H.A.L.T. is an acronym reminding us to never get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired. Each of these conditions leaves us more vulnerable to our addiction. Together they can make for real trouble. We have seen it happen time and time again that people relapse when these simple needs of living are not considered. By taking care of these basic requirements, we can keep our systems from going into emergency mode, where our thoughts become clouded and we imagine that our addiction will provide us with what we need.
As active sex addicts, we often ran through life on adrenaline and were out of touch with what it feels like to be tired or hungry in a natural way. Many of us did not take time to get decent rest or food. Our situation is further complicated by the agitation that can come during withdrawal. It can feel like nervous energy that just won’t stop. You may have trouble getting to sleep at night, or on the other hand, find yourself sleeping more than usual. All of these are normal reactions. While everyone is different, we all come into SAA having stressed ourselves beyond the usual limits. We encourage you to slow down, get some rest, and take good care of yourself.
In our active addiction, it often seemed that sex was the solution for all our troubles. Remembering this H.A.L.T. tool can be the occasion to stop and consider what might be contributing to our impulse to act out. Are we avoiding an unpleasant situation or feeling? Have we gotten enough sleep? Did we forget to eat? Have we been spending too much time alone? Being aware of what is going on beneath our craving provides some distance from our sexual impulses. We are then better able to take preventative measures to lessen the possibility of a slip and reclaim our serenity. We create the space in which we can compassionately redirect our attention toward fulfilling our authentic needs. Often a good meal, some honest talk about our feelings, fellowship after a meeting, or a good night’s sleep are all we need to regain a sense of well-being and our commitment to sobriety.