As you recover from addiction, opening up to and spending time with friends and family may be challenging or complicated. But you do need to release your burdens. You can count on your pet to comfort you when you feel overwhelmed. This bond goes deeper than you might expect.
Lonely No More
The path toward sobriety is often walked solo. The journey can feel isolating, even with support from rehab counselors, family, and friends. Loved ones may have the purest intentions, but too much attention can suffocate. You may feel judged or pitied, so isolating yourself can be soothing and safe.
While some alone time can heal, you do not want to cut all ties with loved ones. And until you’re ready to socialize again, your pet will keep you company. Your pet may contribute little to the conversation, but they’re a good listener. This unconditional relationship will give you the solace and security to get through this life-changing transition. With your pet by your side, you will get the solitude you need, but with the psychological and physical comfort only a beloved pet can provide.
Caring for a pet has been linked to decreased decreased cortisol levels, a hormone connected to stress. During your recovery, you may experience heightened pressure to stay on track to avoid relapse or substance abuse/misuse. It won’t be easy to make this life change, and your mind and body will respond accordingly.
When you are feeling frustrated, anxious, or restless as you recover, rely on your pet to be a calming force—and a cute one at that! Softly stroking your dog’s coat or hearing your cat’s gentle purr is instantly relaxing, allowing you to take a deep breath when you’re especially tense. As your pet brushes by your legs as you walk by or cuddles up to you at night, feel their presence and the peacefulness and pleasure that comes with it. Notice how your stress subsides.
Responsibility and Reward
You must remain focused as you make small steps and reach milestones throughout your addiction recovery. Having a pet has a unique purpose—you are their sole caregiver and number one companion. With this great responsibility comes accountability, and your pet is counting on you for protection. This role gives you a focal point and ongoing commitment to their care.
Suppose you are feeling self-doubt or notice a desire to fall back into pre-sobriety habits at any point during your recovery. Direct your time and attention to your pet. Concentrate on their happiness, health, and well-being, as it affects yours directly. The love you will receive in return will be the greatest reward.
If you already have a pet you love, you may start to see them in a new light. And if you are considering adopting an animal, know that you will need them as much as they need you. Human connection has its place, and it is crucial, but your pet has the power to help you handle some of life’s biggest challenges. Pets have a remarkable ability to assure us that everything will be OK.
Your journey toward sobriety and mental well-being begins at Beachside Rehab in West Palm Beach, Florida. We offer holistic inpatient and outpatient detox and drug and alcohol rehab. Call 866-349-1770 to speak with one of our trained admissions counselors.
Photo by Chewy on Unsplash