Pets have a way of comforting people. It is why they are used as service dogs, therapy dogs or simply as a companion.
Can pets actually help people who deal with a substance use disorder? It would seem so.
The truth is, recovery can be a lonely experience. It is typically recommended that people trying to recover from addiction stay in contact with others. This ensures ongoing support, and it also helps to keep people in recovery from addiction accountable.
Do pets count as part of your support network? Some pet owners answer with a resounding yes. Having a pet around may be an effective means of staying sober. How can pets help people stay sober throughout recovery?
Joy in Taking Care of Pets
The responsibility needed to care for a pet is an important part of recovery. Having some level of responsibility is important for anyone, including those who have recently completed treatment and are in recovery. Having a pet to look after every day can provide those overcoming addiction with something enjoyable to have to take care of without being overly demanding.
Pets Can Offer a Meaningful Relationship
It is common for those in recovery from addiction to be encouraged to stay away from developing any romantic relationships after treatment. This can provide patients with enough space to find out who they are and get comfortable with themselves without any distractions while learning what life is like sober and drug-free. But this can often cause patients to feel lonely, which can be a dangerous thing when overcoming addiction.
Pet adoption in addiction recovery gives individuals the ability to develop new, meaningful relationships with something other than a romantic partner. They offer unconditional love and provide company all day. This type of unconditional love from a pet can help people recovering from a substance use disorder to learn to love others that they may develop a relationship with in the future.
Pets Can Change a Person’s Behavior
Anyone can be triggered by a situation that stresses them out. People can get angry, annoyed, upset and express any other number of emotions. But those who suffer from addiction can also respond by reaching for their drug of choice.
With a pet in their presence, a positive change in their behavior can occur that can allow them not only to avoid getting angry but reduce the possibility of a recurrence of use. Pets have a tendency to help change how people react to situations and even the way they behave altogether. In this way, pets can be an effective component to addiction recovery.
Are You Grappling With Addiction? Help Is Available
Addiction is a lonely, scary place to be, especially when you are going through it alone. Having a pet can certainly be a helpful and useful addition to your life, but it is important to take the initial steps to get treatment, and that may start with effective and safe detoxing in a reputable treatment center.
Then, with the help and support of medically-trained staff and counselors, addiction can be weakened to the point that drugs and alcohol are no longer the strongholds that control your life.