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

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Book Rating (120)

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Written By: Holly Whitaker

Narrated By: Holly Whitaker

Date: December 2019

Duration: 10 hours 9 minutes


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “An unflinching examination of how our drinking culture hurts women and a gorgeous memoir of how one woman healed herself.”—Glennon Doyle, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Untamed

“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

The founder of the first female-focused recovery program offers a groundbreaking look at alcohol and a radical new path to sobriety.

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.


  • Katariina H.

    I enjoyed hearing about her personal sobriety journey as I could relate to her pre-sobriety life (messy, lost, unhappy, out of control). I also liked how she framed alcohol's role in our society and how alcohol is shielded from scrutiny and how we are in denial of its effects on our mental and physical health. Listening to this gave me strength and courage to continue on my own sobriety journey and have faith that it was the best decision for me :) However I struggled listening to her express her personal opinions on the patriarchy / the subjugation of women through alcohol / the male centred approach of NA and AA as though they were facts. Many of her views are actually based on her personal life experiences and these are not my experiences. It bothered me that she lectured and preached as though she was all knowing on these matters. I believe both men and women have egos and it can be useful for us all to let go of control and give ourselves over to be led by a higher power. I would recommend this book but I would also recommend to take some of her opinions with a pinch of salt.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Candice E.

    Whether or not you are thinking about quitting alcohol/cutting back, this book will change the way you think about how “wine culture” affects women and people from minority groups, the way we view addiction in our society, and ways we can break cycles of addiction in our own lives. Holly includes many honest personal anecdotes and stories about her own struggles with addiction, and the inclusion of these personal details names this a very easy listen that is almost podcast-like. 10/10 would recommend - maybe will even listen to it again.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Caprice M.

    I didn’t know I needed this. She’s realistic and I connected with her on most things. I’m walking away with some small steps to begin to learn a life without booze.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Annie K.

    I decided to quit after 8-9 years of abusing alcohol. I listed to this book on my day 1 and it helped me change my mind set and views of alcohol. I never thought I’d get to a point in my life where I actually hated alcohol. I highly recommend this book to everyone trying to quit.

  • Anonymous

    Clear, informed, persuasive.

  • Anonymous

    Way too political in her views

  • Leslie G.

    I found this book amazing and extremely helpful.

  • Virginia F.

    I couldn't even finish this book. The author drones on and on and on about herself, her routines, yoga, meditation, and massages. Absolutely no useful information. It's like having one of those friends that is so wrapped up in herself, that she is oblivious to the world around her. Me, me, me....on and on.

  • Maria G.

    I resonate with the previous comment; I also did not know I needed this book! And yet, here it was. Whitaker describes her own journey to sobriety, naming various obstacles: from struggles with the alcohol and other substances to low self worth and behavioral and habitual mechanisms and limiting beliefs that keep her in the negative spiral. This book is not a self-help piece, but it sure does the work of one! Very inspiring and intriguing, challenges the reader to think through the systemic frameworks of recovery and/or AA. I have since started to follow Whitaker and Tempest on social media, and I hope to support her projects in one way or another.

  • Anonymous

    If you are starting your sober journey, this is a good place to start.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve read many informative books that help to guide you into Self realization,evaluation and tools to understand and implement love and change However, this book is a life changer .. a little slow at first for me but then hooked into my soul and it felt like opening every gift I’ve ever wanted on Christmas morning . I’m listening for a second time with my notebook!!!!! What a gift this woman has given me ! Non-preachy , or judgy ,completely relatable ,realistic and relevant , funny and sooo many ahaaaa moments ! Love love love

  • Lisa M.

    I’ve read a lot of quit lit and this is the most disappointing book I’ve encountered. As a liberal, sober feminist, I greatly looked forward to reading this. Holly speaks about AA as if to say you can’t be feminist and in AA. She makes a lot of claims that she couches as facts, which are really her opinions. I’m fine with her history of AA, but who the heck cares how someone gets sober...only that they do. I feel like many quit lit books have the capacity to save lives and get people sober. I fear Holly’s book may do the opposite. Additionally, (and much less important) the vocal with which she narrates the book is incredibly grating.

  • Anonymous

    no good for its purpose. Too much one world view the reader must agree with or lose interest. I lost interest.

  • Anonymous

    If I have to hear the words Kundalini in a valley-girl accent one more time I'm going to lose it. 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't know who edited this book, as it JUMPS from topic to topic to topic that don't relate in any way. It feels like she's taking a mash-up of every self-help alcohol book out there and retelling it for profit. I will say I found it interesting to hear about the history of cigarettes and alcohol and the roll that women played... but I found for most of the book, she talks about herself and her meditation practices. I'm fascinated with everyone's journey and recovery with alcohol, but there's only so much you can repeat about yourself and your different morning routines. If you're really looking for a book with helpful guides and life-changing knowledge, I'd recommend This Naked Mind. There were some good points made in QLAW, but nothing groundbreaking that you can't read somewhere else.

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

by Holly Whitaker

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