WHAT WOULD IT FEEL LIKE TO BE FREE?
To wake up in the morning clear-headed? To never have to wonder what you did the night before ever again or have to hide your drinking from anyone? How would it feel to forget what hangovers even felt like? 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.
What is Hip Sobriety School?
The Hip Sobriety School and Group Coaching program is an 8-week virtual course. It’s open to you if you’re simply questioning your relationship with alcohol, trying to quit drinking, or well into sobriety and looking for additional tools and support.
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 community as we work to become masters of our own path to recovery.
HERE’S WHAT you’ll get.
New Mindset. Let go of limiting beliefs around what it means to give up alcohol and get excited about recovery.
Expert Guidance. Get support from a dedicated staff of teaching assistants and subject matter experts who will lead you through the lessons.
Peer Support. Build a community of new friends who understand what you’re going through and can help you through it.
Knowledge & Resources. Access extensive resources in an easily digestible format that goes way beyond the 8-week course.
Access & Convenience. The course is entirely online and available to you for a year after end of the course.
My sobriety has strengthened immensely in the last 8 weeks. I wanted to continue to evolve and find more holistic tools to heal, 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. I now have a sobriety toolbox that I trust and actions to take when I feel I can't move forward. - Lara Frazier, Hip Sobriety Participant
How It’s 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.
*You'll review one class a week.
Weekly Teaching Video. Sundays. Each Sunday, there will be a weekly module posted with the week's lesson, taught by me (Holly Whitaker). The video is accessible to you throughout the course and beyond.
*We will meet once or twice weekly, virtually.
Weekly Group Coaching Call. Thursdays, 8:00pm to 9:00pm Eastern 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 community hosted on a Secret Facebook group so we can know each other in real life, and build a community 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.
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.
(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, Hip Sobriety School Participant
here’s what YOU’LL LEARN WEEK-BY-WEEK
Week 1. Build your personal recovery roadmap & toolkit.
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. Learn the Hip Sobriety map and build individualized recovery map. Create dynamic toolkits.
Week 2. Uncover what happens to your brain and how to repair it.
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. Create new habits and rituals to combat cravings.
Begin to ritualize evenings and deal with "Witching Hour" (5pm tends to undo most of us), and develop good sleep habits.
Week 4. Practice specific breath exercises and meditations to overcome and cravings and reduce depression and anxiety.
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. Learn how to navigate difficult relationships & meet new people.
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 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 6. Find out how to use nutrition and lifestyle to boost recovery.
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 7. Learn tools to help you overcome trauma, depression, and anxiety.
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. Uncover your purpose and learn how to channel creativity.
This is where we will go into the importance of creativity and purpose on your path and how to explore these concepts further.
Bonus 1. Use your new tools to create a roadmap to quit anything.
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.
Bonus 2. Learn how to “get happy” about quitting with Annie Grace.
In this bonus lesson, learn from Annie Grace, author of This Naked Mind. She’ll walk you through how to change your foundational and disempowering beliefs about alcohol. She also talks about why “getting happy” about something matters and how to actually do it when it comes to quitting alcohol.
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.
Dr. Valerie (Vimalasara) Mason-John. Mindfulness Instructor & POC Coach for Hip Sobriety.
Dr. Valerie (Vimalasara) Mason-John (hon.doc) M.A is the award-winning author of Eight Step Recovery Using The Buddha's Teachings to Overcome Addiction and of Detox Your Heart - Meditations for Emotional Trauma. She is also the co-founder of the Mindfulness-Based Addiction Recovery MBAR 8 week program. She is a certified life coach and an instructor of Mindfulness and Compassionate approaches for Addiction. Valerie is our Mindfulness Instructor and POC coach for Hip Sobriety. Watch her TEdx talk here.
Mary Vance, Certified Nutrition Consultant. Nutrition.
Mary Vance, N.C., is our resident holistic nutritionist and participates in a live Q&A session to answer students questions during Week 5. 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.
Kim Kokoska, MFT. Trauma & Therapy.
Kim Kokoska, MFT, is our expert in Trauma & Therapy and participates in a live Q&A session to answer student questions during Week 7. Kim's practice includes a depth of experience working with people recovering from addiction and dual-diagnosis individuals. She also works closely with individuals and couples who are needing support through big life transitions, relationship and career challenges, anxiety, depression, PTSD, grief, and sexual identity exploration. Some of the therapeutic tools she uses to support her clients on their journey towards emotional well being include cognitive behavioral, psychodynamic, Gestalt and Post-modern therapies, motivational interviewing and somatic experiencing.
