WHAT WOULD IT FEEL LIKE TO BE FREE?
What would it feel like to wake up in the morning clear-headed? What would it feel like to forget what hangovers even felt like? What about never having to wonder what you did the night before EVER AGAIN? Or never having to hide how much you are drinking from anyone? What if in a year from now drinking alcohol was just something you used to do?
What would your life look like if alcohol never got in the way of your dreams again?
YOU CAN DO THIS.
Freedom is not just about being able to keep alcohol out of your body or keeping sober for x amount of days. Freedom is never WANTING to drink again. For so many of us that find ourselves on a website like this, this seems almost impossible. I'm here to tell you it is not. I am here to tell you that YOU CAN DO THIS. You simply need the right tools, the right information, the right support system, and a really good map.
This is not just about sobriety or abstinence. This is about going after your full potential and stepping in to your most authentic, empowered self.
This is also not the end, or any terrible consequence you have to pay for bad behavior. This is the beginning of the life that you dream about living.
This is where it starts.
(Holly) makes a strong claim saying that “everything you want starts here.” “Here” being sobriety...I showed up to Hip Sobriety School empty and willing to try anything and everything...the decision to stop drinking and the work that went in to make that happen has fundamentally changed my life. I treat sobriety as my great adventure. Everything is new.
— Yvonne Fifo, Former Hip Sobriety School Participant.
Hip Sobriety School works. Here's 3 big reasons why.
One of the reasons AA is so successful as an organization is because more than anything, it is a place to go. It is a tribe of people who have walked in your shoes and are there to hold you and love you. Hip Sobriety works on this same exact premise. You can't do this alone. You need support. You need your tribe.
To this end, beginning October 8th, you'll be granted LIFETIME access to a private online community. You'll also have access to a small group of individuals who have already done the course and are back to help you through. I'll be online to answer any questions as you move through the course. We'll meet weekly for an online group coaching call.
Knowledge is power.
Over the course of 8 weeks, you'll be exposed to a wide-range of tools, teachings, and practices, pulled from all schools of thought and the most recent scientific findings in addiction recovery. The information is delivered in a thoughtful, easy-to-digest manner, and is accessible to you forever.
Through weekly lectures, accompanying workbooks and worksheets, daily emails, daily and weekly exercises, and a vast resource library, this course delivers participants the quintessential field guide on recovery that is not available anywhere else. You'll walk away empowered with knowledge, and a personalized Hip Sobriety recovery map so that you can put what you learn to work for you and know what step to take, when.
Small steps add up to big change.
Because this course isn't about just not drinking, but is focused on helping you live your best life, we'll be moving at a pace that allows you to make small, subtle shifts that add up day-over-day, week-over-week, and month-over-month. Change is not made through extreme, painful, white-knuckle approaches. That's not sustainable. Change is made over time, through bite-sized steps that you actually enjoy.
This course is not about making you do things that you don't want to do, that you'll just end up walking away from. This program is about meeting you exactly where you are at, and giving you the right tools to help you get to where you want to go, one step at a time.
After the course of 8 weeks, our many small steps together add up to big change - not only in your relationships with alcohol, but more importantly in how your approach your life.
This isn't really "just" about alcohol. This is a path to self-discovery and you can expect magical and magnificent things to happen along the way. Hip Sobriety School has given me my life back.
- Former Hip Sobriety School Participant, Maine.
What is Hip Sobriety School?
The Hip Sobriety School and Group Coaching program is an 8-week virtual course that begins September 28th, 2017 and ends November 23rd, 2017. It is open to you if you are looking to get started on a path to sobriety, or are already in some sort of recovery program. This is not a detox or 12-step program, but it can work as either a compliment or supplement to other programs and therapies, or as a first step towards healing. It is open to a limited number of participants who will come together as a tribe as we work to become masters of our own recovery paths.
Over the course of 8 weeks you will learn:
- The underlying causes of addiction and how they present in our individual lives.
- How to create individualized treatment plans that WORK and build sustainable paths to sobriety that evolve with you as you move through your own recovery and healing.
- How to undo the lifetime of conditioning you've had around alcohol and to view sobriety not as a consequence, but as a freedom (working with Annie Grace of This Naked Mind).
- How to overcome cravings and use them to your advantage.
- How to recover from mistakes.
- How to use food and lifestyle changes to reduce cravings and imbalances and to improve your chances of recovery.
- How addiction affects your psychology, physiology, neurophysiology, sociology, environment, and inner world - and how these things in turn amplify addiction.
- How to use breath, yoga, and meditation to break habits, re-wire your brain, reset and strengthen your nervous system, manage anxiety and stress and emotions, and rebalance your glandular system.
- How to properly quit anything (Hip Sobriety method).
- How to swap out your unhealthy "ground-hog day" routines for new, inspiring, and healthy ones.
- How to incorporate JOY! into your life.
- The importance of purpose, meaning, and creativity in breaking addiction.
- How to navigate social settings and live as a non-drinker in a drinking culture.
- How to use relationships to your advantage.
- How to break through fear patterns.
- How get break the "witching hour" pattern (5pm cravings).
- A LOT OF OTHER STUFF!
At the end of the 8 weeks...
...you will not only be EMPOWERED along your path of sobriety, but you will have your own individualized map to freedom that you will KNOW HOW TO EVOLVE as you evolve, a group of new friends who are going through the SAME THING YOU ARE GOING THROUGH, an arsenal of tools and resources, a profoundly enhanced understanding of how addiction works and how to not only beat it but CLAIM YOUR FREEDOM, and an entirely new level of CONFIDENCE.
