Over the last month, we’ve posted a lot about different ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic can affect those in recovery. We’ve talked about the feelings of loneliness and boredom that may arise during self-isolation and how to be proactive about reducing these feelings to avoid triggering a relapse.
However, we know that in some cases, it may be impossible to prevent negative feelings altogether. Today, instead of focusing on prevention, we want to talk briefly about identifying them. Specifically, which feelings are most important to notice or most likely to come up during self-isolation.
HALT: 4 Feelings You Need to Pay Attention to
If you’ve completed any amount of time in a recovery program, you’ve likely heard the acronym HALT, standing for hunger, anger, loneliness, and tiredness. These are emotions you’re encouraged to pay attention to during your recovery. The reason for this is that these four emotions are common triggers of relapse for many people.
While all four of these emotions are completely normal for people to feel, feeling them may also make you more susceptible to self-destructive behaviors causing relapse. This is because each feeling takes a toll on you, either mentally or emotionally, and can momentarily cloud judgement.
If you notice yourself having self-destructive thoughts, HALT and assess your feelings. Are you feeling hungry, angry, lonely, or tired?
HALT During Self-Isolation
This lockdown is difficult for people around the world, but especially for people who are in recovery from addiction.
Feelings of anxiety and fear of the unknown may manifest themselves in the form of anger or difficulty sleeping, causing tiredness. Lack of physical interaction with other people may cause loneliness.
During this time, it’s important to HALT often and check in with your feelings. Reach out often to people that you trust: friends, family members, or your sponsor, and talk to them about any emotions you’ve been experiencing recently. Eat healthily and make exercise and meditation or prayer a part of your daily routine.
We know the COVID-19 pandemic is probably making you work harder on your recovery. Try to think of this as a good thing: putting a higher level of effort into your recovery over the next couple of months helps you to strengthen the commitment you’ve made to yourself. The harder you work now, the easier things will seem when the world is back to normal.
Be sure to check out our other resources for your recovery during COVID-19: maintaining a virtual community, diet advice, continuing group sessions online, managing loneliness, and improving motivation to prevent boredom.