i “like” wolves

Original email received:

from anonymous:

“Hi there, thanks for putting this resource out there. It must be very gratifying to know you are helping so many of us ‘high bottom’ drunks take the first step toward sobriety.

I like wolves. They’re wild, shy, team players and loyal pack animals. I have a Siberian Husky. The whole “wolfie” (annoying cutesie name to describe something shitty?) as my inner shrieking-for-a-drink voice that I need to dehydrate isn’t going to work for me.  So, I’m going to unsubscribe now. Back to the drawing board but thanks anyway. Happy New Year!”

me: 🙂 all you have to do is change wolfie to ‘hyena’ or whatever other animal you think lives in your head that says “drink, drink now.”  He will also say “turn away from this support because she’s using the wrong word.”  hugs from me

~
What do you think about this email from Anon? you might not agree with my response… but if the word ‘wolfie’ doesn’t work, what would you suggest? Send me an email with your advice for Anon.

~

Responses received:

Dancing Rabbit: “Went to see the BBC wildlife documentary ‘one life’ at the open air cinema … and it included Komodo dragons. One nipped a water buffalo and the whole group waited for it to die a slow death from the infected wound. They then ate it. Patient, calculating, persistent. Komodo dragon doesn’t trip off the tongue quite as well as Wolfie though.  I think anonymous will be back even if she did unsubscribe. I think your reply is spot on.”

Happy Canuck: “It is the concept that matters not the name.  I have used committee of idiots as that is how it seems.  They get together, determine that I don’t really have a problem and vote for me to resume normal drinking.  I now have the committee of wellness to offset their impact but I do find it useful to name the voice.”

E: “Personally, I use Bitch to refer to my Wolfie — the point is that we all have inner voices trying to convince us to stray off our new paths and cave in to temptation with rationalization, no matter what we call it. Thanks for all the encouragement and wisdom!”

ER: “any hungry monster with malevolent intent should work!”

BonBon: “I get what she is saying, I like wolves too, and wolfie didn’t do it for me either, however, I think your response is dead on. I feel like she is throwing the baby out with the bath water. I like to think of wolfie as a fractured part of myself that needs and deserves love and attention. I just think of “him” as myself, but a much less civilized, immature, and sometime sabotaging version if who I want to be. Sober treats and being sober help this part of myself become more like the part of myself that I love. And hopefully, with enough patience and work, I will fill all parts of myself with love and joy. We all have our own versions of reality – its our own responsibility to take what is in the world and make it work for ourselves.  Keep doing what you are doing – I’m am so grateful for what you do – wolfie and all.”

Festie: “I’m not crazy about Wolfie either, but somewhere I saw ‘lizard brain’ is the part of the brain that wants to drink.  That primal part that just wants what it wants and right now!  So lizard brain is just my primal self talking to my higher self.  And my higher self wins the last few months.”

ScrubJay: “I like wolves, too.  I feel for them, because they are endangered, feared, and hunted.  I like all animals and couldn’t really pick one to be a symbol for the insidious power of alcohol.  But some people do better when they can give that power a personality.  That must be why the “Wolfie” idea works for them.  I don’t feel that way myself.  I wear my FUW bracelet because it makes me laugh and keeps me from taking myself too seriously and getting depressed while I do this sober thing.  I rarely, if ever, use profanity so saying “FUCK YOU WOLFIE!” just breaks the craving with some humor. I even feel sorry for Wolfie because he must be very lonely and troubled to pick on people the way he does.  He needs some help himself.  Maybe wolfie should take the sober challenge…”

AliSarah: “Hmm – I like wolves too – and never took to the personification of “Wolfie” – so I see where anonymous is coming from.  You know the poem by William Blake called “The Sick Rose”?  My wolfie is the Invisible Worm. Lives in my brain.  Glad to say it’s looking very shrivelled these days. “

AP: “I liked your response.  You can call it “dis-ease”, monkey, hyena … I like “wolfie” … the bottom line is maybe Anonymous is using the name as an excuse … she is not ready to surrender the hyena.”

Auntie Kay: “I also call it “asshole” sometimes…..”

Bex: “I think you’re spot on Belle. Wolfie (demon, monster, hyena, bear, beast, drunk whisperer, dog, cat, snake, dragon… Haha whatever it is…. Subconscious wanna be drinking voice…) will use anything. Any “rationalization” to turn away from a clean life. Excuses are excuses no matter the pretty packaging. I’ve told myself that so many times. Wolfie’s voice has come at me from so many directions. I’ve made up lots of names in my head for “wolfie”. Labels don’t matter. Telling it to eff off, and not today. Doesn’t have to be forever – but not today. That matters.  Thank you Belle.  Amazing work, and all for good.”

