Tag: relapse prevention


The acronym H.A.L.T. stands for hungry, angry, lonely, and tired and is a key part of maintaining your long-term sobriety.

Once you have completed Narconon Fresh Start’s drug and alcohol rehab program you are ready to begin living the new sober life you have envisioned for yourself. While this is a time of great happiness, high expectations and a sense of personal accomplishment – it can also be daunting to handle life day to day sober. An established acronym to help guide you in preventing potential relapse is H.A.L.T. This acronym stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. For recovered addicts, keeping this acronym in mind will enable you to discern where your feelings are coming from. By using the skills you’ve gained at Narconon Fresh Start you will be able to address the specific cause of your craving and put yourself back on the right path.

Staying in touch with your feelings and personal needs is essential in maintaining your sobriety. The onset of anxiety or a sudden change in mood can often be traced back to hunger; when a person’s blood sugar levels are imbalanced it can cause the individual to experience a wide range of emotions. Additionally, feelings of resentment, feeling lonely or simply tired can change a person’s outlook and cause them to behave rashly. By taking time out of your day to evaluate your feelings and personal needs using the H.A.L.T. acronym you can ensure that you are taking proper care of yourself and being proactive about maintaining your sobriety.

Struggling with any of these feelings or emotions can leave you more vulnerable to the temptation to use drugs or drink; taking your focus away from your primary goal of sobriety. A key part of sustaining your newly developed sober lifestyle is learning to pay attention to these inner signals and find appropriate ways to meet your needs. By resolving the any issues you have connected with hunger, anger, loneliness or fatigue you will be able to continue your goal of lasting sobriety.


Using Caution to Maintain Sobriety

While getting sober from drug addiction or alcoholism is an important first step, it’s only the beginning of one’s recovery process. Once the individual achieves sobriety, their brain continues to need time to recover and rebuild connections that have changed while they were addicted. During the early days of sobriety cravings can be intense; as a newly sober individual you can support your continued sobriety by making a conscious effort to avoid people, places, and situations that trigger the urge to use:

• Avoid bars and clubs, even if you don’t have a problem with alcohol. Drinking lowers inhibitions and impairs judgment, which can easily lead to relapse. Drugs are often readily available and the temptation to use can be overpowering. Also avoid any other environments and situations that you associate with drug use.
• Use caution with prescription drugs. Stay away from prescription drugs with the potential for abuse. Drugs with a high abuse potential include painkillers, sleeping pills, and anti-anxiety medication.
• Be up front about your history of drug use when seeking medical treatment. If you need a medical or dental procedure done, be up front about your history and find a provider who will work with you in either prescribing alternatives or the absolute minimum medication necessary. You should never feel ashamed or humiliated about previous drug use.
• Make a break from old drug buddies. Don’t make the mistake of hanging out with old friends who are still doing drugs. Surround yourself with people who support your sobriety, not those who tempt you to slip back into old, destructive habits.

Relapse Prevention: How to Avoid Relapse

1. When day to day problems and negative feelings take place handle them at that moment in time. This prevents pressure and stress from building up and taking over your rational thoughts.

2. Gain support and trust. Family, friends, your boss, a co-worker, a support group or a counselor can talk with you about the pressures you are feeling in recovery. They can watch with you for the warning signs of relapse and help you handle the stress. Let them know your goals and your plans so that they can help you out.

3. It is important to find a way to reduce stress in your life without turning to drugs or alcohol. Take time to yourself to do things you enjoy such as taking a walk, reading a book and so forth. Some find it helpful to make a schedule for their day and then fill in their free time with these enjoyable hobbies.

4. Identify and plan for high-risk situations. Everyone who has recovered from alcohol and drug addiction faces high-risk situations at some time – situations where you are more likely to drink or use drugs. These situations can be handled more easily if you know ahead of time what you will do when put in a difficult scenario. Have at least three ways to handle a high-risk situation, so that if one does not work, you do not give up. Practice what you will do or say, so you do not worry about what to do under pressure and the words come easily.

