent your relapse by preventing your H.A.L.T!

Finding the Right Treatment Center For You

If you believe you have a problem with drugs or alcohol and want to seek help, then call the professionals at Evolutions Treatment Center today at 1-800-795-8527. We can help you find the right treatment you need in order to finally overcome your addiction and get you on the path to recovery. Our trained staff knows exactly what you are going through and can give you the tools you need in order to finally overcome your addiction. So don’t delay, call us today.


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