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. Professional problem solver + support staff.
Megan's been an integral member of the Hip Sobriety team since school number two. She's the Oz behind-the-scenes and works tirelessly to make sure that everything runs smoothly from registration to the last email a student receives.
The Teaching Assistant (TA) is in the program to hold space and support the community. Your assigned TA will be there to make sure that your questions about administrative issues and technology are addressed quickly, you have access to all the tools and resources you are promised, and to ensure that your experience throughout school is seamless.
Whitney Combs, Teaching Assistant, Hip Sobriety.
Whitney joined the Hip Sobriety team after using the course to get sober from alcohol in January of 2017. She is certain that we aren’t just here to quit drinking, that we are really here to build a life we don’t need to escape from. Whitney is married with 4 kids and has a background in clinical medicine. She works with students as a Teaching Assistant and her main goal is helping students feel supported and connected while working through Hip Sobriety School.
Afton Helen, Teaching Assistant, Hip Sobriety.
Afton is a Teaching Assistant, as well as a member of the administrative team. She is an HSS alumni and comes from a background in Health & Wellness, specifically working as an onsite corporate wellness educator. Her passion for helping others navigate their way through recovery lends itself perfectly to her role as your buddy and first point of contact throughout the program.
Heidi Oberst, Teaching Assistant, Hip Sobriety.
Heidi is a Teaching Assistant, and an HSS alumni. She is a married mom of 2 and a retired military medical technician who always knew she wanted to help people be the best version of themselves they could be. She is a compassionate soul who is here to help support students while they navigate this path within the school.
Lisa Schwartz, Teaching Assistant, Hip Sobriety.
Lisa is a Teaching Assistant and Hip Sobriety School alum, who completed her first school in Winter 2018. Her pronouns are she/her/hers. Lisa's background is in the healthcare and legal fields, where she specializes in case management. She is a proud queer teetotaler, who is passionate about helping students build connection while reclaiming their story.
Amy Timleck, Teaching Assistant, Hip Sobriety.
Amy is a Teaching Assistant and HSS Alum who completed her first school in Winter 2018. She is a Taurus, life path 7, enneagram type 2 and a true blue ISFJ according MBTI tests. In embracing sobriety in December 2017, she was able to transform her life – recovering her voice, her creativity and her passion for life. She has a strong desire to revolutionize not only the way we think about addiction but also the way we think about ourselves.
what is it like?
Cori Lyon, Hip Sobriety School Participant
I started HSS having no clue. I paid my money and told myself, just do whatever she says. Even if it sucks, even if you hate it, just do it and see what happens. And I have done it all. All the lectures and homework and meditations and labs and QA calls and I have been drinking so much water I am probably drowning my internal organs. And now, I will never be the same. I can't un-know or un-see now. The old and the past just aren't good enough. I told my husband after a couple of weeks of school, I hope she doesn't ask me to join a cult at the end of this because I am 100% drinking the Koolaid.
Natalie Austin, 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 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.
Caitlin Schumacher, Hip Sobriety School Participant
When I signed up for Hip Sobriety School I was so scared. Scared that committing to a sobriety course was admitting that I was an alcoholic. And what if I couldn’t stop drinking? What if it didn’t work? Quitting drinking was HARD, one of the hardest things that I have ever done. What I learned over the 8 weeks of school gave me the tools and knowledge that I needed to stop drinking but more importantly, I learned ways to get after my best life. I gained a deep understanding of the myriad complexities of addiction, regardless of the substance or behaviour. I knew I had a problem with alcohol when I was 20 years old. 23 years later and many attempts to quit on my own, I found Hip Sobriety School. I went in looking for freedom from alcohol. I didn’t want to live my life longing for a drink every single day. Freedom is what I found and I’ve had it for going on for 16 months now.
Marisa Ratigan, Hip Sobriety School Participant.
