I Quit Everything
How One Woman's Addiction to Quitting Helped Her Confront Bad Habits and Embrace Midlife
Published by: Agate Publishing
- Published: September 2023
An experimental account of one woman’s quest to shed addictive substances and behaviors from her life—which dares to ask if we’re really better off without them.
In January 2021, Freda Love Smith, acclaimed rock musician and author of Red Velvet Underground, watched as insurgents stormed the U.S. Capitol. It felt like the culmination of eight months of pandemic anxiety. She needed a drink, badly. But she suspected a midday whiskey wouldn’t cure what was really ailing her—nor would her nightly cannabis gummy, or her four daily cups of tea, or any of the other substances she relied on to get through each day. Thus began her experiment to remove one addictive behavior from her life each month to see if sobriety was really all it was cracked up to be.
With honesty and humor, Smith describes the effects of withdrawal from alcohol, sugar, caffeine, cannabis, and social media, weaving in her reflections on the childhood experiences and cultural norms that fed her addictions to these behaviors. Part personal history, part sociological research, and part wry observation on addiction, intoxication, media, and pandemic behavior, I Quit Everything will resonate with anyone who has danced with destructive habits—that is, those who are “sober curious” but not necessarily sober. Smith’s experiment goes beyond simply quitting these five addictive behaviors. Moved by the circumstances of the pandemic and the general state of the world, she ends up leaving an unsatisfying job for more meaningful work and reevaluating other significant details of her life, such as motherhood and the music that defined her career.
More than a simple sobriety story, Smith’s book is an exploration of passion, legacy, and what becomes of our identities once we’ve quit everything.