The acronym HALT stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. This acronym was designed to remind those recovering from sex addiction to never feel too hungry, angry, lonely or tired. These emotions are natural stresses, and stress breeds vulnerability. Vulnerability tends to bring out the behaviors associated with your sex addiction. By remembering to take care of your body’s basic needs, you can prevent your system from going into emergency mode, where your thoughts get confused and you begin to believe the lie, that your addiction will provide you with the relief you need.
When you were active in your sex addiction, chances are you kicked life into high gear with the adrenaline rush that comes with addiction and lost touch with some of your body’s basic natural feelings. You may have lost touch with what it feels like to just be tired or hungry, and be okay with that.
Many addicts, while acting out their sex addiction, do not take the time to rest or eat decently. Then, when you start taking steps toward recovery from sex addiction, you have to deal with the difficulties of withdrawal. Some have described this feeling as nervous energy that won’t stop. You may have trouble sleeping or you may be sleeping more than ever. Whether it’s years of acting on your sex addiction that has made you irregular, or the effects of withdrawal, it’s important to slow down and rest in your sobriety, and take good care of yourself.
While you were involved in active addiction, you probably believed that sex was the solution to all your problems.
When your thoughts become clouded, or your thinking becomes more difficult due to natural bodily responses, it can be easier to mistakenly believe that returning to your sex addiction is the only solution.
Remembering the HALT tool can help you stop and reflect on what your body may be trying to tell you. You may be surprised to discover that what your mind is telling you has nothing to do with addiction, and everything to do with taking care of life’s basic necessities.
Ask yourself if you are avoiding an unpleasant emotion. Have you slept enough? Have you been alone too often? Are you hungry or did you forget to eat? Many times you will find that a good meal, a quality conversation, an opportunity to examine your feelings, or a good night’s sleep is all you need to regain your sense of serenity and commitment to your recovery from sex addiction.