HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired
SUDS: Seemingly Unimportant Decisions
Watch for these ideas in the story below and examine how they were related to Robert’s relapse. Then discuss how they are also dangerous for your recovery.
Rocky Robert has a terrible day at work. He was angry because his boss gave him a last minute assignment just before lunch and told him that it was urgent that he finishes it today. Robert worked through lunch and stayed late to finish the assignment. His boss never even said “thank you.” Driving home, Robert had to shake his head to stay awake. He hadn’t been sleeping well since his wife took the kids to visit her mother for the week. He missed his wife and children. Roberts’s stomach was grumbling, as he hadn’t had time for lunch. He looked in the refrigerator and didn’t see anything he wanted to eat. He was so tired he didn’t feel like cooking anyway.
Just then the phone rang. Robert looked at the caller ID and hesitated a moment before deciding to answer the phone. It was his old drinking buddy Joe Six-Pack. Robert hadn’t talked to Joe since he’d become sober several months earlier. “I’ll just talk to him a minute,” Robert thought as he said “hello.”
“Hey buddy, I haven’t heard from you in awhile. Why don’t we get together at Pizza ‘N Suds tonight.”
“No. I don’t drink anymore.”
“Hey bud, there’s no need to drink. We can just get pizza. Have you had dinner yet?”
“No, and I’m really hungry. I’m angry about my day, lonely because the wife and kids are gone for the week, and really tired. I don’t suppose it would hurt to go out, but just for pizza.”
“That’s great. I’ll meet you in 20 minutes.” Joe Six-Pack hung up the phone.
What SUDS (seemingly unimportant decisions) did Robert make? When you are hungry, angry, lonely or tired, it’s important to HALT, and check your thinking and actions. Going out to Pizza ‘N Suds with Joe Six-Pack would have been a poor choice for Robert at any time, but especially when he was in a bad state of mind and not thinking clearly.
The steps to Robert’s relapse may have begun days earlier. He knew that his wife was leaving for a week, but he didn’t prepare to have alternative activities. Instead, he sat home and thought about how lonely he was, which led to depression and interfered with his sleep. Robert failed to prepare by having meals in the house, and chose to work through lunch. He failed to be assertive with his boss, and instead held in his anger. These were all seemingly unimportant decisions, but by the time Joe Six-Pack called, the plan was already in place. If he hadn’t already been preparing for a relapse, Robert would have looked at the caller ID and chose not to answer the phone or to have contact with his old drinking buddy. Even after answering the phone, Robert could have quickly ended the call without making plans with Joe. After the call was completed, Robert could still have chosen not to go to Pizza “N Suds, but he continued on the path to destruction with one SUDS after another.
What can you do to HALT yourself and become more aware of your SUDS?
WHEN YOU THINK: “ONLY ONE WON’T HURT,” THINK ABOUT BEING RUN OVER BY A LONGTRAIN–IT’S ALWAYS THE FIRST ONE THAT MATTERS.