Addiction can be a very lonely place. Many suffering with addictions to substances such as alcohol or drugs find they have no one to relate to. Relationships with family members and friends often break down as the addict continues a destructive path while a large number of these addicts will end up sleeping on the streets because of their addiction. It is unsurprising, therefore, that many will develop close bonds with pets when relationships with others have broken down and appear damaged beyond repair.
Phoenix Futures, an addiction charity in the Wirral, has found that many addicts are unprepared to enter residential rehab because it means leaving their dogs behind. As a result, the charity has opened a block of kennels so that patients can have their dogs with them while staying at the facility.
Up to thirty-two individuals with drug or alcohol addictions can avail of a three-month residential programme at Phoenix Futures and, for the first time, they will be allowed to have their dogs stay with them during treatment. It is believed to be the first of its kind in the UK.
Karen Biggs, chief executive of the charity, said, “Many people in active addiction build strong ties with their dogs. Their dogs keep them warm and safe during periods of homelessness, give them unconditional love through the worst points in their lives and a reason to keep going when all other relationships appear irrevocably damaged.”
Ms Biggs also pointed out that, no matter how severe a person’s addiction, recovery is possible. However, with so many people refusing to accept help if it meant being apart from their dogs, the charity decided to do something about the situation. She said that these individuals do not have to make that choice now.
As well as being cared for by their owners, the dogs will also receive care from trained professionals. Staff at the centre believe that having their dogs close by will save many patients from the heartache of separation during what is already a very stressful time.
One of the main ways pets can help those in recovery is the ability to love unconditionally. Relationships with people are not always as plain sailing. Addicts tend to disappoint their loved ones with broken promises and bad behaviour, and trust can often be lost. Nevertheless, a pet will always be there for its owner and will respond to affection every time. This kind of relationship can be immensely powerful for an individual in recovery.
Pets can also provide some light relief to those in addiction recovery. A rehabilitation programme involves a lot of hard work but having a pet to play with at the end of a long day can be very rewarding.
A pet can also encourage a recovering addict to become more responsible. This responsibility can help significantly in terms of giving the addict the discipline to beat his or her addiction. Having responsibility for another living creature is a fantastic way to help a person deal with recovery.
Another benefit of pets in addiction recovery is the fact that they relieve stress, which is one of the primary triggers for relapse. Staying calm and stress-free during addiction recovery is one of the most important ways of staying on track.
If you or a loved one is suffering because of addiction issues, contact Rehab Helper today. We are a free service, and our team of dedicated advisors and counsellors work tirelessly to ensure that clients get the help they need for their addiction. Call today for more information.