Co-NNections Recovery Stories

Don 6-21-16


HALT is one of many recovery tools which have become a part of my daily life. HALT as a standalone concept helps me take inventory and works as a good reminder to stop, slow down, and break my headlong rush toward some unacknowledged and usually unconscious goal. HALT as the acronym is even more useful to me. Hunger, Anger, Lonely and Tired are barometers of my recovery as well as red flags waving Claxton horns loudly clanking, brightly blinking stop signs flashing warnings for me to halt before I go off the cliff, which is always nearby. Unlike the Road Runner who falls as soon as he realizes he is running on air: HALT works as a life line walking me back to solid ground.
Hunger before CoDA was just one of many factors in my life to be ignored or manipulated. Since program hunger is a warning sign telling me I am putting somebody or something ahead of my well-being. Hunger is a signal my body needs fuel and I ignore that signal at my recovery peril. I never go from hunger to hunger but rather from hunger to whiney victim, quite a distance from recovery. Eating a healthy snack while I work is becoming a common healthy tool.

Anger was once the emotion which defined me. Degrees of anger from rage to annoyance were pretty much my emotional vocabulary. Anger was an early block to Steps 2 and 3 and were a focus of years of praying. Today when I experience anger my recovery is gone. Not permanently, but in that moment of self-indulgence I am out of my program. Mostly, I now recognize irritation long before it rises to resentment, anger or rage. As soon as I recognize irritation I pray. Prayer is my anger antidote.

Lonely was an emotional condition which once scared me to death and drove me to anybody. Mostly females many I did not like or share interests with. My fear of being alone wreaked havoc on my life. After forty-three years of marriage, countless affairs and a variety of acting out coping mechanisms I am now widowed Eight plus years living alone in mostly peace and serenity. Given my decades of enmeshment and terror of loneliness for me this is a miracle that was once a pipe dream. I thank my God and CoDA daily. Today when I feel the normal natural emotion of lonely I reach out, Phone a close fellowship friend or work-out. Exercise is a great mood altering activity for me. Today lonely suggests the existence of options.
Tired requires constant close monitoring by me. Like hunger tired leads to feeling sorry for myself. I can become a whiney victim. Any time I feel like a victim I know I am in reality a volunteer. I now set the alarm to remind me to prepare for bed. I wish I could say I know it is getting late and I am tired, but the truth is I do not realize time has passed and my tiredness will not be apparent to me until tomorrow. The evening alarm reminds me to wrap my activities up and make time to end the day with meditation, prayer and the Step 10 review of my day’s behaviors. These simple recovery tools transform my mood from obsessive compulsive adrenalin driven activities to a place of calm tranquility from which sleep flows naturally.

HALT: is just one of many recovery tools I consciously employ moment by moment. Perhaps it is nothing more than common sense, but to this codependent who expanded adolescence to retirement age I will take all the tools which help me become a mature adult. One of my sponsees recently said, “Recovery is growing up in public.” True, and it was and is neither pretty nor easy for me; simple, but not easy. HALT is one tool which when I use rigorously helps my moment to moment reprieve from the effects of my codependent character defects. 

Don B. – 5/31/14

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