Recovery

4 Things Dogs Can Teach You About Recovery

August 25th, 2017
Dogs can help people struggling with substance abuse.

Dogs are not just cute, furry animals that make people smile; they can also teach you a lesson or two about life and recovery.

1. Embrace the Day

Whether they are lounging around the house or playing fetch in the park, dogs are generally happy animals. Have you ever wondered why? It is because they live in the present and take the time to appreciate all that surrounds them. They run around, sniff flowers, cuddle with their owners, and go on adventures in the backyard — and sometimes even in a shoe closet. The smallest things bring them joy.

We know what you’re thinking: it is easy to enjoy life when your biggest struggle is losing a toy under the couch or trying to chase your own tail. You’re not a dog and your daily challenges are a lot more stressful. While that is true, it doesn’t mean that you cannot embrace the day. Amid your never-ending to-do lists and countless responsibilities, it is important to pause. Take a moment to breathe and appreciate everything that is positive in your life. Appreciate that you have one more day of sobriety under your belt. Welcome the changes you have made to better yourself.

Yes, your past might have been difficult and future challenges are inevitable, but today is not yesterday or tomorrow. Today is a new day, and if you take the time to truly take it in you can find the beauty in it.

2. Be Loyal

If there is one quality dogs are known for, it is their loyalty. They unconditionally love those who feed them, walk them, and give them a place to call home. And while we are by no means suggesting you love anyone who gives you free food, it is important to appreciate those who support you. To be thankful for the family and friends who were there for you when you needed them the most.

Be loyal to those you love, and to yourself. No matter what comes your way, remember the commitment you have made to embrace sobriety and become the best version of yourself.

3. Don’t Bark at Cars

Have you ever watched a dog bark at cars driving by? It doesn’t matter if a dog spends all day barking at them, the cars continue to drive up and down the street. No matter how much energy they exert, the dog’s barking changes nothing. It is the same with people — sometimes there are things that upset us that we cannot change, no matter how much we bark.

For some, inconveniences like traffic or losing something sends them into a rage. They stress, panic, and yell, and yet, the problem is not magically solved. All they have done is let one event ruin their mood, and sometimes their day.

Life is full of difficult decisions and stressful situations, and you cannot waste your energy on what you cannot control.

4. Be Open to New Friends

Dogs are not shy about approaching anyone, be it a human or another dog. Just watch them at the dog park. They do not stay glued to their owner or hide behind a tree. They run up to other dogs, sniff them, and if the other dog is receptive, they start playing.

Making new friends is a bit harder for humans, but that does not mean that you should not put yourself out there. Being sober does not mean that you cannot have a social life. And you should not let the fear of how others will interpret your being in recovery keep you from forming great friendships. Sure, there will be people who won’t embrace your journey, but many will, and those are the ones you want to be surrounded by.

Sometimes a dog will approach another dog and get rejected, but that does not stop it from finding someone else to play with. You too should not let the fear of rejection keep you from making new friends.


If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction, we are here to help. Reach out to Mountainside by calling 888 833 4676.