I don’t recall who first told me about HALT in early sobriety, but thank goodness they did because this quick, little mental reminder to take care of myself helped a lot in those early years when I was neglecting my mental, spiritual and physical health.
Like most, I came into AA a mental, physical, emotional and spiritual wreck. I was just divorced, partying like I was 16 (I was 31) and had a political-type job that called for fighting the world and included a lot of drinking during work hours. I was hungry, angry, lonely and tired most the time.
When I stopped drinking and drugging, I became even more aware of my degraded physical and mental health. Yet, I didn’t have many of the skills needed to take better care of myself. The AA people around me knew this and started helping me. One of the tips they gave me was HALT. I didn’t have a clue what it was, so they explained it. They said if you are in any of these four states, (hungry, angry, lonely or tired) it was time to get into ACTION ASAP!
Desperate to save myself, I used HALT all the time, sometimes hourly, in my struggle to right my capsized ship…..and it really worked because I needed it, believed it and worked it! Honestly, I was surprised at how far gone I was that I needed to constantly remind myself just to take care of these four basic human needs. It was shocking. The shock helped me realize, though, that I had problems and needed AA’s help and the help of others as well.
HALT also really helped me commit to AA and to healing myself.
HALT doesn’t come up in my mind very often anymore now that I’ve been sober for decades, but when it does, I just smile to myself and take care of the problem. Thinking of HALT now gives me a nostalgia feeling for those dramatic, early days in AA and the loving people that helped save my life and helped me come back to life.
“It works if you work it!” they’d said at the meeting’s end. How right they were.
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