Whilst it's great being on holiday in Switzerland (despite 2 days of total white out), I really miss my dog.
A number of people commenting on this blog have talked about how walking their dogs really helps them take their minds off drinking (or not drinking). It definitely works for me.
To start with, dogs get you out in the fresh air doing some exercise - and both outdoors and exercise seem to really help banish the wine witch. Plus, dog walking is one of the few regular activities I do which is not at all associated with wine. Even I never got so bad that I'd pack a hip flask for the dog walk!
On those days when you just want to hide under the duvet for ever, dogs make you get up and outside. And on the days when you hate yourself and assume everyone else does too, they prove you wrong.
For me, another huge benefit of the furry friend is that I usually arrange to meet a friend (plus dog) for my walks, and we spend an hour gossiping and drinking takeaway cappuccinos while the dogs chase each other around the park. Given that I'm avoiding parties as much as possible for the time being, this gives me a much needed social event.
Dogs are also a great reminder that we don't need artificial stimulants in order to love life. And now when my dog leaps onto my bed in the morning with a look of utter joy that it's a new day I know how he feels! Yay! It's morning!
It's not just me who believes in the power of pets. The Betty Ford Centre use canine therapy, and Hazleden use equine therapy. In fact, many studies have shown that 'interacting with pets can reduce stress and anxiety by reducing cortisol levels. Pets can also decrease your blood pressure, cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels' according to www.addictioncenter.com.
So, go hug your pet. Or, someone else's. Or get one.
But remember, dogs are for life, not just for recovery ;-)
As Flasheart used to cry in Blackadder, "Woof, Hurrah!"
Love SM x