The earliest phases of addiction recovery can be one of the most trying times in your life. You are experiencing a rollercoaster of new emotions and working to rebuild damaged relationships. It’s a period of growth and rebirth, but it can also be frustrating at times. For many people who are in this stage, pet ownership can be an excellent way to cope with stress and anxiety.
How Pets Boost Your Well-Being
Numerous studies show caring for a pet can benefit both your physical and emotional health, which are essential to protect in early recovery. Pets can create joy in your life by providing a source of unconditional love. The bond you will develop with your companion animal can become one of the deepest and most meaningful relationships in your life.
Regardless of what kind of pet you choose to bring home, you can reap rewards such as:
- Lowered blood pressure and cholesterol
- Less risk of mood disorders like depression
- Improved levels of feel-good chemicals like serotonin and dopamine
- A sense of connection with another living being who relies on you
- Increased responsibility and mature decision-making skills
If you decide to adopt a dog, you can also enjoy better physical health due to increased exercise. Like humans, dogs need exercise, and they will encourage you to walk, play and run with them.
Things to Consider Before Adopting a Pet
For all the advantages of bringing a pet into your life, there are some downsides to consider. Not everyone in recovery is ready to take on a significant responsibility like pet ownership. If you are not prepared to provide for your pet’s needs and end up neglecting it, you are doing it more harm than good. Consider whether you are emotionally and financially ready to share your home with a pet.
In early recovery, impulsive decisions and lack of planning can still be problematic. Adopting a pet on a whim is never a smart idea. As with any other commitment, make sure you are fully prepared to see this decision through before you make it. A pet is a living, breathing creature with many of the same emotions and needs as humans, and you should not get one before you are ready to take care of it as you would any other family member.
Talking it over with your therapist and sober support network is one way to help you determine whether you are ready to adopt an animal. Another thing you can do is volunteer at your local shelter or rescue to learn about the personalities and intelligence of different animals and what they require to be happy and healthy.
Addiction Treatment for Young Adults
At Spearhead Lodge, we provide age-appropriate addiction recovery that caters to the unique needs of young men. We understand young adults have different needs when it comes to learning to manage a substance use disorder, and we are here when you need us. Reach out to learn more about what makes us a unique place to seek health and healing.