Do Pets Matter for Sober Living?

Do Pets Matter for Sober Living?

Pets and animals have a certain way of supporting our journey through sobriety that other things cannot. Addiction recovery takes a toll on the mind, body, and spirit. It is a lifetime of maintenance work, planning, and setting up relapse prevention strategies to keep you from going back to drugs or alcohol. There are many benefits to considering how a pet might add some support for the journey if you are struggling in sobriety.

Giving Back

One of the unexpected gifts of owning a pet is the notion of giving back. This may mean giving back to self or others. It may mean simply being there for another living creature in a way you have never experienced. Human to human interaction is difficult. It is hard to communicate with other people, hard to experience conflict (and resolve it peacefully). Sometimes, it is easier to imagine giving back to a pet who loves you no matter what you look like, what you’ve done in the past, or how you envision your life being. Pets honor your sense of self where you are and help you be honest. They reflect the emotions you show them and will be great companions for the journey.

Relational Intelligence

One of the ways pets help you navigate recovery in a unique way is helping you build relationships. Pets are social creatures, generally doing better when there is more than one of them in the house to play with, whether it is birds, fish, dogs or cats. If you watch animals at play, they love to interact with one another, chase each other, and just have fun. They also bring other people to us when we are out with them or talk about having pets with others. Pets can also:

  • Listen without judgment
  • Be companions for tough times
  • Provide emotional support
  • Help you recognize and express emotions you might have trouble with as a result of addiction

Stress Buster

Owning or working with animals can be a stress reliever. Studies have shown people who own pets typically feel less anxious or depressed, even just mildly, than those who do not. Finding healthy ways to manage stress can be difficult in addiction recovery while the mind and body heal. Stroking an animal’s fur, talking to them, holding them, or taking them to the park to play can bring down stress levels in the body.

Not everybody wants or desires to own a pet. If you are one of those people, volunteering or serving with animals can be a great way to tap into the power of animals to recovery. Helping others is great for this and offers a sense of purpose. Volunteering at the animal shelter is a great way to transition to pet ownership if you ever wanted to do that. The key is to find ways of engaging differently with recovery that may yield unexpected results for your journey.


Oceanfront will help you kick addiction to the curb with our premier beachfront community in Laguna Beach. We are founded on the principle of providing the best in care and services at affordable prices. We are located in beautiful Laguna Beach. Call us to find out how we can help you navigate addiction recovery: 877-279-1777