Maureen: “The son-of-a-bitch in my head? What we name it is personal. The tools for dealing with it are what you’re helping us with.”

Mimi: “How about gremlin or zombie?”

Losing&Healing: “I personally don’t use the term ‘wolfie’ either and instead call it what it is: my addict thinking. I’ve reached a point in my life where I need to see things as they are so it’s helpful for me when I hear the bullshit of “screw life, drink” to identify head on and call it by its name … I look to and appreciate your email support. It doesn’t matter what YOU call it as long as I know what it is. … I appreciate the service you do for me and all of us who need to stop drinking to live healthy and happy lives.”

Summer Walking: “Just a followup the more I have thought about the wolf through the day it had become more and more a great analogy. The wolf looks so appealing and pretty and cuddly and yet once you are too close nothing good will come of it. I am seeing it in a new perspective. Alcohol is the wolf in sheep’s clothing so enticing but so dangerous.  Like it.”

JH: “I also had a “high bottom” except my high bottom was a life-low for me, an acknowledgement that I was on a boring, sick, uncomfortable and sad path. Side note; It’s interesting that Anon basically says that all wolves are the same. Ask any animal rescuer– those creatures, just like humans, have distinct personalities.”

husband #1: “Others that come to mind for me are: Leech (blood sucking bastard), Beelzebub (i.e. “sell me your soul”), Jim Croce (Time In A Bottle (couldn’t resist that one!!)), Mr Fucking Five O’Clock (as we all know, the Witching Hour), Gollum (yes, My Precious), Satan’s Apprentice, Anaconda (slowly squeezes the life out of you).”

francis: “It’s kind of like a booze bandit in your head, robbing you of your quality of life and trying to steal your rational thought.”

SueW: “I think of Wolfie in terms of Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf! … Wolfie is just a face given to the voices in your head.  It makes it easier to stand up to the voices when you put a face there. Those inner voices are brutal and will try anything to keep you drinking and oh how they hate to lose.  But when they finally do lose life becomes so amazing.  I hope anon gets it and gets to see how great life can be.”

Canadian Girl: “My Wolfie is the Big Bad Wolf character: the selfish, lying, greedy, slobbering, despicable animated beast, dressed in Grandmas pyjamas, who wants to gobble me up and hide the evidence. He can NEVER be trusted!! What you are doing is really important work, Belle. Your depiction of that dysfunctional voice in our head as Wolfie, has been a really useful visual aide for many people. Anonymous maybe has Wolfie right at her door looking for blood. “Don’t fall for the lies! You have so much to lose!””

SusanC: “I like wolves too, but only when they are away from me, I don’t want to have one living in my house, terrifying me and possibly killing my dog and cat …. What we call the wolfie voice is not the most important thing, I started off calling my voice weaselworm, because I wanted something that reflected the slimy insinuatingness (that’s not a word, I know) of it, but wolfie also worked for me, as the ferocity of a wolf suggested the ferocity and awfulness of a craving. The important thing is (I think) that we recognize and name up and isolate the craving for what it is, a destructive and greedy and selfish bastard who will promise relief but only do harm, and I have found that by isolating it and then separating myself from it I have been able to get some control over it.  wolfie, hyena, vulture, shitty slimy slug …. the actual name doesn’t matter, but the act of naming does ….”

Laurie: “I like wolves, too, but I get what you mean by “wolfie”.  When you talk about “wolfie”, I don’t imagine a wolf but instead think about that side of me with the addictive personality that threatens my sobriety.  I would never not read / or listen to you because of a way you describe something I know all too well – your support and assistance far outweigh any terminology you may use to do so. Love you!!!”

Stamps: “OMG i was thinking the same thing recently in my struggle to stay sober….I love and donate to saving wolves and why did Belle use that name to describe the beast within ..i agree with your response to Anon and that is what i did, thought of new names and Beastie was one.  Then I went right to the culprit which is the devil himself who tempts us and thought of Lucy (Lucifer)! Thank you Belle for being honest and kicking Wolfie/Lucy/Schmuck (so as not to insult those named Lucy:)  lol.. to the curb every time no matter what excuse/doubt  we come up with…you have the right anwser..TY!”

Kathy: “It’s funny. I like wolves too. But I wear my “Fuck You Wolfie” bracelet with pride! I never even picture a “wolf” when I hear Wolfie whispering sweet evil mean nothings into my ear!”

