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How Pets Can Help Your Addiction Recovery

A man recovering from addiction petting a dog.

One of the things that no one is immune to is a bad day. Whether you had an issue at work, felt overwhelmed or experienced some old-fashioned bad luck, there will always be times when things don’t go your way. But it’s amazing how our pets have the power to pick us up and bring joy back into our lives.

Your pet doesn’t dwell on the past. They focus on the present, and when you see their face light up after you walk through the door, all your problems seem to melt away. While you’ve probably experienced this feeling, you might not have known that pets can offer a variety of benefits for your addiction recovery.

If you’re in addiction recovery, coping with the loneliness can make you feel stranded. But your pet will always be happy to see you. In this post, we’re going to highlight the benefits that pets can have for your addiction recovery.

5 Benefits of Pets During Addiction Recovery

1. Pets Offer No Judgement, Only Love

When you’re in addiction recovery, you might have to deal with people judging you. While it doesn’t happen all the time, you might be faced with criticism about your past behavior. But a pet only offers you unconditional love.

A dog or cat is always ready to give you attention and has no problem with letting go of your past. There are times in addiction recovery where you need to feel wanted and loved. Pets will be by your side during these hard times and love you in spite of any flaws.

2. Your Pet Will Help You Stay on a Schedule

There’s no question that keeping a regular schedule benefits your addiction recovery. It can help reduce stress, give you more concentration and lower your chance of relapse by keeping your mind occupied. Since pets thrive on a routine, they can help keep your day more organized.
Dogs for example, will let you know when it’s time for them to go for a walk or eat. Working these activities into your schedule can help you stay focused on the present.

If you’re not ready for a pet, you can still add opportunities to work them into your schedule. There are plenty of animal shelters that would love your help with walking dogs. Plus, volunteering can help you improve your self-worth.

3. Pets Help You Relieve Stress

Other than reducing loneliness like we mentioned above, there are plenty of ways pets can help you reduce stress. In fact, there have been studies that show being with your pet releases oxytocin in your body.

Oxytocin is a chemical in your brain that promotes feelings of love and bonding. Your body naturally reduces feelings of stress and anxiety when this chemical is released. As you continue to care for your pet, the stronger your bond will become. And a stronger bond means it’s likely for more oxytocin to be released when you spend time together.

4. Pets Help You Learn More About Yourself

One of the great traits about pets is that they don’t hide their true feelings. You can tell when they’re scared, angry or happy, for example. When you have a friend that is completely honest with their emotions, you can start to learn more about your own behavior.

Sometimes when people have gone through substance abuse, their emotions begin to feel numb. But the emotional honesty of a pet is a great way to rebuild the emotional skills you might have lost.

Pets are also very good at recognizing the emotions their owners are showing. For example, if you act anxious, your dog is likely to notice and try to support you. This can actually help you get better at recognizing your own behavior.

5. Pets Can Help You Build New Social Connections

It’s common for people in addiction recovery to cut ties with relationships that enabled destructive behavior. That means you’ll have to find ways to build new relationships. The good news is that having a pet is great place to start.

Pets are natural listeners and are great for helping you practice any conversations you might have coming up. Don’t forget that your dog or cat can be an icebreaker when meeting new people. Plenty of pet owners love to hear about animals. Trying to start new sober relationships can be tough, but with a pet, you won’t have to do it alone.

You Don’t Have to Go Through Addiction Recovery Alone

At Footprints Beachside Recovery, we’ve been through addiction ourselves. So, we know how easy it is in addiction recovery to feel isolated and alone. No matter how intense those feelings become, know that you have the power to shape your own recovery journey. And you don’t have to do it alone.

We’re here to help you reclaim everything that addiction has stolen from you. Our family-run addiction treatment center in Florida offers a variety of programs designed to promote healing. From relapse prevention to sober living options and outpatient treatment, we can help you reach lasting recovery.

Find hope for a future free from substance abuse. Contact our expert addiction team to start on your path towards healing.

Have Questions? We're here to help.

(727) 954-3908