Dehydrate the wolf

“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]


I want to put this online, to hold myself accountable. I want to document the noise in my head. I'm tired of thinking about drinking. date of last drink: june 30, 2012

  • This has made an enormous impression on me. Wolfie has been in charge of my life for way too long. I’m ready to kick his mangy ass to the curb. I ordered the bracelet. Thank you, Belle!

  • This is the first blog post I’ve read after starting the JumpStart class today and I am shocked on how many things I can relate to.

    I have a tendency to procrastinate on stuff I really don’t want to do and drinking really helped accomplish that bad habit. Now that I’ve been sober a week what I realize was happening was drinking made all tasks feel overwhelming and sucked all my energy away. Thus the vicious cycle goes: don’t do stuff that needs done, drink to ignore it, hate myself for not doing stuff, drink more to feel better.

    That wolf wants more than me to just take a drink — he wants my life and he ain’t getting it. I have ammunition ready and have really good aim. Watch out, you bastard.

    • I’ve also started the jumpstart program and so grateful. Hello to everyone on this path- I’m so excited and feeling the space just continue to open. Thanks Belle for the wonderful support, and all the tools.

  • Wow, this is wonderful Belle! Thanks for sharing! I’ve been sober for 41 days today & feeling amazing! My first day on this blog and I’m already loving & appreciating all the wonderful tools! Blessings all & hugs! ???????

  • Belle, Loved this one!! My biggest fear about quitting drinking has been EXACTLY what you said! What am I going to do from 6:30 until what seems like fucking eternity!! I always tell myself, I need a few drinks in order to go to sleep because the anxiety is going to be through the roof! But then the next day I always feel so damn exhausted!! So, I love the mental picture of not giving the wolf anything to drink until he is finally laying on the ground, panting, skin and bones and flies are flying around him because he is going to die!!! Wish me luck! 🙂

  • I actually welled up with tears when I read the part about sober laughing is the best. It’s so true. Everything is better when going for the first time through clear eyes. I feel like I have firsts all the time.

  • I love this. I have started talking to Wolfie too. Wolfie says, ‘come on, you can just have one beer, it’s so yummy, just do it’. And we all know, it’s NEVER just one beer. So I am practicing snarling at Wolfie, saying ‘F*CK OFF, I’m not listening to you, GO AWAY’. But Wolfie is powerful. Today I signed up for the 100 day challenge. Today, Wolfie starts to dry up.

  • I so desperately want to dehydrate my wolf. I struggle so much with the shame of admitting and being an alcoholic. My dad was and I hated him for it. I cannot believe I am here. I cannot believe I turned out like him. I don’t want to admit I am like him. I need to find peace somehow with this shame. I feel so stuck in this abyss. I hate waking up hating myself and yet I do it over and over again. Why? Please someone help me understand. Why????

    • i’m not sure that drinking is very logical. in fact, it’s pretty illogical. so there’s not really anything to understand… it’s addictive. we have a brain that craves it even when we know it’s not a good idea. i think if it was cocaine, you might not ask why you keep doing it … the thing is, though, it takes tools and supports to stop. i spent a lot of time trying to understand why i drank while i was still drinking … and i can tell you that didn’t turn out so well. oh you know, i’ve written more about this here >
      hope this makes sense. hugs from me

  • Just what I needed to read today. New 1st day and glad to know the name of the enemy I need to starve. Thank you.

  • Awesome Story Belle! I laughed so hard I cried… Tears of joy. I’m on my 8th day and I feel Great! Still having night sweats, but no more panic attacks, anxiety or nervousness. My workout routine has increased and I’m feeling Damn good! One day at a time and yeah the Wolfie tried me a few times and I told his Ass today to kick Rocks as I headed out the door for a run wearing my new athletic wear. Your blogs are inspiring and I’m so thankful I found you. Thank you.

    • I left a reply at day 17 and am +80 and have to admit thought it would become easier and it does however there are still days that from time to time Wolfe screams,jumps and tries to get his way. So far I have been able to get him go silent and the next day I am happy I did but at he same time it is sometimes exhausting and just want to let go and say screw it I will have one and then again no don’t do so the struggle continues!

  • Haha. This is a great analogy! I will definitely be coming back to read it as I am just starting to dehydrate my wolf. Last drink was last night. Looking forward to blowing the dust off my hand too❤️

  • Day 17 so happy to have found this inspirational site! Thanks Belle! Feeling stronger day after day like my life has started over again after 12years of drinking one two bottles of wine a day! First week was horrible but slowly getting better sleep and wake up fresh and the light is back on again in the head and soul!

  • Love this post! Was just feeling overwhelmed and like I couldn’t do this and was doomed forever. I listened to the podcast and read this blog and feel much better having a mental defense against wolfie. Even if it’s just something to say to fight him back, even if it’s giving him a physical name to make him something/one to fight back. It helps to know that voice is not me but my enemy…my hater…my destroyer and I can fight back to quiet him forever by dehydrating him from alcohol!

