Quit Like a Woman

The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed with Alcohol
Narrated by: Holly Whitaker
Length: 10 hrs and 8 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (440 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

USA Today best seller • 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.

©2020 Holly Whitaker (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"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)

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    1 out of 5 stars

Virtue Signaling at it's WORST!

This book is a bummer. I felt myself wanting to reach through the speakers to shake some sense into the author.

The information about alcohol is good, but it gets buried under all the liberal socialist whining that has become insufferable in 2020. I can't decide if the author really believes her own narrative or if she's just trying to signal to others in the "movement" that she fits in.

If I never hear the words patriarchy, oppression, rich, privileged, white, capitalism, cis or marginalized ever again, it will be too soon.

As a sober female, I refuse to blame my unhealthy relationship with alcohol on men, white people, Donald Trump, penises, capitalism, motherhood OR my vagina. Blaming one's choices (including a penchant for giving blow jobs) on others erases personal responsibility. It's a trite copout at this point and it's boring.

Which is too bad...because the author has a real gift for empowering women (and men) so they don't take on the "alcoholic" label. She just gets too stuck in her own muck to make a real difference.

29 people found this helpful

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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.

17 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars

Good advice hidden amongst tirades of hate

It made my head spin to hear Ms. Whitaker claim to be loving and non judgemental in one sentence and then spew hate towards all who don't share her liberal platform. The few nuggets of wisdom I gleaned to help with my new sobriety were not worth the constant slander against my political views, or anyone with conservative political beliefs. This book should come with a warning label. It is a hate tirade against half of America with some sobriety tips.

11 people found this helpful

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Turned Me Off!!!

The story was terrible. I felt like I was at a lecture. I quit with 9 hours left. I couldn’t stand her political B.S. Her left wing idiocies should have NOTHING to do with her quitting alcohol. I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone!

9 people found this helpful

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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.

8 people found this helpful

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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.

8 people found this helpful

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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.

6 people found this helpful

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Don't waste your time as I did

Let me sum this up - if you are a white male, don't bother as she hates you and blames everything bad in the world on you. If you are a supporter of capitalism, President Trump, Justice Kavanaugh, AA, or any of the other myriad of rants she goes on (and she is angry about a lot), then don't bother. After enduring her rants for half of the book literally, about half way through is where she gets into anything meaningful regarding sobriety. Yes she has some helpful discussions on yoga, mediation, making new friends, discovering old friends aren't that interesting, etc. you just have to listen to too much crap to get to the good stuff. She quotes Alan Carr's book a lot so I would suggest you just go buy it instead.

6 people found this helpful

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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)

5 people found this helpful

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Good message sans the politics...

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

4 people found this helpful