Creating a daily sober life as an alumnus involves exploring many new personal interests and recovery techniques. While Hawaii Island Recovery offers a wide array of various proven therapeutic approaches and continuing options for care, alumni who have graduated from a dedicated recovery program can still explore new options in addition to their established recovery efforts. For some, the benefits of pets can add a new perspective and help develop additional coping strategies when used in conjunction with the therapies available at our Hawaii recovery center. Exploring the benefits of pets and understanding their limitations can empower each individual to decide if this option would benefit their sobriety.
Understanding the Benefits of Pets in Sobriety
Animals can have many benefits for those navigating the stresses and challenges of a sober life. Alumni can utilize the benefits of pets to further their own sober goals, manage their emotional state, and more. While the use of pets is not a replacement for other therapies practiced at Hawaii Island Recovery, they can be a powerful addition to further a personalized and sustainable approach to sober life outside of the treatment facility.
Each individual will have their own experiences with pets in recovery. Likewise, no pet is “more” or “less” effective than another. While many may commonly look to dogs as an animal companion of choice, each individual may respond differently to various pets, including cats, birds, reptiles, and even fish. There is no one, single way to engage with pets in recovery. However, it should still be a carefully thought-out decision to make in recovery, and exploring the benefits and requirements of caring for pets is essential before making such a commitment.
Creating Feelings of Camaraderie
Pets can provide an unconditional feeling of camaraderie essential for helping those in recovery challenge feelings of isolation while reflecting on their own social skills. Living alongside an animal can provide those in recovery with love and support, helping to empower each person to learn to accept feelings of trust, companionship, and more, especially while repairing personal relationships, exploring forgiveness, and establishing an effective sober support system in outpatient care.
The Benefits of Pets for Reducing Anxiety
Anxiety and stress are common among alumni navigating any kind of recovery journey. Finding ways to manage the effects of anxiety and stress is paramount. Pets can provide a consistent way to manage this stress. Interacting with pets, playing, or even watching animals can all be ways to reduce stress and help take a person’s mind off of otherwise stressful events in recovery, such as interpersonal stresses, workplace challenges, and more.
Going on walks with pets or otherwise interacting with them can also be a great way to process urges and cravings that may manifest, providing a consistent outlet to process these challenges.
Developing a Routine
Constructing a new, sober routine is crucial to prevent alumni from falling back into potentially dangerous or self-destructive habits. Pets can be a great way to take on new responsibilities, a sense of accountability, and construct new daily routines. Dedicating time to interact and develop these bonds, going on walks, feeding, cleaning, and more are all ways to take on new responsibilities in sobriety while also developing a consistent schedule in sobriety.
This can also help each alumnus build feelings of self-esteem in sober life while providing direction and purpose to challenge difficult feelings of doubt, depression, or other challenges commonplace among continued sobriety in outpatient care.
Situating Oneself in the Present
The benefits of pets extend to both physical and emotional health, and pets can be instrumental in helping alumni situate themselves in the present moment. Pets develop relationships based on who a person is in the present and how they are treated, rather than harboring preconceived judgments, stigmas, or misconceptions. Likewise, pets can also help each alumnus address present stresses by providing a listening ear, helping alumni process stresses, or vocalizing challenges without fear of being judged. This ability to situate a person in the present can be paramount for continuing to focus on current sober efforts and accomplishments.
Continuing to support alumni is a crucial part of sustained sobriety. Learn how our Hawaii recovery centers can help by calling us today at (866) 390-5070.More info
Knowing if Pets Are Right for You
However, pets aren’t a great option for everyone. Knowing if such an approach is right is a personal question. Pets demand attention, with dedicated time and effort each day. Those finding it difficult to tend to personal responsibilities already may not be able to benefit from pets effectively. Likewise, one’s availability must also be considered, as those working long hours have to take their own energy levels and willingness to commit to the responsibility into account.
Financial resources are also important considerations. Those still developing a new sober budget or overcoming professional challenges and changes may not be able to utilize pets or provide the best environment to develop a beneficial symbiotic relationship.
While the benefits of pets can be transformational, they are best used to further established strategies instilled throughout a dedicated treatment program and are not a replacement for the continued efforts and commitments of a sober life. Working with professionals at Hawaii Island Recovery can ensure that there are always other strategies to explore and help each alumnus make their own decision on if taking on a pet in their alumni life is the right choice for them.
Pets can be a great addition to further explore your personal needs and goals for sustained change. However, whether adopting a pet is right for you will be a personal question, and we at Hawaii Island Recovery can help you personalize your own best approach to sober living as an alumnus. Our Hawaii recovery center offers an array of practical strategies and support systems to empower alumni to maintain their sober transformations. From a welcoming community to familial and spiritual healing, we can help you explore various proven recovery options while you decide if pets would help you further your recovery. For more information on how we can support you in your ongoing sober journey, call us at (866) 390-5070.