What Are HALT Addiction Triggers?

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What Are HALT Addiction Triggers?

Once you have completed a treatment program, you will need to diligently maintain your sobriety with a combination of self-awareness and self-care. Preventing relapse is key, especially for people in the earliest stages of recovery. Your surroundings, as well as any emotional highs and lows you might experience, are among the top relapse triggers.

Some people find the acronym HALT to be a helpful tool. The letters in HALT stand for hungry, angry, lonely and tired. Though it may seem simplistic, these fundamental conditions could put you more vulnerable to engaging in self-destructive behavior. Hunger, anger, loneliness and tiredness are all your body’s ways of warning you when you are close to reaching a breaking point.


The need to eat is relatively straightforward. However, when you’re hungry, don’t automatically grab the first food you see. Making smart nutritional choices and eating a balanced diet allows our bodies to operate at maximum potential, and will keep you energized and motivated.

Sometimes, when you HALT and take stock of your feelings, you might realize you are feeling hunger for something other than a meal, such as affection or compassion. That’s why you need a strong support system in recovery. Family and friends who care about your well-being will help provide an outlet for the emotional hunger you are experiencing, and prevent you from falling back into unhealthy habits.


We all get angry at times, and there’s nothing wrong with feeling upset. However, you should HALT and take a few minutes to understand what’s bothering you, and assess whether you can control it. If the source of your anger is something outside your control, or you don’t think you can confront it right now, find another outlet to channel your emotions.

Go for a jog to clear your head, or find chores you can do around the house to work off the extra energy your anger may bring. Or, perhaps you are a person who expresses your emotions better through creative projects like drawing or journaling. Meditation can be a way to center yourself, and you can do it anywhere and anytime.

Lastly, talking to a caring friend who doesn’t play any role in your current situation can be a constructive way to process your anger. However you choose to defuse your anger, make sure you determine what is causing it so you can find a healthy way to release it. Don’t let unresolved anger eat away at you.


Feelings of isolation are a characteristic many addicts share. If you are feeling withdrawn and lonely, HALT and ask yourself whether you have been spending too much time by yourself lately. Your sober support system should include people you can call anytime you are feeling stressed or anxious, or if you just need someone to talk to.

Remember, being alone is a condition you can fully control. Rather than retreating from the world and relapsing to substance abuse, reach out to the people who care about you most. Schedule a mid-week lunch get-together with some old friends, or call a family member for a chat. You can also get out of your house and go for a walk in the park, run some errands you’ve been putting off or head to a sidewalk cafe and watch the world pass by.


When you fill your schedule with the demands of family, work, chores, meetings and appointments, exhaustion can set in quickly. Running on low energy saps your strength and can overwhelm your ability to cope. Taking a few moments to HALT is vital when you’re feeling run-down.

A good night’s sleep or an indulgent midday nap may be all you need to boost your mood and refresh you. In the middle of an especially stressful day, take a short break by listening to music, reading a book or taking a few deep breaths. Finding ways to restore your body, mind and spirit will help you sustain your sobriety through challenging times.

Manage Your Stress and Triggers

Are you ready to sever your ties with drugs and alcohol and rediscover the joy of a sober lifestyle? Contact us at Seabrook to learn more about starting your recovery process at one of our five accredited New Jersey addiction treatment facilities.