Ask AA: When Should I Get a Pet in Recovery?

Many recovering individuals wonder when it is a safe time to get a pet. AA has a philosophy on the subject, but it is always important to remember that every individual has their own healing process. If you are looking for addiction treatment, call 800-839-1686 to find safe, reliable rehab centers that can help you.

The AA Philosophy about Sobriety and Pets

As one of the most important concepts of AA remains abstinence and the maintaining of it, the program often promotes the idea that all actions should work toward the maintaining of one’s sobriety (National Institute on Drug Abuse).

Having a pet can create a form of responsibility in your life that may help you stay strong in your recovery, and in addition, it can make many individuals who are going through this time in their lives feel less alone. However, having a pet can also be very difficult on someone who has just entered into recovery, as the responsibility can sometimes be overwhelming.

Get a Pet

If you can keep a plant alive and healthy for one year, then you’re ready for a pet.

The unofficial philosophy of AA on the subject of gaining these sorts of responsibilities in recovery is:

  • Take small steps toward the kind of responsibilities you can handle at any given time.
  • If you think you are becoming stronger in your recovery, first get a plant, one that can grow and thrive with care and attention.
  • If you are able to keep that plant alive for one year, then you can get a pet.
  • If the plant and pet are still thriving after the second year, then you can begin dating again.

This is often a good concept to go by, especially if you have been a substance abuser for some time. It is a big responsibility to get a pet, and it can also cause considerable stress and financial burden in your life. Therefore, waiting until you have been abstinent for about a year is usually a good mark.

Your Recovery is Your Own

AA “offers an added layer of community-level social support to help people in recovery with abstinence and other healthy lifestyle goals” (NIDA).

By this reasoning, it can be helpful to ask the other individuals in in the program with you when they believe it would be a good time for you to get a pet. However, always keep in mind that your recovery is your own and that you ultimately need to make the choices that are right for you.

By following the advice of other AA members and the unofficial advice of the program itself, you can often ensure that you will have a better grasp on your needs and a safer, stronger recovery. But it is just as important to consider your own feelings and when you believe it would be best for you personally to get a pet in recovery.

Seek Addiction Treatment Now

AA is an extremely beneficial program that is best utilized as an aftercare option or as part of a professional rehab program. Call 800-839-1686 now to find rehab facilities that offer AA meetings and the 12-step program as part of treatment.

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