HOW IS IT STRUCTURED?
Hip Sobriety School is structured in a way that fits into your life, and that builds on itself. Daily bits of inspiration and words delivered to your inbox. Weekly live calls that you can join in real time, or watch later at your convenience. Daily and weekly assignments designed to fit into your already busy schedule. An online community that you can access from your phone or home computer, available to you 24/7. Lifetime access to all the course materials.
You'll review one class (module) a week.
Weekly Teaching Video. Mondays. Each Monday, there will be a weekly module posted with the week's lesson, taught by me (Holly Whitaker). The video is pre-recorded and accessible to you throughout the course and beyond once posted. Each week the teachings build on one another, but they can also be accessed out of order.
We will meet once or twice weekly, virtually.
Weekly Group Coaching Call. Thursdays, 5:00pm to 6:00pm Pacific Time. We will have one group coaching call a week where anyone can ask me whatever they need or share a win or tell a story or rally support. If you cannot attend, questions can be submitted earlier and I will answer them on the call. The calls will also be recorded and accessible after.
You get a daily dose of Hip Sobriety in your inbox.
Each day for 60 days, I'll be sending out an email with a daily affirmation or thought to "chew on", a special quote to go with it, and a reminder of the daily assignments and weekly assignments to keep you motivated. These emails also often include a personal story - content that isn't on my blog.
You'll have adult homework.
Weekly and daily assignments. Each week, we will have assignments that are to be done either daily or weekly to incorporate the week's lesson. Daily assignments can include incorporation of mantra, breath work, meditation, sleep hygiene, nutrition, and other skills into your real life. Weekly assignments and challenges can include watching an informative video, listening to a podcast, written assignments (the class comes with a workbook), yoga classes, and reading assignments. Each week will build on the previous week. (And don't worry, there is no "falling behind" in this course. Every little bit counts and adds up to big change).
We'll hangout in real life.
Well, kind of. You'll be invited to join a Secret Facebook group so we can know each other in real life, and build a tribe that will extend beyond the 8 weeks. This will be the place we communicate in between our group-coaching sessions and where we can share what is going on in our lives, ask for help, and in general support one another. Note that some participants don't use Facebook - these participants have made fake accounts for the sake of joining the group and it has worked well for them.
You have forever access to the course.
If you miss something or want to keep coming back to it, you can. All the resources will be available online FOREVER. Every tool, tip, resource, practice, assignment, and training module will be available to you online to do at your own pace or come back to again and again.
Even if you don't think you have a drinking problem, if you are reading this give yourself the gift of this program. Trust me. Do it. You won't be sorry.
- E.A., Former Hip Sobriety School Participant.
WHAT WILL I LEARN EACH WEEK?
Week 0, September 28th. Orientation.
Understand how to use website and access resources. Learn guiding principles for successful recovery, and understand Hip Sobriety Method.
Week 1, October 2nd. Hip Sobriety Essentials.
Go deep on the Hip Sobriety Philosophy. Understand how addiction works and how to master your recovery. Learn the typical pitfalls that make recovery harder than it needs to be, and the tricks that set you up for success. Learn how to urge surf and get through cravings. Begin foundational daily practices - nutrition + meditation + education + community.
Week 2, October 9th. Understanding The Brain + Habit.
Dive deep on the latest brain science, and understand practically how addiction affects cognitive function. Learn how to re-pattern and re-wire the brain through simple practices. Learn how to manage energy to prevent cravings, and how habit works for and against us. Set up home environment. Begin morning meditation practice.
Week 3, October 16th. Ritual + Road Map.
Dive deep on the Hip Sobriety map and build individualized recovery map. Create dynamic toolkits. Begin to ritualize evenings and deal with "Witching Hour" (5pm tends to undo most of us), and develop good sleep habits.
Week 4, October 23rd. Yoga, Breath and Meditation.
Introduce Kundalini Yoga. Learn how to use it practically to further your recovery, manage energy, balance moods, reduce anxiety and depression, and as a coping mechanism. Introduce breath work. Learn why breathing properly can be one of the most powerful tools and coping mechanisms, and how to use it to manage your emotional and cognitive states. Go deep on understanding how a meditation practice supports recovery, and how to use meditation to re-pattern the brain and break the addiction feedback loop. Learn various meditation techniques that you can use to achieve desired states and outcomes.
Week 5, October 30th. Nutrition and Physical Self.
Deep dive on how to use nutrition and simple lifestyle modifications to THRIVE in recovery and beyond. Discuss how to use food to balance and restore neurochemicals, reduce depressive states, restore hormone balance, and regulate blood sugar. Discuss cross addiction, specifically sugar addiction. Deep dive on sleep hygiene, building meals that support recovery, and the physical body.
Week 6, November 6th. Relationships, Community, and Owning Your Sobriety.
All things Other People. How to use relationships as training ground and difficult dynamics as your most powerful tool. Strategize how to develop community and tribe and go deep on how to overcome shame, social awkwardness, and detractors. Learn how to OWN your path of sobriety in a world that drinks and how to flip your sobriety into your greatest asset (seriously).
Week 7, November 13th. Therapy, Trauma, and The Energetic Body.
