Assistance Dogs – Recovery’s Best Friend

A dog can be your best friend while in recovery.


I just read an article about The Role of Assistance Dogs in Recovering from Substance Abuse. Individuals in recovery from drug dependence can find alternative methods such as through emotional support animals, animal-assisted therapy, and service dogs. These animals can help recovering addicts in other essential ways, such as establishing daily routines, forming healthy bonds, and providing loyal support.

Dogs are naturally gifted with a host of attributes that help their owners live longer, happier lives. They also have a long history of assisting people in difficult circumstances. In recent years, treatment protocols have expanded to take advantage of the ways that dogs can help prevent relapse and give patients in recovery a better chance at leading full, meaningful lives. There is life beyond addiction, and assistance dogs can provide a key piece of the puzzle.


“Clients may experience lower levels of anxiety and depression, begin to experience empathy, and build a positive sense of self-worth through caring for another being. After treatment, dogs can help recovering addicts stay active, reduce stress and loneliness, and provide a sense of purpose — all of which are instrumental in preventing relapse.”

Anxiety and depression is part of addiction and recovery. If you are looking for support with your sobriety journey or battle with anxiety, please reach out. You don’t have to battle this alone.


Addicts who turned to substance abuse because of chronic pain will also benefit substantially from working with pets. In as little as twelve minutes, researchers found that visits with therapy dogs significantly reduced self-reported pain, fatigue, and emotional distress. Therapy dogs can decrease the heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate; reduce the stress hormone cortisol; boost endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers; and benefit the immune system. Studies indicate emotional and psychosocial benefits of support animals, in addition to the task assistance that service dogs can provide.

Check out the article which outlines the research linking assistance animals to positive health outcomes, and offers examples of many ways that dogs aid the process of addiction recovery. Information about the types of assistance animals, including the training they undergo, can empower you to decide the best course of treatment for you or your loved one. Finally, a list of resources is included to help you find a support dog, or train your own pet as a service or therapy animal.

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From Drug & Alcohol Addiction to Food Addiction

I received this message from one of my friends, sober sisters, and clients that I have been working with for a few years.

She said:

“I was thinking about food today. We had a party last night and for a brief moment, I felt like I needed a shot. You know when you feel like nothing is going right… well, during set up, that’s how I felt, and that’s the time I thought and actually said out loud that I needed a drink. But it passed so quickly and things turned around, and I was sober and didn’t drink at all. And still had a blast.

But on the other hand, my food choices (and today especially) were shitty. Lots of yummy food last night, and of course all of the left overs are still here. I’m able to make great choices for sobriety, but not for food. Which I have learned has a huge impact on my physical and mental well-being. I feel like I replaced one addiction with another. 
I went grocery shopping this afternoon and restocked our fridge with veggies and some fruit. And I’m sending all of the unhealthy shit to my husbands work. I think that’s one reason why I’m eating so much today… kinda like eat it now because it will be off the list soon.”

I shared with her that I have noticed the same thing about myself since I got sober. I realized that my binging and loss of self-control wasn’t just drug/alcohol related, it’s food related, too.

Sometimes you have been struggling with several addictions at the same time, and as you eliminate one addiction, the other addictions become more evident.

It is important for those in addiction recovery to remember how easy it is to replace one addiction with another and how to avoid this issue. The easiest way to overcome an addiction is to replace it with another. You can replace ONE BAD HABIT (addiction) with a HEALTHY HABIT.

Have you noticed that your drug and/or alcohol addiction has been replaced with food?


Check out my blog post on my website,, to know if you a are binge-eating & resources on how to stop binge eating.

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If you would like help identifying the trigger foods and feelings that spur you to binge or overeat, determining how stress, depression, and anxiety may be affecting your eating and learn how to calm yourself in stressful times with nourishing self-care practices, while learning to appreciate and accept your body I will be offering a 10-day FREE online class beginning September 11, 2017. To apply comment below.