This article was written by Lisa Sitwell and published by Home of Grace
Sobriety can be a long and challenging path. You may feel isolated and struggle to face old pain and trauma. Time in the company of animals can quiet your mind and help you to heal. Here are a few ways that raising animals can help you on your journey to sobriety.
If you have suffered verbal or physical abuse in the past, it can be hard to be on your own. You may find that the community that was most accepting of you also gave you access to addictive substances that were not good for your body, mind or spirit. As you work through the steps to sobriety, caring for animals can quiet your mind and give you comfort. Animals can be terrific teachers if you can relax enough to accept their message. A quote from Job 12:7 offers, “But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you; And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you.”
Caring for another creature requires education. To care for animals, you will need to understand their housing needs, and good feed knowledge is critical to proper nutrition. Also be aware that the nutritional needs of animals change over the seasons. Raising birds in cold weather may require you to increase their fat or protein intake while they can free-range on bugs in the summer. Commercial feed options can also help you to raise healthy animals. According to Talking Hens, Australia is known for exporting chicken feed that supports high-producing laying hens. Proper rest, exercise and nutrition is critical for all living things, and disregarding these factors can lead to sickness. Even God says it’s important to properly take care of animals. As it says in Proverbs 12:10, “Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast.”
Nurture Yourself Also
Raising animals and taking care of their needs can help you to remember to take care of yourself also. You will need access to quality food, deep sleep and plenty of exercise. Fighting addiction in the early stages may require you to focus on shedding the physical toxins of the addictive substance. As you gain physical health, you will need community and care to heal your soul and mind. According to Superdog, time spent caring for animals can soothe anxieties and calm your spirit. Notice the thoughts that come to the surface of your mind during these quiet times, and seek help for those that trouble you.
Learning to live again as you leave behind a life of addiction takes a community. Let animals be a part of your new community. They offer the uncommon gift of simply being with you, letting you experience their company without imposing on your thoughts.