This whole week is focused on releasing stuck energy from the body, and moving through our trauma. We'll learn about the importance of therapy in recovery, and how to find a good therapist. We'll also be learning what trauma is, how it keeps us stuck in the addictive cycle, how to release it. Learn how to use Emotional Freedom Technique to overcome cravings. Explore the importance of energy work.
Week 8, November 20th. How To Quit Anything + Taking Your Skills Beyond The Course.
Our final week we pull it all together. Go over how to quit anything, and how to continually evolve what we have learned together. This is also where we will go into the importance of creativity and purpose on your path and how to explore these concepts further.
WHO AM I LEARNING FROM?
Holly Whitaker, Founder of Hip Sobriety. Course Creator & Lead Teacher.
Hi! I'm Holly, the founder of Hip Sobriety, blogger on the Hip Sobriety Blog, Co-Host of the HOME Podcast, and creator of this course. Since suffering from addiction to alcohol, cigarettes, and pot as well as eating disorders - and finding ZERO modern approaches that addressed all the things that were broken - it's been my mission to bring holistic resources together into one program (this one). My goal is to meet you where you are at, expose you to all the things you need to know, and help you build an evolving recovery that isn't just about abstaining, but about building a life you don't want to escape from. This course is exactly what I wanted and needed when I started out on my path - and it's meant to be that for you, too. Whether your are just thinking about sobriety, already attempting it, or using other modalities, this course will serve you. I teach most of the modules.
Mary Vance, Certified Nutrition Consultant. Nutrition.
Mary Vance, N.C., is our resident holistic nutritionist and participates in our online group to answer questions throughout the course as well as the coaching call during the nutrition week. Mary runs the blog MaryVanceNC and has worked extensively with clients one-on-one. She is an expert in understanding what physiological deficiencies lead to addiction, what happens physiologically after using alcohol for extended periods of time and what happens when we stop. Mary helps participants understand and address common issues in recovery like sugar addiction, insomnia, and weight gain, and helps students understand how to get their optimal health back through food, supplementation, and lifestyle changes.
Annie Grace, Author This Naked Mind. How To Get HAPPY About Quitting.
Annie is the author of the book “This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol, Find Freedom, Discover Happiness And Change Your Life” - which reprograms the unconscious around alcohol. In the most basic terms, her work succeeds in helping you move from viewing sobriety as a feared consequence to understanding it for what it is - a happy freedom. Annie will be leading a module on how to reverse the conditioning we have around alcohol, and get happy about quitting.
Megan Carrier, Operations, Hip Sobriety. Behind Scenes Hand Holder + Problem Fixer.
Megan is the right-hand of the school and is responsible for everything from making sure you understand how to access a video, to answering your questions about payments. She is the master of all email, all technology, and basically knows everything about everything and then some. She's here to make sure your questions about administrative issues and technology are addressed quickly, that you have all the tools and resources you were promised, and to make sure that your experience is seamless. Basically, Megan makes everything happen.
what is it like?
Natalie Austin, California, Former Hip Sobriety School Participant.
I really cannot say enough about Hip Sobriety School and Holly Whitaker. I came across Holly and her blog when I was about 3 months into my sobriety and searching for ways to live in a drinking society and I just loved everything she wrote...it was like I had found this kindred spirit that had experienced so many of the same things as I had. When she announced Hip Sobriety School, I jumped at the chance to participate and honestly, it is the best thing I could have done for myself and my sobriety. The tools I learned can be utilized in every single aspect of my life...from the meditation to the daily mantras to the self-care to the Facebook community - it has changed my life in so many epic ways! I have found new ways to deal with the trigger times, the ups and downs of sober living and the fear of never drinking again, and I have found a tribe of amazing people that are my support group, my cheerleaders and my confidants. The way Holly has created a nurturing space for all of us within the Hip Sobriety School platform has been so refreshing and the holistic approach to sobriety is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you Holly for putting this school together - it is life-changing and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a more holistic and nurturing approach to recovery. I have not felt this good in my skin and deep down in my soul in many years, and much of that is a credit to Holly and Hip Sobriety School. I am forever grateful for Holly and her methods."
Lara Frazier, Arizona, Former Hip Sobriety School Participant.
"I discovered Holly and Hip Sobriety when I was deeply involved in the 12 step community. I tuned out her voice at first because I was unwilling to listen to another program of recovery. It had been ingrained in me that you can only recover if you have a spiritual awakening through the 12 steps. However, after opening my heart and my mind - and after feeling stuck in my own recovery - I began to listen to Holly. I read her words. I listened to her insight. And I placed her heart next to mine. This was during a time when I felt I was no longer moving forward in my recovery. I was faced with challenges and had no toolbox to pull from. Circumstances and issues arose that I ignored during my first two years of my sobriety. And I became concerned about my own evolution and my own growth. Holly offered a solution. A holistic solution that was grounded in healing, love, and deep and educated research. She presented me with the science of today. I had only understood recovery and sobriety from my own level of perception. I had failed myself by not looking at outside resources. My sobriety has strengthened immensely in the last 8 weeks. I wanted to continue to evolve in my spiritual growth and find more holistic tools to heal, to enhance my own recovery and lead me forward in love. I have been blown away by the love Holly has provided, by her kindness and her courage - and her ability to love without fear. She has shown me a better way to live - through my soul and with my whole heart. I have a sobriety toolbox that I trust and actions to take when I feel I can't move forward. I know I am a work in progress, but I am always willing to grow and evolve, to move forward, to trust my heart, and do really really hard things. I encourage you to check Hip Sobriety School out."
