it can’t be that important

if you work in a place with a boozy culture, it can’t be that important to ‘fit in’ that you’ll do something that isn’t what’s best for you.

 

 

It can’t be so important to fit in. It just can’t. So you have three choices: you either attend the events and don’t drink, or you don’t attend, or you work somewhere else. And a boozy cruise? I say no to that, hands-down, and here’s why.

This audio is taken from podcast SP204 which was just sent to podcast subscribers yesterday (the full version of the audio is 20 minutes long).

If you are not a podcast subscriber, and you sign up today, the full version of this audio will come to you automatically. http://www.tiredofthinkingaboutdrinking.com/store/podcast.subscription.htm

 

(ps, my blog allows for anonymous comments – so you don’t have to fill in a name or an email address to post your comment below).

Over the next 48 hrs, I’ll select a blog comment and that person will receive a present funded by the Sober Good Works donations.

the boozing you is a liar

if you drink, it creates a whole, different version of you, and it’s not the real you.

 

 

If you drink, you change the trajectory of your life in a large way. So when we stop drinking, it’s like there’s two people – the old us (the boozer) and the new us (the sober us). Which one is the real one?

This audio is taken from podcast SP203 (the full version of the audio is 30 minutes long).

 

Download the audio podcast episode 203

Sign up for the monthly podcast subscription
(1-2 new audios per week, you can cancel whenever you like … but you won’t. more sober tools = good)

(ps, my blog allows for anonymous comments – so you don’t have to fill in a name or an email address to post your comment below).

 

re-entry

written december 30th:

home from trip to australia, all seems well on re-entry thus far. though i do have a full inbox that’ll take 1-2 days to fully answer 🙂 it’s also very cold here (like below freezing) while sydney is having a heat wave.

sober travel. here’s what it means: remember everything. no missed afternoons. no hungover mornings. spend less money (more money for treats; more money for vacations!).

travelling sober means we sleep better, even in strange beds. travelling sober means that even with a spontaneous head cold developed hrs before the flight, even with head/ear pain, you still don’t drink. you sleep instead — you know, that thing you said you never did (sleep on flights), yeah that thing. that’s what you do.

and you eat the food they give you (thumbs down for qantas, hooray for emirates). you take pictures from the window while flying near zurich (no kidding!).

you come home, nap for a few hours, get up and have a regular evening, then you — wait for it — go to bed and sleep all night and are spontaneously adjusted to the time change. yes. sober travelling. no booze to slam me into neutral. no booze to ‘make the time pass’. no booze to ‘celebrate’ or ‘soothe’ the ear ache (which ended as soon as the plane began its descent).

true, i’m home now to 4 loads of laundry (must my husband wash everything in his suitcase? i mean, we did laundry in melbourne and sydney along the way …). i’m home to pledge to eat better (ha. croissants + the best ham/cheese baguette last night). i’m home to sleep in  my own bed (there may not be any better reward for a 25 hr flight than your own bed. the king-sized one. with the right pillow.).

it’s cold outside. the christmas decorations shine and remind us that we weren’t here for christmas. well, we had christmas on the beach, does that count? we had an alternate-reality christmas complete with corn on the cob (hey, i know the last time i had corn on the cob now! it was christmas day).

my husband has (literally) put the map for Portugal into the bathroom as of last night, so he can scope out ideas while in the tubbie for a trip in the spring…

sober travel means that re-entry, transitions are just plain easier.

cuz really, life is plain easier when sober. all of it. the sleep is easier, the travelling, the flying, the thinking.

it’s just easier to be sober. who knew.
love and hugs from me 🙂

p.s. obligatory link you click to indicate engagement (the linked blog post was written april 2013 and is the 3rd most popular on the blog). (i will one day learn to write without parentheticals. (perhaps.))

treats don’t work for me

recently sent this out as a daily micro-email; i’m going to post it here on the blog and add in some of the many emails i’ve received in response. 

email from good:

“i’m totally in the ‘treats don’t work for me’ camp. I eat what I want, when I want, within of course healthy parameters that – if i break them (TWO pieces of cheesecake!) – it doesn’t feel like a treat, it induces shame.

I buy what i want, when I want. Sometimes i have tried to convince myself that an expensive piece of jewelry or pair of jeans I’ve been eyeing or something similar will be a reminder piece to stay sober. But I never can “wait 30 days” to put it on.

I don’t have time for a lot of physical treats. I am craving a good 5-mile hike in the woods right now and it’s been a couple weeks and it hasn’t happened. I have two young kids and my husband and I are to the brim with shared responsibilities.

