What is HALT in Sex Addiction Recovery?
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 tensions and stress creates vulnerability. Vulnerability tends to bring out the behaviors associated with your sex addiction. By remembering to attend to the basic needs of your body, you can prevent your system from going into emergency mode, where your thoughts become confused and you begin to believe the lie, that your addiction will provide the relief you need.
When you were active in your sex addiction, you most likely sped up life on the adrenaline 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 it.
Many addicts, while misbehaving in their sex addiction, do not take the time to rest or eat properly. Then when you started taking steps to recover from sex addiction, you must deal with the difficulties of withdrawal. Some have described this feeling as nervous energy that does not stop. You may have trouble sleeping or find yourself sleeping more than ever. Whether it’s years of expressing your sex addiction that has left you upset, or the effects of withdrawal, it’s important that you slow down and rest in sobriety, and take good care of yourself.
While you were involved in an active addiction, you probably thought that sex was the solution to all your problems.
When your thoughts get clouded, or your thinking becomes more difficult due to natural bodily responses, it can be easier to mistakenly believe that reverting to your addiction to sex 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 find that what your mind tells you has nothing to do with addiction, but rather has a lot to do with taking care of the basic necessities of life.
Ask yourself if you are avoiding an unpleasant emotion. Have you had 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, a quality conversation, the 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.