Reaching Out: “I also like wolves.  In fact, I love all animals especially those that have even a remote likeness to dogs, so ya, wolves are high on my list.  For that reason, I probably won’t be purchasing any of the ‘fuck you Wolfie’ paraphernalia that Belle sells through her ‘shameless commercial link’, because it’s just not for me.  But… that will not stop me from reading her blog, or listening to/purchasing any of her podcasts, because her shit is good shit.  It speaks to me, the high bottom drunk.  A name or a label is just that.  There are many agnostics in AA.  The AA program is full of references to God, yet it doesn’t stop the agnostic from attending meetings, reading the literature, and walking the road to a successful recovery.  The program is not a religious one.  I don’t really care if Belle calls her demon Wolfie or any other name for that matter, because it’s just a name.  She is putting a label on something that would have destroyed her. She had to call it something, Wolfie works for her and probably many others:)  It helps her to protect her from herself. You can call it, your inner-shrieking-for-a-drink voice or anything else that makes sense to you.  Whatever works.  It’s not the name that’s important:) For me personally, I’m not going to deny myself access to anything that will help me in my recovery just because I don’t like the name.  I don’t like the name alcoholic, but reminding myself every day that I cannot have just one glass of wine because I am an alcoholic, is so much better than the alternative, so ya, I’ll stick with a name I don’t like, because it’s an important part of my recovery.  I hope that you can get beyond a name and re-subscribe to ‘tired of thinking…’ because as you said yourself: “you are helping so many of us ‘high bottom’ drunks take the first step toward sobriety.” I know that you will do whatever you have to, to protect your sobriety if you want it badly enough and are ready to do whatever it takes.  Don’t let a name get in the way of a great resource that may help you on your recovery journey. As you said, wolves are loyal pack animals.  Here’s hoping you will re-join our pack, because there is safety and support in numbers. Wishing you luck on your Journey.”

Lottie: “It is very therapeutic to say ‘shut up Wolfie you gigantic anus, I am not drinking today’ :)”

Bootz: “I, too, have a problem with “WolfIe”. Sounds too cute. I have named her Sylvia- as that sounds like an ugly old drunk to me- dripping in diamonds and trying to take me into her world daily. I hate Sylvia! Yet I tend to follow her to the end of the earth! 🙁 ”

Roisin: “Actually, I also struggle with the Wolfie imagery, it doesn’t come naturally to me, and it annoyed me a bit that I couldn’t really get it, but at times it does help me to have something other than myself to rage and swear at! Personally, I find it more realistic to think of the addict part of my brain lying dormant, most of the synapses shrivelling away from disuse, and other helpful, healthier connections becoming stronger and gaining more control. The addict part still there, but now other alternatives are my brain’s first response. The fact that I don’t choose to name this thing Wolfie, however, doesn’t detract from the fact that your blog, audios, emails etc are hugely helpful. I find your insight, support and ways of looking at dealing all life all very pertinent and valid. To me it is irrelevant that you see Wolfie, I see something else.”

Vivien: “… sometimes names DON’T really matter as much as essences, ideas, and concepts; sometimes, to quote the Bard, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Or, to customize that lovely thought to our case, “the inner-shrieking-for-a-drink-voice by any other name would stink as rancidly.” Okay, Shakespeare would have done better with the negative version, too, but you get the idea (because the idea matters more than my exact words, right? As long as I’m being relatively clear, and you are using your imagination and trusting in my good faith!). In my own thoughts I think of this voice as the mean ex, the one who is lazy and hurtful and emotionally manipulative and lacking in creativity and originality. When I’m “telling it off” I call it “The Mean Voice” or “The Lazy One” or “That Voice” or “The Drinker” or “The Former Me.” Really simple, not really creative, but good enough. It helps to plug that in because I still sometimes wince at the word “wolfie.” Wolfie or not, I hope you can dare to be open-minded enough to use your own creativity, imagination, and open-mindedness to look past whatever aspects of Belle’s work don’t help you, while cherishing the ones that do. That’s all any of us can do.”

Lilla: “I had the same thoughts initially.  I am an animal lover.  All types.  I get excited when the neighborhood possum stops by for a visit. Really I do.  Wolfie sounds like a cute little cub.  BUT, one day the light bulb went on.  The demon has to be manifest in some way.  Be it a devil with horns or whatever.  If you do not demonize the temptation and all the thoughts and emotions that keep you stuck drinking, you are always just battling yourself.  You drink.  You hate yourself for drinking.  You drink because you hate yourself for drinking.  And you are caught up a non-stop cycle of drinking and self-loathing. For me, I am thinking about a rubber snake to keep on my dashboard.  My weakest time is the drive home.  I don’t stock any alcohol.  I only let myself by one bottle of wine (See, it is only one.  I’m not really a heavy drinker.   Hissss.  Hissss.).”

