Warning Signs H.A.L.T

haltOne of the best things I’ve learning in recovery is this world “H.A.L.T.  It stands for:





These simple words can be a great warning sign for an alcoholic.  All of us out there who are trying to stay sober must live a life of self-care and self-awareness.  Taking care of ourselves is a daily thing.  Being self aware of our behaviors, emotions and feelings should also be  on a daily check list.

Many times a person has relapsed because we have let our self get too hungry, too angry, too lonely and too tired.  Being aware of H.A.L.T. can help warn us something is happening before we reach that breaking point.


We should make sure our hunger for food doesn’t get misplaced into anger anddonebestupods irritability.  I for one can relate to how people act when they are hungry.  I work as a waitress and it’s funny how irritable and short tempered my customers can be when they first sit down at the table and yet once I’ve gotten food in their stomachs they are sweet as pie towards me.  I also relate to the feeling of hunger because in the past I found that if I was hungry the craving to drink was intensified and my resistance and strength were low which of course is a dangerous position for a recovering alcoholic to be in.

Hunger can also be an emotional need we to be aware of.  Hunger can also manifest into being hungry for love, attention and understanding.  Hunger can accompany bad moods, unclear thinking, low energy and a decreased ability to cope.  In those moments when we may be feeling drained, overwhelmed or irritable, we should ask ourselves, “When was the last time I ate?



” tred lightly…. I’m a little po’d “

We all get angry and although this can be a healthy emotion, most of us manage anger in a destructive way, an aggressive way and act impulsively resulting in a negative consequence.  The first thing to do is acknowledge we are feeling angry and why we are angry.   The next step is diffuse this anger in a constructive way.  Some examples are taking a long walk, getting away from the situation to cool yourself down.  Try cleaning house or punching a pillow.  Make yourself sit down and say a prayer while taking deep breaths.  Another good release from anger is simply venting to another person.  Make sure it’s someone you trust and has the ability to calm you down.  However you choose to release your anger the first step is to recognize it when it starts.

Anger was a trigger for me when it came to relapsing.  I noticed that if I got upset with my parents or my boss, my first thought was to use.  This is an emotion I have to be in constant awareness and in control of.  Many times, my response was inflated because I hadn’t eaten all day.


Prior to treatment, loneliness was a big trigger for me.  I have drank many a times becomes I was just simply “lonely”.  Many alcoholics mask these feelings of loneliness by abusing alcohol or drugs.  Once we start in recovery we are taught that loneliness can be very seductive.  When we feel alone we can also become depressed, overwhelmed and anxious.  Drinking when we are lonely doesn’t solve anything.  It can actually intensify the feeling oflonely dog loneliness and intensify our depression and anxiety.

The solution to loneliness is to turn to support systems and connect to others.  There are soooo many AA and NA meetings that can help us in our loneliness.  Staying plugged into a program of socializing with others that deal with the same problem is imperative to our recovery.  Stay close and tell your feelings to a family member or spouse is helpful too.


Tiredness takes a toll on our minds, bodies and spirit.  Tiredness can be a product of difficult circumstances and depressions.     Getting a satisfying nights sleep can be rejuvenating and get us back to feeling normal.  I for one suffer from insomnia.  It can be difficult to function sleepyday by day when I’m not getting enough of a rejuvenation sleep.  When we are running on empty our thought processes and ability to cope are severely comprised.  I become more sensitive.  Little things will bother me and my feelings get hurt easily.  This can make our daily lives very difficult.  I know this personally.  Sometimes we just need to take a day off work and sleep.  We need to be aware when we overly tied and its best to relax, put our feet up and just take care of ourselves and sleep as much as we need to so we can get back to normal and handle our responsibilities once we get the rest we need to do out best.

H.A.L.T. can serve as a reminder to all of us that we need to take care of our basic needs every day. For an addict, that is even more important because neglecting your wellbeing can lead to relapse. So, take a moment each day to stop and check in with yourself. Ask yourself, “Am I hungry, angry, lonely, or tired?


17 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Me Mother was a Mermaid
    Oct 06, 2013 @ 22:38:25

    Too true. Most never “get it”.


  2. Tom Raines
    Oct 09, 2013 @ 00:12:37

    Thanks Michelle, funny I was at a meeting just last night where they used the acrostic of H.E.A.R.T….while I was in my meeting I actually googled this HALT version as I really like this one. If I had just made it over here to my friend the Sober Chick the day before I would have had the info handy! Although I have always been ok with being alone I know that hunger, anger and tiredness led me to many a relapse for me. We must remain vigilant to protect our halt. Blessings my friend, I pray all is well with you! I always appreciate your visits!


    • Sober Chick
      Oct 09, 2013 @ 03:00:09

      Tom, what does H.E.A.R.T. stand for? I’m not familiar. Blessings to you too my friend!


      • Tom Raines
        Oct 09, 2013 @ 11:11:42

        Ha, I knew you would ask…and at the moment I couldn’t remember…found my notes:)
        Blessings my sister in sharing your story and what the LORD gives to you.

  3. Desiray
    Oct 11, 2013 @ 12:43:41

    An amazing testimony…It’s never easy when we come forward with our struggles in life, but one thing I have learned all these years is that whatever I go through it’s never about me it’s for the next person who will come across my path.

    What you endured you will be able to help others. AMEN


    • Sober Chick
      Oct 12, 2013 @ 00:32:48

      Thank you so much for the encouraging words. I will try and keep a good perspective like you do. It’s so easy to get consumed with an “all about me” attitude. It takes kind words from others like you to bring me back to what it’s really about. God bless!


  4. Unshakable Hope
    Oct 22, 2013 @ 18:34:40

    My brother is celebrating seven years sobriety today; people like you and he are an inspiration!


  5. D.Zucho
    Oct 25, 2013 @ 00:51:13

    I absolutely love this one. I think we can all relate to it. All the times where I get so frustrated about wanting to use, I am feeling one or more of those things. It definitely takes some time to get used to, but once it is all figured out it solves quite a lot. At least for me. Again, loved the post!


  6. Marianne Bernard
    Nov 03, 2013 @ 03:58:56

    Good message! Being too hungry, too angry, too lonely or too tired is a gateway into just about any sin out there. The enemy prowls around looking to devour those who are weakened in any form. Taking captive every emotion to the obedience of Christ saves you from making foolish choices that can ruin your life or your health.

    Good for you, Sober Chick. You took the step to not only help yourself but to help others too.


  7. Steven Sawyer
    Nov 04, 2013 @ 01:18:57

    I still watch for these signs. I know something has to change whenever I feel H or A or L or T. Thanks for the helpful reminder.


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