Pets and Sober Life

December 31, 2018

 

Alcoholism and drug addiction are diseases of loneliness in that alcoholics and addicts behaviorally alienate those whom they cherish the most.  Bill Wilson characterized loneliness in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous as a “chilling vapor” that permeates the life of the afflicted individual and is part of the terrible despair that they suffer.  As a result of this horrible truth, clinicians emphasize that social interaction is paramount to the recovery of an alcoholic or drug addict, and this is part of the therapeutic value of living in a sober house amongst peers on the same journey of healing.

Some clinicians may also be aware of the therapeutic value of household pets in a sober living environment, namely, dogs and cats.  Society is quick to recognize therapy animals for the emotionally distressed public at large, even to the point of legislation mandating their ability to bring these animals into public places, such as restaurants and in stores.  Naturally, then, it follows that such animals would also be beneficial in the therapeutic milieu of sober living.

Most everyone will acknowledge the feeling of comfort and security that the presence of a dog or companionable cat provides.  Dogs and cats seem to have a sixth sense that enables them to perceive a troubled mind and their very countenance appears to offer consolation.  There is the sensation