Woman of Substances by Jenny Valentish | Black Inc.

Woman of Substances: A Journey into Addiction and Treatment

Awards for Woman of Substances

  • Longlisted, 2017 Walkley Book Award

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About the author

Jenny Valentish

Jenny Valentish has been devoted to dancing around the void for many decades, first in the pub and then the boxing ring. The author of the acclaimed books Woman of Substances and Everything Harder Than Everyone Else, Jenny is a regular …

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Read an extract

Woman of Substances

Praise for Woman of Substances

‘Valentish mixes her own careening story with some truly fabulous research. This book taught me things I wasn’t expecting about the landscape of substance use.’ —Kate Holden

‘A compelling blend of the sociology, psychology and physiology that drives female addiction, seasoned by the author’s self-serrating humour and remarkable skill.’ —Professor Marc Lewis, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto. Author of The Biology of Desire (2015) and Memoirs of an Addicted Brain (2011)

‘A fabulous read. Raw, revealing, at times heartbreaking, but searingly honest and clearly aimed to support anyone who is wondering if they will ever recover from addiction. Yes, says Jenny, you can: just don't expect unicorns to visit immediately. Beautifully written, it prompts a broader discussion around the role women's (little-discussed) hormones can play in one's ‘addiction and recovery story’, and how rarely this has been considered when it comes to models of recovery. Jenny tells a truly hopeful story about one woman who has come to terms with who she is. She looks the beast in the eyes. Well done.’ —Clare Bowditch,

‘Jenny Valentish takes us on a field trip through her vulnerabilities and then, like a tour guide in a foreign land, flag aloft, she provides a path back from the abyss. This is an enormously compelling, confronting and informative piece on addiction and recovery from a female perspective. I know a lot of people I want to give this book to.’ —Deborah Conway

‘We need books like this, and writers like Valentish, to give voice to our frustrations and concerns, to help legitimise and mobilise.’ —Kylie Maslen, Kill Your Darlings

‘[Woman of Substances is] a startling and thorough investigation into the relationship between gender, trauma and addiction, and the women who fall through the gaps – with the writer offering herself up as the case study.’ —Steph Harmon, Guardian Australia

Woman of Substances will resonate with women readers who have never really questioned the role that patriarchy has played in their drinking habits.’ —Katherine Gillespie, Vice

‘Employing expert interviews and research, each rich personal episode is contextualised within the under-examined issue of women’s substance abuse. Detailed, insightful and told with a feature writer’s narrative flair.’ —Bookseller and Publisher

‘Engages readers with storytelling while presenting scientific findings and theories in a way that is accessible to a broad audience.’ —Elizabeth Flux, Broadsheet

‘Part monograph, part memoir, part Ginsbergian howl of outrage at a culture in which gender bias is a tenet. It is a work of compellingly articulate anger.’ —Antonella Gambotto-Burke, the Australian

‘In straightforward, lively prose she relates even her darkest moments without self-pity or aggrandisement, and often with a streak of gallows humour, leading to more laugh-out-loud lines than you might expect.’ —Saturday Paper

‘Valentish’s passion lies in exploring the underlying causes and their effects and, in the most female of ways, offering companionship and reassurance for her readers.’ —the Monthly

‘Doesn’t mince her words.’ —Helen Sullivan, Sydney Morning Herald

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