A Word from the Lone Wolf

Eric Louie
MDI Contributor

EDITOR’S NOTE: I asked my buddy and long-time MDI member Eric Louie to write about the dichotomy of being an admitted “lone wolf” who also circles up so often with a team of men, bringing to the surface the reason why a solo character would find value in MDI’s international organization. What actually transpires is a grand tribute and celebration of the pathway of going it alone. I found it fascinating and ballsy. I ended up asking, “Then why be on a team?” He said, “It’s because I support the cause. I don’t like other people.” I retorted with a gag: “I am picturing you doing your Men’s Weekend alone.” In the end, I lightly mocked him with a goofball battle cry: “Lone Wolves Unite!” In the end, he quoted Groucho Marx, possibly saying it best: “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.” See below for more from Louie on his own.

Lone Louie willing to act goofy.

I just love being alone.

There’s something very special about sitting in that space where I’m alone, in private, undisturbed, not bothered, and solitary.  How did it end up being that way?

Many of you who know me probably have no idea that I want and need to be alone. 

I grew up with three brothers.  There was very little time for me to be alone, but I was lucky enough to have my own bedroom where I could escape. How did I get to be this way? I’m not completely sure. All I know from back then is I resented having to share anything with my brothers. I guess you could call me selfish. In retrospect, it sure looks that way. 

And I was pretty naturally anti-social. I wasn’t unfriendly, as in mean or cruel or terribly shy. But I was perfectly willing to just watch from a distance, and not participate in all the reindeer games. An outsider by choice mostly, and then by the decisions of others, when they realized I was uninterested in being “part of.” It all contributed to the isolation that eventually led to my feeling different, which led to my dependence on alcohol. Now, I don’t want to equate “lone wolves” with having any sort of dependency issues, but I can admit today that it surely contributed to my desire to escape my feelings.  A good path for alcoholism.

The blame game for that is over, though. 

I took the Sterling Men’s Weekend 29 years ago and one of the helpful suggestions I got before that weekend was to “participate fully.” That was not a foreign idea to me, but it was a daunting task for me, who really liked to hide out.  

Lone wolves normally do not like any attention turned to them, and don’t like being in the center of the circle. Rather, I like lurking in the shadows, and yes, I’m sort of creepy that way. There are qualities about being a lone wolf that make me perfect for doing support work like I do now. I hold some ego-driven qualities like: “No one can do it as good as me,” “It’s easier to do it alone,” “It’s faster for me to do it myself than to teach someone else in partnership.” I’m definitely happy being in the background and making things work. Give me a complex problem, some time to do it, and tell me I only have to interact with a few people.

In MDI, we are encouraged to “not do things alone,” so I’ve begrudgingly co-operated with that mandate/suggestion. Those partnerships are normally good, but I’m so relieved when that “job” is over. When that’s done, I can go back to doing things alone.  I’m much better one-on-one than in groups, another feature of “lone wolfism.”

I’m not gregarious except in settings where I have lots of familiar people around (men’s team, division, special purpose team).  Those men who know me in those environments have a hard time believing that I’m much more comfortable and happy to be alone. 

If you see me noisy and participating, it’s because I’m confident in that setting. And I’m not a doubtful man, nor do I diminish my own contributions to whatever I’m participating in. I just rather be alone. 

I’m trying to remember if I have ever asked, “Leave me alone” to my team or those close to me. Apparently I can’t remember, but I would not be surprised if I have. I really believe in the concept of allowing each man to bring himself as he is. I get to be alone a lot nowadays, because in working from home, I’m at my desk almost 14 hours a day, alone in my bedroom, and with the computer that rarely gets a voice call from my coworkers.

And, here’s the thing: I am, in no way, lonely.  

Even if I’m alone, today, I know I have a choice, and I can reach out to someone (co-worker, men’s teammate, leadership team mate, family member, AA member) to talk to if I want. 

If you are another lone wolf, know that there’s at least one other man who understands your desire to be alone and do things alone. If you, too, are a lone wolf, I celebrate you and hope you get to be doing things alone as much as you wish.  

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