Family pets act as therapist for addicts, alcoholics in addiction recovery

Sunday, March 6, 2016 | By JP Emerald Coast

There’s something special about the unconditional love a pet brings into your life. No matter how tired and grumpy you are at the end of a long day, your dog is glad to see you, and your cat wants to purr on your warm lap.

Dogs, cats and other companion animals play an important role in addiction recovery. Your family pet can act as your furry — or feathered — therapist, aiding your recovery in many meaningful ways.

  • Pets don’t judge. No matter what you say or do, they still love you. When you’ve spent a long day in recovery working through some of your relationship baggage, your dog, cat or other pet still loves you.
  • Pets shower you with unconditional love. During the time in your life when you may have messed up many relationships due to your drug or alcohol habit, your relationship with your family pet remained the same. Pets offer us love when we find it hard to love ourselves and others.
  • Pets help you look beyond your pain. Having a dog, cat or other critter doesn’t necessarily make you a better person, but it does help you see beyond your own pain and reach out to care for something other than yourself. When you’re stuck in your own emotional pain, or you’re going through a tough time during addiction recovery, having someone else rely on you for their care can force you to see beyond your own trouble.
  • Pets give your life purpose. On a rough day, when all you want to do is stay in bed with the covers over your head, a pet gives your life direction and purpose. A dog waiting for his walk or a cat looking to play gets you out of your own head and back into life whether you want it or not.
  • Pets benefit physical health. Walking your dog gives your body much-needed exercise. Stroking a cat or talking to your bird lowers blood pressure. Pets provide many physical benefits to their owners, an important aid to addiction recovery.
  • Pets guard your secrets. Your pet doesn’t care that you’re in addictionrecovery. You can tell your pet anything, and he’s not going to bark it to the whole world. Pets hold your secrets, so when the going gets rough, and you need a confidante, tell it to your furry friend. Pets are great addiction recovery partners that way.

Going through drug and alcohol treatment can be tough, but having your pet by your side or waiting for you at the end of your treatment program can be a comforting thought. If your pets are like members of your family, it’s great to hear that pets are an important part of your addiction recovery program. You can consider them “adjunct therapists” for your treatment.

JourneyPure Emerald Coast offers a caring, comprehensive treatment facility for drug and alcohol addiction recovery. Contact us today for assistance.


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