End Your Downward Spiral Into Addiction

If you are looking to end your downward spiral into drug addiction or alcoholism but have no idea how to stop using on your own, you are not alone. As a former addict, I know how difficult it can be to want to stop using, yet continually feeling the urge to get high – calling your dealer – and then realizing you messed up again when you had just promised yourself you wouldn’t. For me, it felt like I just couldn’t win. No matter how hard I tried to stop, I couldn’t stay away from my drug of choice. That is, until I went to Narconon Fresh Start.

Their program is unique in many significant ways. 1. They are able to help people addicted to all types of substances: pain medications, narcotics, heroin, meth, marijuana, alcohol, cocaine, prescription drugs, etc. 2. Their program is entirely drug-free. This is because helping a person end one addiction just to become dependent on prescription medication(s) leaves them controlled by a substance(s) and not living an entirely drug-free lifestyle.*note 3. They teach valuable life skills that help program participants learn to function without drugs in difficult situations. Learning to confront uncomfortable issues while sober, learning how to effectively communicate with others and learning how to improve their condition in life (e.g. repairing past relationships, regaining one’s status at work, etc.) are just some of the skills I learned while going through the program.

*As a side note, even program participants who have taken psych medications for years find that with proper treatment and the help of medical professionals they are able to discontinue taking the medications because their emotional/mental conditions have cleared up. This is due to the client getting off the addictive substances they have been abusing, learning the intrapersonal and life skills Narconon Fresh Start centers teach and working hard on addressing their underlying problems that drove them to choose substance abuse as a way of solving their issues.

As a graduate of the Narconon Fresh Start program with over a decade of sobriety, I can tell you that their drug rehab program is one of the most effective methods of total rehabilitation from drug and alcohol addiction. They cover every aspect on a person’s recovery from withdrawal, detoxification, counseling, life skills courses, relapse prevention to creating a battle plan for one’s future. The reason their programs are so comprehensive is because to truly be rehabilitated from an addiction problem the person needs time and a great deal of change within themselves. Just as they didn’t develop their addiction overnight, their recovery is not going to happen overnight.

Narconon Fresh Start drug rehab programs are long-term, residential treatment centers. Most program participants complete the program in around three months. Another unique aspect of this drug rehab program is that they believe that recovery “takes as long as it takes”, so they do not rush their program participants through to completion before they are truly ready. Knowing that you get to work at your own pace through one of the most challenging and difficult tasks of your life eases the tension of going through the process of drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

When a person completes the Narconon Fresh Start program they are able to return home and set into motion the battle plan they (along with the Narconon Fresh Start staff) have developed for their future. They do not take any substation medications, they do not need to attend any meetings and they do not think of themselves as an addict any longer. They now possess all the life skills, relapse prevention techniques, self-esteem and determination necessary to live their life as a clean and sober member of their families and communities.

Drug Relapse

Why is it that even when an addicted person has stopped using drugs for some period of time they still seem disoriented and separated from their life? They are uncomfortable in their skin, unable to handle everyday emotions, unable to function in day to day life, unable to focus on their future goals, unable to remain in stable relationships or handle responsibility. These issues often lead to frustration for the newly sober individual causing them to feel failure and disappointment within themselves. These negative feels often lead to drug relapse. The person has not developed the interpersonal skills and life skills necessary to solve problems without resorting back to substance use. All drugs are essentially pain killers, numbing the user to the realities of life. Once a person stops using drugs or alcohol the numbness and disorientation their substance use brought into their life doesn’t dissipate, even when the individual has been clean for some time.

This is why phase three of the Narconon Fresh Start drug rehab program works on breaking past the impulsive behaviors common among addicted individuals. Using a unique set of drills (i.e., Objective Exercises or The Advanced Communication and Perception Course), the program participant becomes more in touch with their environment, improves their concentration and exerts control over their environment and themselves. When this phase of the program is complete the program participant is able to accurately perceive what is going on around them and handle the situations in their lives effectively without turning to drugs or alcohol.