I cringe when I hear people say “make the time” and “get your partner to help!” – my husband cannot magically get his meetings cancelled to get home early so I can take off. I cannot walk out on my kids who are sitting at the table waiting for dinner. I cannot forget to get the straws or pictures or clothes together for school for the next day or my kid will feel left out and it will be my fault, something I can’t live with. When I’m getting dinner together, husband is busy giving them a bath and has to call his cousin in the hospital.  Later I have to clean or shop for guests or a party we’re having. This is the kind of every day stuff that has to get done. Now. Make time my A%$.  I’m lucky to get a shower in every other day (don’t worry I work from home) and I prioritize exercise, even if it’s whatever I can do quickly and not my favorite kind) over things like bubble baths. If I get a chance to go out for a couple hours and hike, or happen by a cute coffee shop and have a chance to stop, or even get an hour to read at the end of a long day between 10 and 11pm, I will take it, whether I ‘deserve’ it, have X days sober, just got through a tough craving, or not. And honestly, if I feel good enough about however many days of sobriety to deserve a treat, just feeling deserving, that’s treat enough.”


from me: do you agree with Good about the treats thing? i’ve done a lot of writing about this and recorded audios, and talked about retraining your brain … but i wonder if you agree with Good that, no matter what i suggest, it’s all ‘airy-fairy’ wishful thinking …

and if you disagree with Good (or you used to think how she did and now you don’t), you can tell me about that too. I’ll share some ideas in a future email.

i rebel against me.

i’m doing my yearly offline for most of August thing.

and everything is like everything.

there’s a transition, a detox. what do i do with this time now that i’m offline and not glued to my computer. (who am i now that i’m sober.)

how do i unwind without a video game or a tv show or one more trip through facebook. (what do i use to unwind once the booze is gone.)

what’s the point of my life if i don’t get all of my meaning from being online? (who am i once the booze is extracted. once the anaesthesia is removed. how will i interact with friends.)

at first, all the time seems too large. like i’m not my real self. all the things i usually do require an internet connection (all the time i spend in the evenings or with friends requires alcohol.)

when really

it’s about self-care.

naps are fine. healthy food leads to more even moods. running leads to a brighter outlook.

and me? i balk at self-care. i don’t shave my legs, change the sheets, go to bed.

and what would happen to this i feel empty space if i filled it with self-care? shudder.

so yesterday, i did the following: went for a short 17 minute run, shaved my legs, put conditioner in my hair (!), went for a long walk, had a nap, and had a manicure (finally, it’s been 12 years since my last one).

but what does wolfie think i should do? remove the booze (remove the online connection) and wolfie encourages me to just sit here and roll around in how uncomfortable it is.

Why not write longhand.

Why not read or walk or photograph.

Why not cook something new.

Why so inert? Why so uninspired?

Switch to enough sleep. See how that goes. Try different.

I like this new me, I know it suits me. and yet i balk.

i rebel against me.

i resist that which will make me feel better.

“you can be kind of a pest”

from my inbox:

Tina Jeanne (Day 1): “Hi Belle, I decided this morning when I was writing in my journal that I would do this. There was some kind of shift that took place as I was writing. Maybe I could already feel the universe behind me. I just love this concept. I also keep getting these pokes and nudges from you. Your daily emails are relentless. And you sent this one about the solstice twice! I think another sober blogger mentioned this about you too recently. You can be kind of a pest, you know …

me: I can be kind of a pest. a sober pest. the kind that if you didn’t want to be sober, you’d unsubscribe. and if you do want to be sober, you know that I’m here whenever you’re ready to feel better. I’m a consistent pest. a lighthouse. I just stand here. I do the same thing all the time. how I’m interpreted has probably more to do with how much wolfie is speaking. Wolfie says “why doesn’t she shut up” and the sober voice says “thank god she’s there saying that same thing over and over.”

I can reset you. day 2 today. Welcome back to your sober suite. it’s #1553. this spot is just for you.

It’s one bitchy uptight girl

when you feel itchy and shitty, and wolfie is yelling ‘maybe now, what about now, how about now?’ you KNOW you don’t want to give into the voice or else you create the candy in the grocery store syndrome.

but as that rumble of feeling crappy builds, we cannot think of what to do. our favourite coping strategy (Alcohol! The Solution and the Cause To All of Life’s Problems!) has been removed.

you think: what would a parent do for a temper tantrum wielding 3-year old. they’d distract, offer something, suggest not now but maybe later, and move attention to something else. put on a sock puppet. blow bubbles. something else to look at, to think about.

