… because it gives Wolfie a name

Humans love naming places and things. Countries, constellations, that road where my friend lives. Cups, bowls, spoons. We teach our children with alphabet books of brightly coloured balls, zebras and xylophones. Then, creative little monkeys that we are, we moved on to concepts and personifications. Thor the god of thunder, Venus the goddess of love. The gods of wine and alcohol have emerged from the Wolfie PR machine: Bacchus, that jolly plump gentleman surrounded by nubile wenches dropping grapes into his mouth. Also known as Dionysus, whose accompanying maenads would really have benefited from the 100 day plan.

Once we name something we give it a place in our lives and a relationship to ourselves.

Names have associations, have power in their own right. Benedict Cumberbatch would never have become the pin up of all right-thinking 40-something women if he had been christened Wayne Hogg.

Belle’s naming Wolfie as a wolf slots straight into our collective imaginations, raised on Little Red Riding Hood, wolves in sheep’s clothing, and the Assyrian coming down like a wolf on the fold. And by doing so it defines him as a Bad Thing, beyond doubt or question. Where is the good wolf in the stories? As our ancestors huddled round the fire glancing fearfully over their shoulders, telling tales of right and wrong, heroes and villains, they knew.

There Is No Good Wolf. He is to be feared, dreaded, evaded. He is cunning yet stupid, always outwitted in the end.

…because it gives Wolfie a face

I cannot fight an enemy I cannot see. Before I was introduced to Wolfie, fighting my relationship with alcohol was like trying to find the source of a cholera outbreak without knowing what caused it. Now I can picture him, know where he is coming from, and prevent new outbreaks.

As you go through day to day life wolf metaphors and images keep cropping up. I stroll through the sitting room while my daughter watches ‘The Sword in the Stone’ and nod at the wolf being flattened by a rock. There you are, Wolfie. Losing again.

… because it means we can fight him together.

The beauty of a common concept is that we can communicate with one another about him. Without a name, we have less power over him. The elderly woman weeping in the corner of the dementia care home because she cannot remember the name for shoes: she has lost the ability to communicate the idea of shoes to anyone, even herself.

We together can share weapons, tactics and swearwords about him.

No-one ever yelled,”Fuck the fuck right off, limbic pleasure centre” while driving past a Wine Warehouse.

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