Pets have long been known to be therapeutic. How can they not be? They are adorable and playful. Still, other than their cuteness, what are the ways that they can help in your journey to sobriety? Explore the other benefits of having a pet as you read through this post.
6 Ways Pets Aid in Sobriety
Pets distract you from your own thoughts.
One of the best ways to stay sober is to keep your mind off of thoughts about your past addiction. Of course, this is easier said than done. Hence, you need a good distraction to keep substances away from your thoughts.
This is where your pet will be most beneficial. Most pets will require your full attention and when you give it to them, you get distracted. In other words, thinking of your pet lets you forget about your struggles when it comes to staying sober.
Pets are loving and affectionate.
Everyone needs affection at some point. Some recovering patients find that love and attention from someone are helpful in their recovery process. However, not all of your family and friends will be available the moment you need them.
If you have a pet, they are there with you 24/7 (especially if they stay inside your home). They will be by your side and always show that they love you. For most people, this is enough to improve their mental health. In the long run, recovering patients learn to share that love and affection with others.
They encourage you to exercise.
Part of the recovery is mobility. A recovering patient needs to be active a few times a week in order to take care of their physical health. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t get excited about exercise, then having a pet can help you keep an active lifestyle.
How? If you have a dog, you are most likely to walk them outside because it needs the exercise. A few minutes of sunshine and fresh air can do wonders for your physical and mental health. And since pets don’t often walk slowly, there is a high chance that you end up running or jogging.
They teach you to be responsible and accountable.
Having responsibilities is important when you are trying to maintain sobriety. Responsibilities help you stick to a schedule and keep your mind distracted. These also teach you accountability.
What better way to practice these values than with a pet? Pets need to be fed, bathed, relieved, and taken care of, but the good thing is that these don’t seem like chores. On the contrary, you might find yourself enjoying such duties.
Since pets are living things, you also learn to be accountable for them. When they get sick or feel sad, you learn that these can be reactions to how you have treated them.
Pets relieve stress.
Anyone who owns a pet will tell you that their pets act as a form of stress relief. There is just something about pets that helps you release stress, or at least forget about the stressors.
As a recovering patient, you might find yourself stressed as you try to become sober. With a pet in your life, you can release that stress or forget about your cravings for a while. This way, you lessen the pressure on yourself to stay sober. You might not even notice your cravings when you start playing with your pet.
Pets help develop social skills.
Even if pets don’t speak the way humans do, they still reinforce communication with their owners. Pet owners learn to teach their pets commands and gestures and in turn, the pets teach their owners to notice their actions.
While this kind of communication is not as straightforward as how humans interact with each other, the irony here is that pet owners and their pets are able to communicate well. This is something recovering patients will find useful especially when they have had social issues while they were addicted to certain substances.
Pets give a less complicated way of communication that teaches recovering patients to listen and communicate effectively.
Pets serve as one of the best ways to help you on your journey to sobriety. If you have been struggling in this phase, you might want to consider adopting a pet to make the endeavor a little easier.