Have you ever been derailed due to feeling too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired?
Read on to see how Rev. Dr. Cynthia Cavalcanti, beloved New Thought teacher, speaker, and writer eloquently interweaves spiritual wisdom with these physical and emotional conditions to uncover the deeper lessens in the principle known as HALT.
In gratitude, harmony, and support,
The Spiritual Principle of HALT
by Rev. Dr. Cynthia Cavalcanti
What an honor to be invited by Lena to share my experience, strength, and hope on the New Thought Sobriety blog! I have been a New Thought minister since 1996, and my sobriety date is June 29, 1988. It is very clear to me that I could not have one without the other, i.e., sobriety has allowed me to thrive in a spiritual profession just as that spiritual profession supports my sobriety. I am profoundly grateful for both.
In preparation for this post, I’ve been thinking lot lately about the “crossroads” between metaphysical teachings and 12-step recovery. There are differences, sure, but those are far outnumbered by the similarities––or the parallels as I prefer to think of them––the most significant of which may well be the belief in (1) a God of one’s own understanding, and (2) in the power of prayer.
Overarching concepts are only the beginning. On the other end of the spectrum, many simple catchphrases translate easily from one philosophy to the other. For example, One Day at a Time; Change Your Mind, Change Your Life; Fake It Til You Make It; and Yesterday Ended Last Night.
In between, there are countless, more subtle, commonalities that merit consideration. As such, I decided to write about one of those; namely, the principle of HALT.
In the early days of my recovery, the principle of HALT saved my life on more than one occasion. “Don’t get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired” was the guidance
offered by my sponsor and countless AA members further along the journey.
There were times I recited HALT as a mantra minute by minute to keep from taking a drink. I also learned to use it as a question: “In this moment, am I too Hungry? Too Angry? Too Lonely? Too Tired?” More often than not, the answer revealed an
opportunity for self-nurture and growth.
For a number of years, I attended a HALT meeting on Mondays at noon; it was the perfect way to start the week. Even now, I am delighted when a discussion meeting centers around HALT or when a featured speaker shares the impact of HALT on his or her sobriety.
For me, HALT is as relevant today as it was nearly 27 years ago. It is one of the most powerful tools in my spiritual tool belt!
The questions arises: How is the 12-Step principle of HALT relevant to metaphysics, which, by definition, transcends the physical? I share my thought process with you below, plus an attempt at illustrating a bridge of sorts between the two.
HUNGRY: For starters, let’s broaden the definition of “hunger” to
include emptiness and lack. In addition to nourishing ourselves
with food, we must nourish our soul. When we are physically and
spiritually fed, we are better equipped to deal with longings and
cravings and to respond to potential challenges from a place of
fullness. Our new understanding may look something like this:
“Don’t get too hungry,” ===>>> “and be sure to nourish yourself
ANGRY: Nowhere is it written: “Never get angry at all.” The
imperative is not to get too angry. Anger is a natural human
emotion, and when we deal with it effectively, it is a powerful
instrument of growth. Metaphysics teaches that every emotion we
experience––including anger––is divine in origin; hence, it must be
inherently good. How we express anger contributes to the quality
of our emotional health, our communication skills, our
relationships, and our life:
“Don’t get too angry,” ===>>> “and when you do feel anger, express
it consciously and lovingly.”
LONELY: For many people, addiction is a disease of isolation.
Learning to distinguish between being alone and being lonely can
mean the difference between staying sober and going back out.
Awareness is key. It is not unusual for students of metaphysics to
spend time alone in study, reflection, and self-discovery, so we must
remember that the line between the contemplative and the recluse
is often a fine one. Surrounding ourselves with likeminded people
enough of the time is crucial:
“Don’t get too lonely,” ===>>> “and allow yourself to enjoy the
blessings of friendship, connection, and spiritual community on an
TIRED: As humans, we tend not to be at our best when we’re
tired. Whether we find ourselves in that condition due to sleep
deprivation or emotional exhaustion (or both), we become much
more vulnerable to harm. In recovery, “harm” might mean resorting
to old, detrimental behaviors; in metaphysics, it might be reverting
to old, detrimental thought patterns. Either way, some of the
negative results in our lives can be traced back to decisions or
choices we made while tired. Physical and spiritual harmony is
“Don’t get too tired,” ===>>> “ and give yourself the gift of physical
and spiritual replenishment through rest and recharging.”
We would absolutely love it if you would share your thoughts about HALT with us and the readers of this blog. Please post a comment below to start the conversation or keep it going!