Christie Tate and Laura McKowen at Harvard Book Store


A Memoir of Friendship Lost and Found


Push Off from Here:
Nine Essential Truths to Get You Through Sobriety
(and Everything Else)


March 7, 2023
7:00 PM ET


Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138


This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store welcomes CHRISTIE TATE—author of the New York Times bestseller Group—for a discussion of her new book B.F.F.: A Memoir of Friendship Lost and Found and LAURA MCKOWEN—author of the bestselling memoir We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life and founder of The Luckiest Club—for a discussion of her new book Push Off from Here: Nine Essential Truths to Get You Through Sobriety (and Everything Else).

A Return to In-Person Events

Harvard Book Store is excited to be back to in-person programming. To ensure the safety and comfort of everyone in attendance, the following Covid-19 safety protocols will be in place at all of our Harvard Book Store events until further notice:

  • Face coverings are required of all staff and attendees when inside the store. Masks must snugly cover nose and mouth.

About B.F.F.

After more than a decade of dead-end dates and dysfunctional relationships, Christie Tate has reclaimed her voice and settled down. Her days of agonizing in group therapy over guys who won’t commit are over, the grueling emotional work required to attach to another person tucked neatly into the past.

Or so she thought. Weeks after giddily sharing stories of her new boyfriend at Saturday morning recovery meetings, Christie receives a gift from a friend. Meredith, twenty years older and always impeccably accessorized, gives Christie a box of holiday-themed scarves as well as a gentle suggestion: maybe now is the perfect time to examine why friendships give her trouble. “The work never ends, right?” she says with a wink.

Christie isn’t so sure, but she soon realizes that the feeling of “apartness” that has plagued her since childhood isn’t magically going away now that she’s in a healthy romantic relationship. With Meredith by her side, she embarks on a brutally honest exploration of her friendships past and present, sorting through the ways that debilitating shame and jealousy have kept the lasting bonds she craves out of reach—and how she can overcome a history of letting go too soon. But when Meredith becomes ill and Christie’s baggage threatens to muddy their final days, she’s forced to face her deepest fears in honor of the woman who finally showed her how to be a friend.

Poignant, laugh-out-loud funny, and emotionally satisfying, B.F.F. explores what happens when we finally break the habits that impair our ability to connect with others, and the ways that one life—however messy and imperfect—can change another.

Praise for B.F.F.

"B.F.F. is a love story about the miracle of friendship. But it’s also an admirably vulnerable, heartbreaking-meets-funny self-interrogation. Reckoning with failed or faltering friendships—the ones that feel like auditions for a part you're desperate to play, or high-stakes competitions, or even love triangles—means reckoning with the kind of friend you are. It means facing yourself. B.F.F. made me laugh, cry, and cringe with recognition, page after page. It made me want to pick up the phone and start calling my friends." —Maggie Smith, author of You Could Make This Place Beautiful

"A meaningful, memorable journey from inner pain to honest, open, and enduring friendship.” —Kirkus Reviews

“In her heartfelt memoir, Tate reflects on the implosion of her past female friendships . . . [She] takes accountability for her actions (‘I’m a work in progress’), and she captures the transformative power of friendship . . . Readers will be moved by this outstanding portrait of self-excavation." —Publishers Weekly (STARRED review)

About Push Off from Here

No matter how far astray you’ve gone or how many times you’ve tried and failed before, as long as you’re still sitting here, breathing, and reading these words, freedom and joy are still possible.

When Laura McKowen was two years sober, she received an email from a woman whose sister was struggling with alcohol addiction. McKowen had barely climbed out from the dark place the woman’s sister was in, but she made a list of the things she most needed to hear when she was deep in her own battle.

1. It is not your fault.

2. It is your responsibility.

3. It is unfair that this is your thing.

4. This is your thing.

5. This will never stop being your thing until you face it.

6. You cannot do it alone.

7. Only you can do it.

8. You are loved.

9. We will never stop reminding you of these things.

In Push Off from Here, McKowen delves deeply into each of her nine points: what they mean, how they work, and how every person can live them. She addresses topics such as the correlation between trauma and addiction, the importance of radical honesty, letting go of the illusion of control, the value of community, a reminder that healing is a continual process, and that the process is a gift. Whether you’re just starting out or have been sober for decades, McKowen instructs us to be kind to ourselves: Change is messy and progress is rarely linear, but we can always push off from here.

The stories and advice McKowen shares are specific to alcohol addiction, but the tenets are universal in their application and useful no matter what challenge you face. With profound honesty and boundless compassion, Push Off from Here provides an actionable framework for healing what pains us and proves that a life of sobriety can be synonymous with a life of magic, peace, and freedom.

Praise for Push Off from Here

“I wish I had it when I first got sober, but I’m glad I have it now.” —Anne Lamott, The New York Times bestselling author of Dusk, Night, Dawn

“The writing sparkles on every page, but the biggest gift of this book is Laura McKowen’s insistence that we all deserve grace for who we’ve been in the past and permission to get busy building the lives we’ve always wanted.” —Christie Tate, New York Times bestselling author of Group

“Wise, practical, empathetic, beautifully written, above all USEFUL. Reading this book is like having coffee with your big sister whose been through it—loving but clear-eyed about how to get through the next stretch.” —Shauna Niequist, New York Times bestselling author of I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet

“This is the book, and Laura McKowen is the voice. Push Off from Here offers one of the bravest and boldest takes on recovery I’ve ever read, and there is no one who won’t be comforted, supported, and empowered by Laura’s words.” —Melissa Urban, co-founder and CEO of Whole30 and New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Boundaries

“Whether letting go of addiction, healing a broken heart, or looking for a new direction in life, the answers are here for you.” —Kelly McDaniel, LPC, therapist, and author of Mother Hunger

“The clarity and succinct simplicity in Push Off from Here make this required reading for all humans struggling with any level or type of addiction. Countless lives will be changed by McKowen’s grounded, compassionate truth. No matter where you are on the path, wrap McKowen’s words around you and push off from precisely where you are.” —Elena Brower, bestselling author and host of Practice You

Christie Tate
Christie Tate

Christie Tate

Christie Tate is the author of the New York Times bestseller Group, which was a Reese’s Book Club selection. She has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and elsewhere, and she lives in Chicago with her family.

Photo Credit: Mary Rafferty Photography

Laura McKowen
Laura McKowen

Laura McKowen

Laura McKowen is the author of the bestselling memoir We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life. In 2020, she founded The Luckiest Club, a global sobriety support community. She lives with her daughter and partner in Boston.

Photo credit: Kim Indresano

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As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.

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