Two years ago I was meeting all of our wonderful society’s predetermined indicators of success, yet something felt very off. My life had gone flat, my relationships rang hollow, and while I dreamt big, my day to day existence was generally uninspired. After a period of self-examination I determined that my daily drinking was at the root of my problems, but coming to this realization was not enough for me to quit because I couldn’t yet envision my life without alcohol. It wasn’t until I found Hip Sobriety that my future started coming into focus. For the first time, I was painted a picture of sobriety that looked like a life I wanted to live and it involved neither shame nor deprivation. Holly has put together a program that doesn’t miss a beat. She supplies you with the tools to tackle addiction from every angle and incorporates JOY and SUPPORT every step of the way. Every single one of my long held assumptions surrounding alcohol and addiction was called into question and replaced with facts pulled from peer reviewed studies and the latest brain science backed by hard evidence. I honestly can‘t believe how much I didn’t know. Today I have over a year of sobriety under my belt and the “future life” that I glimpsed while reading the Hip Sobriety Manifesto so many months ago has taken shape. Hip Sobriety helped me change my life, and it can help you change yours, too.
Denise Walker, Hip Sobriety School Participant.
"Hi, Beautiful. I know you're scared right now. Terrified, really. Your fear has you by the throat and is making this all seem impossible. But you are not your fear—you are brilliant! Hip Sobriety School will teach you to separate yourself from the darkness that is holding you back. This is the door that you must walk through. There is so much good waiting for you on the other side. I am 8 months sober and never turning back. Like me, you too can shed the life alcohol has made for you so you can start living your best life. All you have to do is say yes."
Kathryn Beecher, Hip Sobriety School Participant.
Before HSS, I completed an outpatient program and attended AA meetings, but I lacked the tools and knowledge to sustain my sobriety. I had strung together a few weeks without drinking and I was looking for something to help me get through the holidays – what I received was so much more. Signing up for Hip Sobriety School, truly was the best gift I have ever given myself. Through this program I became empowered in my choice to not drink, changed my perspective on sobriety and drinking, and learned how to take care of myself. The amazing community created by this program provided hope and support that I wasn’t getting on my own. Having a safe space to ask questions and share the struggles and celebrations that occur during the recovery process was crucial to my sobriety. Holly’s approach and weekly lessons were exactly what I needed to become confident in my decision to give up alcohol. My life and thinking have changed for the better in every way since completing this program.
Annelise Latini, 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."
Valerie Niederer, Hip Sobriety School Participant.
I attended HSS while I was in the scary, lonely, infant stages of sobriety. I didn't have any idea what it was going to be like, but I did know that in those first few weeks of sobriety, the only thing that didn't make me feel so desperately alone were Holly's words on her website and the Home podcast. So I decided to take the plunge and I can say with absolute confidence that it was worth every penny. This school is not just about getting sober, it is about changing your WHOLE life for the better. Imagine a life in which you love yourself so much that you don't need a drink to enjoy it! That is what I have now thanks to this extraordinary program. Don't let your big beautiful life pass you by. If you feel a pull towards this, don't question it and take the leap! Freedom is waiting for you on the other side.
Declan Devereux, 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!
Linda Nellis, Hip Sobriety School Participant.
Through Hip Sobriety School, I was able to achieve long stretches of sobriety & break my daily bottle of wine habit. I found tools to support a life I love, found a community of beautiful souls that hold me up and cheer me on, and found the courage to seek out additional help when needed. If I told myself two years ago that after losing my job & my boyfriend, I would be traveling to DC, India, New York, and Toronto, attending yoga teacher training, attending gender equality conferences at Stanford, speaking out about addiction at Santa Clara University, and paving the way for women's rights at my company, she would never believe it. Old me would be grateful for a few sober days. New me knows that nothing is impossible anymore.
Tosha Smith, 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.
Lael Atkinson, Hip Sobriety School Participant.
At some intangible point over the years drinking started taking far more from me than it was giving back. I have this image now that for every ounce of booze that flowed into my body, one hundred ounces of my life force flowed out. Alcohol had become a vitality-sucking leech. While I had questioned my drinking for some time, I simply never identified with the label “alcoholic.” Finding Hip Sobriety opened my eyes to a world where simply wanting a better life was all that was required. No labels, no stigma, no shaming. Instead I found a solid holistic approach, a community of authentic truth-tellers, and a renewed hope in being able to live a juicy, engaging life that is its very own intoxicant.
Krista King, Hip Sobriety School Participant.
