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

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4.23  ·  Rating details ·  811 ratings  ·  185 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
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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)

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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. xo
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, ...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
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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 ...more
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.
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 ...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 ...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...
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
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Kris Patrick
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Choosing not to drink to fight the patriarchy. Yes please.
Ren
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
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
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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
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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
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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
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 ...more
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
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Victoria Doyle
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Sorry this is a long review but this book really changed my life at 90 days sober. it was exactly what I needed to hear at the exact time in my life.

If you are a firm believer in AA and its practices - you may not like this book but it can certainly give you a different perspective. If you are offended by feminist views- you will probably not like this book. I hope you will read it anyway and with an open mind.

If however, you are a female or person of color and you understand the feeling of
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Rachel
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: already-own
This book is life-changing. Balanced with research and personal experience, Holly Whitaker reveals all the truths about alcohol, the perceptions in modern society and her struggles with choosing to become sober. You don't have to be an alcoholic to choose recovery. And even if you have no intention or quitting, I recommend this book as it is incredibly eye-opening about the way we treat anyone who chooses not to drink. Strongly recommend!
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
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Kaushiki
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2020
“Our revolutions don’t rise out of peak experiences; they emerge when we’re smacked down, robbed out of our spirit, angry, oppressed. Revolution is a reaction to violence, and it’s hard generative, in that revolution calls forth a laten power that resides in each of us that’s been waiting it’s whole life to burn the fucking system to the ground.”

Wow. This book came into my life at a perfect time. I’ve been experimenting with slowly weaning off drinking alcohol & being more intentional about
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Moryah
Nov 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book in a goodreads giveaway.
I enjoyed parts of this book and really disliked parts of this book. Some of what the author says seems to be unneeded and a little rambling. Some parts though made me really stop and think. I don't know that it will help someone stop drinking. It will make you question some of your motives behind your habits though. Overall, it made me stop and reevaluate somethings so it was worth the read.
Kerry Weinstein
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
This well-researched memoir/self-help/call to arms hybrid was an incredible read. I had never thought about how alcohol marketing is similar to cigarette marketing. Holly Whitaker has a unique and passionate voice that draws in the reader with her honest experiences and how they shaped her point of view. This book will stick with me for a long time.
Kasia
Jan 30, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: own, giveaways
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 ...more
Veronica
Feb 09, 2020 rated it liked it
I listened to the audio version of the book so have added a star in hopes that a proper read would have been better than listening to the narration. The book includes a well-researched but uninspired essay on the history of alcohol, AA & advertising, overly indulgent sharing (TMI, Holly!), and indignant lessons in feminism delivered by someone who sounds very new to the scene. Clearly this book resonated with many in spite of its narrow scope and GOOP-ish approach to recovery. Unfortunately, ...more
Alina Switaj
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Like she says in the book, this is a love story. A love story of self and the path path home to that. This is not just a book about recovery or how to quit substances, it’s a book about being human, continually growing up, finding boundaries, searching for worth and navigating toxicity. A book about peeling back the layers to uncover who you’ve always been or what you’ve always known. Well written, smart, brave honest and backed with facts. I loved this book, this woman and her journey.
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
Laura
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I found Holly and Laura McKowen’s podcast HOME when I had just begun therapy for childhood sexual abuse. I couldn’t stop listening and likewise couldn’t understand why their words were like oxygen to me...I wasn’t a heavy drinker, had never struggled with alcohol abuse (although I did quit drinking entirely early on...I was working too damn hard to lose even a smidge of contact with my body who was my ticket through this). It took years to understand that what they were showing me was how to ...more
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.
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“We are supposed to consume alcohol and enjoy it, but we're not supposed to become alcoholics. Imagine if this were the same with cocaine. Imagine we grew up watching our parents snort lines at dinner, celebrations, sporting events, brunches, and funerals. We'd sometimes (or often) see our parents coked out of our minds the way we sometimes (or often) see them drunk. We'd witness them coming down after a cocaine binge the way we see them recovering from a hangover. Kiosks at Disneyland would see it so our parents could make it through a day of fun, our mom's book club would be one big blow-fest and instead of "mommy juice" it would be called "mommy powder" There'd be coke-tasting parties in Napa and cocaine cellars in fancy people's homes, and everyone we know (including our pastors, nurses, teachers, coaches, bosses) would snort it. The message we'd pick up as kids could be Cocaine is great, and one day you'll get to try it, too! Just don't become addicted to it or take it too far. Try it; use it responsibly. Don't become a cocaine-oholic though. Now, I'm sure you're thinking. That's insane, everyone knows cocaine is far more addicting than alcohol and far more dangerous. Except, it's not...The point is not that alcohol is worse than cocaine. The point is that we have a really clear understanding that cocaine is toxic and addictive. We know there's no safe amount of it, no such thing as "moderate" cocaine use; we know it can hook us and rob us of everything we care about...We know we are better off not tangling with it at all.” 2 likes
“You want a moment.” 1 likes
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