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HALT is something we hear in AA meetings, telling us to stop and take a look at what’s going on with our minds and bodies. HALT is an acronym for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. These are all thing we need to be aware of because it can throw a wrench in our day, or program of recovery.

H is for hunger. When we’re hungry, we cannot think straight. We are irritable, quick to fight, and it negatively affects our mood. A spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, Marjorie Nola explains, “when [blood sugar] is low, the hypothalamus is triggered and levels of several hormones such as growth hormone, leptin, and ghrelin are affected. This imbalance then causes a shift in neurotransmitters and suppresses serotonin receptors.”

When we aren’t producing enough serotonin, mood swings will surely arise. Frustration and anger usually follow. Eat a healthy snack, and healthy meals. Try to stay away from fatty or sugary snacks, and you’ll feel better throughout the day.

A for anger comes next. Anger is also something important to look out for. When we’re angry, we certainly don’t think clearly. We may say or do things that are mean, or inappropriate. Words spoken in anger cause pain and hurt. When we are in a program of recovery, we all strive not to induce any pain on others.

If we can stop ourselves before acting out in anger, real personal growth and development will follow. We will feel proud of ourselves and see a different person than we were when we were using.

L for loneliness can be scary sometimes. When we feel lonely, we feel like no one is there to support or understand us. Many times we turned to drugs or alcohol to fill the void of loneliness. When we enter the program of recovery, we learn we are never alone.

Most AA meeting will have a phone list on the literature table with the names and numbers of people who will be glad to talk to you or meet up with you. Every person in those meetings has walked a similar path, so they have a deeper understanding of what you’re going through. If you’re feeling lonely, pick up the phone and make a call.

T for tired. When we’re tired, we feel overwhelmed, irritable, and exhausted. Even the smallest task can seem impossible. It’s important we take care of ourselves and look out for our health. Get a good nights sleep. Meditate on a regular basis. Take a nap if it’s possible. It’s not selfish to take a break for yourself, it’s necessary.

When you feel hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, it’s time to stop, and take care of yourself. Make sure you’re giving your mind and body what it needs. If you are self medicating through drugs and alcohol, checking into our Colorado based substance abuse treatment center is a great idea. Harmony Foundation is a safe place where you can find recovery and learn to live a healthy life free from addiction.

What Caused Son of Senator to Attempt a Murder Suicide?

Austin Deeds Suicide
Photo Via the Associated Press

Today Virginia senator Creigh Deeds made headlines after his son (pictured with the banjo above) stabbed him several times in the chest and face before shooting and killing himself. This tragic incident comes just one day after Austin Deeds, Creigh Deeds’ son, underwent an evaluation and was released from a psychiatric hospital because they reportedly had no beds available.

This attempted murder suicide raises important questions about the downward spiral of Deeds’ son who left college last month after experiencing psychiatric problems prominent enough to cause him or his family to seek a psychiatric evaluation for him yesterday.

Many are now questioning the status of Virginia’s mental health system and how someone capable of an attempted murder suicide could’ve been released. Many say that the state needs mental health funding and reform – particularly for the shortage of beds for those in real crisis.

And Austin Deeds was in crisis, as Mary Ann Bergeron the Executive Director of the Virginia Association of Community Services Boards confirmed that Rockbridge officials were calling hospitals in the area looking for a bed for Austin; “I can tell you right now, it was multiple hospitals that they called. That is a very rural area. The hospitals are few and far between.” Bergeron added that hospitals have even eliminated psychiatric wards because of limited funding, making it hard for people like Austin who obviously required involuntary detention on Monday.

Tonight investigators said they were putting together the sequence of events and motive behind the attempted murder and successful suicide, which began with a fight between Sen. Deeds and his son. Fortunately Sen. Deeds was said to be in fair condition Tuesday night after being airlifted to the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville and undergoing surgery.

Commenting on this story on CNN, Dr. Drew informed viewers that psychiatric illness and substance abuse disorders that lead to psychiatric problems become apparent in men most commonly between the ages of 18-24. Austin Deeds was just 24 years old and it is unclear yet if substance abuse played a role.

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September is Recovery Month

Road to Recovery, Recovery Month

The month of September is known as Recovery Month with various events that commemorate and promote the treatment of and recovery from substance abuseand mental health disorders. The goal of Recovery Month is to impact the general discourse about mental health and substance abuse, advocate for more services for these disorders and to celebrate recovery and addiction treatment professionals.

In the past, the influence of popular media on general public perception has stigmatized mental health and substance abuse disorders a negative and shameful. This was recognized 23 years ago by addiction treatment professionals who started Recovery Month as a way to honor those who worked in the field of addiction treatment. Recovery Month then evolved in 1998 to celebrate those in recovery and it evolved last year to include those with mental health disorders. 
Since Recovery Month began, public awareness and understanding substance abuse and mental health disorders has grown. One way this has been effective is equating the disease of addiction with cancer. From this perspective, people realize they wouldn’t shame someone who had cancer, discourage them for seeking treatment or caution them from telling their loved ones or peers about their ailments. In this light, if people are going to great lengths to face one of the most difficult diseases to recover from, their efforts should be celebrated rather than stigmatized.
Because mainstream media can impact public discourse on addiction, it is important to have visible events throughout Recovery Month that re-shape the negative perception of substance abuse and mental health disorders. Recovery Month celebrations are routinely done by sharing stories with others such as neighbors, friends and colleagues as a way to educate the public about living with and recovering from a substance abuse or mental health disorder. Their shared stories and celebrations show that addiction does not discriminate, that it can impact the rich and poor alike, regardless of race, gender, age or sexual orientation. The stories of treatment professionals and those in recovery reveal how and why recovery works, as SAMSHA explains, “There are millions of Americans whose lives have been transformed through recovery. These successes often go unnoticed by the broader population; therefore, Recovery Month provides a vehicle to celebrate these accomplishments.”
Those in recovery should rightfully be depicted as triumphant heroes walking through one of life’s most difficult encounters. Their investment in their own recovery is positive essential to their general health and well-being and that of those around them. They are living testaments that treatment does indeed work and enables them to lead amazing lives, as the best versions of themselves. By shifting the discourse, Recovery Month is a tribute to those in recovery and treatment service providers and spreads the message that recovery is common and possible. If you are a loved one is interested in recovery from a substance abuse or mental health disorder, Harmony Colorado has effective treatment programs that can help you begin your journey.