Once again I’m spending a Wednesday pointing you in the direction of Communicatrix. Seems like sometimes she’s actually reading my mind. Or perhaps she’s rented out a room in my head. It’s all good, if just a touch creepy.
She talks about the addiction recovery strategy HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. It’s a method to stop a relapse by first stopping (“halting”) and then seeing if all your basic needs are being met. Go through the checklist. Hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired? If so, then address that need rather than falling back into the addiction.
This works with addictions of all types, really. Food, alcohol, drugs, or whatever else is your flavor of the month.
For me, I’ve got two addictionlets (not full-on addictions, just mini addictions) that I need to keep an eye on. The first is my need to stuff my face with pizza, ice cream, chocolate, pasta (or really anything vaguely bad for you) to calm my nerves or ease my pain or manage my stress or fit in at a party. Or, really, any excuse.
The second is my tendency to allow myself to wallow in emotions and – occasionally – be a bitch. On a side note, how many people list “be a bitch” as an addiction? But, I put it under the “destructive behavior” column, so there ya have it.
My main trigger is brought to you by the letter ‘T’ — Tired. I don’t ever get nearly enough sleep. And the past couple of weeks? I’ve been lucky to be getting 5 hours a night during the week. And let me tell you, I just don’t function on 5 hours a night. Given a normal bedtime and no alarm clock to wake up to? I’ll sleep for 8-10 hours every time. Sometimes after a few days of vacation where I get sleep like that? Yea, I walk around with this stupid grin on my face thinking, “This is what normal people must feel like ALL THE TIME.” And I’m amazed. And a little sad because I’ll only get that on the weekends — and that’s only if I have a moratorium on all late-night social activities in place. And by ‘late-night’ I mean anything that gets me home past 9pm.
And so by the end of the week, I’m sleep-deprived. I’m snapping at people and losing patience. And hunger is often not really hunger – it’s just me wanting something to soothe my nerves. But sometimes I’m too tired (heh) to notice the cues, to notice that the impatience and snack attacks aren’t because of outside circumstances, but because of just not having gotten enough sleep.
Just the recognition of this is huge for me. I mean, I’ve known that I’m not at my best when I need some zzz’s, but I hadn’t really put together how that caused an avalanche of other bad decisions and behaviors. And how that had long term effects — longer term than just the time it took to get home and take a nap.
So, the next time the addiction rears its ugly head, do a check: am I hungry? angry? lonely? tired? If so, then maybe I just to need to address that basic need first. Get something to eat or take a nap or go visit a friend. That might be all I need to stay on track.