At first glance the title of this post might seem out of place on a blog dedicated to addiction recovery. But as you read on I think you will be surprised to find it will truly benefit your sobriety to get a dog!
Growing up and into adulthood I was never a “dog person.” I always preferred cats. They were low maintenance and pretty much kept to themselves. They didn’t require lots training or attention, so as a narcissist it allowed me more time for me. My sister, on the other hand, always had dogs. She was, to me, strangely attached to these creatures in a way I could never understand.
I married in my early twenties, and quickly started a family. I was consumed with mothering three children, caring for my home and being the dutiful Christian wife. Over the years we had a few dogs for the kids, but I never became attached. I didn’t have any emotional energy left to give.
Years went by as I fell back into the sexual addiction patterns of my adolescence. My family was no longer the priority for me nor my emotional energy. My focus was on finding the next sexual “fix” to feed my sick soul. I did things that are too shameful to imagine a mother would do to her own family.
During the Summer of 2004, God in His infinite love and mercy reached down and pulled me out of the dark pit of destruction I had dug for myself — when I was jailed for assaulting my husband. In the county jail I began to come to my senses. I atttended chapel services and started reading the Bible again after 7 years of trying to do things my way. After I got out of jail I couldn’t return home because of a restraining order; so I lived with a neighbor for 3 months. It was during this time that God sent my son’s dog, Abby, (a black Labrador) to begin the rescue of my aching soul.
Along with a fresh self-awareness came unrelenting self-loathing, unbelievable sadness and painful regret for what I had put my family through. Abby was my new best friend. I could tell her anything and she still loved me. I could be myself, no matter how horrible a person I was, or thought I was, she loved me unconditionally! She was the shoulder I could literally cry on as I tried to make sense of the mess I had made of my life. I honestly don’t know what I would have done with out her. My sobriety is a success in many ways because of her. She taught me how to have a soft spirit again. She showed me not only how to love others but to find love enough for myself, too.
God said it best, “It’s not good for man (or woman) to be alone.” His creations are here for our pleasure and can be our greatest and sweetest companions in times of need. If you are walking through your sobriety alone, I can’t encourage you enough, please consider getting a dog. These four-footed therapists give something special that can enhance the health and well-being of others. It has been clinically proven that through petting, touching and talking with a dog our blood pressure is lowered, stress is relieved and depression is eased.
There are many beautiful dogs waiting to be rescued at your local ASPCA. http://www.aspca.org/ They will love you through your darkest days and with the help of Jesus Christ, will walk you through to a healthy, sober life on the other side.
A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal... – Proverbs 12:10