Living One Day at a Time: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
Canine Therapy is a new name for an old bond. We believe that an addiction recovery retreat is not complete without a great dog as part of the program. We feel that a dog is an integral part of the holistic healing complement of modalities that a person needs to recover from the battle zone of active addiction.
Meet Ceiba at Serenity Vista Addiction Recovery Retreat in Panama.On the First Nation or Native American Medicine Wheel, Dog represents Loyalty. You may remember a special dog from your childhood that offered unconditional love and companionship. Dog never cares how you look, what job you have, or what your status is in the community. What dog wants is to connect.Many people in recovery relate how their dog's behavior would change when their owner or other people around the dog were under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Mostly dogs become nervous and afraid, unsure and unable to read the person's energy. Spiritual and emotional connection cannot be made, although many drunken people may cry and/or fawn all over their dog. Dog knows this is not authentic and is frightened.
One of the most powerful teachings dog demonstrates in drug rehab is living in the moment. Dog never spends time going over past hurts or perceived slights. Dog never worries about the future, how it will be treated tomorrow, or where the next meal comes from. Dog is always in the NOW. Dog is purely and completely living in the moment.In active addiction, people, without exception are wrapped up in self. Self-pity, self-blame, self-sabotage, self-absorbed and so on is the norm. Being concerned about another living being is usually only based on what the active addict hopes to get from that other person. Or not get (trouble, blame, caught, flack and so on).
When people arrive at the door step of Serenity Vista Addiction Recovery Retreat, they are generally broken, lonely, grieving feeling helpless and untouchable. They are full of self-pity yes, but broken non-the-less. Often the first one out to greet the guest as they exit their taxi is Ceiba, our Chocolate Labrador Retriever Therapy Dog. She already loves them. She says "Welcome, I am so glad that you are here!" to everyone.
Often the new guest hardly recognizes the dog as even being present. That is the nature of addiction. Very quickly this changes though, just like the miracle that recovery is. Our guests are not required to do chores, no washing dishes or making meals, but they are required to do two things - walk Ceiba every morning, and attend to her well-being during the day with attention and general frolic at least a couple times.It is clearly evident when people being to really heal, and begin to practice the tools of recovery. They begin to speak to Ceiba, rather than just 'commanding' her. They begin to connect with her physically, embracing and touching her. Ceiba loves the affection, and wants to reciprocate. She will sneak in a kiss when she can, and never rebuffs an approach.
Ceiba just exudes happiness and joy. She will take herself to the 'swimming hole' in the creek, many times a day. When she is tired, she rests on the cool tiles, when she is playful, she finds a stick or a bug to play with, if everyone else is busy in a session.
So, Canine Therapy is practiced pretty much all the waking hours whenever there is a dog at rehab. Dogs are intuitive, warm, soft to the touch, and all fun. They are exactly what a recovering person needs to heal. And Ceiba is just another one of the divine gifts we all experience here at Serenity Vista in beautiful Panama.Panama is right next door to Costa Rica. We also work with horses to heal. Equine Therapy, Caldera style. We go hiking, and sailing, and swimming, and boogie boarding, zip-lining, whitewater rafting and so much more. Rethink Rehab.Recovery. Discovery. Transformation.
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