Just Another Recovering Person

HALT stands for:


It was taught to me not to get too far gone down any one of these paths for it can affect my decision-making capabilities in recovery. Let’s look at how this affects both the newcomer and the old-timer in recovery.

The newcomer can be hungry for something different if the initial desire is nurtured. Physical hunger also plays a role. We have mistreated our bodies and need to be mindful to not only watch what we eat, but how, why, and when we eat. Many become hungry for recovery and want to ‘light the world on fire’ with their passion. We need to be more realistic than this. Our initial hunger may ebb and flow but we must remain hungry for that which we came here for; to stop using, loose the desire to use, and to find a new way to live.

The old-timer must remain hungry for recovery if not complacency sets in and stagnation soon leads to thoughts of grandeur. When we stop being hungry and do what is necessary for recovery on a daily basis our program of recovery stops and we run on self-will. Self-will is nothing more than self-deception, and we are master of it. We can put ‘new spins’ on things to make ourselves feel better about ourselves only to find that our ‘new spins’ are nothing more than ‘old cons’.

The newcomer has many anger issues. They can range from anger at people, places, and things, to anger over the actions of ones self and the events that have occurred. Anger in itself is a powerful drug. It is our reaction to our present reality. Anger, self-pity, and guilt often lead to relapse.

For the old-timer anger that the fellowship they came to has changed. Resentments with service, other members, the fellowship as a whole and not being treated the way that they feel they should leads many out the door. Many old-timers feel there is some golden-era of recovery. This is not true. How can there be a golden-era if we are involved with a Just for Today Program? Anger for the old-timer can lead to relapse even after 20 or 25 years clean. Anger can kill the old-timer, it is still our reaction to our present reality.

The newcomer not yet comfortable in the fellowship may look to past friends for comfort. They may seek the company of folks in the rooms whose motives are less than pure. Saying hello and giving a hug to a newcomer can make all the difference in the world. Taking an active interest in someone who wants to recover is one of the greatest gifts in the world.

The old-timer feels left out of the fellowship he has come to rely on. This can be based in ego and resentments. Spiritual living does not mean living on a different plane of existence for those with time. We must remain involved, we must remain in contact with our fellow NA members. We have seen members simply ‘vanish in plain sight’ because the differences we once tossed aside with an open mind come back after the mind closes when we get some time in the program.

For the newcomer it usually means feeling physically tired, or tired of certain sets of circumstances or those circumstances not changing the way the addict wants them to. Encouragement works wonders. The practice of living skills is exhausting. Feelings in themselves are tiring. It’s like watching a baby sleep after a tantrum. Most of us stopped maturing at some point during our use, this redevelopment can be tiresome, but it is worth it.

For the old-timer it is tired of hearing the same topics, the same experience, and the same thinking over and over. There is no magic cure for this. An open mind and a spirit of service to others may help, but ultimately we are responsible for our individual recovery, part of that responsibility is a daily inventory of how we feel. We become tired of the very things that helped us in the beginning. Going to meetings, talking to our sponsors, reading literature, service to others, and step work. When one or more of these stops, we have stopped recovering.

Take Care.


Comments on: "H.A.L.T. & How it affects the old-timer and the newcomer…" (4)

  1. Great comparison. You are describing a full-circle cycle that I have often observed and been cautious of. Where we come in broken and teachable, discover our character defects, recover from them to some measer, then allow them to sneak back in repackaged and disguised as our entitlements and justifiable expectations as 12 step veterans.

    I see this as complete self-deception by some “old-timers”. For instance, old-timers who get up to the podium and out of one side of their mouth preach the traditions and etiquette in meetings, then out of the other side of their mouth dis the last speaker publicly for what they shared (aka, after-the-fact-cross-talk).

    We are all corruptible if left to the wiles of our selfish natures. We can all become complacent thinking that we are out of harms way if we have been in the rooms long enough. Yet this seniority that we esteem ourselves with (and others reinforce by worshipping us as old timers) can be our very undoing.

    The only person I can have significant impact on to help to not go this route is me.

    There but by the grace…



  2. guneetbindra said:

    awesome write-up!

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