“Once you have removed the goblin from your back you’ll probably find that you have been in the habit of wasting a lot of time. At first you may find you don’t now how to fill this time. Don’t worry about it. Four things you can’t have too much of are time, energy, love and money. alcohol ravages all these things. You will have so much more of each of these valuable commodities. Spend them wisely on activities that give you genuine pleasure. Enjoy the challenge of restructuring your life.” (Carr, The Easy Way to Control Alcohol, p. 228).
It’s not very well written, but he hits all the right notes.
Let’s rewrite it, shall we? Here’s my version.
Before you quit drinking, your biggest fear might be that life without alcohol is boring. I’m surprised at how much time I could can fill with three glasses of wine (an entire evening!).
But when I did finally quit, in the first few days I found myself gaping at the wide abyss that begins at 6:30 pm and continues to the end of time. I actually said “but NOW what will I DO?’ … which is quite hilarious, considering I’m in charge of a company or two, I help my husband run his business, and I’m entertaining clients at least once a week. It’s not like I don’t have stuff to do…
You can never have too much time, energy, love or money. Booze sucks them all up AND booze wants more and more and more. More of all four.
If you can picture booze like a Big Wolf With Black Eyes, he represents the voice in your head. Now you have to very calmly starve the wolf. Or better yet, you have to dehydrate him by not giving him anything to drink.
At first he’ll be mad at you. “Where’s my drink?”
You’ll say … I have all this free time now. I can’t talk to you, wolfie. I’m running, baking, singing, reading, cleaning, spending time with my kids. I’m paying my taxes, cleaning off my desk, enjoying the weather.
The wolf will taunt you. “Everyone else is drinking, why can’t you?”
You’ll say … sorry, wolfie, can’t hear you. I’m too busy cranking up the volume on my new iPad that I bought with all the money I’ve saved. 50 days of sobriety @ 3/4 bottle of wine per day = $225. And some days were more, and other days included booze in restaurants, so it’s really more like $400 (or probably even $500). At an even $10 A day, that means that in a year it’ll be $3,650 saved. That’s a trip to Australia. That’s a small car. That’s a new wardrobe, le creuset cookware, and 2 new books a week with money left over. Sorry wolfie, can’t hear you, i’m COUNTING MY MONEY.
The wolf will throw temper tantrums. “Why can’t I? What about now? When is this sober thing finished? Can I drink in a few more days? When exactly can I drink again?”
You’ll say I’m too busy snuggling with my husband, staying awake for conversations, i can see the look in his eyes, how proud he is of me, how supportive. i would never want him to look at me any other way, wolfie, don’t you understand that one glass of red wine does NOT equal my marriage? I pick my marriage. I pick it every day of the week and twice on Sundays. I pick meaningful conversations with friends. I pick sober laughing. It’s the best. Have you tried it wolfie? Sober laughing? you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven.
The wolf will nearly be dehydrated. He’ll try a few more last-chance, desperate attempts. “You’re broken,” he’ll snarl. “you bitch, you can’t be fixed, you’ll always be a fuck-up, you suck at this, you might as well quit now.”
And you’ll say: You want to fight? I’ll win. I’ve got so much more energy now that i’m sleeping through the night. I can outrun you wolfie. I’m light on my feet now. I’ve got so much more spunk, clearer thinking. I’m planning to take over the world, wolfie, me and my clear-headed genius.
What is that? Sorry I can’t quite hear you. Your voice is so quiet wolfie. are you nearly dehydrated? you’re going to dry up and turn to dust.
[puts palm of hand up to lips and blows across the surface … dust disperses, wolfie is specks of gray in the air … and then gone]