Holly Whitaker

She's brought a new inclusivity--and a raw candor--to addiction treatment.

New YorkNY 
 Photo Credit: Courtesy subject

Holly Whitaker doesn’t pull punches, especially when discussing her struggles with addiction. “Most people carry these shameful secrets,” says the recovered bulimic, pot smoker, and alcohol abuser. “I think that part of my healing was almost embracing those parts.” Admitting you have a problem is one thing. Telling the suits who are wondering about cutting a check for your startup is another. But that’s what makes Whitaker’s rehab program, Tempest, revolutionary. Rather than treating those with addiction like they’re “sick and a liability,” or imposing a toxic framework “built for upper-class white men,” she combines elements that anyone can pick up and use. For some, that might look like Kundalini yoga and breathwork; for others, it could be tapping a cognitive behavioral therapist. “There are hundreds of things we provide people,” says Whitaker, who has helped 4,000 individuals since launching her eight-week program in 2015. “It’s really a symphony.” --Jill Krasny