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Quit Like a Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed with Alcohol
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Quit Like a Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed with Alcohol

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4.17  ·  Rating details ·  2,661 ratings  ·  465 reviews
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
...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published December 31st 2019 by Dial Press
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Kirstin AA has been around for a long, long, long time. It works for many. It doesn't work for all. If it worked for you, kudos. Some women use pads, some use…moreAA has been around for a long, long, long time. It works for many. It doesn't work for all. If it worked for you, kudos. Some women use pads, some use tampons, some use a menstrual cup. There's no reason not to explore all your options, and no need to be critical of someone who has discovered another way.(less)
Alison I don't think there is any downside to buying this book for your friend. Honestly, I was trying to get sober for many, many years, and reading this bo…moreI don't think there is any downside to buying this book for your friend. Honestly, I was trying to get sober for many, many years, and reading this book really really helped me. In fact, I have not had a single drink since I finished this book - 9 months ago - after more than a decade of very heavy drinking. Anything is worth a try and reading this book worked for me.(less)

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Holly Whitaker
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
It's my book so I definitely, definitely recommend it.
Valentine
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I feel like I'm reading HUNGER GAMES 4. I'm eating this sh** up and bookmarking every f***ing page. This FEMINIST MANIFESTO takes down the patriarchy of the alcohol industry and current recovery models. It's STUFFED with WISDOM & TOOLS. So much f***ing RESEARCH went into this book. I feel like I'm being deprogrammed from old a** oppressive beliefs about recovery and alcohol that have been drilled into me by society and the alcohol industry since I was a child. This sh** is fresh, fresh, fresh, e ...more
Lara Frazier
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I want to gift this book to everyone I know, but really I just want to tell everyone to read this book. QLAW is for anyone who drinks alcohol (in any amount) AND those who are sober already.⁣⁣

Holly breaks down the lie we have been sold about alcohol, how it keeps us from our power, how it is a feminist issue, and how alcohol is having a cigarette moment (which was one of my favorite chapters in the book). It’s packed full of research & data & statistics & QLAW allows us to wake up and see how al
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Michelle
Jan 05, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
A lot of the information and ideas presented here are beneficial. It’s important to examine the way our culture normalizes alcohol, a literal poison, and then demonizes people who become addicted. I love the idea of ditching the terms alcoholism and alcoholic. However, as I read this book, something kept telling me in the back of mind that this is not for me. Similar to the way that the author knew AA wasn’t for her. It took a while to determine the reason, money. This is a book for people who h ...more
J
Jan 22, 2020 rated it liked it
As a substance use counselor who is also 7 years sober, I looked forward to this book from the first time Holly announced it.

I knocked 2 stars for a couple of reasons. 1. much of what she describes as tools for recovery are accessible to mainly people with money. For example, sure a morning cup of lemon water and meditation is almost free, but yoga classes and international travel are hella expensive and I lost count of how many times the words yoga and Rome appear. 2. As an addiction profession
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Toni Smith
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My only critique is the title! There's so much great information in here for everyone. Gents, don't be deterred; everyone should read, learn, and self-examine.
Kasia
Jan 30, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: giveaways, own
This is all my fault. I should have foreseen that "woman" in the title will indicate that this is going to be heavily feminist in this very modern and hard for me to stand way. So my first eye roll happened when I learned that women start drinking because of social pressure and anxiety (and because Donald Trump is a president) and men start drinking because they are sick from wielding too much power. Sorry, I should write "woman and other historically oppressed groups" because it is not only abo ...more
Rennie
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
I started out completely loving this but then it went downhill so fast. I wanted to read/learn more about the culture around why alcohol is marketed to women the way it is and the history behind this, and the specific reasons why women come to alcohol dependence and there is all that, but not enough. Spoiler alert, it’s all just the patriarchy. Not much to it beyond that! It becomes very blandly self-helpy and repetitive. The author’s anecdotes, which are admirably honest and helpful to know and ...more
Charly
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Women lead lives of quiet desperation. This book helped me validate my decision to eliminate alcohol from my life after a decade-long off-on relationship with it. As Holly predicts, it has also led me to examine a lot of my other behaviors — as of press time, I left my iPhone on airplane mode at home, read a book on the bus, and generally feel calmer, happier, and more in control of my own thoughts.