GX: “just read anon’s comment about wolves – I get it that she likes wolves and can see that it is just a metaphor for the alcohol monster inside our heads … Wolfie could be rebranded as Boris?”

 

 

 

Belle

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

15 thoughts on “i “like” wolves

  1. You can call it whatever it is … I don’t call it wolfie. I call this nasty nagging voice of mine Walda. Am I going to unsubscribe because you call it wolfie and I call it something else? No. I also like wolves. In fact, I like a lot of animals. Am I feeling offended? No. Your reply was perfect.

  2. I too love wolves, but as someone added – from a distance. I like them as a totem animal. The birth of Wolfie came from the Cherokee Tale of Two Wolves which speaks of two wolves living inside your head. Google it if you want to read it. It’s short and clear. So I am inclined to use the message, especially FUW, and moving past the image or replacing the image as many have spoken about doing. Use what works, let go of the rest or rework it in your own way. Belle and her messages work for me!

  3. All I know is that I was in such a shitty place and that Belle’s writing and this site have provided me with relief and an awareness that things could change, that * I * could change.
    I do not call ” it ” anything, really ( well – maybe I call ” it ” , IT )? …
    I just know that ” it ” sucks.

  4. the name is irrelevant, not listening to the self-destructing voice is what’s important. I love wolves, it has nothing to do with wolves, I love my kids too, yet it never stopped me from drinking. I call it wolfie, he’s an old boyfriend that cheated on me and beat me up whenever he had a chance, I finally decided that I had enough and would not take him back into my life, so I tell him FUW when he calls. Thank you Belle for showing me that my old boyfriend, my longest relationship was one of abuse.

  5. I call it booze. You can call it what you like, and that’s fine. I have a FUW keychain, but I view it as a reminder of the the need to stay vigilant. Because booze is everywhere, and can seem like the best solution to damn near any problem. You’ve helped me act on the knowledge that it is not a solution, and for that I shall always be thankful.

  6. Your response was great. I call it monkey chatter, asshole, Wolfie, doesn’t really matter. I never thought wolfie was a cute name, I always associated it like a wolf in sheeps clothing. I feel badly for that initial commentator, she just isn’t ready (but knows in her heart she is) I think we’ve all been there and any excuse we can use to not stop drinking we do. I wish the best for that person and hopes she (or he) finds some peace.

  7. My Gran’s name was Sylvia haha! In trying to think of a name for my Wolfe I immediatly think of revolting expletives, but my Wolfe is a wolf, a Lonley angry, rabid and ostracised wolf screaming and howling away. Using a cute name disempowers him, so Wolfe works for me.

  8. I call it The Beast. I picture it as a vile, smelly, filthy ogre-type “thing.” I also call it F**ker, because it really makes me angry sometimes. Go away and quit bothering me, already!

    1. Happy Canuk I am *loving* your faux political committee system! I’m seconding the wellness committee’s motion.

  9. The interwebs say that the phrase “wolf at the door” means: If a hungry wolf is at your door, you are in serious trouble.
    Trouble has come calling.
    The “wolf at the door” refers to any danger or predator that seeks to ravage the inhabitants within, ranging from starvation and poverty to physical death.

    However I call mine Mildred. Mildred was an aunt of mine who shamed and belittled me and made me never feel good enough. When those voices start in my head I get the pleasure of saying “Shut up Mildred” – because I am worthy of remaining sober!

  10. Interesting. I also like wolves and have lived with them nearby during five years of field research on black bears in northern Labrador, had them around my house in the NWT (one killed one of our dogs in our driveway), and studied their impact on caribou populations as part of my job as a wildlife biologist in northern Canada for 31 years. “Wolfie” is just a name – as people say above, you can switch ‘wolfie’ to whatever works for you – I kinda like Boris, since it reminds me of Boris and Natasha from “Underdog” fame – for those of us of a certain vintage! For caribou across northern Canada, the number one worry in life is the wolf – wolves literally drive caribou behaviour and populations. ‘Smart caribou’ maintain constant vigilance for wolves lurking around looking for a sign of weakness that means dinner may soon be served. So, I emailed Belle when I first read about ‘Wolfie’ a week or so ago and said that I think ‘wolfie’ is an appropriate metaphor. I don’t think that by thinking of ‘wolfie’ in our heads trying to entice us to have a drink we are in any way besmirching the stature and role of wolves as a species. Without wolves we’d not have dogs, and life without dogs would be far poorer. I was very sad when a wolf killed my dog, Buddy, but it’s part of the way things are in the farflung north – not a whole lot you can do about it, except maintain vigilance for the wolf (or wolfie) that could be at the door waiting, waiting, waiting… There – my rather quick thoughts on ‘Wolfie” 🙂

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