USA TODAY BESTSELLER • The founder of a female-focused recovery program offers a radical new path to sobriety.
“You don’t know how much you need this book, or maybe you do. Either way, it will save your life.”—Melissa Hartwig Urban, Whole30 co-founder and CEO
We live in a world obsessed with drinking. We drink at baby showers and work events, brunch and book club, graduations and funerals. Yet no one ever questions alcohol’s ubiquity—in fact, the only thing ever questioned is why someone doesn’t drink. It is a qualifier for belonging and if you don’t imbibe, you are considered an anomaly. As a society, we are obsessed with health and wellness, yet we uphold alcohol as some kind of magic elixir, though it is anything but.
When Holly Whitaker decided to seek help after one too many benders, she embarked on a journey that led not only to her own sobriety, but revealed the insidious role alcohol plays in our society and in the lives of women in particular. What’s more, she could not ignore the ways that alcohol companies were targeting women, just as the tobacco industry had successfully done generations before. Fueled by her own emerging feminism, she also realized that the predominant systems of recovery are archaic, patriarchal, and ineffective for the unique needs of women and other historically oppressed people—who don’t need to lose their egos and surrender to a male concept of God, as the tenets of Alcoholics Anonymous state, but who need to cultivate a deeper understanding of their own identities and take control of their lives. When Holly found an alternate way out of her own addiction, she felt a calling to create a sober community with resources for anyone questioning their relationship with drinking, so that they might find their way as well. Her resultant feminine-centric recovery program focuses on getting at the root causes that lead people to overindulge and provides the tools necessary to break the cycle of addiction, showing us what is possible when we remove alcohol and destroy our belief system around it.
Written in a relatable voice that is honest and witty, Quit Like a Woman is at once a groundbreaking look at drinking culture and a road map to cutting out alcohol in order to live our best lives without the crutch of intoxication. You will never look at drinking the same way again.
Alcohol is a poison, a drug "designed to keep us down," writes Whitaker, founder of the online Tempest Sobriety School, in this empowering mix of memoir and self-help aimed at women. A one-time binge drinker and "train wreck," Whitaker got sober at 33, quit her job at a healthcare startup, and dedicated herself to starting a recovery program that she sees as an alterative to Alcoholics Anonymous, which she calls a dated, white male centric program focused on ego and goals. She rejects the term "alcoholic" as a life-sentence label, and argues that women and other marginalized people need to be encouraged on their way to sobriety, not forced to repent and made to feel helpless around booze. Whitaker addresses what she sees as society's unhealthy relationship with alcohol and marketers' insidious ploys to make consumers think that drinking is normal ("we drink for fun the same thing we use to make rocket fuel, house paint, antiseptics"). A celebration of the nondrinking life, the narrative offers personal stories (such as making new friends while sober) and tips on managing one's recovery (find a therapist, snack healthily). Whitaker is an amiable narrator, and her book serves as a helpful resource for those who wish to eliminate alcohol from their lives, and who want a glimpse at how liberating not drinking can be.