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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best seller • The founder of the first female-focused recovery program offers a groundbreaking look at alcohol and 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.

©2020 Holly Whitaker (P)2020 Random House Audio

What the critics say

"An unflinching examination of how our drinking culture hurts women and a gorgeous memoir of how one woman healed herself. It will change your relationship with alcohol - and it has the power to change your relationship with your entire life." (Glennon Doyle, number one New York Times best-selling author of Love Warrior and founder of Together Rising)

"A funny, fast-paced, and bracingly candid dispatch from the realm of the self-actualized, but Holly Whitaker is no polished model of self-help evangelism, nor is her memoir-manifesto selling a one-size-fits-all solution. Her story is a messy human one and all the more convincing that sobriety is a feminist issue." (Melissa Febos, author of Whip Smart and Abandon Me)

"As a culture, we have a weird and often dysfunctional relationship with alcohol. This thoughtful, moving book will help a lot of people get to a healthier place." (Johann Hari, author of Chasing the Scream and Lost Connections)

What listeners say about Quit Like a Woman

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Every woman needs to read this book!

I truly believe that every woman needs to read this book! It's a fantastic book about ditching the booze and loving yourself more!

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summary

I loved that she disected her relationship with alcohol. love her activism and experiences when recovering. she also give a great way to be sober without AA

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Amazing Raw Honest Powerful Real

I loved this book SO much. Holly pulls no punches. She is honest, brutally honest and speaks truth about the alcohol soaked world we live in. She also tells us the truth about how we can choose to NOT drink and still live happily in said world! If you are ready and if you are brave....read or listen to this book. Change your life. Be happy! Feel better!

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Helpful and compassionate

a wonderful book! not just for those who want to stop negative coping skills via unhealthy practices which ANY woman would benefit from hearing . well worth your time.

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More about social justification

So I finished Quit Like A Woman. Meh 😑
She is a man hater, a head strong opinionated person focused on social justification. And her tactics are abrasive. She is a radical. Very black and white. I got her point on the drinking but this book turned into something I wasn’t interested in: politics and hatred. And she is grossly graphic on her sexual encounters and men. I can’t even write what she put in the last 21 minutes of her book. Unnecessary and gross. I will never recommend this book.

“Recovery is the resistance”. That’s is how she ends it, laced with political and social wrongs in society.

I am one for justification! But She primarily blames drugs and alcohol for all social problems.

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  • G
  • 2022-01-26

Excellent

This is a great book for anyone wanting inspiration to give up alcohol or to better understand why we drink, even "moderately". Tales of struggle, life in sobriety, and the science around what alcohol does to our brains and bodies. I binged the whole book in a weekend and have already re-listened to some chapters again. Super smart and incredibly convincing; this one will help you question the role alcohol plays in your life.

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Inspiring

I loved listening to this book. The fresh perspective on alcoholism and how it ties into today’s skewed society was very well done. The author has inspired me to further educate myself on most of the subjects that she discusses: sexism, AA, mental health, white/male dominance and much more.

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unnecessarily foul mouthed

probably a good book but way too many f bombs. I barely got through the first chapter and deleted it

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Raw unrelenting and authentic

“Quit like a woman” is a rare text of on-site and unwavering critique of self, society, and recovery. Whitaker’s narration of her own text takes her audience through her process and allows for ones own self reflection and questioning of one’s own relationship with alcohol. I highly recommend this book to anyone who questions the quality of their lives with hope of growth and change. This is a text that is open to readers of any type and having struggles with addiction is not a prerequisite for finding use of this text. Thank you for the book Holly!

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Fav Quit Lit!

This is sooo much more than the typical quit lit! Love this book! I started it before I attended a short rehab, which you may think doesn't bode well for the book itself, but when I got out, I felt more prepared to put her suggestions into practice.

She very much re-iterates many of the concepts I have been stuck on in the past (AA was created for men, by men, or calling oneself an alcoholic once you QUIT alcohol) and instead focuses on creating a life that you don't have to drink to tolerate.

I love her permission to do what you need to to get sober, unapologetically. This book can help all women or marginalized people to quit their addictions (while it is mainly about alcohol, Holly makes great points that apply to drugs, food and sex addictions as well.)

I have listened to this book more than once, and am soooo glad I have it in my library to go back to when I need to strengthen my resolve, or when I need direction.

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  • Katie
  • 2020-01-15

you had me until the last chapter

this book is utterly life changing, but the last chapter left me not wanting to recommend this book to anyone. I'm so sick of people, especially other white women, telling white straight women that they need to feel bad for their quote unquote privilege. it's not my fault I was born a female who is sexually attracted to men. it's not my fault I am white. I am so sick of this nonsense. completely unnecessary for this book. sadly, I cant recommend it all the way through. however, if you have found that AA doesnt work for you, like it didnt work for me, holly does a fantastic job of explaining WHY that is for many women. I came to this book with 2+ years of sobriety and found that the message sums up exactly how I feel about traditional therapy for alcohol. they dont work for me, at all. I also dont believe there is such thing as an alcoholic. many of her truths come from Allen Carr, who personally got me sober. it's worth the listen, but if you dont want to feel bad about being a white woman, skip the last chapter.

edit: I echo the other one star reviews that talk about Holly's utter hatred of anyone not extreme left. I consider myself a democrat and I was so turned off by her political nonsense. the more I think about her book, the more I wonder if she is actually better when she clearly hates so many people. two stars.

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  • melissa lynn
  • 2020-01-21

Good message sans the politics...

This book has some good messages, but the authors political views were just too much.

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  • Ashleigh
  • 2020-01-01

If you question your drinking in anyway, I highly recommend.

