Remember HALT when you’re feeling blah

Aside from this cold that I am still trying to shake (oh the price I was willing to pay for 24 hours in Paris!), I have been feeling blah inside, a little depressed. My first gut instinct is to blame it on something or someone outside myself–one of the most influential people in my life who is around me almost 24/7 happens to be D. Why does he always take the blame??? He hasn’t done anything. Why do I instinctively look to him as a CAUSE of my internal mood?

Oh, but wait…HALT.

I have been in recovery now for well over three years and I STILL have to remind myself of HALT, which stands for “hungry, angry, lonely, tired–” those pesky four emotional or physical conditions that need to be taken care of  in order for you to feel content and able to manage your day. I need to also add: coming down from my coffee or sugar high, PMS, and/or having been out drinking the night before). These are things that, when you are experiencing them, they tend to totally skew your vision of reality and make everything look bleak. They also, depending on the degree to which you are experiencing them, embolden you to start blaming others, yelling at others, getting into fights, or feeling more moody or depressed than usual, Worse yet, they can cause you to feverishly call your ex in a one of those ugly, desperate attempts to get him back, which you later regret. Why the hell did I do that?!

After I go through this list I can clearly see that because of my cold, I am feeling physically run down. I’ve also been playing around with my coffee intake, AND I had a glass of wine last night (one glass will do the trick!) I guess I blame D out of old, co-dependent habit. Pia Mellody mentions this in a lecture she did on codependence years ago that one of our members posted on the boards.

At any rate, part of recovery is getting to know yourself–not only your childhood or your past, but your current cycles, how food or drink affects you (hungry, too much coffee or sugar?), and how you react under stress (lonely, tired, angry, PMSing?). When you do not pay attention to something as simple as hunger, you could be up all night wondering why the heck you yelled at your friends when they asked a simple question. When you’re not paying attention to the fact that you’re really angry about your insurance bill, you could lash out at a relative for something totally unrelated.

HALT is not one of those things that you learn and once you learn it,  it becomes second nature. If you’re anything like me, you constantly have to keep reminding yourself to go through this list. You constantly have to keep reminding yourself that there are other, internal forces at work that do not have anything to do with who is present (or conversely, who isn’t). I think because for many of us, our identities have been so wrapped up in others’ lives we tend to relate to our moods and behaviors as if someone else is pulling our strings. But we do have feelings, emotions, and physical conditions separate from all others, that well up inside us based on chemicals within us. We are our own entity, and while much of what we experience in the world does have a lot to do with who we are surrounded by, not everything can be blamed on someone else. Sometimes, we have to look within for the source of our discomfort.

So, this is a reminder… are you tired? Are you lonely? Are you hungry? Are you PMSing? Have you been drinking? What are your cycles? Can you recognize a pattern or a reaction to certain foods? Seasons? Time of the day? Tell us.


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