The HALT program is a core part of the healing philosophy. The acronym was created from the first letters of English words:
Each of these states can drive the alcoholic away from the path of recovery so they lose sight of their main goal - sobriety.
HALT is a program showing how to deal with the risk of drinking during the process of getting sober.
- Don't be hungry - try not to leave the house without eating something. Experienced sober alcoholics say that the temptation to have a drink multiplies when we are hungry, and we often also get angry at those times. The human body as a biochemical laboratory demands alcohol more when the stomach is empty. So, if you cannot eat breakfast before leaving, have a cup of tea, a glass of mineral water, juice or milk, specialists also recommend something sweet. Then the demand for alcohol decreases significantly.
- Don't be angry - anger is a natural feeling. However, too much anger disturbs our functioning. This state of mind is a common reason for drinking - to achieve relaxation. The opposite of anger is calmness and peace. We read this in the first verse of Desiderata - "Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence." The 24 hours programme also addresses this - try to live each day well and do not try to do too many things, because that's the easy way to anger, stress and maybe drinking. Love is an excellent remedy for anger. Bill W. took this truth from the prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi starting with the words: "let me not seek as much to be consoled as to console".
- Don't be lonely - being lonely is not the best state for an alcoholic on his way to sobriety - it's not far from loneliness to frustration, anger, tension and resentment. The AA community and your sponsor -- and alcoholic with more experience of sobriety -- make a counterweight to loneliness. Among other things, one of the most important symptoms of relapse into alcoholism is isolation, a lonely escape into the world of dreams, avoiding meetings, feeling unjustified resentment towards other people. Therefore, you should avoid being lonely at all costs. Also, Faith - Bill W.'s first truth, says "God, however we understand him, is always with you, you are not alone."
- Don't be tired - it's obviously difficult not to get tired, but the point is not to prolong this state. It is important to avoid both physical and mental fatigue. Experience teaches that alcohol briefly removes fatigue. It gives an illusion of lightness, and the conclusions about its "healing" and "comforting" effect lead astray. Alcohol is an anaesthetic - hence the illusion that it has removed our fatigue. Only natural rest is effective: walking, mental and physical relaxation and sleep - give results. That is why it is good to remember the HALT programme and incorporate them into our sobering life.