Now that you’re sober, you want to protect your sobriety at all costs. Here are some of the times your brain is most vulnerable to developing cravings and leading you to relapse.
When You Are Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired
HALT is an acronym in recovery used as a reminder to stop and check in on four key areas of maintenance when you start experiencing cravings or emotional difficulty. HALT stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. Our brains need food, emotional expression, connection, and rest in order to function properly. If one part of this equation goes unbalanced, everything can get thrown off. Similar to toddlers, sometimes we just need a snack and a nap. Other times, we need to talk about our feelings and receive a hug from a friend.
We are vulnerable to relapse during the negative side of any one of the HALT phases because our defenses go down. How many times did we choose a drink over eating, a drug over dealing with anger, a trip to the bar so we didn’t feel lonely, and an afternoon alone in bed because we felt tired? Checking in on HALT and making sure to stay maintained in the four HALT areas will help protect you against relapse.
When You’ve Made Progress
Progress should be a good thing, right? Why would the mind want to destroy progress it has clearly worked hard to make? Self-sabotage is when the unconscious mind, which thinks it is undeserving, finds a way to sabotage a good situation. Some call it spiritual warfare as if there were battling forces of the universe. On a neurological level, the brain is conflicted when new pleasurable stimuli are introduced. As you are working hard to rewire and reprogram your brain, the addicted parts of your brain are still working hard toward getting one last fix. Seeing its own changes can sometimes inspire the brain to retaliate.
When You Start Feeling Irritable, Restless, and Discontent
Losing sight of gratitude, action, and contentedness in recovery can lead to feeling irritable, restless, and discontent. Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed in recovery. Otherwise, the brain has no other reason to believe it needs to carry on living without drugs and alcohol. We are vulnerable to relapse when we are irritable, restless, and discontent because we fall into old ways of thinking. Drugs and alcohol used to be the cure to every sour mood. Staying in a negative headspace can quickly lead to intolerable cravings.
When You Are Uncomfortable Or In Pain
Cravings can also be caused by experiencing new emotions which are unfamiliar. Recovery can involve emotional pain as we confront issues from our past and parts of ourselves we’ve never looked at before. Dealing with uncomfortable emotions or experiencing emotional pain makes us vulnerable to relapse because the brain is addicted to feeling pleasure. Stay strong and remember don’t pick up no matter what.
With ongoing treatment and multiphase care, you will learn how to manage your vulnerabilities when it comes to drug and alcohol dependency. Aurora Recovery Centre offers a program to men and women seeking holistic healing from inside and out for addiction and alcoholism. For more information call us today at 844-515-STOP.