The acronym H.A.L.T. stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. This acronym was designed to remind those recovering from sex addiction to never find themselves too hungry, getting angry, being lonely, or being tired. These emotions are natural stresses, and stress brings on vulnerability. Vulnerability tends to bring out the behaviors associated with your sex addiction. If you remember to take care of your body’s basic needs, you can keep your system from going into emergency mode, where your thoughts become 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, you most likely sped through life on the adrenaline that comes with addiction and lost touch with some of the basic natural feelings of your body. You may have lost touch with what it felt like to simply be tired or hungry, and be okay with it.
Many addicts, while they are acting out in their sex addiction, do not take the time for decent rest or food. Then, when you began taking steps towards recovery from sex addiction, there are the difficulties of withdrawal to deal with. Some have described this feeling as nervous energy that won’t stop. You might have difficulty sleeping, or you might find yourself sleeping more than ever before. Whether it’s years of acting out your sex addiction that have run you ragged, or the effects of withdrawal, it is important that you slow down and rest in your sobriety, and take good care of yourself.
While you were engaged in active addiction, you likely believed sex was the solution for all your troubles.
When your thoughts become cloudy, 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 H.A.L.T. tool can help you to stop and reflect upon what your body may be trying to tell you. You may be surprised to find that what your mind is telling you has nothing to do with addiction, and everything to do with taking care of the basic necessities of life.
Ask yourself if you’re avoiding an unpleasant emotion? Have you gotten enough sleep? Have you been alone too often? Are you hungry, or did you forget to eat? Many times you will find that a good meal, some quality conversation, the opportunity to examine your feelings, or a good night’s sleep is all that you need to regain your sense of serenity and commitment to your recovery from sex addiction.