In his latest blog, experience expert Mick Boskamp with almost 10 years of recovery on the counter, sees a red flag called HALT.
The last few days I have been constantly hungry and hungry for sweets (while until the end of last week I was sick of sweets). I'm angry too. Please forgive me: I am also very happy. I am especially very happy with the people I have close to me. That really feels like a blessing. But still I am angry. In addition, I feel lonely in my feeling. And all that makes me listless and that I prefer to crawl into my bed today to go to sleep around the clock.
Stop, Boskamp! Or rather: Stop! Because this is clearly a case of the deep red flag for the addict in recovery called H(ungry) A(angry), L(onely) & T(ired), aka HALT. It is important to approach and change those four areas with the utmost care. For this it is useful to realize what the cause of HALT is.
For me it was obvious. I felt compelled to save someone again. I once shared my life story at a meeting and afterwards someone came up to me with possibly the third eye and said to me: 'You are the savior type.'
'Yes, you are not a sponsor. You are a life saver. And you're not doing anyone any favors with that. Especially not yourself.'
There was a time when I didn't acknowledge my addiction and in 'clear' moments I thought I was a narcissist. By the way, I thought I had all the other personality disorders as well. Addiction is a disease that brings out the worst in you. Hence, you may act like a narcissist, but that is just an ugly appearance. If you take the right actions in recovery, you will turn from a narcissist into a human being with empathy. That transformation is really like the caterpillar turning into a butterfly (hence our butterfly logo). I could have immediately countered the idea that I was a narcissist with the realization that I can have a lot of empathy for my fellow man at regular intervals.
Maybe sometimes too much.
I want to share with you the next app change from yesterday. With a fellow, whom I meet weekly at the Addiction Recovery Group in my home village of Zandvoort and who also happens to be a counselor at Castle Craig.
I wrote to him: 'Bad news, boy. Dirk* can't be found for another two days and must have fallen back. Every time it gets worse, so I'm holding my breath.'
The fellow's response was: 'Oh too bad about Dirk…'
You would think that reaction is ice cold. But for me that app was completely timed and therefore the only right one at that time. That response got me thinking. You cannot and should not be a savior as an addict in recovery. Because when you're a savior, you're dealing with someone else's story. While your own story as a recovering addict deserves all the attention.
Because soon you will relapse because a fellow has relapsed. That would be very ironic, don't you think?
*Dirk is of course a fictitious name. This is an anonymous program.