You made it through both detox and residential treatment, however, maintaining sobriety during recovery isn’t the cakewalk it appears. Completing detox and treatment is something every former addict should be proud of. Against the odds, you have stuck it out and truly gotten help although you are still not out of the woods. So why not try pet therapy.
Pet therapy is the use of animals usually domestic to recover or cope with a problem. This is usually done through a guided interaction with the client, an animal, therapist and an animal’s handler. Many patients who undergo pet therapy often adopt pets on their own because of the amazing strides they make.
While there are many people who successfully complete treatment there are also many that return due to relapse. Those in the early days of recovery will learn getting back into everyday life will prove to be some of the most difficult parts of your recovery. Believe it or not having a pet is a great addition to recovery and can help maintain sobriety. While most may see early recovery as a period to focus on oneself pet therapy will help to also focus on your four-legged friend.
Here are three ways a pet can help you stay sober and keep your recovery on track:
1.Less Anxiety and Stress
Many people deal with stress and anxiety daily. For those who have a history of drug abuse, this can be a make or break point that creates relapse. Anyone who has owned a pet knows there is nothing better than coming home from a stressful day to a furry companion to cheer you up. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) study that is exactly what happens to the owners of dogs. Their study shows those who own dogs are able to deal with tough situations such as conflict or rejection better. They also have better self-esteem and a better overall well-being.
As an addict empathy is a trait you lose as you tend to put the need to use before everything else. For some, putting others and yourself first is a skill to be learned and what better way to do that than with a pet. Pets whether it is a dog, cat, or even a fish help to remind you that your needs are not the only ones that matter. Taking on the responsibility of caring for another will teach you the importance of kindness, patience, and empathy.
For those moving away from drugs and alcohol exercise can be a stress reliever and natural way to boost endorphins also known as feel-good chemicals. However, getting active and exercising is not easy for everyone. Owning a dog is a great motivator to getting active. Just as mentioned in empathy walking your dog may seem like a chore but you do it because you care for someone other than yourself. Before long what started as a chore will get easier and easier until becomes a habit and you enjoy walking your pet.
Recovery and staying sober is difficult it requires determination and self-discipline. For those who lack in those areas, pet therapy can help you stay sober and keep your recovery on track.