This is a lot to unpack, but done very, very well. I’ve been craving a study of the history of alcohol in the US, its place in our culture and the science of alcohol. I was thrilled to find out the author was writing this, because I enjoyed her blog writing back when it was Hip Sobriety. There is a lot of information out there on this subject as medical views in alcohol are slowly changing (see WHO) and more people are “sober curious”, but this packages all of that so well. This was well researched and also asks some very poignant questions.

I stumbled upon the author three or four years ago through her blog, and thought she was on to something and liked her writing style. I’m happy to see that she continued down a path of exploring why we even drink in the first place and why we are so obsessed with alcohol as a culture.

This is also a great push to recovery if you are a woman struggling with alcohol and are open and ready to hear some truth. This book is like having a deep dive of her blog all in one spot. I read Holly’s blog back in the day when I knew alcohol just had to go, and it was truly the first thing that ever made real sense. This book would have been wonderful to have back then, but it doesn’t hurt to hear again and reaffirms that a holistic approach to sobriety works, because it did for me. FYI, you don’t have to hit some crazy “rock bottom” to question the role of alcohol in your life.

42 people found this helpful

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  • Shrimp Ramen
  • 2020-01-02

Thorough, Real, Exuberant

Super epic feast for the senses. Whitaker has talents galore in writing, speaking, researching, and recovering. I've been a fan of hers since finding her bold, outspoken blog back in 2015 and then moving onto her groundbreaking podcast Home. I'm glad more voices about addiction are coming to the table in the 21st century-- because clearly the problem is as raging as ever and needs all hands on deck. And finally, finally, finally a plethora of known and respected addiction recovery thought leaders all drive home the idea of unaddressed trauma as spurring the need for numbing in the first place. The war on drugs is fundamentally a war on adults with unhealed childhood wounding and subsequent failing coping skills to mask it. My God, we might actually be getting somewhere with traction and momentum if we figure that bit out.

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  • Tara777
  • 2020-01-16

More about feminism than sobriety

This book became extremely "gaggy" somewhere around the 8th chapter. There was more complaining about women's rights than anything else and the only takeaway I got from this is that I'm not a feminist...

21 people found this helpful

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  • Maureen McDaniel
  • 2020-01-21

Worth the listen; many insights

Tons of very sharp insights about our drinking culture and the difficulty of stepping out of it. I likely would have rated the whole book "excellent" if I had read it rather than listened to it. The author has enough vocal fry to occasionally annoy the ear -- but it's not so extreme that I couldn't listen.
She writes frankly of the insidious social pressures of drinking. These can be difficult to present in a persuasive manner, but Holly Whitaker does a great job illustrating of how drinkers respond to the non-drinker -- often in patronizing, objectifying ways. She's also dead-on in her reactions to how we've got it twisted -- that it's not normal at all to imbibe poison in the form of ethyl alcohol, but it's considered "defective" if a person "can't handle" or "moderate" her intake of a lethal substance.
I really like her take on A.A. and the patriarchal approach it takes -- teaching the humility that many men need, but also expecting it of women, whose very humility and expectations are already suppressing their health and well-being.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Laura
  • 2020-01-14

A Must Read

One of the most poignant reasons to read the book is stated in Chapter 2 (slightly paraphrased for length): “We read labels. We shun gluten, dairy, processed foods, and refined sugars. We buy organic, use natural sunscreen, and worry about fluoride in our water and smog in our air. We do yoga and run, SoulCycle and Fitbit, we do Paleo and Keto, we juice, we cleanse. We follow Goop and drop $40 on an exercise class because there are healing crystals in the floor. We are on an endless and expensive quest for wellness. … And we drink f***ing rocket fuel.”

Does that speak to you? The Fitbit-obsessed label-reader in me feels very called out. QLAW is well-researched and includes information on a variety of topics, from neuropathways and the importance of nutrition to navigating complicated familial relations and the impact of the cultural marginalization of women and other groups such as POC and LGBTQIA+ communities. (Yes, drinking is a feminist issue. If you wanna stick it to the patriarchy, start here.)

That said, regardless of your gender or relationship with alcohol, if you want to have a balanced, healthy life, aware of the marketing and cultural messages you're bombarded with about alcohol, this book is for you.

17 people found this helpful

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  • katharine dervin
  • 2019-12-31

Holly Whitaker, role model

I was so happy to get this long-awaited book this morning! I listened to it all day!

She didn't disappoint, embodies an aspect of every woman in all of us, funny, sensitive, intelligent, vulnerable - and brave. And she meets the challenge of alcohol head on - while remaining relatable. I look forward to more of her works and reading (which is gentle and pleasing to listen to)

17 people found this helpful

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  • Angie Baszler
  • 2020-03-21

Read by an Angry Woman on a Mission

This books has a couple really good insights and recommendations- but mostly it is read by an angry feminist on a mission. Her tone was abrasive and upsetting at times - and her recommendation for moms when trying to quit was basically to pass them off to other people and focus on yourself. If you’re looking for an amazing book that shares the same information with joy and grace, try the Unexpected Joy of Being Sober by Katherine Gray.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Ivis Beza
  • 2020-02-03

Perfect for any rehabilitation of any kind.

I wouldn’t say I was an alcoholic, maybe drinking once or twice a week with friends. However, I noticed my mental state and moods were being affected and I couldn’t figure out why. I tried this book because I thought it was the drinking, however, it wasn’t just drinking. It was a multitude of things. This book helped me identify them and work through it. If you’re struggling with anything in your life NOT just drinking. I highly highly recommend!!!

10 people found this helpful

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  • Delphine V
  • 2021-01-17

Eye opener 👀

I can see myself in some moments of her life especially on the chapter about "how to have fun without alcohol". I need to digest all of these great information. I think I will buy the book for notes and underlined some sentences or paragraphs.