Anonymous, New Jersey, Former Hip Sobriety School Participant.
"I was starting to feel an uneasy relationship around alcohol. It wasn't really how much I drank but just something. I said to my husband I don't feel like I want to go to AA but I need something and like magic I just "happened" to see Hip Sobriety on my Instagram feed. The gift of this program was yes, I have stopped drinking but it is so much more then that. The miracles just started flooding in. I found my tribe, I found support, I found out more about myself, I became so happy and grateful and there are no words. I would say even if you don't think you have a drinking problem, if you are reading this give yourself the gift of this program. Trust me. Do it. You won't be sorry."
Anonymous, Colorado, Former Hip Sobriety School Participant.
When I decided to sign up for Hip Sobriety School, I was terrified and not at all sure I wanted to get sober. I decided to do it because I had the idea that I would be gaining resources for my journey, wherever it led. I hoped to ultimately lead a sober existence. All I can say is that I was so right. Resources, tools, and information are what Holly and her Hip Sobriety are all about. No more white knuckling as we embrace this journey. We know too much now to want to go back. I can’t say that I’ll never have another glass of wine (I hope not), but I can say with certainty that drinking will never be the escape that it once was. I am forever changed for the better by this experience.
Annelise Latini, North Carolina, Former Hip Sobriety School Participant.
"Being a part of Hip Sobriety School added such dimension, richness, and quality to my recovery journey. Having come into the course several months sober, my wish was to connect with other women, share our experiences and learn new ways to supplement my path. My expectations were far surpassed. Holly holds the space for transformation in such a powerful, deep way. I learned tools in this course that have already changed my life, and will forever be in my 'toolbox' - not only for recovery, but for life. I learned how to be an expert in my own energy, how to apply practical, daily shifts in behavior to create monumental changes in my life. And the women! Oh, the women. Holly attracts the most badass, powerful, soulful warrior women and the group experience was invaluable. Upon completing this course, my mindset has shifted significantly and for the better. I wake earlier, have a regular meditation practice, use breathing exercises throughout the day, and trust that the universe has my back. It's taken me to the next level."
Anonymous, California, Former Hip Sobriety School Participant.
"First, I was ready for sobriety. I felt a connection right away with Holly. She is real, honest & true. Holly holds herself and others in a Beautiful Loving & Caring Light. I felt safe. Her no bullshit, raw approach helped me get it right away. The resources, tools, videos, mantras, and books are and will always be there for you. You can do it at your own pace, you can watch the videos over & over. You can reach out to your Hip Sobriety School tribe. You will have everything & more to become the Person you were meant to be. What a gift! If you are reading this, sign up now you will not regret it, I promise! Thank you Holly & I love you for helping me get my life back".
Declan Devereux, Hawaii, Former Hip Sobriety School Participant.
Last November I was seeing that alcohol was causing me more harm than good. I knew I wanted to be rid of it but wasn't comfortable with all the stereotypes associated with quitting drinking. I was already viewing giving up alcohol as a positive thing and not a curse. I was ready to live a full and vibrant life and alcohol needed to go. I also didn't want to "do it alone". I wanted a coach who had "been there and done that". When I saw that there was actually a school starting in January I told my wife, "I know what I want for Christmas". HSS was my Christmas present, an investment in me, and it has been the best investment I have ever made!
Anonymous, California, Former Hip Sobriety School Participant.
"Holly Whitaker makes sobriety desirable. Hers is a clear, refreshing voice in a muddy sea of cliché drivel that has become recovery rhetoric. I landed in my first AA meeting, court-ordered, when I was 15. I have been dragging my ass to meetings and "working the program" unsuccessfully in various capacities ever since. I'm 42 now. Until I met Holly, sobriety seemed like a chore, a curse, my cross to bear, and I had a lot of guilt surrounding what seemed to be an inability to stay sober. AA is a solution for many people, but it did not work for me. I have spent a great deal of time believing there had to be another way and looking for it. I finally found what I was looking for in Hip Sobriety School. Hip Sobriety School opened my eyes to the beauty, power and absolute necessity of sobriety for me to have a happy life. I have never been happier or felt more fulfilled, inspired, and capable. Where before I moped around feeling trapped, helpless and worthless, I am now able to face each new day as a qualified contributor to life with with my fellow humans. All this thanks to Holly's clear vision, gut-love sincerity, balls-out approach, and unfettered dedication to helping people find their own unique way of navigating the always tricky, often deadly depths of addiction."
Rachel Kirchoff, Former Hip Sobriety School Student.
"I was newly sober when I found Hip Sobriety. And I was miserable. I didn't understand addiction and I didn't have the tools or knowledge I needed to be happy. I found Holly's blog and began to see that I wasn't the only person in the world that felt the way I was feeling. For the first time I didn't think I would be chained to my alcohol abuse forever. When Holly mentioned Hip Sobriety School on HOME podcast I knew it was something I needed to be part of. I cannot express all the ways it has changed my life. Because of Hip Sobriety School I am more confident, more reflective, more aware, more hopeful and happier than I ever have been in my life."
Laura McKowen, Boston, Former Hip Sobriety School Student.
"A total game-changing experience. My recovery path is more sustainable, connected and joyful because of Hip Sobriety School and what I've learned from Holly. She is a true teacher and a compassionate leader. I learned so much about the nature of addiction, I have new tools that sustain me daily, and made incredible connections with the other women. Hip Sobriety School helped me flip my ideas about what it means to be sober."
