How Pets Can Help with Recovery

They say dogs are man’s best friend, and according to recent studies, they couldn’t be more right. In addition to a recent uptick in “animal assisted therapy programs,” many addiction survivors are saying that their pets have saved them in the worst of times, and, in some cases, have even saved their lives.
One of the reasons pets seem to be such good partners in the fight against addiction is the fact that they don’t judge at all. Human beings have a propensity to judge even when they don’t intend to. It seems to be an almost primal instinct, in fact. As for the people that don’t judge, they could often become unintentional enablers, which is in many ways far worse. Pets, on the other hand, love unconditionally, and will always be by your side, but lack the capacity to enable you to pursue your addiction. This means you can unapologetically be yourself around them, without having to worry about their intentions.
Additionally, pets, like babies, help you learn about yourself. Without the ability to mask feelings, pretend to like something, or ignore your moods, pets and their reactions can often be mirrors into your own life. Alternatively, the “emotional honesty” pets exhibit can teach a survivor the importance of candor and empathy. When struggling with addiction, many individuals mask their true feelings out of fear of what others may think of them. Pets simply can’t do this, and their brutal honesty when it comes to emotions is certainly something you can learn from!
Pets can also teach you the importance of relationships. True, it is a lot easier to bond with a dog or cat than a human being, but learning to bond nonetheless is an important part of the recovery process, and learning with pets is a great first step. Activities with pets can also lead you to new friends and different environments with a range of healthy stimuli. It’s no secret that small talk about pets is a great way to meet new people and share experiences, and your pet certainly won’t mind the attention!
Finally, pets are fantastic listeners. In a recovery journey, it is sometimes difficult to find people that are willing to purely listen without judgment or advice. While people indeed mean well, there is nothing quite like a pet that will be completely silent and simply listen as you speak. You can talk to them about anything, and be confident that your feelings and thoughts are safe with them. Pets provide the perfect canvas for venting!

Speaking of pets, starting your recovery journey at Oceanfront Recovery is so easy, your pet could do it too! Call us at (877)279-1777 right now to get started!