Pets accept us warts and all.
Addiction can take a huge toll on feelings of self-worth. In early recovery, there is a phase when feelings of low self-esteem, shame, and guilt can bring you down. Our beloved pets don’t care about our missteps and mistakes. They do not judge. Instead, a pet offers its support and love at a time when it is sorely needed.
Pets are calming.
There is much data out there about the mental health benefits of having a pet. Just having a pet at your side promotes a sense of calm and lowers anxiety. When spending time, walking, or playing with a pet, brain changes occur that release the feel good hormones in the blood. Being you’re your pet also lowers levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
Pets keep us accountable.
People can spend years tending to the demands of substance abuse and ignoring the needs of their loved ones. Being in recovery shows you how to care for others again. Having a pet in rehab begins that process of being focused on someone or something outside of oneself. A pet requires feeding, grooming, and walking, and by caring for the pet you learn how to care for others again.
Pets get us moving.
Whether it is a daily dog walk or just dumping out the cat litter, having a pet around keeps us active. In early recovery your might be tempted to lie around all day. But the demands of having a pet there with you will force you off the couch. Being active is helpful to recovery. Exercise helps us restore depleted health and improve mood. Why not enjoy a daily walk with Fido?
Pets give us a sense of safety.
While in pet friendly rehab centers, it is common for people to feel out of place, at least at the start. With your pet on board it is easier to adjust to living with complete strangers for a length of time. Just their presence instills a sense of safety and comfort, which can make the rehab stint go much smoother.