Anonymous, Maine, Former Hip Sobriety School Student.
"Dear lovely one, I know that it can seem terrifying to recognize you might need to make a change in your life, but Holly and Hip Sobriety make it beautiful and safe and un-pressured. My life is so much better now, not just as measured by the absence of alcohol, but by my ability to again experience the rich and vast and meaningful world there is to explore. Lots of people told me this would be the case so I knew this intellectually, but Holly helped me get here in a way that felt authentic and right for me. What you won’t find is a “one-sized fits all” approach. Holly shares resources that you won’t find anywhere else because she has either created them or pulled together from a variety of traditions and disciplines, addressing all facets of health. Sharing ideas from thought leaders from around the world, incorporating diverse traditions that have given “meaning” to life for eons, and offering her own successful experiences, Holly’s approach is fresh, inspiring and dare I say fun? You will be opened up to trying things - and perhaps falling in love with things - you never though were for you. This isn’t really “just” about alcohol. This is a path to self-discovery and you can expect magical and magnificent things to happen along the way. Holly has given me my life back."
Tosha Lee Smith, Former Hip Sobriety School Participant.
"Words cannot explain the beautiful work that is done in this life changing program. For me, it gave me an understanding about addiction that I didn't have. One that almost eliminated the unbearable shame that I had been carrying around most of my life. But, more deeply, I gained a relationship with myself that changed the trajectory of my life. I learned effective tools to help shift my mind, body and connect with my Self. I came to a place where I know myself, love myself and am excited to start LIVING a beautiful life! Holly is a brilliant, loving, light bearing teacher who carries you through an amazing program. You learn, you connect, you practice, you transform, you forgive and you heal. When HSS ended, all I could think about was how I could help others experience the same gifts I gained from being a part of it. I whole heartedly recommend Hip Sobriety School to anybody who wants to willingly climb out of the cycles of addiction in a uniquely soulful, highly educational, spiritual and most of all a life changing way. I am so glad that I listened to my soul to go for it! It is one of the most loving things I have ever done for myself and everyone in my life."
Anonymous, California, Former Hip Sobriety School Participant.
"I first discovered Holly's blog at the end of 2014 and began to follow her Facebook page. I was struggling with my own alcohol issues and the increasing negative impact in my life and personal relationships . Her open, practical and loving style drew me in. I enrolled in Hip Sobriety School and my life radically changed as a result. She offers a very holistic and healing approach to quitting alcohol. All parts of your being are considered: emotional, physical, spiritual. You need not have ruined your whole life to feel like you have a problem and need help. Holly's 2-month course brought me so many deep teachings about myself, taught me rich tools and alternatives and created an entirely new community of supportive, amazing people for me. I see possibilities in my life that I never imagined before! I have a very different world view informed by greater self-love, connection to others and a wealth of resources and tools that I can use forever. Holly is an incredibly dynamic, spiritual, intelligent, loving life force who changes lives - I'm deeply grateful for her and this program."
Anonymous, Georgia, Former Hip Sobriety School Participant.
"I cannot recommend Hip Sobriety School enough! Holly provided such detailed information and practices to creating the life I truly wanted. The amount of attention she provided and the depth of work we did paved they way for me to create the life I had always wanted, yet didn't know how to obtain. I have such a stronger understanding of how to truly care for myself and I have a toolbox of information to use to continue on my personal path towards health and happiness. I would highly recommend Hip Sobriety School to anyone who wants to remove alcohol from your life and build the life you truly deserve."
Yvonne Fifo, Washington, Former Hip Sobriety School Participant.
"Getting sober has been both the hardest thing and the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. I had that moment. That moment when I fell to my knees, when I asked for help...It was the moment when I gave in and understood that I could not solve my problems on my own. I certainly could not solve my problems and move forward in life while accompanied by a bottle of chardonnay...I found Holly and Hip Sobriety. She makes a strong claim saying that “everything you want starts here.” “Here” being sobriety...I showed up to Hip Sobriety School empty and willing to try anything and everything. And that is exactly what I did...The decision to stop drinking and the work that went in to make that happen has fundamentally changed my life. I treat sobriety as my great adventure. Everything is new. I see with a fresh lens and my scope on life has changed. Are there days when I’d rather numb out than put the work into my sobriety? Hell yes there are! But then I return to my breath...And I take witness to my life – the right here, the right now. I take witness to the life that I am building and living and loving – this life that is made of my dreams. This beautiful sober life. Hip Sobriety School was a game changer for me. We are not meant to suffer and walk the sad path. The truth is, this is where the fun begins."
OBJECTIONS, QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.
Q. I’m afraid of trying and failing.
Answer. Everyone is terrified of trying and failing - we've been conditioned to believe that failure is something to be avoided at all costs, and proof of our inability to accomplish goals. The only real failure is not trying something in the first place, or giving up after a few failed attempts. Those that are successful - at anything - are the ones who dare to try despite their fear, and the ones who stand up after the fall. Success is built through failure - not through avoidance of risk of failure.
Q. I don’t think I can do it.
Answer. No one does. Ever. It always seems impossible until it is done. (Nelson Mandela quote). All you have to do is try. All you have to do is start. And then all you have to do is keep trying. That's it. That is how we do impossible things we think we can't do. I promise you that if I can do it, you can do it. I promise you that if the thousands upon thousands of other people who have gotten sober can do it, you can too.