  • ok so i drank. feeling terrible. got together with a friend and she brought drinks. i need to tell people in my life i am done with alcohol. i need to be accountable. i was feeling so strong. today is day 1 and I am in it to win it. i am done. been trying to quit 10 months now. This vicious cycle is ending now. people say I’m crazy cause i don’t drink every day. But when i do i always drink too much. always feel terrible about myself. we just don’t mix. and i have terrible genes. Terrible alcoholic mother growing up. I have 2 small kids and they and my husband are my life. Why play with fire. I crave a healthy life filled with exercise and productiveness . thanks for listening. i hope to be able to check in so as to stay on track.

  • Day 16. I hate this. I want to see a way forward and feel positive and instead I feel angry and bitter and I go between wanting to sleep forever and wanting to spit hateful things at my loved ones or lie down and cry. I want to tell my partner everything but I scared it’s too much for anyone. It’s too much for me. I have moments of being thankful that I’m doing this but they are not the majority. I’m hoping that will change. Sorry to be so negative.

  • Bless you! No I’m not religious but, you know what I mean. I am so grateful to have found this place. Whew. So much of life is in the timing; if I’d gotten to that stop light two minutes earlier…I’d be dead, you’re whole life can change in seconds. In this example it was in the click of a key, I found this page. Now my life is changing, changing for the better. Cheers to day 12.

  • I am new to this. What a terrific resource, and my days have just started. Belle, all….great posts, but I have a question for anyone who might be able to chime in. Did anyone suffer real anxiety issues in the year or so of the heaviest drinking? Panic attacks, that sort of thing? I blamed the panic attacks on work, but when the work deadlines passed, the anxiety issues remained. The drinking was there throughout. I wonder a little, and I could ask my doctor, but I wonder if the daily decision to drink or not drink, quit today or quit after the next good start date, was the real reason for my anxiety. The overwhelming anxiety really started in April of 2013. I have always been a little anxious, but not enough to need meds. Alcohol has been the only constant in my life, for far too long. I am fortunate to be aware of it enough to acknowledge and try to quit. Although I would use rum and vodka to knock down the anxiety edge at 5 PM every single night, I really wonder now if it is possible that my drinking was really the root of it. One way to test this theory is to see if I continue this no alcohol quest, I start to feel more stable.

    • wondering how you’re doing and what you’ve discovered about your anxiety. I too started getting very anxious and my drinking picked up tenfold, at least, in an attempt to calm down. distress. relax. forget my worries. I have the worst insomnia. I cannot remember when I slept through the night. I’m only 18 days sober and I’m not remotely sleeping better. my anxiety has not abated. at all. in the least. but I’m not drinking. I do believe the drinking and the anxiety are related, though, and I intend to stick with abstinence regardless of never sleeping. but god knows, I’d love to. sleep through the night.
      mf (mildlyfabulous)

  • Oh thank god for this post today- I signed up for the 100 day challenge, I’m currently on the wait list and got the email with some links… I’m on day 8. Today has been my toughest day yet. There’s a bottle in the cupboard and I told it no more times today then I have all week. But it’s almost bedtime and I’m making it. I want everyone to shut up and let me focus on not drinking but in a big, loud, crazy family in a small house- that’s not happening. So I’m reading here. Thanks for this.

  • I looooove this post!!! Seriously. The birth of wolfie. Great story. I drink more than you so i have more money to count…maybe i’ll use it to buy something from your store. Love the FU wolfie bracelet but not sure i want to explain that one to my kids. This really is an awesome post, thanks!

  • I am starting my day 1 tomorrow. I participated in the conference call today. You are brilliant and speak to me and so many others. I’ve been thinking about Wolfie all day after you mentioned him today in your talk. This analogy is speaking to me, I love the idea of speaking to the thoughts in my head about drinking, and LOVE this post. I want to print it out and keep it in my back pocket forever. F-you, you wolfie, you ARE an ANUS! Smile.
    Thank you Belle!!! You are absolutely incredible. I can’t wait to get all of your blogs in order- I’ve read the first 30 days this weekend and have made my plan. Thank you!

  • Shit Belle this is perfect… Perfect. I see him. Oh my gosh. I want to share this post w the world! Well said! Absolutely perfect.

  • “I’m busy counting my money!”

    Haha, I love it. It’s so cool how you picked up the wolf theme and transformed it into a kick-ass story of recovery.

    I’m glad you’re back stronger and that you blew out the last remaining dehydrated wolf bits. ; ) Watch out though, sometimes those creeps come back as ghosts. They can’t stand logic or light though.

    Have a great week Belle! (I’m working on another running song post, stop by tonight with any ideas.) xoxo