Hip Sobriety armed me with the tools to save my own life and reclaim my power from a substance that had been controlling me for too long. My drinking may have seemed “normal”, but to me it was a constant battle complete with crippling anxiety and many lost weekends to terrible hangovers. It was something I had tried to moderate, but never seemed to do it "right." A 20-something living in a big city who has struggled with social anxiety and not wanting to feel left out of anything, I just couldn’t see how I could cut the alcohol and still have fun and be me. One too many “never again” nights ignited the fire to look for a different way. I found Holly’s blog and knew I had finally found something that didn’t make quitting drinking sounds like my entire world was going to end. As of writing this I have seven months alcohol-free – something I didn’t think I could achieve (nor did I really even want when I started out on this journey). In this time my world has totally transformed: I’ve gone to three weddings totally sober, inspired friends to explore their relationship with alcohol, started actually looking at the stuck pain under the drinking, and I can truly say I am more me than I was while drinking. I am remembering what joy feels like. I needed a method of recovery that spoke my language, an approach that equipped me with ways to handle what I knew I was covering up with the alcohol to begin with. Hip Sobriety School opened my eyes to a new way of living. Every student feels Holly’s fierce passion and she has inspired me to speak my truth, follow my path with determination, and never question the decision.
Janet Pistilli, Hip Sobriety School Participant.
Hip Sobriety School (HSS) connected me to like minded women. The private FB of women/men sharing & supporting their real life. HSS gave me a [community] I could share & support. Tools to use when I needed to be held. HSS became my lifeline on Sobriety. When I felt alone I would hop on HSS community page and feel the love and support from someone feeling just like me. I’m 2 1/2 years sober. I love my life. I’m healthier, happier, clear headed & present. I’m FREE from alcohol - it no longer controls my thinking. I highly recommend Hip Sobriety School it will be the BEST investment you ever make. Sign up give it a try I promise you’ll get so much out of it. You are held & loved every step of the way! xo
Susan Cockrell, Hip Sobriety School Participant
I’ve been connected to Holly’s and Hip Sobriety since May of 2016. Being a 38 year old corporate working mom of 2 young kids, I’d fallen prey to the “Mommyjuice” bullsh*t story that is fed to most mothers these days. Stress, anxiety and exhaustion led me to feel the need to numb out in the evenings. Being a high-functioning drinker, I never hit rock bottom, but I knew it was something that was controlling me and it felt wrong. Holly was pivotal in helping me to understand the root cause of addiction and the fact that giving it up is not about depriving yourself; it’s about loving and caring for yourself so much that you add in and get back all of the good things in life that you were missing. Holly gives us so many resources and deep learning about the scientific aspects of recovering from alcohol. But there’s another piece about Hip Sobriety that I was not expecting: I had no idea that this journey was not just about alcohol for me. It is about self-care and calming my nervous system so that I create a life, as Holly says, “that I don’t need to escape from.” In the past year, I’ve filled my toolbox with things I’d never tried before like kundalini yoga, essential oils, chakra cleansing and more. It sounds a little woo-woo, but I am starting to uncover the person that I truly am. I want to be honest, though: I’m not 100% alcohol-free, as many of the people in the Hip Sobriety community are. But, I’m getting closer every day to a place where alcohol will play no part in my life. And for that, I have Holly and the Hip Sobriety school & community to thank.
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. 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 $51,000 on alcohol and alcohol related expenses (this is a conservative estimate), and since quitting pot and cigarettes, I have saved a crap ton more. 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 six times, traveled to Hawaii six 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. Is there a scholarship program available?
Answer. Yes. The Scholarship offers 25 seats in the school at a 70% discount and is meant to support underserved, disproportionately affected populations. The application to apply for the February School is linked here. To be clear - the scholarship is not for those that are lukewarm about doing this program, who would do it if it was free. It's for individuals that a desperate to do it, who are so limited in their finances it is otherwise impossible without aid.
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 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 (we just can't).
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:
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?).
Planning to drink.
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 February 26th, where you'll interact with your Teaching Assistant, 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 students 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 rad 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. 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 or can be used as a modality in its own right. 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, healing work was all I did. I committed entirely to being happy and I got deep results from this commitment. Some of our students have done the same and have also gotten extreme results. Others have 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. Because there is limited space we do 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 email@example.com WITHIN THE FIRST 3 DAYS after the program has started (by midnight on March 3rd, 2019). Full refunds or transfers to subsequent coaching groups will only be granted within the first 3 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 guys do that?
Answer. We are in the middle of figuring out how to provide 1:1 coaching support, but we don't offer it at this time.
Finding Hip Sobriety opened my eyes to a world where simply wanting a better life was all that was required. No labels, no stigma, no shaming. Instead I found a solid holistic approach, a community of authentic truth-tellers, and a renewed hope in being able to live a juicy, engaging life that is its very own intoxicant.
- Lael Atkinson, Former Hip Sobriety School Student
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 38 I look better than I did at 28), 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.