Q. I start things and I don’t finish - I don’t have follow through.
Answer. Great. Then this is for you. The beauty of this program is that it is DESIGNED for people who give up and lack follow through. Our people are the ones that don't finish books, never stick to diets, and zealously start various craft and art projects without bringing them to completion. In Hip Sobriety School you learn that it is not in the completion of any one task, and not in how perfect you do it - there are no grades, there is no certificate of completion at the end. It is simply death by 1,000 cuts. Everything you do adds up - so you literally can't fail.
Q. I don’t have the money to do this.
Answer. This is one of my favorite arguments, especially because we spend so much money on alcohol and drugs and cigarettes. We further spend money on the things that come with this lifestyle - hangover food, cab rides, entry fees, etc., and we also spend money on cleaning it up (I used to drop $1,000 a year on Intense Pulse Light Therapy to battle the red broken capillaries in my face). Since quitting alcohol, I have saved over $41,000 on alcohol and alcohol related expenses (this is a conservative estimate), and since quitting pot and cigarettes, I have saved $25,000. This doesn't even account for the money I spent trying to keep my youthful looks, or the amount of money I dropped on drunken spending binges.
There's also the insidious cost of things money can't buy - missed life experiences. There is no way to buy time or a life. Since quitting alcohol, pot, cigarettes, and overcoming bulimia, I have traveled to Italy four times, traveled to Hawaii four times, quit my job, started my own company, completed two yoga trainings, started a podcast, and had some of the most amazing life experiences (for a full list, see here). None of this would have been possible without spending the money on recovery.
Please hear me on this: whether it this school, the massage, on the yoga class, the juice, the therapist, the coaching - WHATEVER - invest in your recovery. The return on investment is the best I have found in my life.
Q. I should be able to do this by myself.
Answer. But you haven't. That's the answer. You haven't. And you can't. Our lives are groundhog day experiences until we make fierce and committed action to change. This change, while it is of your own volition, is aided by things outside of you. On my path to sobriety, I found teachers, programs, books, coaches, yoga teachers, doctors, psychologists, massage therapists, nutritionists, acupuncturists, and basically constructed my own care team. I could NOT have done this without these people and these programs. You must do this of your own volition - you cannot be forced - but you must also do it with as much support as you can find.
Q. Can I do the program if I’m still drinking?
Answer. Yes, yes, yes. This is designed for the whole spectrum - those still drinking, those who are starting to go through periods of abstinence, those who are far along in their recovery. This program is not designed to just help you quit drinking - it is designed to break up all the things that caused you to drink in the first place, and to help you create a life that is purpose-driven, meaningful, joyful, empowering and free, and at the same time, help you break up addictive patterns. If you are still drinking, I actually recommend that you leave the band-aid on first as you start to dig into sobriety, or at least not put a ton of crazy pressure on "must be sober now" and allow yourself to heal. The bottom line is that you and only you can really know when it is time to start attempting to remove the substance. You got here, you're reading these words, you are looking at purchasing a program - that means you understand that you need to change something and you are actively doing something about it. That means that you will know when to start removing booze and testing out sobriety. NOTE, if you are in acute addiction, and in need of medically supervised detox, this program is not for you. ALSO NOTE, this is not a moderation program - we've already been trying moderation our whole lives. Hasn't worked.
Q. I don’t feel comfortable in group environments.
Answer. Me either. People freak me out, and I loathe group work and large parties. I tend to walk around the edges and see what other people are up to, what they are saying, and then either stay outside, or jump in. So I set this course up to allow for this. You are free to stand around the edges and watch other people dance, and then jump in when and if the time feels right. I will say this - groups of people in recovery or sobriety workshops are not your typical "group environments" and the conversations that are had are by FAR more interesting than the ones that I encounter at, say, a yoga workshop or a business development course. There is a level of honesty, humility, and vulnerability that you often don't get a chance to witness or be part of. And small talk is almost non-existent because our kind of people don't small talk.
Q. I’ve tried so many things - how do I know this will work?
Answer. Well, you don't really know. I can't guarantee this will change your life or make you sober or anything like that. Because I don't know you. But I can tell you that if you show up and you take just one or two things away with you and along your path, then something has happened that otherwise would not have. I personally have purchased about $50,000 in trainings in the last four years. Not all of them have "worked" or done what I had hoped, but all of them have built on one another and led me further down my path.
The programs that I invested the most time and interest into really paid off (for instance, I dropped $147 learning how to create this web page, and I did all the work, and voila, good sales page), and the programs that I never opened and didn't attend or that I left early from (like that Forrest Yoga workshop where women were screaming in Warrior 2 that I ran from) simply informed me what I wasn't interested in, and where to go next.
The bottom line is that you get what you put into things, and that each experience "works" in exactly the way it needs to for you. This one is no different.
Q. I’m not sure I want to quit drinking.
Answer. Many (most, all) sober people weren't sure, either. This is the process we go through. You don't HAVE to be sure. But if it is nagging you on some level (or destroying you on some level), you owe it to yourself to check it out. I don't believe abstinence comes before recovery. I think recovery starts long before abstinence. This program is not targeted at sober people. It is targeted at people who are interested in exploring sobriety. Some of us happen to be sober and know we want to stay that way, some of us are trying on sobriety for the first time and still unsure of how long we want to/can do it, and some of us are still stumbling out of bars and going to bed after putting away bottles of medium-priced reds.