Part of the rise in drinking among Millennials I'd attribute to our being constantly bombarded wit
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Heather Balog
Jan 19, 2020 rated it liked it
I’m really not looking forward to reviewing this book, but I feel compelled to warn anyone who picks up this book with the real intention of working on their issues. This book is not only conflicting and contradictory, the book itself is confused. I felt like I was on a roller coaster the entire time I was reading. Is it self help? Is it a memoir? Hence the three stars instead of five or one.
If it’s a memoir, well then it’s pretty interesting. While I don’t agree with a lot of the author’s choi
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Albert Pura
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
QLAW is not the type of book that I would normally read, but I consider myself fortunate enough to have been able to so, and loved it. The book is a combination of the history and workings of Big Alcohol and the impacts it has, Holly’s personal journey through her struggles with alcohol and getting sober, and how others can find a path to sobriety. It is beautifully written and conveys a true sense of the author. For anyone thinking about reading this book, I would recommend, even if you don’t h ...more
Katia
Jan 16, 2020 rated it liked it
I liked many parts of this book, which is a compelling combination of autobiographical experience, history, little known fact, and light feminist theory. In many ways, Whitaker makes some great points. She explores the origins of AA, created in the 1930s by and for white Protestant men, and discusses how its history has shaped it into an organization whose tenants are not always helpful or inclusive to women in recovery. Her writing is persuasive, and it is obvious that she has done extensive re ...more
Lo
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My first book finished in 2020.

I preordered this in August or September and then forgot about it. In the meantime I had stopped drinking. This showed up on my doorstep yesterday, the last day of the (my drunkest) decade.

My story closely parallels the authors (especially through high school and college) except for the fact that I actually used to work in the alcoholic beverage industry for several years, I even went back to school for it. I lived and breathed and ate and slept alcohol for years
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Sarah
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book, but I just don't. It's like like listening to the newly saved prostletize or the newly skinny talk about how many grams of protein you should eat.

While some of the research on alcohol was enlightening (did you know the ethanol in a drink is the same stuff used in gas?), Whitaker makes some leaps of logic that just aren't backed up. The tie between "alcohol culture" and sexism, racism, and homophobia is more pronouncement than a revelation.

There is also tons of uninten
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Melissa Hiett
Disappointing

I wanted to like this book. I had an open mind. But the author was so unfair in her assessment of AA , there’s no point even having an exchange of ideas about it. There’s no bridge that can be built here. And that’s unfortunate. She talks about our purpose being about love, but what I read about was a lot of anger and resentments.

AA isn’t the only way to get sober, but it’s proven to be one of the best ways to get sober and stay sober, historically. It’s also affordable for low bot
...more
Trish
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
At once a beautifully written memoir and a meticulously researched examination of the insidious role alcohol plays in our lives. There are so many ah-ha moments in the book that will forever change the way you think about drinking, along with solutions for cutting it out of your life entirely. A truly revolutionary read...
Amanda Hill
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
This was pretty much girl wash your face but about sobriety. I'm big on taking personal responsibility and I just think this kind of missed the mark for me.
Kris Patrick
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Choosing not to drink to fight the patriarchy. Yes please.
Juliette Smith
Oct 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
(My rating is probably closer to a 2.5, but since this is my good reads account I’m choosing to round down)

I am currently on accutane which means I can’t drink. I got this book so that maybe I’d feel more empowered in my sober lifestyle and not like I’m missing out on my twenties. While this book has likely inspired me to enjoy sobriety more, I don’t think I’m completely convinced that there is societal change around drinking coming and that I’m going to be a part of it. Do I want to drink less
...more
Ashley Marshall
Mar 02, 2020 rated it did not like it
Taking personal responsibility isn't oppressive, it's liberating.