you think: what would a parent do for a sad (“but mom, none of my friends like me”) 9-year old. They’d suggest that you have pancakes for dinner, perhaps even as a picnic in the backyard. Let’s make a tent and ‘camp’ for dinner. Nine year old is unimpressed. Mom shifts tacks. She doesn’t give up. She doesn’t try the same thing again. She tries different. You go and have a bath with big bubbles (you can use some of my special mommy lavender sfuff) and then we’ll make hot chocolate, and you can teach me how to navigate that next level in the Live Action Thriller with Cupcakes video game (clearly not my generation). You want me to braid hair like Jan on the Brady Bunch (that’s more like it). Oh and sweetie, remember when you hear the words “none or always or all or never or forever or nothing” in your head, then it’s not true. It’s not that NONE of your friends like you. It’s one bitchy uptight girl you’d be better off ignoring. It’s not that you’ll feel crappy FOREVER, it’s that you’re having a moment that honestly if we timed it with my old fashioned clicky stopwatch (none of this digital shit), you’d see that your crappiness lasts less than 1.5 hrs at the worst of times, and is usually done in the space of minutes.

and yes. inside of you right now, there is perhaps a 3-year old or a 9-year old. in fact, the “drink now” voice may alternate between the two voices, looking for purchase. it will yell “why can’t I, you’re mean, this is unfair, I want a doughnut right now” (age 3) and if that doesn’t work it’ll flip to “this is always going to be hard, I will never feel better, nothing improved when I got sober, my life is still ALL shit” (age 9).

apply strategies above as appropriate. repeat as necessary. if hot chocolate worked yesterday, it may work today. if it doesn’t, then move to hair braiding.

i should have kept going

[Now that I have finished writing the sober book and it has been sent to the printers … now i’m spending time looking over earlier journals about the writing process. i can see that it took a LOT longer than i thought it would to find out HOW to write, to find a pattern, a rhythm. I discovered that writing is like early sobriety: shit is hard, then it gets easier, then we don’t know what we’re doing, then we figure some things out, and then we make daily, small progress.

i’m going to post some of the writing that i did over the last year that ‘helped’ me figure out the sober writing thing. Because the parallels with sobriety are huge and many.]

July 8, 2015

tuesday. (5:15 am). meditation sucked, i opened my eyes and yawned part way through. i said to myself ‘i suck at this’ right as the guided meditation audio says to be patient and non-judgmental.

i have nothing to say. that first time, with the early morning writing last week, that was luck. It was a fluke I can’t repeat. I should have kept going. I thought I could dip back into it easily enough. Momentum. Would it have been easier to keep going?

once i get started then i can just keep going. even if it isn’t always a lot of fun, because it isn’t miserable. i’m not vomiting. i’m just angst-ing. and the angst-ing is what i’m trying to ignore. for the better good.extract from today’s writing:

I didn’t meet the textbook definition of an alcoholic, and believe me, I’d done the research. I’d read the sober memoirs, done a bit of looking around online, was confronted with all of the anecdotal evidence where people with real alcohol problems lost their jobs, their marriages, and their lives to addiction.

==

Update from April 28, 2016.

The phrase that I wrote above, on that crappy morning in July, that phrase eventually got written into the book like this:

Source: TOTAD: Take My-100 Day Sober Challenge, page 55, section 2: Permission to Quit.page-55

i can’t start now because …

[Now that I have finished writing the sober book, and cover art is finished, I’ve talked with the UK printer about paper and cover stock  … now i’m spending time looking over earlier journals about the writing process. i can see that it took a LOT longer than i thought it would to find out HOW to write, to find a pattern, a rhythm. I discovered that writing is like early sobriety: shit is hard, then it gets easier, then we don’t know what we’re doing, then we figure some things out, and then we make daily, small progress.

i’m going to post some of the writing that i did over the last year that ‘helped’ me figure out the sober writing thing. Because the parallels with sobriety are huge and many.]

July 7, 2015

so i did a 5 a.m. writing event a week ago. it was very productive. solved the writing problem. created other problems.

got notes from editor on Tuesday, spoke with him Friday.

now it’s the next week.

so here’s the thinking. this will seem familiar: i can’t start now because…

i’ll be tired, i have to do catering, i should have the meals planned first, that last time it just sucked the life out of me, yes it worked but now i’m wondering if it’s worth it.

then i think, ok, just get on with it. do it tomorrow morning. set the alarm and get up.

and it’s scary.

scary to create the space to make the change.

scary to be alone with myself for 4 hrs.

scary to see what i will accomplish (or not).

scary to maybe discover that i won’t like writing the book, it won’t be worth it, it’ll be perceived only as brand-extension, it’ll be pretentious or surface-trite.

scary to be sober, to stop the numbing, to create the space to make the change, to see what i accomplish, to know that it’s worth it.

and everyone who’s written a book probably (surely) says it was worth it.

like everyone who’s longer-term sober says that being sober is worth it.

and here i stand on the side of the road. writing car is beside me. the keys are in the ignition. i know where i’m headed. and yet i’m not in the car.

[if you email me and say ‘just do it’ i’ll come after you. you don’t have to say anything :) just relate.]

i’ve been here before. i will be here again.

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?”