Q. How do I know this isn't just another one of my crazy ideas or quick-fix schemes?
Answer. It's not. There is nothing crazy about trying to be happy, be free, live the life you feel you were meant to live, or quit drinking. Each experience and attempt and idea and commitment is not of itself an isolated experience. EVERYTHING WE DO ADDS UP. Including the meditation class we didn't finish. Including the Eckhart Tolle book we read 20 pages of. Including those five yoga classes you've taken in your life. Everything counts. There is nothing you have done that hasn't brought you here, and there is nothing you will do that won't take you to where you want to go. It may not work exactly as we dream it will...but it all ads up.
Q. I’m not sure I have the time to do this.
Answer. No one does, really. Including Beyonce and Oprah and those people we say "have the same 24 hours in a day." But consider this. How much time does drinking take?
How much time do you spend:
- Planning or thinking about drinking (how much I will drink tonight? / will I drink tonight? / maybe I'll just drink champagne with sparkling water mixed in it? / will I drink on vacation?).
- Worrying about your drinking (am I drinking to much? / how much is she drinking? / is it making me ugly? / did I do something stupid last night? / do I have cancer? / have I permanently hurt myself? / am I addicted? / what if I never quit?).
- Recovering from drinking and feeling like poop.
- NOT doing things you DREAM TO DO.
The insidious thing about drinking is not just the drinking. The insidious thing is how much time it steals from your life. How much mental space it takes up, how much it prevents living to your fullest. Of course you don't have time to do this. That is why you make time to do this.
Q: Will we discuss nutrition and how that factors in to recovery from addiction?
Q: Does your program encourage people who struggle with alcohol to develop a support network?
Answer. Yes absolutely. You'll have access to the online community on September 25th, where you'll interact with myself, each other, and a handful of alumni. This community will remain in place throughout our 8 weeks together, and beyond - the group will remain live forever forever. Also, many past participants and former clients have had a desire to stay and help others through or become involved - so there is also opportunity to help grow Hip Sobriety for the more motivated or for those who are called to.
Q: Will the course teach me how to deal with stress, anxiety, cravings and temptation?
Answer. Yes. We’ll approach these things on three different levels. First by giving you practices, tips, and tools to incorporate into your life so that you naturally reduce stress and anxiety and don’t need to escape/won’t hit a place of craving. Second by giving you a toolkit so when cravings/temptations do strike, you have healthy coping mechanisms to turn to (and also by helping you become a great witness of your own behavior so you know how to manage it). Third, by providing you an understanding on WHY these things happen - education is KEY to learning how to manage behaviors.
Q: Will this course help me create a life I don’t want to escape from, or at least help me not want alcohol?
Answer. This course will help you lay the foundations for a life you don’t need to escape from. Meaning, we’ll look at all the areas of your life - your relationships, your purpose, your spirit, your energy, your health and nutrition, your routine, your joy, your environment - and give you tools to and tips and resources to create a life you don't need to drink your way through. Simply adding specific meditation practices and breath practices and addressing nutrition issues will greatly change things for you. Go one step further and add in all the other work we will do on spirit, relationships, society, purpose, etc., and you're well on your way to changing your experience dramatically.
Further, as a group, we'll be building on the idea it's not "normal" to drink - sobriety is not a consequence but rather an empowering, life-altering decision that opens many more doors than it closes.
Q: Does this teach someone how to quit drinking?
Answer. Addiction is a symptom of an underlying problem. We turn to addictive behaviors and substances to escape from something else - the original wound - and eventually the behavior or chemical turns into its own problem. (Watch this Gabor Mate video to get a more in-depth understanding of this). This course will focus on going deep and working with the underlying cause, and also the secondary issue, the addiction. This will be done through myriad approaches - through learning practices such as specific breathing exercises, meditation practices, and yoga practices, through education, through working with our nutrition, through behavior modification, through learning tools and coping mechanisms, and a whole host of other things. We will absolutely go into specifics of “How To Quit” (one of the modules is specific to this) but we are more going through a process of laying a foundation of building a life we don’t need to escape from in the first place.
Q: Will we discuss relapse?
Answer. The top two concerns my clients have when it comes to quitting drinking is (1) they are afraid they can’t maintain sobriety and might drink again if they try and stop (or suffer their remaining days on earth missing it), and (2) they are concerned about losing their social life/being a social pariah. So relapse/failure/slips will be a huge theme.
I don’t truly believe relapse is the right word to describe what happens when we try and stop an addictive habit and fail at our attempt - relapse implies we return to a previous state and discounts all we have done. I believe we progress through mistakes and failures and the success of an individual depends on their ability to pick themselves up after falling down - not on whether or not they fall down in the first place. We have to test our edges to understand how to move forward and I am of a firm belief "messing up" is part of the process. And that’s IT.
The course will address relapse on this level (how to frame it and remove fear around it). However and more importantly...by implementing the practices and tools we learn together over the eight weeks, we will severely reduce our chances of failing in the first place.
Q: Will this course cover social issues? I’m concerned with how to tell my friends, my children, my spouse. I’m concerned with losing my social life. I’m concerned about how to socialize with friends that still drink. I want to know how to deal with friends who still push alcohol on me.
