Pets and Plants

Posted September 18, 2014 by

"Plants and Animals can help us reconnect to a reality we've lost track of." 

When I was an I.V. user I (like most other people) got stuck in the day to day madness of being high or being sick. Sleeping or crying. There's nothing to ground you, remind you of how strong you can be, how needed you can be; by yourself and others. A big part of getting clean for me was remembering I was more than a drug user, I was more than a face on the street, I was me; though, I had lost track of who ME was. 

Soon after getting plants and pet rats I started to remember how it felt to be needed by something. Needed for more than drugs, needed for more than lies, I was needed to continue their lives. For some reason this triggered more in me. The desire to care for myself came back. Of course I had some bad experiences through using that helped move this thinking process along.

I went on Methadone and after about a year decided to get a dog. Now, a lot of people will tell you to get a plant after a year of sobriety because they think that's all you can handle. I mean, you ARE taking a lot of care of yourself, of course! But I really found having a furry friend around brightened my spirits and forced me to take better care of myself so I could take care of her. 

Anytime I've thought of using over the last two and some years, I look over at my beautiful furry friend and remember that someone else is dependent on me being the best I can. She's my closest friend. When I cry she cuddles me and when I'm angry she wants to go for walk to help us burn off our extra energy. She has also become a big help with my bipolar, as I do not take medication to help "regulate" my mood swings. I think, as most dogs are very sensitive, she can tell when my mood swings are coming on, sometimes before me. We'll be sitting on the couch all calm and cuddling and suddenly she'll just jump up and act excited. She won't get in my face or bark, just hops around wagging her tale. Within seconds I feel manic, huge bursts of skin-crawling energy surges through me and next thing I know we are at the park or walking down the train tracks. 

I couldn't live without my pup, and I am stupid-happy I decided to find a furry friend. The only day I truly worry about relapsing is the day she leaves me and this earth. But I've done, and continue to do, all the work you need to do when you get clean. I love myself again; I enjoy my life and the people whose company I keep. My family life is almost back to where I'd like it to be and I have set up huge support systems for myself. These are all majorly important things when getting and staying clean, but my pup has helped me hold that all together. Everyone has their own thing that helps them hold it together; my dog friend is one of the biggest for myself.