Relapse

The H.A.L.T. Stop Sign

I practice an effective recovery tool: “H.A.L.T.”

Its simple wisdom deals our response toward addiction, compulsion and disorder:

“Don’t let yourself become too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired.”

There are positive results there, just in the physical realm alone. But, if we go deeper, we also see the spiritual relevance behind that acronym. It addresses our tricky heart condition.

“For what I am doing, I do not understand...”Romans 7:15

Are You Cultivating Life Saving Fruit?

Let's imagine that recovery grew on a vine, and like grapes in a valley, it would need proper soil cultivation, sunlight, water, fertilization, and pruning to bear fruit.

Wouldn't it be nice if your recovery would bear enough fruit to eliminate fruit-bearing guides, books, classes and counselors? That being asked and answered, what would your mandatory concerns be to make that a reality in your struggles to grow recovery-bearing fruit?

Your concerns should be the following:

  • Make sure your potential fruit-bearing recovery plan is connected to the vines clearly with unobstructed prayer.
  • That you cultivate and prune your life by working a Twelve-Step Program.

Why is it Important to Have a Sponsor?

Why is it important to have a sponsor? Why do I need someone to guide me along in my journey through recovery? Can't I do this thing alone? I'm a private person. I don't want someone else knowing my problems. It's nobody's business what is going on in my life.

I asked those questions and said those things when I first began on my recovery journey. It wasn't until I read the Scripture that goes along with Step Four that I finally realized God doesn't desire for this journey to be solo. His desire is for me to find someone I trust to help, guide, and teach me along the way.

Playing Hide and Seek with God?

I searched hurriedly to find just the right hiding place. Breathless I hid silently behind the shower curtain in my parents shower. A giggle slipped from my mouth and I quickly cupped my hand to keep it quiet. I could barely hear my friend counting... 6... 7...8 ...9... 10! Ready or not, here I come! My heart raced for fear I would be found.

I'm sure you remember the exhilaration and suspense of playing hide and seek with your friends. Now that I am older, I no longer play this childhood game with my friends or anyone else—or do I?

It is Just the Beginning

I have learned to trust God. I have faith my past is gone. I have let it all go and given it to God to handle. This is just the beginning for me, though.

My journey through recovery begins with Christ and it continues with Him. I could not have started nor could I continue without His help and guidance through all of the steps of recovery. I may not be an alcoholic or addicted to a drug, but I have other issues to contend with as a result of living with addiction.

  • Each day I must turn my need for control over to God’s care.
  • Each day I must turn over my past shopping compulsion to God because He is enough to fill any void I have.
  • Each day I must rid myself of co-dependency and be fully dependent upon Him to comfort me.

The Trigger of Grief

In the work of recovery, we address the danger of triggers. Its very word itself suggests the power to cause us harm:

"Something that precipitates a particular event or situation; To set off; initiate; To fire or explode."


On one August morning of 2003, I encounter such a trigger. The phone rang. My dad was dead.

My grief, for the next year and a half, was an alarming, unexpected reality. And each subsequent "anniversary" proves equally tricky also. Both defy what I thought I would - or should - be experiencing.

After all, coming from an abusive childhood, I didn't think the loss of this pain-inflicting parent would register as significantly as it did.

Know the Difference: Healthy or Unhealthy Support System?

"Know the difference between those who stay to feed the soil and those who come to grab the fruit."


This sobering statement recently came to my attention. I don't know who originally said it, but it resonates, all the same.

It has personally factored in heavily as I have learned, firsthand, who was a part of my healthy support system...and who was NOT.

Indeed, this concept plays a MAJOR role for each of us as we navigate our addiction/recovery journeys. It is usually not too long in life, before we encounter the all too common cliché dysfunction of co-dependency, narcissism and/or exploitation.

Uncomfortable Silence is a Teacher Too

Recovery-from much of anything - is often not done in the steady hum of encouragement. It's frequently done in intimidating quiet. Even with support groups, sponsors, treatment centers, churches and any number of "support structures," we are still left with our true selves. And, no matter what affirmations we have heard and learned, we alone are left to apply them. There is no uplifting outside cheerleader. There is just our decision.

I know this comes across as negative, especially concerning "the Higher Power" factor.

As a person of faith, I'm not dismissing the role The Most High plays. Rather, I see how the Divine shows up in disguised forms, one of those being the unanswered quiet.

Wisdom to Know the Difference

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.James 3:17


The Serenity Prayer is believed to have been written by American theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr sometime in the 1930’s. Although at the time it was written, it was not directly related to alcoholics, later it was adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous as the prayer stated at each of their meetings. It would then become a regular prayer at many other recovery meetings, including that of adult children of alcoholics.

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