Quit Lit provides women insight and support for sobriety


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In Quit Like a Woman, author Holly Whitaker says: Sometimes (especially when I had a deadline), I would stay in my room for days until I passed out in the morning.”

In The Unexpected Joys of Being Sober, Catherine Gray writes, “When I was sober, life was too sharp, too painful, too real, too loud.” and softened the edges and blurred the transparency.”

A third author, Annie Grace, in This Naked Mind, said, “Stopping drinking felt like an incredible sacrifice, like losing a dear friend.”

Welcome to the world of Quit Lit. This is a new genre of storytelling aimed at getting women to drink less. I learned about these books from my patients (who were starting to worry about how much they drank) even before the pandemic. They’re enough to earn her Quit Lit on the Quippy category label, resonating with women who recognize that alcohol is not their friend.

The drinking numbers tell an amazing story. Between 2000 and 2016, the number of women who drank moderately and heavy drinkers increased, while the proportion of men remained stable. Additionally, from 2006 to 2014, her annual number of alcohol-related emergency room visits increased by 70% compared to her 58% increase in men.

In 2020, female college students were slightly more likely than their male colleagues to report being drunk in the past month, according to Monitoring the Future, a study conducted by the University of Michigan.

“Over the past 50 years, the gap between men and women’s alcohol use has narrowed by all measures,” said George Coob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

Recent data are more encouraging. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2019, 6% of women were classified as heavy drinkers, similar to her 5.8% in 2021.

Quit Lit has provided an easy way for my patients and I to talk about addictions and addictions. Some of these memoirs and motivational guides are bestsellers, such as “This Naked Heart,” “The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober,” and “Quit Like a Woman.” These confessions about alcoholism share a common theme: The author’s battle with the bottle is vividly detailed, alcohol isn’t toxic, and it’s a cool way to deal with life’s ups and downs. It explains how society has led us to think that it is an addictive substance that increases anxiety and depressive symptoms over time.

The Quit Lit warning is important. A scathing article in The Lancet magazine states: Alcohol may not be beneficial to everyone, but it is especially toxic to women. Because women have less water in their bodies than men or similar weight, drinking a similar amount can increase blood alcohol levels. is higher. Over time, says Koob, “women who suffer from alcohol-induced liver inflammation, cardiovascular disease, memory loss, hangovers, and certain cancers drink less than men.” And when it comes to breast cancer, there is no safe intake. According to the National Cancer Institute website, “Epidemiological studies consistently find an increased risk of breast cancer with increased alcohol consumption.

Women tend to drink to reduce mood states like anxiety and depression, while men tend to drink to boost positive emotions, says Sherry, a professor of psychiatry at Yale Medical School, according to research. Mr McKee said. 25 years. “The pandemic has clearly demonstrated the relationship between stress and drinking,” she said. “Women experienced greater distress, which corresponded to increased drinking.”

It’s hard to stop drinking, especially if you’re an addict. The problem with many options for sobriety, Whitaker said, is that they’re unappealing, something she knew a decade ago when she realized she needed to stop drinking. The only options I had were Alcoholics Anonymous and rehab, neither of which appealed to me. She couldn’t afford to take time off from her job for rehab, and her AA message wasn’t meant for her. Sobriety should feel like a victory, Whitaker said.

I heard the audio version of “This Naked Mind” in December. Chapter after chapter, Grace dispels myths about alcohol. Delicious thing. that it helps us blend in. This book helped me abstain during several holiday get-togethers, which I found equally enjoyable without the hustle and bustle of Bourbon Manhattan.Plus, no more headaches the next day or hazy memories of dinner conversations

In early January, I decided to spend a dry January reading Allen Carr’s Quit Drinking Without Willpower in two parts. It’s not a confession, so it’s not considered Quit Lit, but it’s a book Whitaker used to get sober. The message is simple. Once you understand your unhealthy relationship with alcohol, you will want to quit. You don’t need willpower because your mind is made up.

After spending some time with Quit Lit, I understand the appeal. There’s probably a reason why only 7.7% of people with serious drinking problems seek help. When her witty and wise woman talks about her own journey, it seems like you want to be on her journey.

If you’re concerned about how much you drink, there are plenty of resources out there. Please consult your doctor before making any significant changes. If you’ve been drinking heavily for years, you may need to detox slowly and under supervision.

Educate yourself. NIAAA’s Rethinking Drinking provides a wealth of information on how to recognize if you have a drinking problem, how to cut back, and whether to cut back or quit. Learn what alcohol use disorders are and when to look out for them.

learn about treatment option. There are many paths to sobriety today, including medication, therapy, outpatient programs, home care, and support groups. A doctor can help determine the best course.

Read Quit Lit. Drinking alcohol is an easy way to gain a new perspective on what’s going on in your mind and body, making your journey less lonely.

join the community. One of the benefits of Alcoholics Anonymous is being part of a tribe of people who are similarly suffering. If that message doesn’t resonate, consider Women for Sobriety or Smart Recovery.

say out loud I want to change my relationship with alcohol. Even light drinkers tend to lie to themselves about their addiction. Tell yourself, then tell a trusted friend, then tell your doctor.

If you’ve successfully quit or reduced smoking, share your strategy in the comments section.

Lesley Alderman is a Brooklyn-based psychotherapist.

We welcome your comments on this column. OnYourMind@washpost.com.

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