Answer. As mentioned in the Q above, hell yes. All of it. One of the the biggest things for us to overcome is not necessarily how to stop drinking, but how to live in a world that drinks. There will be a lot of time dedicated to relationships, community, and society and we’ll answer all of your questions as well as empower and support you through any specific obstacles/situations you come up against. This won't an explicit part of the course material, but it will be what we address most often in the online group, and in the coaching calls.
Q: I’m interested in creating a sustaining practice that keeps me sober. Is this it?
Answer. Yep. This is ALL about how to build a life that promotes health and joy and happiness and our PRIMARY FOCUS will be to give you all the tools you need to build the foundation for this. Over the course of the 8 weeks, we’ll slowly build daily ritual and practice that is fun and enjoyable and that will stick. The idea is not to live a life where you just make it without alcohol, but to live a life that is so freaking amazing you’ll never want to drink alcohol again.
Q: Will this help me feel less ashamed about not being able to drink? I want to feel like a badas* about it but I tend to feel "less", shamed, and different.
Answer. Yes!! My top priority is this. To make you feel PROUD and empowered and badas* about the choice for sobriety. This is foundational to what I believe, and so this is how everything I do is framed. We will naturally working on this shift in thinking with you. EVERYTHING about this course is meant to take you to a place of empowerment.
Q: Will the course be recorded/accessible past the 8 weeks?
Answer. Yes. You'll have access to the recordings and course materials FOREVER.
Q. Is this a 12-step program?
Q. Do I need to go to AA meetings? Is this in opposition to AA?
Answer. I personally did not go the AA route, though I did go to meetings and found the experience invaluable (because there were good things that happened to me in it, because there were bad things that happened to me in it). This program is entirely supplemental to any recovery modality. I do not believe each person recovers the same as the next person or has the same needs as the next - I believe each of us has a distinct path to walk and your recovery or process looks just like that - your recovery or process. For some of you, that may mean AA meetings. For some, that may mean never setting foot in the door of an AA meeting. This course is exactly the same no matter what your decision is. I do, however, believe you need to try something on before making a decision about it, so I always recommend giving at least one or two meetings a go.
Q. What is the time commitment each week?
Answer. As little or as much as you allow time for. The minimum is 5 minutes to read an email each day, 10 minutes for a morning practice, a few minutes throughout the day to incorporate a few practices, and one hour a week for a recorded lecture, one hour a week for a group coaching call (which is optional), and about one hour a week in assignments. So, minimum, about 3 to 5 hours a week for it to be of benefit to you. You could also go nuts and throw yourself into the work, and spend upwards of 20 hours a week.
When I first started on my path, it was all I did. I committed entirely to being happy and I got deep results from this commitment. I have had clients that have done the same, who have also gotten extreme results. I have also had clients that made the bare minimum fit into their lives and have achieved great results. Like anything else, what you put into this you will get out of it. But there is no doubt in my mind even the barest of the minimums will be a game changer for you.
Q. What is the refund policy?
Answer. We require a non-refundable $100 deposit. All requests for refunds or transfers for the remainder of the cost of Hip Sobriety School must be made by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org WITHIN THE FIRST 10 DAYS after the program has started (by midnight on October 7th, 2017). Full refunds or transfers to subsequent coaching groups will only be granted within the first 10 days. Because the space to the course is limited, there are no exceptions on this policy.
Q. How does this work with therapy/counseling?
Answer. Supplement and complement, not alternative to. I am not a therapist, and your therapist is not a coach. I HIGHLY recommend that everyone seek out therapy, and part of the course will be dedicated to helping you find a good therapist.
Q. I’m interested in 1:1 coaching, do you do that still?
Answer. Not anymore. I'm focused on programs and resources at a lower price point.
Who is Holly Glenn Whitaker and what is Hip Sobriety?
Hi, I'm Holly Whitaker, the little master mind behind this thing called Hip Sobriety. In 2012, I had by all accounts achieved what society had told me I should - I lived in the big city, brunched on Sundays, had a small army of friends and my social calendar was full. I wore the right clothes, had the right apartment, maintained the right waistline, and I was at the height of my career.
I was also desperately unhappy, lacked meaning in my life, and everything was spinning out of control - including my relationship with alcohol, pot, food, cigarettes, men, and money.
In October 2012, I hit my bottom. I was putting away either a few bottles of wine or a few pints of Jameson most nights, binging and purging close to $1,000 of take-out food a week, and smoking as much weed and tobacco as I could get into my lungs. It became too much to keep up - I could no longer hold it together - and I decided to get help.
Only, there was no help to be had - not the kind I wanted.
I wanted a modern, affordable, beautiful, accessible, empowering, JOYFUL, self-directed recovery that reflected who I was as an individual - and that didn't exist. So I created what I wished for - recovery as I would have it.
And it worked.
My individualized path of recovery helped me not only kick my alcohol, cigarette, pot, and food addiction - it has given me a life beyond what I could have dreamed. Since October 2012, I've completed two yoga trainings, seemingly reversed my aging process (at 37 I look better than I did at 27), traveled extensively, left my job and started my own company, started a podcast, overcome severely debilitating anxiety and depression without medication, rehabilitated my relationships, and found meaning and happiness in my life.
Sobriety isn't just about quitting alcohol and drugs. It's about getting after your best life and having everything you ever dreamed of.
It's about living the way other people won't live, so you can live the way most people can't.
You can live the life you are dreaming about, and it is my mission in life to help you. Hip Sobriety is the company I founded to serve this mission, and this program is the one I created to best help you get there.