H.A.L.T. is such a great acronym to use for recovery. We have been talking about recovery of addictions but we also use this for our clients who struggle with Depression and Anxiety. This is a MUST for their recovery: to not ever let themselves get too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. But additionally, if they are feeling depressed or anxious, to ask themselves, "Could it be that I am just hungry, angry, lonely, or tired?". If the answer is "yes", simply change what you are doing or your environment. It has worked well for them because it is easy to remember. Today, I am specifically talking about letting yourself get lonely. Some alone time is good, sometimes welcomed. But I am talking about isolating yourself and not surrounding yourself with some positive relationships. By not being around others, we can sometimes be left with spiraling thoughts or what I call "living inside our head". A lot of time alone can lead to thinking or obsessing about an addiction. This can then lead to throwing in the towel and relapse. Being lonely can sometimes lead to self-pity as well. And any addict knows that self-pity is a perfect excuse to justify a "fix".
Additionally, we all crave relationships and if we don't have them we can feel voids in our lives. This leaves room for an addiction to creep in and "fill" that void. Relationships help us feel a sense of belonging and community. Without them we can feel depressed and lonely, thus leading to wanting to be addictive.
It is important to be aware that you can feel lonely in a relationship as well. If your love language is quality time and you are feeling distant from your partner, you may want to use your addiction to fill that void. It is important to share your feelings with your spouse so you can reconnect. Otherwise, you may find yourself feeling lonely and wanting to reach out in an addictive way.
Tomorrow Joleen is going to talk about being tired. This is a big one to avoid. Thank you for reading....
*Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville.