Pets have been known to assist with general health, alleviate stress with their adorable antics, quell loneliness with their cuddles, in addition to increasing opportunities for exercise and socialization. Is it possible they could also assist someone recovering from a substance abuse problem as well?

While pets are an extra responsibility and expense, they are also a benefit for those in recovery.  Once someone has attained sobriety and is responsible for themself, they can increase their responsibility by getting a pet.  Obviously if you are not financially stable, you would wait until you are able to afford to really take care of the pet so it is not put it off on someone else.

Stress can be a large factor in relapse which is something pets are great at relieving. Research has shown that cats provide emotional support, improve moods, and contribute to the overall morale of their owners. While dogs not only provide comfort and companionship, several studies have found that dogs decrease stress and promote relaxation.  Even if your financial situation is beyond affording a cat or a dog or you do not have the living arrangements where a pet is allowed, cities throughout the US have pet shelters who actively request voluteers to help socialize the animals and take them for walks etc.  This way, you can still get the same benefits of dog or cat companionship without the long term commitment of pet ownership.  Then when you have the available living situation and financial condition to adopt your own pet, you may choose from the pet shelter where you donate your time.

Many times, stress from social interactions are a factor in early relapse with tension in relationships left over from when you were still using. Often times even well-meant comments can cause a person to become introverted and distance themselves resulting in isolation.  This is very detrimental to someone in recovery. Pets are a great remedy as they love unconditionally and don’t care about your past.  And they don’t bring up touchy subjects! They simply want to spend time with you and this is invaluable to someone who is still getting back on their feet after treatment.

Exercise is also important for someone recovering from addiction since their body may be in poor health due to prolonged drug abuse. This is when a dog is the perfect companion on daily walks. They can act as a work out buddy as well which is perfect when you haven’t had time yet to make friends with healthy non substance abusing individuals.

Also, it is sometimes difficult to find quality relationships with others after one completes treatment. Especially when an addict needs to disconnect from all those they knew while they were using. Having a dog can make this a bit easier. Many cities have dog parks and other dog related communities were you can meet individuals from all walks of life, allowing you and your furry friend to make new relationships that are enjoyable for both of you.

So if you have completed treatment and have maintained your sobriety, a furry friend may be just what you need as you take more responsibility in your life. Contact your local adoption agency and find your new best friend and recovery buddy. Please contact us today if you still require assistance getting into a drug or alcohol treatment center.

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