I enjoyed the points about the alcohol industry, but that's where it stopped. I'm not convinced the author fully understands ego or what the lives of oppressed people (other than women) are actually like.
Regina Rutledge
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was ok
I should say I really wanted to like this book. I’m a liberal feminist, white woman with a PhD in public health, and my recovery has largely not included 12 step programs but rather a “choose your own adventure” path— I don’t think I could be more in the ‘target’ audience. But there were several aspects that I just couldn’t get past.
1) Like others, I don’t disagree this is written very much for a select group of women with significant financial resources. I don’t fault the author for this as th
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Alanna-Jane
Apr 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I haven’t ever had a serious problem with drinking (zero judgement if you do), but I went 100% sober over 11 years ago for health reasons. I had also quit smoking both cigarettes and pot about 10 years before that. I can certainly relate to living in this alcohol-obsessed world as a sober person - which is often met with confusion and/or disdain. That said, I think we ALL have some kind of addictions (mine are certain foods and sleeping-in and collecting craft supplies and splurging on art & yog ...more
Christian
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
If I have to hear the words Kundalini in a valley-girl accent one more time I'm going to lose it. (I didn't realize how annoying the audiobook would be.)
As other people have brought up, no one has the expenses for yoga, regular massages, etc. At one point she mentions ignoring all responsibilities (including taking care of your kids) to have "me" time. Sure that sounds nice, but is it realistic? This may have all worked for her, but I doubt she's going to reach a very broad audience. I also don
...more
Veronica
Jan 05, 2020 rated it did not like it
The passion here is definitely encouraging for a mind set on the better life of a non-drinker. First, I want to say that AA changed my life. For years I struggled. I didn't want to do the steps. For 1.5 years I didn't even want to go to meetings sober. My sponsor was religious and it felt like pulling teeth to ask her not to use her Christian workbook to guide me. Every tool I learned through my sobriety process has fueled my growth. I learned patience, integrity, compassion, and plenty of other ...more
Erin *Help I’m Reading and I Can’t Get Up*
Some of the wellness stuff seems a bit voodooy but overall the message is SPOT ON.
Melody
Nov 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Clear, cogent, and funny, this feminist take on drinking and not drinking was a blisteringly eye-opening read. I've never really thought about the enormous free pass alcohol gets in our culture, so much that it's not even discussed as a drug. Alcohol and drugs, we say, as though alcohol is a different animal. Really well-done.
Becca
Dec 23, 2019 added it
This book is so important, I joined good reads to rate it. I feel I (at least) owe that to Holly Whitaker for writing this. This book presents a new way to think about drinking (and not drinking). It blows up the myth that there is something wrong with you if alcohol isn't working for you (instead the problem is alcohol itself!) and that you don't have to "hit rock bottom" to want to, and decide to quit drinking. It explains how alcohol is having "a cigarette moment," and how the alcohol industr ...more
mindful.librarian ☀️
(free review copy) I seem to be reading a string of books about sobriety (Open Book, We Are the Luckiest and now this one) despite my current streak of barely drinking a drop in years. HOWEVER. I am love with the message in this book about the societal pressures to drink and the ostracism we face when we don't, as well as the information about WHY our society is like this today. For someone looking to change their relationship with alcohol, this book does offer so much guidance and showed me a r ...more
Kelly Gardiner
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book changed my life. Uncovering the true nature of the way alcohol keeps us small and oppresses us will forever change your view on how we are told we need to make alcohol work.
Darling Nay
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
On February 26, 2018 I woke up with what would be my last hangover. They were getting worse and worse over the last couple of months. And no matter how little I drank I would wake up feeling like shit. Shortly after making the decision, I knew I needed support. AA never seemed like it would be a place for me. I’m not religious and I have never really been one to follow prescribed rules. So I did what anyone with a cell phone would do in my situation and I googled “how to quit drinking without AA ...more
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Play Book Tag: Quit Like A Woman by Holly Whitaker / 3 stars 15 23 Mar 26, 2020 10:24AM  
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Holly Whitaker is the founder of Tempest, a modern, trauma-informed, human-first recovery program, which she started in 2014, a year after becoming sober. Holly is a writer and bestselling author of Quit Like A Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed with Alcohol, a memoir/self-help book about drinking, the mammoth and often under-recognized influence of Big Alcohol, and what ...more

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“Real power doesn’t come from having a million followers, good hair, a Louis Vuitton purse, a new car, a new home, a title, a partner, or anything that can be weighed, measured, or acquired. Real power is the thing you’ve always had inside you. Real power doesn’t need to be demonstrated or boasted. Real power is the ability to be in your skin, to know who you are, to know you will always be okay. Real power comes from your gut and your heart and your courage and your bravery and your love. Real power can never be taken away from you and never lost once it’s found.” 4 likes
“Spending a night out drinking is akin to dismantling every piece of protection we have—our cognition, our decision making, our reaction time, our memory, our standards, our voice. If we thought about alcohol in this way—as something that undermines our collective momentum and personal agency and vitality and self-worth—what would that mean for us? What if we all rejected the poison—then what? I’ll tell you what: world domination, bitches.” 4 likes
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