There are two things that they teach you early on in recovery: HALT and FEAR. I’ll discuss both because I’m coping well with one, but the “T” in HALT is throwing me for a loop lately.
First up we’ll handle FEAR. Many will have heard of this: F*ck Everything And Run. Technically it would be better described like this: F*ck Everything And Curl Up Into The Fetal Position On The Floor, Sucking Your Thumb but that would be: FEACUITFPOTFSYT and that wouldn’t make any sense, even if it were more accurate. When your normal drunk begins a lifestyle of recovery, we generally don’t do so on a winning streak. After all, if things are going well, why quit? Well with the wreckage that we create comes a lot of fear. Then, pile on top of that a good dose of fear for the future, and some health fears and a smidge of family fear and there’s a lot to lose sleep over. I am aware of two ways to handle these fears: The first would be FEACUITFPOTFSYT and the other is to begin cleaning up the wreckage by taking action and control over what you’ve created. Often the fetal position may sound like a viable option but I can tell you from experience, it doesn’t work so well. The other alternative is to clean that mess up – and that’s where PEACE comes in: Pretty Excellent And Clean Existence. While a good clean life may not seem like too much fun, I can tell you this from experience; After a good dose of fear and using FEAR to deal with it, PEACE is pretty sexy.
Next up is HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. If I have any one of the HALT items going on, it makes for some bad decisions. Two or more and we’re talking about a mess and a half. Think about it… When you’re feeling fussy, how many of those do you have going on? I’d bet at least one, and probably two or three. Hungry is easy enough – feed your face and do so on an appropriate basis. Angry is often the result of H,L or T but can have its own roots if you’ve recently been spurned in some way. Forgiveness is the answer here, and if you can’t forgive ’em, I’d recommend investing in glass home owner’s insurance because you’re probably chucking rocks at someone else and it’ll eventually end badly for you. Lonely is the toughest one to identify and takes a little practice and a profound ability to be honest when assessing your emotions – Angry is often substituted when Lonely is the culprit. Finally is Tired. We’re not talking about the “I just ran a half marathon and I need a little nappy” tired. We’re talking about the “I’m not sleeping well lately because life has thrown me a curveball and I was sitting on the fastball” version of tired. If you don’t get the “curveball sitting on the fastball” metaphor, in baseball you have fastball pitchers (Justin Verlander) and Curveball pitchers (Kenny Rogers).
When you have a fastball pitcher, you can “sit” on the fastball – you look for fastballs to swing at, letting other pitches go by. In doing so, you can “cheat” by starting your swing a split second early. This allows you to catch up to a pitch that’s coming across the plate at almost 100 mph.
In any event, being Tired can cause two of the other three (AL) to appear intensified. Tired is a killer for a good mood and can lead to or be caused by FEAR in a second. Now many people would recommend getting some sleep. Not me. I look at what’s causing the fear that’s keeping me from sleeping – and dealing with that fear demands action. Now, to keep from falling asleep on the way home from work, I take a nap if I absolutely must… But the important thing for me to do if I’m not sleeping well is through action – or the opposite of FEAR and FEACUITFPOTFSYT.
Now, we will have the negotiators – the “Aw c’mon man, you’re too hard on people” crowd. First, this post is about my experience and how I have dealt with these common problems and I am writing those experiences on this blog for someone who may find that experience helpful. It is perfectly OK if you don’t like it or won’t accept it. Buy a yoga mat and assume the position (thumb in mouth is optional).